COWPER, Thomas (1670-1718), of Chester, Cheshire

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



12 Jan. - 7 July 1698

Family and Education

bap. 3 Nov. 1670, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Cowper of Overlegh by Elizabeth, da. of John Baskerville of Old Withington Hall, Cheshire. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1688; I. Temple 1689.  m. 18 Aug. 1693, Martha, da. of Robert Callis of Lincs., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1695.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Chester 1696; burgess, Wigan 1697.2


Cowper’s family had become established Chester merchants by the mid-17th century. His grandfather and namesake had served as the corporation’s mayor in 1641–2, remaining loyal to Charles I in the first Civil War; his father, who purchased Overlegh in 1660, had served as an alderman of the borough under Charles II. Having been admitted to the freedom of Chester in 1696, Cowper was returned for the borough in January 1698, but made little impact upon the records of the Commons, though in February 1698 he assisted Peter Shakerley* in attempts to expedite payment of arrears due to Chester for the quartering of invalids in the borough. On 19 May Cowper was granted an indefinite leave of absence, thereby marking the end of his Commons career, since at the 1698 election he stood aside to allow the election of Shakerley. In September that year he was classed as a Country supporter left out of the new House. Little more is known of him, though in January 1713 he was unsuccessfully lobbied to vote for George Kenyon* at the Wigan by-election. Cowper died on 13 Aug. 1718 and was buried five days later at St. Peter’s, Chester, with Shakerley and Sir Richard Grosvenor, 4th Bt.†, serving as two of the coffin bearers.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 375.
  • 2. Freemen of Chester ed. J. H. E. Bennet (Lancs. and Cheshire Record Soc. li), 194; Wigan RO, Wigan bor. recs. AB/MR/10.
  • 3. Ormerod, 374–5; HMC 8th Rep. I, 389; Chester RO, Chester bor. recs. mayor’s letters M/L/4/538, Cowper and Shakerley to William Allen, 8 Feb. 1697[–8]; HMC Kenyon, 450; Prescott Diary, 648, 649.