BERE, Thomas (1652-1725), of Huntsham, nr. Tiverton, Devon.
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Family and Education
bap. 23 May 1652, 1st s. of Thomas Bere of Huntsham by Margaret, da. of Sir John Davie, 1st Bt.†, of Creedy, Devon. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1670. m. c.1686, Mary (d. 1700), da. of Robert Long of Stanton Prior, Dorset, wid. of George Stedman of Midsomer Norton, Som., 2s. suc. fa. 1680; fa.-in-law 1701.1
Commr. victualling the navy June 1706–d.
Coming from a family long associated with Tiverton, Bere was returned for the borough without opposition in 1690. He was classed as a Whig in Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) analysis of the new Parliament. At the end of the year he applied unsuccessfully to the commissioners of customs for employment at Bristol. Robert Harley* classed him as a doubtful supporter of the Country party in April 1691. On 8 Jan. 1692 Bere presented to the Commons a petition from Tiverton complaining of the woollen manufactures in Ireland and that many workers from Devon had emigrated there. Samuel Grascome listed him as a Court supporter in 1693. Bere was granted three weeks’ leave of absence on 20 Mar 1695. Re-elected in 1695, he was absent from a call of the House on 7 Jan. 1696, and was sent for in custody but discharged two days later. On 29 Jan. he told against a motion to adjourn all committees. He was forecast as a likely Court supporter over the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan., signed the Association the following month, and voted in March for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He presented a bill to regulate the press on 2 Feb. 1697. Granted leave of absence on 22 Dec. for an unspecified reason, he was accorded further leave on 26 Feb. 1698 to attend his father-in-law’s funeral.2
Bere was classed as a member of the Court party in September 1698, marked as query in an analysis of the House into interests in 1700, and listed as a Whig by Robert Harley* in December 1701. He presented a private estate bill on 19 Mar. 1702, carrying it up to the Lords on 6 May. He told on 20 May in favour of an amendment to provide maintenance for the Protestant children of Sir Anthony Mullady under the Irish forfeitures bill. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration. The House was informed, in the report on King William’s grants on 22 Dec., that he enjoyed a naval pension of £39 p.a. Forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, he did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704. After the 1705 election, he was classed as ‘Low Church’ and voted for the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. He obtained a leave of absence for one month on 15 Dec. On 18 Feb. 1706 he supported the Court over the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill. A few months later his loyalty was rewarded with appointment to the victualling commission at a salary of £400 p.a. On 3 Apr. 1707 he told in favour of an amendment to a supply bill. He presented a private estate bill in favour of Roger Tuckfield* on 17 Jan. 1708. That session saw four more tellerships: against going into committee on a bill to encourage trade with America (14 Feb.); for recommitting the levy of a further duty on woollen yarn (25 Feb.); for an amendment to a supply bill (8 Mar.); and for extending beyond Europe a proposed duty exemption on linens (27 Mar.). Classed as a Whig before and after the 1708 election, Bere voted in 1709 for the naturalization of the Palatines and the following year for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. At the general election of 1710 he was subject to a double return for Tiverton, and was noted as such on the ‘Hanover list’. The election having been declared void, Bere was defeated at the ensuing by-election. Somewhat surprisingly, in view of his Whig background, Bere was described to a senior Oxford don in 1711 as a ‘good . . . Churchman and friend of Mrs Masham’. It was as a Whig, however, that he returned to the House in 1715, voting consistently with the administration until his death on 22 June 1725.3