PASKE, Thomas (1676-1720), of Clare Hall, Cambridge

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



1710 - 18 Sept. 1720

Family and Education

bap. 18 July 1676, 3rd s. of Thomas Paske, of Much Hadham, Herts., fellow of Clare, Camb. 1663–70, by his w. Ellen Amye.  educ. Clare, Camb. 1692, BA 1697, fellow 1699–1703, 1705–d., MA 1700, LL.D. 1707; Doctors’ Commons 1707.  unm.1

Offices Held

Chancellor, dioc. of Exeter by 1710–d.; official of archdeaconry of London by 1716.2


Paske belonged to a minor ecclesiastical dynasty of parsons, civilians and Cambridge dons. He and a younger brother were the third generation to be fellows of Clare, where his grandfather, a noted Laudian divine, had been a distinguished master. Through his grandmother the family had acquired a small property at Much Hadham in Hertfordshire, and it was as a freeholder there that a ‘Thomas Paske’, either the Member or his father, had subscribed the Association in 1696. Having taken a particularly good degree, Paske was promptly elected a college fellow. His party sensitivities doubtless heightened by the factional strife for which Clare was then notorious, he threw himself into the politics of the university, acting as an electoral ‘agent’ for the Tory Member, Hon. Arthur Annesley, and on occasion as a somewhat bibulous champion of ‘the Church party’ in tavern debate.3

It was on Annesley’s recommendation, indeed as his ‘creature’ in contemporary parlance, that Paske was returned for the university in the general election of 1710. He was classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, and, like his patron Annesley (now Earl of Anglesey), appeared on the more militant wing of the party. His name was included among those ‘worthy patriots’ who in the first session of this Parliament exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry, and he joined the October Club, probably on whose behalf he told on 17 Mar. 1711 in favour of calling in counsel in the Cockermouth election case. Still a member of the club in the following session, he was a teller on 17 May 1712 with a fellow October-man, Henry Campion, in favour of adjourning a debate on supply. As a university representative, he had a particular interest in the bill for the easier recovery of gifts and legacies given to pious and charitable uses, and on 7 June 1712 told in favour of a proposed additional clause. In 1713, presumably in his capacity as chancellor of Exeter diocese, he was inserted, with other Tories, into the commission of the peace for Cornwall, as part of an attempt to influence parliamentary elections there. Although as resolute a Churchman as ever, he had followed Anglesey in breaking with the ministry over the French commercial treaty, and was listed as having voted against the bill confirming the 8th and 9th articles of the treaty on 18 June 1713. This made no difference in Cambridge, where he was returned unopposed in the ensuing general election. Not very much is known of his conduct in the 1714 parliamentary session, after which the Worsley list classed him simply as a Tory, and the extent to which his political attitudes at this time mirrored Anglesey’s is unclear. He was a teller on 31 Mar. 1714 on the Tory side in a division on the Ipswich election, and was closely involved in the passage of the schism bill, one of Anglesey’s pet schemes. Appointed on 12 May to the drafting committee for the bill, he was a teller on 27 May, with his university colleague, Hon. Dixie Windsor, in favour of its engrossment. Just at this time, when overtures were being made towards Anglesey by all political factions, Paske was noted as a ‘competitor’ for a vacancy among the judges of the Admiralty. He was unsuccessful. After the Hanoverian succession, ‘Honest Tom Paske’, as Anglesey called him, did not share in the temporary favour enjoyed by Anglesey with the new monarch, but he continued to represent the university in the Tory interest until his death on 18 Sept. 1720, after a long period of ill-health.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. IGI, Herts.; Clare Coll. ed. Forbes, i. 146; VCH Herts. Fams. 273; Mar. Lic. Fac. Off. (Index Lib. xxxiii), 52; W. J. Harrison, Notes on Masters, Fellows, Scholars and Exhibitioners of Clare, Camb. 29, 31; G. D. Squibb, Doctors’ Commons, 187.
  • 2. Hist. Reg. Chron. 1720, p. 33.
  • 3. DNB (Paske, Thomas); Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 192; C. M. Neale, Camb. Univ. Early Honours Lists, 93; J. Gascoigne, Camb. in Age of Enlightenment, 86; HMC Portland, v. 94; Camb. under Q. Anne ed. Mayor, 459–61; Univ. of Camb. Vindicated (1710), 21–33.
  • 4. HMC Portland, iv. 605; v. 461; Boyer, Pol. State, iii. 120; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 217; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 281–2; Add. 32457, f. 5.