HARLACKENDEN, Thomas (1624-89), of Maidstone and Woodchurch, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



14 Jan. 1668

Family and Education

b. 28 Sept. 1624, o.s. of Walter Harlackenden of Woodchurch by Pauline, da. of Sir Thomas Colepeper of Leeds Castle, Kent. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1640; travelled abroad (Holland) 1642-5. m. (1) Philippa, da. of John Colepeper, 1st Baron Colepeper of Thoresway, 2s. 2da.; (2) 9 Sept. 1652, Elizabeth (d.1681), da. of Sir George Strode of Squerryes Court, Westerham, 1s. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1628.1

Offices Held

Capt. of militia, Kent Oct. 1660, col. by 1680-2; commr. for sewers, Rother marshes Oct. 1660, corporations, Kent 1662-3, j.p. 1662-4, 1689-d., commr. for assessment 1663-80, 1689-d., receiver of taxes 1664-8, dep. lt. ?1673-82, commr. for recusants 1675.2


Harlackenden came of a minor gentry family, seated at Woodchurch since at least 1286. He was orphaned at the age of four and committed to the guardianship of his grandfather, who sent him abroad with a tutor on the eve of the Civil War. His first wife was the daughter of the royalist counsellor, and Harlackenden himself paid £20 to the Kent committee as composition for his own delinquency.3

Harlackenden signed the loyal address at the Restoration, and in 1663 published a pamphlet about Romney marsh, which earned for him from Evelyn the description of ‘a witty gentleman’. But it was probably less his loyalty and his wit than the influence of John Strode II, his brother-in-law, that earned for him nomination as receiver-general of the royal aid in Kent during the second Dutch war. In June 1667, ‘great complaint being made of his not paying in duly’, he was ordered to produce his accounts before the board of Treasury. In the following January he was returned at a by-election for Maidstone, where he seems to have resided; but membership of the House did not save him from dismissal. His parliamentary activity was minimal; he was added to the committee of elections and privileges in the next session and appointed to one other committee for a private bill. On 12 Dec. 1670 he was named in his absence by Sir George Downing as one of four Members in debt to the crown. The amount was only £1,700, but on 27 Mar. 1671 a bill was introduced for the sale of his estates ‘for satisfaction of a debt due to his Majesty’. The bill was steered through committee by Sir William Doyley, whose son was a greater and more successful embezzler of public funds, and received the royal assent at the end of the session. His name appeared on the pposition list of court supporters and on the Paston list of 1673-4.4

Under Danby Harlackenden went over to the Opposition. Sir Richard Wiseman marked him absent from the autumn session of 1675, later describing him as ‘discontented’. On the working lists he was assigned to the lord treasurer’s management, but neither the means nor the effect is certain. In A Seasonable Argument it was stated that ‘his only livelihood is his pension’, but this has not been traced. He mortgaged the estate in 1676 for £681 10s., but he remained ‘a debtor to the King’, as stated in Flagellum Parliamentarium, and on 14 Mar. 1677 Danby ordered a stay of process ‘because of his attendance in Parliament’. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’, but then crossed it out, and he was black-listed among the ‘unanimous club’ of court supporters. Nevertheless he probably supported exclusion, for in 1680 it was noted that ‘the lord lieutenant does not like him’, two years later he was removed from the lieutenancy with the Whig leader, Sir Vere Fane, by the King’s express orders, and he reappeared on the commission of the peace after the Revolution. He died shortly afterwards and was buried at Woodchurch on 21 July 1689, the only member of his family to enter Parliament. In 1700 his son George was forced to sell what remained of the estate.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. C142/480/86; N. and Q. cc. 193; Top. and Gen. i. 232; ii. 216; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), v. 141; Frag. Gen. viii. 146.
  • 2. Parl. Intell. 8 Oct. 1660; C181/7/60; Eg. 2985, f. 66; Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 6, 565; iii. 180; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 223.
  • 3. Top. and Gen. i. 236; SP23/233/143; Cal. Comm. Comp. 457.
  • 4. Bodl. Wood mss 276A/162; Wood, Athenae, iv. 272-3; Evelyn Diary, iii. 422; Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 6; iii. 180; Dering, 31-32; CJ, ix. 223, 227, 232, 235; Statutes, v. 751.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 570; CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 533; Top. and Gen. i. 232; ii. 216.