TAYLOR, Sir Thomas, 2nd Bt. (1657-96), of Park House, Maidstone and Shadoxhurst, Kent
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Family and Education
b. 19 Aug. 1657, o. s. of Sir Thomas Taylor, 1st Bt., of Maidstone and Shadoxhurst by Elizabeth, da. of George Haule of Maidstone. educ. St. John’s Oxf. 1675. m. 6 Oct. 1692, Alicia (d. 1734), da. of Sir Richard Colepeper, 2nd Bt., of Preston Hall, Aylesford, Kent, wid. of Herbert Stapley† of Patcham, Suss., 1s. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 1665.1
Cornet of horse, Ld. Gerard’s regt. 1678–9; capt. indep. tp. 1685; gov. Upnor Castle 1695–d.2
Asst. Rochester Bridge 1688–94, warden 1690.3
Judging from the date of Taylor’s admission in March 1683 to the Kentish bench, one may presume that he was a beneficiary of the ‘Tory reaction’. Such a view would not necessarily be incompatible with his uncompromising response to James II’s three questions in which he pointedly reserved to Anglicans all the offices within the Church of England. His opposition to James II’s policies resulted in removal from the commission of the peace in February 1688. Although his attitude to the Revolution is unknown, he secured election to the Convention and was reappointed to the bench. In the following Parliament, elected in 1690, the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) classed him as a Whig, and what sparse information can be gleaned from the Journals supports this view. On 14 May 1690 he acted as a teller against a motion to adjourn, whereupon the House made arrangements to hear Robert Dodsworth’s allegations that several regiments of papists were arming in Lancashire. This interest in plots was manifested again on 1 Jan. 1692 when, according to Narcissus Luttrell*, Taylor was one of six Members deputed to advise William Fuller on how best to persuade two of his witnesses to come to England. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Court supporter, a view also taken by Samuel Grascome in his list of the spring of 1693. In the 1694–5 session Taylor was listed as a ‘friend’ by Henry Guy*, who was then under attack in the Commons. Towards the end of the 1690 Parliament Taylor received leave of absence on three occasions: on 27 Mar. 1694 (one week), 31 Jan. 1695 (four days) and on 18 Mar. 1695 (two weeks). The last two occasions may have been connected with his appointment in January 1695 as governor of Upnor Castle on the Medway. The only hint of disgruntlement with the Williamite regime was a report in July 1693 that he had quitted his militia post; if so, a rapprochement was rapidly effected since he was included on a list of lieutenancy appointments made in February 1694.4
Taylor seems to have been reasonably attentive to the needs of his constituents, taking the trouble in June 1692 to write to the lord chief justice, Sir George Treby*, in the hope of ensuring that the assizes would continue to be held at Maidstone. This, together with the public bestowal of ministerial favour in his appointment to Upnor, helped to ensure his re-election in 1695. Taylor reciprocated the administration’s support, being forecast in January 1696 as likely to support the Court on the proposed council of trade. However, on 6 Feb. 1696 Luttrell reported that Sir Thomas had died the previous day. His will vested his estates in four trustees (his wife, his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Colepeper, 3rd Bt.*, and William and Thomas Stringer, both Gray’s Inn lawyers) in order to raise £4,500 to pay off his debts. He was survived by his only son, Thomas (1693–1720). Taylor’s wife remarried, taking as her third husband her barrister cousin Thomas Colepeper, and as her fourth and last, Dr John Milner of Pudsey, Yorkshire, through whom the Colepeper estates ultimately descended by virtue of a settlement by Lady Taylor.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, Kent; Arch. Cant. xvii. 255–6; N. and Q. ser. 11, ix. 84.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 374; 1696, p. 435.
- 3. Info. from Mr P. F. Cooper, Bridge Clerk, Rochester Bridge Trust.
- 4. Info. from Prof. N. Landau; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), 354; Luttrell Diary, 103; CSP Dom. 1693, p. 212; 1694–5, pp. 19, 374.
- 5. HMC 13th Rep. VI, 32; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 14; PCC 177 Lort; IGI, Kent; Arch. Cant. 255–6.