MAY, Thomas (1642-1718), of Rawmere, Lavant, Suss.

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 - 1695
Feb. - Nov. 1701

Family and Education

bap. 12 Mar. 1642, o. s. of John May of Rawmere by Constance, da. and coh. of Thomas Panton of Westminster.  m. lic. 14 May 1675, Anne (with £2,000) (d. 1726), da. of Richard Aldworth† of Stanlakes, Hurst St. Nicholas, Wilts., s.psuc. fa. 1677; kntd. 9 May 1697.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Chichester 1685–Feb. 1688.2


May, a Tory and a Churchman, successfully contested Chichester in 1690, being classed as a Court supporter in one list and as a possible Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in his list of the new Parliament. In December 1690 Carmarthen further listed him as a likely supporter in anticipation of a Commons’ attack on his ministerial position, although May’s attendance in such circumstances would have been doubtful owing to the fortnight’s absence granted him on 4 Dec. He was classed as ‘doubtful’ in a list drawn up by Robert Harley* in April 1691, but by the spring of 1693 was definitely considered a government supporter, being classed as such at this time in Grascome’s list. He did not stand in 1695 but was returned again for Chichester in February 1701. Inactive in the brief ensuing Parliament, he did not stand for re-election at the end of the year. He was twice nominated as one of the sheriffs of London, in June 1700 and June 1703, but declined. In early 1707 increasing financial problems led him to secure the passage of a bill in the Commons enabling him to sell Rawmere and other property to pay off debts. The bill reached the Lords where legal opinion suggested that he could dispose of the properties in question without an Act, but the bill was dropped without a decision being made. He was buried in Lavant on 30 July 1718, and his estates were eventually inherited by his kinsman Thomas Brodnax, who changed his name to May and represented Canterbury from 1734 to 1741.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 229; Northants. N. and Q. i. 28; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 908; HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 49; D. G. C. Elwes and C. J. Robinson, Castles and Mansions of Western Suss. 137.
  • 2. A. Hay, Chichester, 589.
  • 3. Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 657; v. 307; CJ, xv. 239, 250, 299; HMC Lords, 48–49.