TUFTON, Hon. Thomas (1644-1729), of Cadborough, Suss.

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



2 Mar. 1668

Family and Education

b. 30 Aug. 1644, 4th s. of John, 2nd Earl of Thanet; bro. of Hon. Richard Tufton and Hon. Sackville Tufton. educ. travelled abroad (France, Low Countries) 1660-3. m. 14 Aug. 1684, Lady Catharine Cavendish, da. and coh. of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, 3s. d.v.p. 5da. suc. bro. as 6th Earl of Thanet 8 Mar. 1684.

Offices Held

Dep. lt. Suss. 1670-?84; commr. for assessment, Westmld. 1673-4, Suss. 1673-80, recusants, Westmld. 1675; sheriff, Westmld. 1684-d.; recorder, Canterbury 1684-Feb. 1688, Appleby 1685-Oct. 1688; j.p. Cumb. 1685-May 1688, Oct. 1688-96, 1700-?d., Westmld. 1702-?d., custos rot. Cumb. 1685-June 1688, 1714-15, Westmld. 1702-6, May-Nov. 1714; ld. lt. Cumb. and Westmld. 1685-7, 1712-14.1

Groom of the bedchamber to the Duke of York 1675-?84; col. of horse 1685-6; member, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 1701; PC 20 Mar. 1703-May 1707, 13 Dec. 1711-Sept. 1714.2


Tufton welcomed the opportunity presented by his elder brothers’ disinclination to serve in Parliament, and was returned for Appleby on the interest of his grandmother Lady Anne Clifford. He was introduced into the House on 10 Mar. 1668 by Sir Philip Musgrave and John Dalston. But he was not an active Member, being named to only fourteen committees, none of political importance. He acted as teller in six divisions. On 3 Dec. 1669 he was against finding Sir George Carteret guilty of a misdemeanour on the eighth charge against him. A strong Anglican, he opposed lifting the requirement on Protestant dissenters to abjure the Covenant. In 1675 he entered the Duke of York’s household, and began to figure in lists of government supporters. He was noted as a court dependant and his name was included on the working lists. On 6 Nov. he acted as teller for the Court in a division on supply for building warships. He was marked ‘doubly vile’ by Shaftesbury, and his name appeared on both lists of the court party in 1678. On 18 Dec. he was ordered to be sent for as a defaulter on a call of the House, and at the general election he gave way to his elder brother Richard. He did not apparently stand again; but after succeeding to the peerage improved the family interest in Westmorland and became a prominent Tory member of the Upper House. He raised a regiment at the time of Monmouth’s invasion, but, as a former servant of James II, he was quick to sense the direction in which his Government was tending. Not only did he lay down his commission in 1686, but he tried to persuade his brother Sackville to do the same. He was dismissed as lord lieutenant in 1687, and at the Revolution signed the declaration in favour of the Prince of Orange. He remained a Tory, acting as teller against agreeing with the Commons on the word ‘abdicated’ on 26 Jan. 1689, and refusing the Association in 1696. Though he became a Privy Councillor under Anne, he protested against the Act of Union with Scotland. ‘A great assertor of the prerogatives of the monarchy and the Church’, he is said to have given away £60,000 to charity in his lifetime, and £40,000 more under his will. He died on 30 July 1729, and was buried at Rainham.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Leonard Naylor


Kent AO, U269/C36/4.

  • 1. Hasted, Kent, xii. 611; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 254; PC2/72/613.
  • 2. Bulstrode, 314; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 358.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 191; 1667-8, p. 99; HMC 11th Rep. VII, 86; HMC Le Fleming, 402; HMC Finch, ii. 222; HMC Lords, ii. 17.