NEWNHAM, Thomas (1697-1761), of Winchester, Hants.
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Family and Education
Thomas Newnham was the son of a wealthy nonconformist London merchant. The family were old acquaintances of the Pelhams in Sussex,2 where a senior branch had acquired an estate at Maresfield. Defeated at Marlborough in 1734, he petitioned unsuccessfully, ‘notwithstanding the utmost efforts of Sir Robert Walpole’ on his behalf in the House of Commons.3 In 1740 he was believed by his family to be drinking himself to death at Winchester, but a year later he was returned on the Admiralty interest for Queenborough, voting with the Government. In 1753 he decided not to stand again for Queenborough, as the corporation were ‘much dissatisfied with him’ and his health would not stand a contested election. Though Pelham was prepared to find him another borough, Newnham could not afford to pay the current price of £1,500-£2,000, his father, who complained of his extravagance, refusing to advance more than £1,000. So informed by Newnham’s brother-in-law, Sir Dudley Ryder, Pelham replied that
he could not disburse the King’s money [i.e. the secret service money] for him without the King’s knowing it, and that the King did not understand that the Newnham family are on such terms with him.4
He died 18 Sept. 1761.