CHESTER, Thomas (1696-1763), of Almondsbury and Knole, nr. Bristol.
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Family and Education
b. 2 May 1696, 1st s. of Thomas Chester of Almondsbury by Anne, da. and coh. of Sir Samuel Astry of Henbury, Glos. educ. Oriel, Oxf. 1713. m. (1) 25 Sept. 1721, Lady Sarah Henrietta Howard (d. c. Apr. 1722), da. of Henry, 6th Earl of Suffolk, s.p.; (2) 28 Feb. 1736, Mary, da. and h. of Jeremy Gough of London, wid. of George Guinnet, s.p. suc. fa. 1704.
Chester was descended from Thomas Chester, mayor of Bristol in 1569, who purchased the manor of Almondsbury, building Knole on a hill overlooking Bristol and the family’s collieries. There would be little difficulty in raising a regiment of foot in Bristol, Thomas Carte, the Jacobite historian, told the Pretender in 1739, ‘if young Mr. Berkeley or Mr. Chester, knight of the shire for Gloucester, would engage to support them with their colliers’.1
Chester, a Tory whose name had been sent to the Pretender as a probable supporter in the event of a rising in 1721,2 was one of four Members returned for Gloucester in 1727, but withdrew under a compromise.3 He successfully contested the county on the Tory interest in 1734 and was re-elected unopposed in 1741 and 1747, voting against the Government. In 1749-50 the second Lord Egmont wrote in his electoral survey: ‘Chester will probably desist at the next election’, but he was re-elected in 1754, continuing to represent the county until his death, 1 Oct. 1763.