BULKELEY, Hon. Thomas (c.1633-1708), of Dinas, Caern.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. c.1633, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Thomas, 1st Visct. Bulkeley of Cashel [I], and bro. of Henry Bulkeley and Robert Bulkeley. educ. Jesus, Oxf. 1652; G. Inn 1654. m. Jane, da. and coh. of Griffith Jones of Castellmarch, Caern., wid. of Thomas Williams of Dinas, s.p.1

Offices Held

J.p. Anglesey July 1660-87, Caern. 1662-87, Anglesey and Caern. ?1689-d.; commr. for assessment, Anglesey Aug. 1660-80, Caern. 1661-80, Anglesey and Caern. 1689-90; capt. of militia horse, Anglesey by 1663-bef. 1684; dep. lt. Caern. 1661-Feb. 1688, 1689-?d., Anglesey 1674-Feb. 1688; sheriff, Caern. Jan.-Nov. 1688; freeman, Caernarvon by 1692.2


Bulkeley acquired a Caernarvonshire estate by marrying the widow of a younger son of the Vaenol family. He urged Sir Richard Wynn and William Griffith to oppose the Glynnes in 1661, and took an active part in repressing local disaffection. He may have hoped to succeed Henry Wynn as protonotary, but his brother did not prosecute his claim with much ardour. ‘Politicians are like water-men’, Bulkeley wrote, ‘who look one way and row another’; and it was not until he was in his late forties that he embraced their way of life. First elected for Caernarvonshire in 1679, probably after a contest, he was marked ‘base’ on Shaftesbury’s list. He remained in Parliament with one short break till his death 29 years later. He was probably more active than his brother Henry or his nephew Richard, but he can only have been named to two committees in the first Exclusion Parliament, those for the inquiry into the decay of woollen manufactures and for the continuation of the prohibition on Irish cattle. He voted against the exclusion bill. He was probably moderately active in the second Exclusion Parliament, serving on the committees for a naturalization bill, the disbandment accounts, and the better discovery of superstitious bequests. He left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament, but in 1685 he may have been appointed to the committees for rebuilding St. Paul’s and establishing a land registry.3

Bulkeley was one of the Welsh sheriffs pricked in January 1688 to preclude them from standing for James’s abortive Parliament. He refused his consent to the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from his other local offices. He was returned for Anglesey on the family interest at the general election of 1689. An inactive Member of the Convention, he did not vote to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Of his 11 committees, the most important were to consider the Lords’ proviso on the succession in July and the second mutiny bill in December. He acted as teller against recommitting the clause in a supply bill to provide for Princess Anne and her husband. He continued to sit as a Tory until his death on 23 Mar. 1708, aged 75.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. J. E. Griffith, Peds. Anglesey and Caern. Fams. 42.
  • 2. Cal. N. Wales Letters (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xviii), 161; HMC 5th Rep. 522; Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. vii. 78; SP29/34/I27.
  • 3. Cal. Wynn Pprs. 364, 386; CSP Dom. 1663-4, pp. 345, 394; 167O, pp. 237-8.
  • 4. HMC Downshire, i. 286; CJ, x. 311; Griffith, 42.