TOLLEMACHE (TALMASH), Sir Lionel, 2nd Bt. (1591-1640), of Helmingham Hall, Suff.; Brunt Hall, Great Fakenham, Suff. and Charing Cross, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. 2 Aug. 1591,1 1st s. of Sir Lionel Tollemache, 1st bt., of Helmingham and Catharine, da. of Henry, 3rd Lord Cromwell. m. 16 Dec. 1612,2 Elizabeth (d. 25 Dec. 1661), da. of Sir John Stanhope I* of Harrington, Northants., 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 9da. (3 d.v.p.).3 kntd. 15 Nov. 1612;4 suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 1612.5 d. 6 Sept. 1640.6 sig. Lyonell Tallemache.

Offices Held

Capt. militia horse, Suff. 1612-at least 1614, ft. 1615-at least 1626, dep. lt. by 1614-d.;7 j.p. Suff. by 1615-at least 1637, Norf. 1624-5, 1626-d.;8 commr. sewers, Essex and Suff. 1617, Suff. 1619-35,9 oyer and terminer, Norf. circ. 1618-d., Suff. 1640;10 v.-adm. Suff. (jt.) by 1619, (sole) by 1625-d.;11 commr. pressing seamen, Suff. 1620, 1623, 1625,12 subsidy 1621-2, 1624-6,13 Forced Loan, Norf. and Suff. 1626-7, Ipswich, Suff. 1627,14 charitable uses, Norf. 1627,15 piracy, Suff. 1627, 1640,16 inquiry into the lands of lands of Robert Rookwood, Suff. 1628,17 knighthood fines 1630-1,18 collector (jt.) 1631-5;19 commr. Bury St. Edmunds canal, Suff. 1635,20 swans, Essex and Suff. 1635,21 maltsters, Suff. 1636,22 sea breaches, Norf. and Suff. 1638.23

Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary by 1636-d.24


Tollemache’s ancestors held property in Suffolk from the reign of King John, acquiring the manor of Helmingham, eight-and-a-half miles north of Ipswich, in the early sixteenth century, but had never entered Parliament.25 His father lobbied Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, for one of the original baronetcies and was assured that he would have precedence ‘as yourself and the antiquity of your house deserveth’.26 Though included in the first tranche conferred on 22 May 1611, the final third of the £1,095 purchase price was not paid until 1613, by which date Tollemache had succeeded to the estate.27

Tollemache enjoyed a considerable reputation as a surgeon.28 He also completed the elaborate family memorial, started by his father, in Helmingham church.29 Appointed a deputy lieutenant in 1614, that same year he was commended by Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk, lord treasurer and lord lieutenant of the county, for his ‘care and forwardness’ in raising subscriptions to the Benevolence levied after the dissolution of the Addled Parliament.30 However, his attempt to impose arbitrary entry fines on the copyhold tenants of his manor of Framsden can have done little to enhance his popularity.31 A dispute with Sir Henry Glemham* was brought before the Privy Council on 7 Dec. 1617, the cause of which is unknown; the parties being left to the remedy of the law.32

By April 1619 Tollemache was joint vice admiral of Suffolk, together with his wife’s uncle Sir Michael Stanhope*, in which month he and Stanhope were reappointed by the new lord admiral, the marquess of Buckingham. It is possible that Buckingham was the ‘one of especial rank’ who ‘earnestly entreated’ Sir Robert Hitcham* to canvass the voters of Suffolk on Tollemache’s behalf in 1620.33 The latter seems to have come to an agreement with Sir Robert Crane* that they stand together, but in the event it was Thomas Clench* who was elected with Crane.34 Tollemache had to settle for a seat at Orford, where he was presumably elected thanks to the influence of Stanhope, the dominant patron of the borough. He took no known part in the third Jacobean Parliament.

Stanhope died in December 1621, having appointed Tollemache one of his executors. Although Stanhope had granted his executors control over his estate for three years, Tollemache proved unable to translate this authority into electoral influence, as he was not re-elected to the next Parliament in 1624, by which date he was living at Brunt Hall in the parish of Great Fakenham in west Suffolk.35 There he acted as a conduit for a substantial charitable bequest from the lord keeper, Bishop John Williams, for the poor of the neighbouring parish of Honnington, where Williams had held his first living.36

For reasons that remain unclear, Tollemache was not returned again for Orford until 1628, by which time his interest in the Stanhope estate had presumably ceased, nor is it apparent why he took second place in the return to his social inferior, Sir Charles Le Gros. He again left no trace on the surviving records of the first session. On 5 June, three weeks before the prorogation, an investigation was instituted into Tollemache’s vice-Admiralty accounts, apparently because the sums due to the lord admiral were suspiciously low. He remained under investigation until at least 1630, but retained the post until his death.37 Meanwhile, in the 1629 session, he finally made his mark on the parliamentary records, when he claimed privilege against a subpoena on 24 January.38

In August 1630 Tollemache and Crane, as deputy lieutenants, refused to sign a warrant for levying money to pay their county’s muster-master because ‘at the last Parliament’ some who had offended over such matters ‘were like to be ... committed by the House’; they apparently did not object to those colleagues who had not sat in the Commons proceeding without them.39 He again refused to join the other deputy lieutenants in authorizing the watching of beacons in 1634 because ‘he was not acquainted with the reasons and grounds of signing the said warrant’. The Privy Council ordered him to make his submission to the lord lieutenant, but imposed no other punishment in consideration of his past services.40

On 6 Sept. 1640 Tollemache was found dead in his tent in the camp at Tilbury, where he was presumably serving with the forces raised to fight the Scots in the Second Bishop’s War.41 He was buried with his ancestors at Helmingham, where a monument records, in addition to his local offices, that he was gentleman of the privy chamber to James I and Charles I, although his service to the former monarch is not otherwise recorded. Perhaps hinting at an intemperate nature, the same inscription proclaims him ‘a man not made for moderate things’. He died intestate, leaving an estate of £4,000 p.a. to his son. Letters of administration were granted to his widow on 2 November. His grandson, the 7th Lionel Tollemache in as many generations, was first returned for Orford in 1679, later representing the county in five Parliaments until disqualified as a Scottish peer.42

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Bodl. Ashmole 243, f. 173.
  • 2. St. Martin-in-the-Fields ed. T. Marsh (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxv), 95.
  • 3. CB, i. 18; C. Roundell, ‘Tollemaches of Helmingham’, Suff. Inst. Arch. Procs. xii. 110; Add. 19085, ff. 42, 45.
  • 4. W.C. Metcalfe, Book of Knights, 164.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 268.
  • 6. Add. 19085, f. 42.
  • 7. Add. 39245, ff. 8v, 12-v, 15v, 25v, 101v; Add. 19085, f. 42.
  • 8. Add. 39245, f. 19v; C193/13/1, f. 91v; C231/4, ff. 173, 217; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 12; C66/2761; 66/2858.
  • 9. C181/2, ff. 272, 349v; 181/5, f. 24v.
  • 10. C181/2, f. 316; 181/5, ff. 171, 175.
  • 11. Vice Admirals of the Coast comp. J.C. Sainty and A.D. Thrush (L. and I. Soc. cccxxi), 44.
  • 12. APC, 1619-21, p. 248; 1621-3, p. 436; 1625-6, p. 29.
  • 13. C212/22/20-1, 23; Harl. 305, f. 206; Letters from Redgrave Hall, ed. D. MacCulloch (Suff. Rec. Soc. l), 114.
  • 14. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144; C193/12/2, ff. 40v, 55, 85.
  • 15. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv-vii), 51.
  • 16. C181/3, f. 232; 181/5, f. 238v.
  • 17. C181/3, f. 238v.
  • 18. E178/7356 f. 13; 178/7198, f. 12.
  • 19. E198/4/32 f. 3.
  • 20. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 306.
  • 21. C181/5, f. 28.
  • 22. PC2/46, f. 373.
  • 23. C181/5, f. 103.
  • 24. CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 235; LC3/1, unfol.
  • 25. W.A. Copinger, Manors of Suff. ii. 307; vi. 9.
  • 26. Her. and Gen. iii. 206-8.
  • 27. 47th DKR, 125; SCL, EM1284(a), unfol.
  • 28. Slingsby Diary ed. D. Parsons, 47.
  • 29. Roundell, 104.
  • 30. Add. 39245, f. 32v.
  • 31. STAC 8/284/24.
  • 32. APC, 1616-17, p. 401.
  • 33. Bodl. Tanner, 69, f. 150.
  • 34. Bodl. Tanner, 283, f. 174.
  • 35. Add. 19079, f. 148; Copinger, i. 299.
  • 36. J. Hacket, Scrinia Reserata (1692), pt. 1, p. 19.
  • 37. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 151; 1629-31, p. 393.
  • 38. CJ, i. 922a.
  • 39. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 379.
  • 40. PC2/43, ff. 614-15.
  • 41. Copinger, i. 299.
  • 42. Add. 19085, ff. 41v, 45, 46; Index to Admons. in the PCC 1631-48 ed. M. Fitch (Brit. Rec. Soc. c), 416.