HILLERSDEN, Thomas (1653-98), of Elstow, Beds.

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



1689 - Feb. 1698

Family and Education

b. 19 Oct. 1653, 1st s. of Thomas Hillersden of Elstow by Elizabeth, da. of John Huxley of Eaton Bray, Beds. and Edmonton, Mdx.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1670; I. Temple 1670.  m. lic. 12 July 1675, Mary (d. 1693), da. of John Forth, Brewer and alderman of London, of Hackney, Mdx., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.  suc. fa. 1657.1

Offices Held

Burgess, Bedford 1676.2


A moderate Whig, Hillersden was chosen again for Bedford in 1690 after a close contest. He was classed as a Whig in Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) list of the new Parliament, and in Robert Harley’s* list of April 1691 he was marked as ‘d[oubtful]’. In Grascome’s list, dating from 1693, he figured as a Court supporter. In February 1693, he and his fellow Member for Bedford were specially thanked by Bedford corporation for their ‘readiness to serve’ the borough ‘by their votes in Parliament in point of trade’. Towards the end of the following session the corporation requested its representatives to help prevent a private Act of Parliament for the building of a new church ‘on Bedford grounds’ in St. Andrew’s Holborn, but aside from local concerns Hillersden remained an inactive Member. He was given three weeks’ leave of absence on 8 Dec. 1694 to attend his father-in-law’s funeral. Re-elected unopposed in the general election of 1695, he was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the council of trade, and signed the Association promptly. Thereafter, his attendance may have become less regular, perhaps because of failing health: he was granted another leave of absence for this reason on 14 Mar. 1696.3

Hillersden was buried at Elstow on 26 Feb. 1698. His will listed bequests to his younger children totalling £6,500 but the estate may not have been left in the best of circumstances financially, for his eldest son William* was soon obliged to sell property and could not aspire to his father’s parliamentary seat for some years.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. v. 82, 88; Beds. Par. Reg. i (Elstow), 21–23, 81.
  • 2. Bedford Bor. Council, Bedford bor. recs. B6/1, list of burgesses and freemen 1679, p. 11.
  • 3. Bedford bor. recs. B2/3, corp. act bk. 1688–1718, ff. 29, 34.
  • 4. Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. 87; VCH Beds. iii. 376.