HARRISON, Thomas (c.1650-1707), of Gray’s Inn, and Copgrove, nr. Knaresborough, 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



1695 - 1698

Family and Education

b. c.1650, o. s. of Thomas Harrison† of Allerthorpe, Yorks. by Mary, da. of Sir William Roberts of Willesden, Mdx.  educ. sch. York; Sidney Sussex, Camb. fell. comm. 1667; G. Inn 1667, called 1673, bencher 1698.  m. (1) lic. 30 Oct. 1678, Mary Wiseman, wid. of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, Mdx.; (2) Elizabeth.  suc. fa. 1687.1

Offices Held

Trustee, Irish forfeitures 1700–3.2


Although not much information has been discovered relating to Harrison’s origins, it is evident that one of his ancestors, Thomas Harrison, was an ‘innholder’ who had served as lord mayor of York in 1575 and 1592, while his father, also Thomas Harrison, had been an MP for the North Riding in the 1650s, and had been returned for Thirsk on a double return in 1660, but not seated. Harrison first stood for election himself in 1695, when he was returned for Boroughbridge, apparently through a combination of local interests. There is little evidence of significant parliamentary activity on his part. In a forecast for the divisions on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696 he was listed as likely to oppose the Court. He was also noted as having signed the Association promptly. However he was not included in the March division list relating to fixing the price of guineas, but on 25 Nov. he voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. On 3 May 1698 he reported upon a petition from the lessees of the office of the marshal of King’s bench.3

Harrison seems to have made some effort to maintain a good relationship within his constituency. Edward Morris, the vicar of Aldborough, which lay in close proximity to Boroughbridge, recorded in early 1698 how Harrison had been ‘very kind’ to him in relation to the accusations being made by Christopher Tancred, an Aldborough MP, that Morris had intercepted his letters concerning a by-election in the borough. Harrison also endeavoured to arrange negotiations between Tancred and Morris. Despite these efforts at conciliation within the close-knit community of Aldborough and Boroughbridge, Harrison was defeated in the Boroughbridge election of 1698, following which he was listed as a member of the Court party ‘left out’ of the new Parliament. On 30 Mar. 1700 he was elected as one of the trustees for the resumption of the Irish forfeitures, at an annual salary of £1,500. During his time in Ireland he had a serious accident when the hackney coach in which he was travelling overturned in Finglas, near Dublin. However, a report on 27 Aug. 1700 explained that Harrison, despite having broken his thigh bone, was considered to be out of danger, as he did not have a fever. Although he did not sit in Parliament again after 1698, it is to be noted that a ‘Mr Harrison’ was recorded as being appointed to a Commons committee on 20 Jan. 1702. This must be taken as an error, as no other Harrison sat during the period. The reason for the error may be that the record of the committee appointment was followed by reference to the fact that two unnamed Irish forfeiture trustees were in London at that time and were ready to give an account to the Commons of their proceedings in Ireland. Harrison may have been one of these trustees. He was buried at Copgrove on 3 Oct. 1707.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. iii. 270–1; Westminster Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxiii) 287.
  • 2. Chandler, iii. 125; CJ, xiii. 307; J. G. Simms, Williamite Confiscation in Ire. 118, 121.
  • 3. Clay, 269.
  • 4. N. Yorks. RO, Lawson-Tancred mss ZUH, Edward Morris to Andrew Wilkinson, 9 Feb. 1697–8; T. Lawson-Tancred, Recs. of a Yorks. Manor, 220; N.Yorks. RO, Swinton mss, Danby pprs ZS, info. of Edward Morris, Nov. 1698; Simms, 118; Add. 28885, f. 341.