BATHURST, Theodore (c.1646-97), of Leeds and Marske, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1690 - 1695

Family and Education

b. c.1646, 7th but 3rd surv. s. of John Bathurst†, MD, of London and Marske by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Brian Willance of Marske.  educ. Trinity, Oxf. matric. 11 May 1665, aged 18; L. Inn 1668, called 1675.  m. lic. 10 Apr. 1669, Lettice, da. of Sir John Repington of Leamington, Warws., 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 2da.  suc. bro. by 1681.1

Offices Held


Bathurst’s family were descended from the same Kentish stock as their distant kinsmen, the Bathursts of Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire. His father, who had been physician to Oliver Cromwell†, acquired by marriage an estate in the manor of Marske in Yorkshire, just over four miles from Richmond, which he twice represented in Parliament. Bathurst made the law his profession, and, having qualified, returned to the north, buying a house in Leeds, which seems to have been his principal residence, although his father, who had died in 1659, had bequeathed him considerable estates, including property in Richmond, and several lead mines. It was doubtless at Leeds that he first made the acquaintance of Ralph Thoresby, the antiquarian and topographer, who described him as a ‘learned and ingenious gentleman’. He appears to have inherited the family’s principal seat at Clint’s Hall in Marske from an elder brother by 1685. During that year he was indicted at York assizes for denouncing the King as a ‘rogue’, but the upshot of the case is unknown. He was in more trouble in 1689 when a suit was brought against him in Chancery concerning his title to the Yorkshire estates devised upon him by his father. He won the case, but his possession of the forest of Arkengarthdale, where there were valuable lead mines, was later challenged in the courts by the widow of Colonel Archibald Douglas, who claimed that her husband had been granted a 51-year lease of the forest by James II.2

The desire to escape the trouble and cost of threatened litigation may well have been Bathurst’s chief motive for standing for Parliament in 1690, when he was returned for Richmond. He was classed as a Court supporter in lists compiled by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) dating from March and December 1690, and in April 1691 was listed by Robert Harley* as a member of the Country opposition, becoming a frequent, though not outright, critic of the government on a broad range of measures. On 31 Oct. 1691 he was included among those appointed to draft a bill to regulate elections, and on 6 Nov. he ‘inveighed’ against the size of the Privy Council and argued for its reduction to 12. In a supply debate on the 18th he demanded that ministers reveal ‘what sums of money have been sent to the Duke of Savoy, to the Dutch and to the beggarly princes of Germany’, and on the 28th supported a move to exclude officers from the estimate of the land forces. On the 30th, however, he parted company with several leaders of the Country party over the Lords’ clause in the Irish oaths bill by which Catholic lawyers were obliged to take only the oath of allegiance, and supported the solicitor-general’s view that the Lords must first explain their justification of it in relation to the articles of the recent Treaty of Limerick. Earlier, on 9 Nov., he had supported the second reading of the treason trials bill, a favourite ‘Country’ measure, and spoke twice in favour of Lords’ amendments to it (31 Dec. and 13 Jan. 1692). The next day he opposed a supply resolution engineered by the Country opposition to minimize the officering of the army in Ireland. His support for the monied interest was shown on the 15th when he opposed the bill for a reduction in the interest rate, although three days later he supported a proposal put forward in committee of supply by the financial projector Thomas Neale* for a 2 per cent tax on ‘all money out at interest or invested in stock’, and in a more punitive vein on the 29th suggested that the members of the corporation of London should be made personally responsible for the considerable debt owed to the London orphans. He spoke on 5 Feb. in favour of allowing the bill for establishing a new commission of accounts to complete its course despite being heavily amended by the Lords; on the 6th, for confirming the charter of the Tory-dominated old East India Company; on the 15th, for granting additional time to the existing commissioners of accounts; on the 16th against allowing the King to meet any shortfall in poll tax receipts by borrowing; on the 18th in favour of withholding the poll tax bill until the Lords had passed the forfeited estate bills; and on the 19th against the bill to make correspondence with enemy powers a treasonable offence.3

In the 1692–3 session Bathurst continued in the main to act with the Country wing of the Tory party. On 15 Nov. he supported Sir Thomas Clarges’ demand that current alliances be laid before the House prior to consideration of supply, but two days later showed a complete change of mind over the East India trade by indicating his support for a new company. On the 18th he supported the new treason trials bill. When the progress of the war was debated on the 21st his ‘blue-water’ Toryism was demonstrated in his advocacy of a naval policy ‘and let your confederates take care of the land for I think we get nothing by them’. He condemned the influence that ‘the high and mighty [Dutch] deputies’ were widely thought to exercise over the King when on campaign in Flanders and proposed that William be addressed to remain at home. On the 28th, in the committee on the treason trials bill, he supported the view that the measure should come into force at an early date rather than wait until the war had ended. He spoke twice in the heated debates on naval mismanagements. Commenting on 30 Nov. on the documentation relating to the failure to follow up the victory at La Hogue with a descent on the French coast, he took note that ministerial authorities had been keen to pursue the design despite the officers’ belief that it was ‘impracticable’. As it had been made the subject of ‘great discourse’ the previous session, it had evidently been a ploy ‘to draw you in and pick your pockets’. He concluded that for Britain to prosecute the war with any success it was essential to safeguard trade and to attempt a full-scale landing in France. His second intervention came on 5 Dec., in support of Paul Foley I’s censure motion that the naval strategists had botched the planned descent. In supply on 1 Dec. he opposed a request for a special grant to finish Plymouth naval yard on the grounds that this had not been presented according to form; and on the 13th opposed the suggested 4s. in the pound land tax as ‘an uncertain tax’ likely to produce arrears. He considered as ill-advised the bill for the punishment of treasonous utterances against the King and Queen, debated on the 14th, since it was ‘not a time to encourage treasons, when perjuries and subornations thereof are so frequent’; as a Tory, however, he probably also harboured misgivings about the new oath proposed in the bill. During late December and early January he managed the passage of a private estate bill. On 9 Jan. 1693 he spoke in favour of increasing the number of the commissioners of accounts as a matter of necessity ‘when so much money is given’; and on the 23rd joined in the Tory attack on Bishop Burnet’s Pastoral Letter. While at first sight Bathurst’s opposition on 28 Jan. to the triennial bill may seem paradoxical, it is probable that he shared the annoyance of several other opposing Tories with the Lords’ presumption in seeking to interfere with the custom of the Commons.4

That Bathurst continued to speak frequently is borne out in a description of the debate on 1 Feb. 1694 on the King’s rejection of the place bill, when the reporter noted that ‘Mr Bathurst spoke as usual’, but these later speeches have not been recorded. The spring of 1694 brought him fresh personal troubles, when a petition was presented to the Treasury on 1 Mar. effectively asking for government support against him in the dispute over his possession of Arkengarthdale forest, court proceedings having been halted by his election to Parliament. He was granted leave of the House on the 23rd, seemingly in order to attend to the matter. The Treasury took no action, but he seems by this time to have been in financial difficulties. He stood in the 1695 election, but failed to retain his seat. After his death early in 1697 administration of his estates was granted to a creditor. His legal troubles did not expire with him, for his son and heir, Charles, was involved in an unsuccessful lawsuit with Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*), over the possession of the lead mines in Arkengarthdale. A grandson, Charles Bathurst, was elected for Richmond in 1727.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Yorks. Arch. Soc. Jnl. vi. 267–69; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 96.
  • 2. Yorks. Arch. Soc. Jnl. 268–9; Thoresby, Ducatus Leodiensis, 16.
  • 3. Luttrell Diary, 4, 8, 26, 47, 50, 99, 105, 128, 130, 133, 136, 164, 171, 174, 187, 190, 193, 195.
  • 4. Ibid. 227, 234, 237, 243, 265, 271–2, 279, 294, 311, 316, 329, 356, 381, 391.
  • 5. Grey, x. 383; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 519, 581; xxv. 169; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Jnl. 267.