WOODCOCK, Sir Thomas (1622-80), of Lewes, Suss. and Charing Cross, Westminster.
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Family and Education
bap. 31 Mar. 1622, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Woodcock (d.1665) of Lewes by Ursula, da. of Sir Edward Bellingham of Newtimber, Suss. and coh. to her bro. Thomas. m. by 1662, Barbara (d.1673), da. and h. of one Gratwick, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. Kntd. 20 May 1660.1
Lt. of horse (royalist) 1643, capt. by 1646; dep. gov. Windsor Castle June 1660-d., lt.-col. Mordaunt’s Ft. July-Nov. 1660; capt. of ft. Holland Regt. 1667-d.2
J.p. Suss. July 1660-d.; commr. for sewers, rapes of Lewes and Pevensey Sept. 1660, assessment, Suss. 1661-80, Westminster 1673-9, Oxon. 1677-9, loyal and indigent officers, Suss. 1662.3
Gent. of privy chamber 1675-d.4
Woodcock was the great-grandson of Ralph Woodcock (d.1586), a London alderman of Cheshire origin. His father settled in Sussex on his marriage in 1613, and succeeded to the Newtimber estate about 1649. Woodcock himself fought for the King in the first Civil War and was involved in the scheme for a rising in Sussex in 1657. Implicated by his fellow conspirator, John Stapley, he was brought to trial but acquitted. His name appears on the list of Sussex Royalists compiled by Roger Whitley in connexion with Booth’s rising, and he maintained his association with Mordaunt and his circle. On 3 Apr. 1660 Lady Mordaunt asked the King ‘to show favour’ to Woodcock ‘and knight him and promise him something else’. Woodcock was accordingly dubbed at Breda on 20 May, and after the King’s return he was made deputy to Mordaunt as governor of Windsor Castle. His petition for the office of remembrancer of first-fruits was unsuccessful; evidently he was importunate in his demands, for later Lady Mordaunt wrote to Secretary Nicholas that she would ‘have little quiet till he is provided for’.5
Returned for Lewes at the general election of 1661, Woodcock was on Lord Wharton’s list of friends. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to 39 committees, the only one of political importance being that for the corporations bill. He was listed as a court dependant in 1664. On 9 Nov. 1666 he acted, in the rather surprising company of John Vaughan, as teller against a bill to take public accounts on oath. He was given leave on 22 Jan. 1667 to attend the Lords as one of Mordaunt’s witnesses in his impeachment. As a friend of Ormonde he figured on both lists of the court party in 1669-71, being also reckoned among those to be engaged by the Duke of York. He was appointed to the committee to receive information about conventicles (18 Nov. 1669) and acted as teller on 24 Feb. 1673 for adjourning the debate on the suspending power. He was granted an excise pension of £300 p.a. and included in the Paston list and the list of King’s servants in 1675. ‘Not worth a farthing’, according to an opposition writer, he apparently claimed the Newtimber estate from his elder brother’s daughter, who married the son of Sir Richard Cust:
He set up a deed to gain his niece’s estate which was found to be forged by a jury at the King’s bench, and now stands upon his privilege to prevent a decree in Chancery to have it cancelled.
Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice vile’, and he was on both lists of the court party in 1678.6
As one of the ‘unanimous club’ Woodcock is unlikely to have stood in 1679. He was buried at St. Martin in the Fields on 15 Mar. 1680. Although in Flagellum Parliamentarium it was alleged that he had been given £10,000 worth of land, his will mentions only a lease of a Sussex manor which he ordered to be sold, and no other member of the family sat in Parliament.7
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: B. M. Crook / Basil Duke Henning
- 1. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix), 114; Add. 5698, p. 211; Survey of London, xviii. 19; PCC 87 Bath; Stow, Survey of London (1720), vi. 72.
- 2. List of Officers Claiming, 71; Berks. Arch. Jnl. lvi. 26; Parl. Intell. 16 July 1660.
- 3. C181/7/55.
- 4. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 192.
- 5. Horsfield, Suss. i. 179; D. Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy, 228; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 606, 634, 649, 668; CSP Dom. 1660-1, pp. 90, 455.
- 6. Grey, vii. 324.
- 7. Westminster City Lib. St. Martin in the Fields par. reg.; PCC 87 Bath.