BROWNE, Thomas (1640-1713), of Arlesey, Beds.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 3 Dec. 1640, 5th but 1st surv. s. of (Sir) Samuel Browne† of Arlesey, serjeant-at-law and j.c.p., by Elizabeth, da. of John Meade of Nortofts, Finchingfield, Essex. educ. Wratting, Suff.; St. John’s, Camb. 1659; L. Inn 1660, called 1667. m. (1) 23 Feb. 1669, Cicely (d. 1675), da. of Sir William Poley† of Boxted, Suff. and sis. of Sir John Poley†, 2s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) lic. 9 Oct. 1682, Mary (d. 1704), da. of Sir John Bernard, 2nd Bt.†, of Brampton Park, Hunts., 2s. 5da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1668.1
?Gent. privy chamber 1670.2
Browne’s father, a distinguished lawyer and a cousin of Chief Justice Oliver St. John†, had been a vigorous proponent of the Parliamentarian cause during the Civil War and had been appointed chief baron of the Exchequer in 1648. After Pride’s Purge, however, he refused to act, and held no office under the Commonwealth and Protectorate, returning to the bench at the Restoration. Formerly a Presbyterian elder, he conformed after 1660 but assisted the Calvinist vicar of his parish of Arlesey to remain in his living despite the Act of Uniformity. His son continued this patronage and may have been a ‘Whig collaborator’ under James II, if his appointment to the county lieutenancy in February 1688 is anything to go by.3
Returned to the 1690 Parliament with Hon. Edward Russell*, Browne was classed as a Whig in Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) analysis of the new House. Robert Harley’s* list of April 1691 classed him as a supporter of the Country opposition but by the spring of 1693, according to Samuel Grascome, he had followed other Whigs in crossing over to the Court. He was given leave of absence on 23 Jan. 1694 for two weeks. Apart from this, little is known of his parliamentary career. In 1695, probably standing in partnership with Russell, he was defeated for the second county seat by William Duncombe*. He did not stand again.
Browne was buried at Arlesey on 27 June 1713. The legacies to younger children in his will, amounting to some £6,000, appear to show that he had not significantly depleted the fortune left him by his father. Among those appointed trustees to his heir was the Whig John Pedley*.4