WALKER, Thomas (c.1632-82), of Exeter, Devon.

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



20 Nov. 1673

Family and Education

b. c.1632, 1st s. of Robert Walker by 2nd w. and bro. of James Walker. m. (1) Joan, s.p.; (2) 27 Oct. 1664, Mary (d. 3 Dec. 1707), da. of Samuel Hall, sub-dean of Exeter Cathedral, 2s. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1673; kntd. 1 June 1681.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Exeter 1662-7, sheriff 1664-5, receiver Sept.-Oct. 1667, mayor 1667-8; alderman 1668-d.; commr. for corporations, Devon 1662-3, assessment, Exeter 1664-80, Devon 1679-80; sub-collector of hearth-tax, Devon 1669; ?sub-commr. for prizes, Plymouth 1672-4; j.p. Devon 1674-d., commr. for recusants 1675; dep. lt. Exeter 1676-d., recorder Sept.-Oct. 1681; freeman, Salisbury 1681.2


Walker was a merchant and a Churchman like his father, zealously executing the laws against nonconformists, and even following in his footsteps to the extent of choosing a bishop’s granddaughter for his second wife. In 1673 he succeeded his father as MP for Exeter, without a contest, and became a moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to seventeen committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in three sessions, and acted as teller in three divisions. In his first session in the House the corporation instructed him to assist in procuring two Acts of Parliament. He was among those charged with a review of bills depending, one of which was a measure to unite several parishes in his constituency. It was brought in without leave on the following day, but rejected because it provided for levying a rate for the maintenance of the clergy. The corporation wrote to desire his further assistance, and a revised version was committed on 5 Feb. 1674, but made no further progress. He helped to prepare reasons for a conference on peace with the Dutch. He received the government whip for the autumn session of 1675 from Henry Coventry. On the working lists he was assigned to the management of Edward Seymour, and it was noted that his kinsman, the Earl of Bath, had ‘an extreme care’ over all that concerned him. During the long recess Walker’s brother became collector of customs at Exeter. Sir Richard Wiseman had no doubt of his support for the Government, but desired his colleague Sir James Smyth to take care to ensure his attendance in the House. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677, and the author of A Seasonable Argument alleged that he had ‘feathered his nest to some purpose’ in the prize office and received £500 for the session. His three tellerships were all in 1678, to agree with the army estimates (14 Feb.), to reject a petition from Aldborough against the court supporter Sir John Reresby (30 Mar.), and to agree with the supply committee for a tax on new buildings (25 June). He did not speak in the House, but he was on both lists of the court party in this year.3

As one of the ‘unanimous club’, Walker was not elected in 1679, and he was obliged to pay £1,500 to the Treasury to cover the deficiencies in his brother’s customs accounts. He regained his seat in 1681, but left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. He was knighted later in the year on presenting a loyal address from Exeter approving the dissolution. He died on 24 Nov, 1682 and was buried at St. Mary Arches.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: J. S. Crossette


  • 1. B. F. Cresswell, Churches of Exeter, 104, 108-9.
  • 2. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxi. 212; A. Jenkins, Exeter, 174; Devon RO, Exeter corp. act bk. 9, f. 360; 10, f. 180; II, ff. 18, 66, 68, 79; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xx. 308; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 192; CSP Dom. 1675-6, pp. 498, 506; Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, 477.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1675-6, p. 304; CJ, ix. 297, 438, 485, 505; Exeter corp. act. bk. 11. f. 139; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 113.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 118; Cresswell, 104.