FREKE, Thomas II (1660-1721), of Hannington, Wilts.

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. 17 Jan. 1660, 1st s. of Thomas Freke of Hinton St. Mary, Dorset by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Clarke of Ford Place, Wrotham, Kent. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1675; M. Temple, entered 1675. m. (1) 10 Oct. 1683, Elizabeth (d.1714), da. and coh. of Thomas Pile of Baverstock, Wilts., s.p.; (2) Dec. 1718, Mary Corbett, s.p. suc. gt.-uncle at Hannington 1684.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1689; capt. of militia horse by 1697-1702; j.p. Wilts. by 1701-d., Dorset 1702-d.; dep. lt. Dorset 1702-?d.; freeman, Lyme Regis 1705.2


Freke’s grandfather died in 1642, being ‘mercifully taken away from the troubles that ensued’, as his widow, the sister of a prominent Cavalier, described it. His father, too young to fight in the Civil War, also married into a well-known royalist family; but Freke and his brother William, a law student, joined the Green Ribbon Club at an early age. Their father’s modest Dorset leasehold never qualified him for county office, but in 1684 Freke succeeded to Hannington, a compact property of nearly £1,000 p.a. which had been in the family since 1605, and an ample personal estate. In the following year he contested Cricklade, six miles away, as a Whig. On the day of the election he ‘brought out of the country forty horse and thirty foot armed’, who beat and wounded many of the Tory voters. His supporters were described as ‘men of dangerous principles’, perhaps an allusion to his brother’s Socinianism, though this had not yet become notorious. The bailiff sealed an indenture in Freke’s favour, and he was allowed to sit on the merits of the return. He was listed among the Opposition, but Edmund Webb produced another indenture, and he was unseated on the merits of the election without taking any known part in James II’s Parliament. Webb proceeded to rub salt in the wound by prosecuting him and his supporters at the next assizes, and they were fined £143 13s.4d. for the election riot.3

The King’s electoral agents did not mention Freke as a candidate for Cricklade in 1688, but on 20 Sept. he wrote to Lord Weymouth (Thomas Thynne I) to ensure due notice of the delivery of the precept. Seated on petition on 5 Apr. 1689, he was probably moderately active in the Convention. As ‘Mr Freke junior’ he was definitely appointed to the committee to recommend ways of relieving Protestant refugees from Ireland, and subsequently he may have been appointed to 24 others, including those to bring in a bill to control abuses in the sale of offices, to reverse Cornish’s attainder, and to consider the Lords’ amendments to the bill of rights. In the second session he was added to the committee for the mutiny bill, and appointed to that to exonerate Sir Trevor Williams, John Dutton Colt and John Arnold from the Duke of Beaufort’s actions for scandalum magnatum. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and was named to the committee for imposing a general oath of allegiance to the new regime. He did not stand for Cricklade again, but as a representative of two Dorset boroughs he remained a court Whig under William and Anne. Freke died in 1721, leaving the Hannington estate to his brother, but no later member of the family entered Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. The Ancestor, xi. 36-37; Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 333; PCC 195 Barnes, 129 Buckingham.
  • 2. Lyme Regis mss B6/11, f. 41.
  • 3. C. B. Fry, Hannington, 25; Elizabeth Freke, Diary, 32; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 577, 744; CJ, ix. 719, 732.
  • 4. Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 24, f. 39; CJ, x. 72-73; PCC 129 Buckingham.