THOROLD, Sir John, 4th Bt. (c.1664-1717), of Marston, nr. Grantham and Cranwell, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



18 Dec. 1697 - 1700
Feb. 1701 - 1705
11 Jan. 1711 - 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1664, 3rd s. of Anthony Thorold of Marston and Cranwell by Grisel, da. of Sir John Wray, 2nd Bt., of Glentworth, Lincs.  educ. Lenton (alias Lavington); St. John’s, Camb. matric. 30 June 1680, aged 16; L. Inn 1682.  m. 7 Aug. 1701, Margaret Waterer (d. 1733), wid. of Hon. Francis Coventry of Carshalton, Surr. s.psuc. bro. as 4th Bt. c.Nov. 1685.1

Offices Held


Thorold’s ancestors had been settled in the vicinity of Grantham since the 14th century, and his great-great-grandfather had represented the borough in 1558. Both his grandfather, Sir William, 1st Bt., and his uncle, John, had done so in more recent times, and the family interest, combined with that of the Earl of Rutland (John Manners†), was sufficiently strong for Sir John to prevail at the Grantham by-election of December 1697. He did not make any impact in the last session of the 1695 Parliament but successfully defended his seat in 1698. Shortly afterwards, he was classed as a Country supporter, and his name appeared in a forecast of Members likely to oppose a standing army. In the first session he was the principal manager of a private naturalization bill, and of a bill to settle the estate of Sir Robert Vyner, 1st Bt. His political loyalties at this time are unclear, an analyst of the Commons in early 1700 marking him as ‘doubtful’.2

As early as April 1700, Thorold had announced his candidacy for the county at the next general election, and had even declared that he would not use Grantham as a bolthole if unsuccessful for the shire. He won an unopposed return, and in the new Parliament was listed in February 1701 as a likely supporter of the Court in agreeing to a resolution of the supply committee to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. He was an active Member, and apart from the workload reflected in his nominations to committee, he was also first-named to a drafting committee for a bill to drain Deeping Fen in Lincolnshire, a matter of obvious local importance. He gained another comfortable victory for the shire in December, and voted in February 1702 in favour of the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings during the previous session in the impeachments of the King’s Whig ministers. He was a teller on 9 Apr. in support of the committal of a bill to exempt a private individual from the resumption of Irish forfeitures.3

Thorold continued to represent Lincolnshire in the 1702 Parliament, and in the first session managed a private estate bill, and was a teller on 19 Nov. on a procedural question concerning the hearing on the Gloucestershire election. He voted in February 1703 against the Lords’ amendments to the bill to extend the time for taking the Abjuration. In the next session he took responsibility for the passage of another private estate bill, and told on 18 Jan. 1704 against the committal of the press licensing bill. His only activity in the last session lay with a local measure to enforce the Act to drain the Ancholme Level. He was classed as a probable supporter of the Tack, and voted for it in the division on 28 Nov. Such partisanship contributed to his subsequent defeat at the county contest of 1705, news of which was welcomed by the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†), who relished the removal of ‘lofty Sir John’. Thorold did not stand in 1708, but kept abreast of current affairs, warning his fellow Tory Sir Michael Warton* in March 1710 of an impending Whig attempt to send (Sir) Simon Harcourt I* to the Tower.4

At the general election of 1710 Thorold reverted to standing for Grantham, but though failing to secure his return by a single vote he was seated on petition. His only significant contribution to Commons business in the whole of the Parliament was a nomination in March 1712 to the drafting committee for a bill concerning a waterworks in Boston. A member of the October Club, and cited as one of its leaders, he was listed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the first session detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. However, in June 1713 he voted against the ministry over the French commerce bill, and was marked as ‘whimsical’ by a parliamentary analyst. He retained his seat at the next election, but remained estranged from his party, voting against the expulsion of Richard Steele in March 1714. The Worsley list later classed him as a Whig who had sometimes voted with the Tories. He did not stand in 1715, and died on 14 Jan. 1717. His estate, which included many properties near Grantham, passed to the heirs of his uncle John, and ensured that the family continued to supply representatives for Lincolnshire and the borough.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Perry Gauci


  • 1. Westminster Abbey Regs. (Harl. Soc. x), 37–38; C5/190/18.
  • 2. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 382–3; Lincs. AO, Monson mss 7/12/94, John Flick to Sir John Newton, 2nd Bt.†, 29 Aug. 1697.
  • 3. Monson mss 7/12/103, Robert Fysher to the same, 22 Apr. 1700.
  • 4. HMC Portland, iv. 201, 534.
  • 5. Tindal, ii. 235; PCC 19 Whitfield.