BRAND HOLLIS, Thomas (c.1719-1804), of Ingatestone, Essex and Corscombe, Dorset
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Family and Education
b. c.1719, 1st s. of Timothy Brand of Ingatestone by Sarah, da. of Thomas Mitchell of Rickling, Essex. 1st cos. of Thomas Brand (c. 1717-70). educ. Brentwood; Felsted; Glasgow Univ. 1738; I. Temple 1735. unm. suc. fa. 1735; to estates of his friend Thomas Hollis 1774, and took add. name of Hollis.
Brand’s parents were Dissenters, and Brand at an early age formed a close friendship with Thomas Hollis, a celebrated and eccentric Radical. They travelled together in Europe 1748-50, and Hollis made Brand his heir. Brand held advanced views on religion and politics: was a member of the Essex Street group of Unitarians, a pro-American and parliamentary reformer, and the friend of Joseph Priestley and Richard Price.
In 1774 he was offered a seat for Hindon on an independent interest run by John Stevens, a local butcher. The election was carried in his favour by heavy bribery, but on petition was declared void. Brand Hollis and his colleague, Richard Smith, were prosecuted, fined one thousand marks, and imprisoned for six months. According to the Saturday Evening Post, 7 Sept. 1776, Brand Hollis had not intended bribery, but ‘was deluded and deceived by his agents’. If so, he must have been incredibly simple, for no attempt was made to hide the bribery. No vote or speech by him is recorded, and he made no further attempt to enter Parliament.
Brand Hollis died 9 Sept. 1804.