BENNET, Thomas (c.1640-c.1702), of Salthrop, Wroughton, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1640, o.s. of Sir Thomas Bennet, DCL, of Salthrop, master in Chancery 1635-d., by 2nd w. Thomasine, da. and coh. of George Dethick of Gray’s Inn and Poplar, Mdx. m. settlement 29 June 1659, Martha (d. 11 May 1694), da. of John Smith of South Tidworth, Hants, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. suc. fa. 1670.1
J.p. Wilts. 1671-87, 1689-d., commr. for assessment 1673-80, 1689-90, inquiry into recusancy fines Mar. 1688.2
Bennet was a first cousin of Sir Henry Bennet and Sir John Bennet. His father, who inherited a lease of Salthrop under the Charterhouse in 1635, managed to avoid involvement in the Civil War, sending periodic excuses from Wiltshire to the House of Lords for non-attendance as an assistant. Information that he kept his house as a Cavalier garrison seems to have been unfounded. He added to his estate during the Interregnum, and was knighted at the Restoration. Bennet was returned to the Exclusion Parliaments for Marlborough, ten miles from his residence, and as a brother-in-law of John Smith he was marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. No committees can be definitely assigned to him, but he voted for the bill. He and Lord Bruce (Thomas Bruce) agreed to divide the borough at the next two elections, where they were faced with more radical opposition from John Wildman I, who sought to establish a wider franchise. Bennet was removed from the commission of the peace in 1687. He may have been a Whig collaborator, since he was appointed to the committee of inquiry into recusancy fines, but he did not become a j.p. again until after the Revolution. He regained his seat as a country Whig on the death of Sir George Willoughby and signed the Association in 1696 after some hesitation. He last stood for Marlborough at the first election of 1701, and died before 3 Nov. 1703 when his will was proved. His son, the last of the family, never entered Parliament.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Aubrey and Jackson, Wilts. Colls. 370-1; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 115; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxvi. 287; PCC 180 Degg; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 145.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1805.
- 3. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxi. 194; xxxvi. 226, 284; xxxvii. 413; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 58, 1019; HMC 5th Rep. 111, HMC 6th Rep. 58; Ailesbury Mems. 33; A. R. Stedman, Marlborough and the Upper Kennet Country, 158, 160; Savernake mss, Ralph Baylye to Bruce, 20, 27 Jan. 1681.