LAMPLUGH, Thomas (1656-1737), of Lamplugh Hall, Cumb.

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



19 Feb. 1702 - 1708

Family and Education

b. 9 Oct. 1656, 1st s. of Col. John Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall by his 3rd w. Frances, da. of Thomas Lamplugh of Ribton, nr. Cockermouth, Cumb.  educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1676.  m. by 1695, Frances (d. 1745), da. and coh. of Abraham Moline of Cumb., 2s. d.v.p. 6da. (5 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1688.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cumb. 1700–1.


Lamplugh’s family had been settled at Lamplugh since the 12th century and had first held the county’s shrievalty in the 15th century, an office subsequently held by every head of the family down to Lamplugh himself. His father had commanded a Royalist regiment in the Civil Wars, fighting at Marston Moor, and subsequently compounded for £380. When he was nominated in 1660 for the proposed Order of the Royal Oak, his income was estimated to be £1,000 p.a. Lamplugh succeeded to the family’s Cumberland estates upon his father’s death at the end of 1688. Not content to rely upon his landed income, he obtained a lease in the mid-1690s of a number of Cumberland collieries. In alliance with another colliery owner, he began to develop the port of Parton as a rival to Whitehaven, controlled by Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, as a centre for the export of coal to Ireland. Lowther’s opposition to Lamplugh’s plan to rebuild the pier at Parton led to legal action during 1695, in which same year it was conjectured that Lamplugh would stand for Cockermouth. Lamplugh did not, however, enter the lists, and by 1696 had reached a compromise with Lowther about Parton, rebuilt the port’s pier and began exporting coal to Dublin.2

Lamplugh does not appear to have involved himself in Cumberland elections until 1700, when he supported the candidacy of Gilfrid Lawson* at the anticipated Cumberland by-election, and did not offer himself for election until the second election of 1701. It was later speculated that Lamplugh could have stood for the county but for his service as sheriff; instead he entered the lists at Cockermouth against the candidates of the Duke of Somerset and Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*). Though defeated on this occasion, he was successful at the by-election of February 1702 occasioned by Goodwin Wharton’s decision to sit for Buckinghamshire. Lamplugh’s only significant recorded action in this Parliament was on 15 May, when he was a teller against a motion to inquire ‘into the ability and condition’ of persons named in a naturalization bill. Lamplugh retained his seat at the general election later that year, shortly after which the estate steward of Lord Thanet (Thomas Tufton†) described Lamplugh as a man ‘who can receive the sacrament according to the usage of the Church of England to enable him to take a place and keep it, but all the next of the year frequents conventicles’. That this accusation amounted to more than partisan abuse is suggested by evidence that Lamplugh had been attending Dissenting meetings since at least the 1690s. His contribution to parliamentary business remained slight, though on 7 Mar. 1704 he told in favour of adding a clause to the recruitment bill ‘for ships to be allowed for the coal trade’. Given his Dissenting sympathies it is not surprising that he was listed as a probable opponent of the Tack in October 1704 and did not vote for it on 28 Nov., but otherwise his attention appears to have been on more parochial matters. According to James Lowther*, son of Sir John I, Lamplugh was considering initiating a bill to allow him to raise money to improve Parton harbour by levying a duty on coal shipped through the port, but by December 1704 had abandoned such plans for the moment. A similar concern to promote his business interests is suggested by Lowther’s report of February 1705 that Lamplugh had promoted and obtained a clause, presumably to the bill reducing English coal duties, which prohibited the import of Scottish coal until the Scots had settled the succession upon the Hanoverians.3

Reports that Lamplugh was considering standing for Cumberland at the 1705 election came to nothing, and he again contested Cockermouth against the candidates of Wharton and Somerset. Lamplugh took the second seat, and an analysis of the new House classed him as ‘Low Church’. On matters of political significance Lamplugh demonstrated his loyalty to the Court during the 1705–6 session, voting on 25 Oct. for the Court in its choice of Speaker, and again the following February on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill, but he was otherwise preoccupied with his business interests. Lamplugh appears to have spent most of November lobbying for his bill to improve Parton harbour which he initiated by petition on 3 Dec. His hope that such a bill would be ordered without the petition being referred to committee foundered due to opposition from various Members, organized by Lowther, and so was referred to a committee of which Lamplugh was the first-named Member. Lowther claimed to have packed the committee with numerous supporters who were able to delay the committee’s proceedings so that it did not sit until 10 Jan. 1706. This personal campaign against the bill ended, however, when Lowther was forced by the death of his father to return north in the middle of January, and Lamplugh’s bill subsequently enjoyed an untroubled passage through the Commons, with Lamplugh one of those named on 25 Jan. to draft the measure and presenting the bill the following day. He appears to have made little further contribution to the Parliament, though an analysis of the Commons in early 1708 classed him as a Whig. Lamplugh did not arrive in London for the 1707–8 session until the end of January 1708, and a month later, on 28 Feb., he was granted a month-long leave of absence. His journey northwards the following day marked the end of his parliamentary career as he did not stand for election again.4

Though the passage of the Parton Harbour Act had been one of Lamplugh’s main preoccupations while he was in the Commons, the measure did not guarantee the subsequent success of his local activities. Whitehaven remained Cumberland’s main port, and in 1714 Lamplugh was forced to sell his mining rights to Lowther, and in succeeding years had insufficient finance and little motivation for carrying out necessary repairs at Parton. Suggestions in 1716 that he would lobby for the introduction of another bill to allow funds to be raised to repair the harbour came to nothing. Lamplugh was buried on 21 May 1737, leaving his Cumberland estates to his wife for her life, and thereafter to his son-in-law Richard Brisco.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. ser. 2, xxxviii. 97–101; Lowther Corresp. ed. Hainsworth, 245.
  • 2. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. 83–98; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1643–60, pp. 968–9; J. V. Beckett, Coal and Tobacco, 159–60; Lowther Corresp. 29, 74, 108, 131, 202, 210, 217, 231–2, 235, 238–9, 243–5, 247–52, 257, 262–3, 282–4, 327, 353–4, 400, 445–6.
  • 3. Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/L1/1/46, j.p.s and Cumb. gent. to freeholders, 17 Sept. 1700; D/Lons/W1/21, Sir John Lowther I to Ld. Carlisle (Charles Howard*), 24 Mar. 1701[–2]; D/Lons/W2/2/4, James to Sir John Lowther I, 15 Nov., 30, Dec. 1701; 7, same to same, 4 Nov., 5, 16, 19 Dec. 1704; 8, same to same, 10, 15 Feb. 1704[–5]; Cumbria RO (Kendal), Hothfield mss, Thomas Carleton to [Ld. Thanet], 6 Aug. 1702 (Speck trans.); Lowther Corresp. 245.
  • 4. Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/8, James to Sir John Lowther I, 8, 20 Feb., 1 Mar. 1704[–5], 12 July, 18 Aug., 11 Oct., 1, 8, 10, 13, 29 Nov., 4, 6, 8, 20 Dec. 1705; D/Lons/W2/1/39, same to William Gilpin, 5, 10 Jan. 1705[–6]; 41, same to same, 20 Jan., 2 Mar. 1707[–8]; Beckett, 160–1; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 369, 372; HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 398–402.
  • 5. Beckett, 164–7; [Bull I]HR lxxi. 64–66; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. 101–2, 126.