FOLEY, Thomas II (c.1641-1701), of Witley Court, Worcs.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
14 Jan. 1699
13 Jan. - 1 Feb. 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1641, 1st s. of Thomas Foley I, and bro. of Paul Foley and Philip Foley. educ. Pembroke, Camb. adm. 4 July 1657, aged 16, BA 1660; I. Temple, entered 1657. m. Elizabeth (d. 6 Jan. 1686), da. of Edward Ashe, Draper, of Fenchurch Street, London, 4s. 4da. suc. fa. 1677.1

Offices Held

Member, Society of Mineral and Battery Works 1670, asst. 1678-87, dep. gov. 1693-9; asst. Society of Mines Royal 1689.2

Commr. for assessment, Worcs. 1673-80, Glos. 1689, Staffs. and Worcs. 1689-90; sheriff, Worcs. 1673-4, freeman, Bewdley 1673; j.p. Worcs by 1679-85, July 1688-?d., Staffs. ?1689-d.; dep. Lt. Staffs. 1689-?d.3


Foley was first returned for the county two years after succeeding to his father’s estate, and represented it throughout the exclusion crisis. A Presbyterian conformist, he was marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. In the first Exclusion Parliament he was certainly appointed by full name only to the committee of elections and privileges and to those to consider expiring laws and the bill for security against Popery; but he voted for exclusion. An active Member of the second Exclusion Parliament, he was named to 14 committees, including the elections committee. The most important were to consider the bill prohibiting the import of cattle from Ireland, to bring in a bill to amend the Severn Fishery Act, and to consider the bill for Protestant unity. Great efforts were made to oust Foley at the general election of 1681, but he was re-elected to the Oxford Parliament, in which he was again appointed to the elections committee and also to that for the impeachment of Fitzharris.4

Foley was defeated at the general election of 1685. Although listed among the Opposition in 1687, he probably became a Whig collaborator. He was appointed to the commission of the peace in July 1688 and adopted as court candidate after his brother Philip had assured the local Roman Catholics and dissenters that ‘there was no reason to doubt that he stood well in his Majesty’s favour’. He adroitly changed sides at the Revolution, occupying Worcester for the Protestant cause, and regained his seat in the Convention. A very active Member, he was appointed to at least 77 committees, including the elections committee in both sessions, and those to bring in a list of the essentials for securing religion, law and liberty, to suspend habeas corpus, to alter the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and to consider the first mutiny bill. On 1 Apr. 1689 he was among those ordered to prepare the repeal of the Corporations Act and to bring in a bill for religious comprehension. He helped to draw up the address to thank the King for undertaking to maintain the Church and to prepare reasons for a conference on the new oaths of allegiance and supremacy. He was appointed to the committee for the toleration bill, and helped to manage a conference. On 10 July he was added to the committee of inquiry into the delay in relieving Londonderry. He was the first of the family to go over to the Opposition, voting on 8 Nov. to reduce the land tax by ‘laying part of it upon the lawyers’. He was named to the committee for restoring corporations (19 Dec.), and supported the disabling clause.5

Foley continued to sit for the county in the next two Parliaments as a country Whig, signing the Association in 1696. He died on 1 Feb. 1701. His son sat for Stafford from 1694 to 1712, when he was one of the 12 Tories raised to the peerage to secure a majority in the Upper House.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Edward Rowlands / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Vis. Worcs. ed. Metcalfe, 47.
  • 2. BL, Loan 16.
  • 3. Univ. Birmingham Hist. Jnl. i. 109; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. (1931), p. 285.
  • 4. Bagford Ballads ed. Ebsworth, ii. 998-1000; D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 397.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 23; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, pp. 176-7, 343, 654; CJ, x. 143
  • 6. CP, v. 535.