MEDLYCOTT, Thomas (1628-1716), of Peterborough Court, London and East St. Helen's Street, Abingdon, Berks.

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



8 Jan. - 7 May 1689

Family and Education

b. 25 Feb. 1628, 1st s. of James Medlicott, Dyer, of London by Elizabeth, da. of Edmund Joyner of Newbury, Berks. educ. Merchant Taylors’ 1637-45; Christ’s, Camb. 1646; M. Temple 1647, called 1653. m. by 1659, Anne, da. of John Whickers, merchant, of London and Kirtlington, Oxon., 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1663.1

Offices Held

J.p. Berks. 1672-80, 1681-1704, 1707-?d.; recorder, Abingdon 1675-86, 1687-9; gov. Christ’s Hospital 1675-d.; commr. for recusants, Berks. 1675, assessment 1677-80, 1689-90; bencher, M. Temple 1677, reader 1683, treas. 1691-2.2


Medlycott’s family played no known part in the Civil War. A lawyer, he settled in Abingdon, and assisted Sir John Stonhouse to obtain evidence for the charge of seditious words against Michael Malet, Shaftesbury’s counsel, in the Berkshire election of 1678. He was removed from the commission of the peace in 1680, but restored in the following year. The ‘great estate’ in Berkshire with which he was credited by the Opposition cannot be traced. Accused of assisting the dissenters at the municipal elections at Abingdon in 1683, he replied: ‘I ... ever was and am and will continue a true son of the Church of England as now established’. Shortly after defending a group of local Baptists in 1686, he was reinstated as recorder, no doubt as an item of James II’s programme of reconciliation with the dissenters. His status must have been enhanced by the selection of his house as William of Orange’s lodging on his march to London in 1688.3

Medlycott defeated Stonhouse at Abingdon in the general election of 1689, which was marked by much irregularity and violence; but his parliamentary career, though promising, was brief. On 28 Jan. he called for an immediate vote on the vacancy of the throne, arguing that ‘security depends upon dispatch’. On 19 Feb. he declared:

To prepare ourselves against any foreign invasion or intestine troubles at home, there will be a necessity of raising money, which must be done in a parliamentary way. And if we stay to call a new Parliament it will be too late; therefore I move to turn this Convention into a Parliament. This being not convened in the royal name, I hope formalities will not be insisted upon to lose the substance.

He cited precedents for such action, inferring that

the subjects may upon emergencies meet as well as if called formally by writ, when forms cannot be had, and moves to have an Act to declare this a Parliament to all intents and purposes.

Though he was not active as a committeeman, he was among the Members appointed to consider the bill to prevent disputes concerning the present Parliament and to bring in a bill for regulating elections. In March he reported from the committee appointed to inspect the coronation oath, and he was among those instructed to consider the new oaths of supremacy and allegiance. His election was declared void on 7 May. In October he lost his recordership to Simon Harcourt, and apparently never stood again. He died on 13 Dec. 1716, and was buried at Milborne Port, for which his son James was sitting as a Whig.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Burke, Peerage (1967), 1683; Vis Lond. (Harl. Soc. xvii), 94; St. Botolph Aldersgate par. reg.; information from Mr M. T. Medlycott.
  • 2. Abingdon bor. mins. 1, p. 230; 2, pp. 47, 59; PC2/65/61; A. E. Preston, St. Nicholas, Abingdon, 138.
  • 3. Hearth-Tax Returns (Oxon. Rec. Soc. xxi), 199; CSP Dom. 1678, p. 312; July-Sept. 1683, p. 419; 1696, p. 312.
  • 4. Preston, 138-9; Hardwicke SP, ii. 412; Grey, ix. 84-85; CJ, x. 13, 61; Collinson, Som. ii. 354.