PHELIPS (PHILLIPS), Sir Thomas, 1st Bt. (1590-1626), of Barrington, Som. and Winchester, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

bap. 15 June 1590,1 o.s. of Sir Thomas Phelips of Montacute, Som. and Jane, da. of Sir John Clifton of Barrington.2 educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1607.3 m. by 1619, Charity (d. 5 Oct. 1645),4 da. and coh. of William Waller of Stoke Charity, Hants, 2s.5 suc. fa. 1618.6 cr. bt. 16 Feb. 1620.7 d. 29 Apr. 1626.8

Offices Held

J.p. Som. 1620-d., Hants 1622-d.;9 freeman and alderman, Winchester 1625-d.;10 commr. enclosure, Sedgemoor, Som. 1625.11


This Member should not be confused with a namesake, who was knighted in Ireland in 1607, and later fell into dispute with the City of London over the Londonderry plantation.12 Phelips’ father, one of the elder brothers of Sir Edward Phelips*, bought the Somerset manor of Barrington Court in 1605 from his brother-in-law Sir Gervase Clifton†.13 He left his widow, who outlived her son, a life interest in half the estate, which was further burdened with legacies of £1,300 to his daughters.14 Phelips himself squandered his patrimony in a vain attempt to make a career at Court. He attached himself to Buckingham, who seems to have received the fees for his baronetcy,15 and it was doubtless to finance this latter transaction that in 1620 he mortgaged Barrington to William Strode and Hugh Pyne*.16 By the following year he owed his brother-in-law Arthur Farwell £2,010, secured on a second mortgage.17 Not long afterwards John Malet* refused to underwrite a £200 loan to Phelips, whereupon Phelips invaded his lodgings with an armed gang, wounded a servant, and challenged him to a duel, as Malet alleged when he sued him in Star Chamber.18 In 1625 Phelips conveyed his interest in Barrington to Strode for £3,800, and thereafter seems to have lived in Winchester.19

Phelips was elected for Winchester to the first Caroline Parliament, presumably at the request of his brother-in-law, Sir Richard Tichborne*.20 He left no trace on its records. In July 1625 Buckingham recalled Sir Thomas Roe* from Turkey in order to appoint Phelips to the embassy.21 The Levant Company petitioned the king for Roe’s continuance, describing Phelips as ‘a gentleman to us unknown, and altogether inexperienced and unfit as we conceive to manage so great a business’; a long wrangle ensued.22 Awaiting confirmation of his appointment, Phelips does not seem to have stood for the second Caroline Parliament, in which he promoted a bill to make provision from the sale of Barrington for Farwell’s infant son.23 The bill was first read in the Commons on 24 Feb. 1626, and was sent up to the Lords on 7 March.24 The Levant Company launched a petition in the Commons on 13 Mar. against Phelips’ appointment, and flatly refused to provide him with transport.25 Their threats proved unnecessary since by this time Phelips was terminally ill. In his will, describing himself as ‘weak in body’, he made arrangements for the payment of debts, besides his mother’s jointure, of over £3,000.26 He died on 29 Apr. and was buried at Stoke Charity.27 The Barrington sale bill had by this time passed both Houses, but never received the royal assent as a result of the abrupt dissolution. His will was unsuccessfully contested by his kinsman and creditor Sir George Horsey*.28 No other member of this branch of the family entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/374/87.
  • 2. Som. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. Procs. xxxvii. pt. 2, pp. 41-2.
  • 3. Al. Ox.
  • 4. General Colls. for Hist. of Catholic Fams. ed. J.J. Howard, ii. 120.
  • 5. C142/374/87.
  • 6. C142/371/99.
  • 7. CB, i. 136-7.
  • 8. C142/432/130.
  • 9. C231/4, ff. 98, 134; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, pp. 14, 15.
  • 10. Hants RO, W/B1/4, f. 41v.
  • 11. C66/2356, f. 13v.
  • 12. T.W. Moody, Londonderry Plantation 1609-41, pp. 369-74.
  • 13. Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. xx), 76; Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 85.
  • 14. PROB 11/132, f. 284.
  • 15. PSO2/45, Dec. 1620; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 197.
  • 16. VCH Som. iv. 114.
  • 17. Som. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. Procs. xxxvii. pt. 2, pp. 41-2.
  • 18. STAC 8/208/21.
  • 19. C66/2211, 2261, 2290; Som. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. Procs. xxxvii, pt. 2, pp. 41-2.
  • 20. Howard, 121.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 509.
  • 22. Ibid. 1625-6, pp. 58, 66, 285, 287; CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, pp. 73, 163; CSP Ven. 1625-6, pp. 367, 391; SP105/148, ff. 145-6.
  • 23. Procs. 1626, iv. 92-3.
  • 24. CJ, i. 824b, 825a, 830a, 831b.
  • 25. Procs. 1626, ii. 271, 272, 330.
  • 26. PROB 11/151, f. 190v.
  • 27. C142/432/130; VCH Hants, iii. 451; N and Q (ser. 13), i. 194-5.
  • 28. PROB 11/151, f. 166v.