JENKINS, Tobias (1660-1730), of Grimston, 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 - 1700
Dec. 1701 - 1705
1715 - 1722

Family and Education

bap. 16 June 1660, o. surv. s. of Col. Tobias Jenkins of Grimston by Antonyna, da. of Rev. Henry Wickham, DD, dean of York.  m. (1) Lady Mary (d. 1689), da. of Charles Powlett†, 1st Duke of Bolton, 2da. (1 d.v.p.); (2) 2s. 1da.  suc. fa. 1697.1

Offices Held

Register of seizures, Kingston-upon-Hull 1689.2

Freeman, York 1695, alderman, 1698, ld. mayor Feb. 1701–2, 1720–1.3


Jenkins’ grandfather, Sir Henry Jenkins, was MP for Boroughbridge in 1603. His father stood for York against Sir John Reresby, 2nd Bt.†, in 1685 and was reported to have answered ‘very loyally’ to James II’s three questions in 1688 on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. Jenkins himself, having been admitted a freeman of York on 2 Oct. 1695, was returned unopposed for the city later that month. He was not a particularly active Member, except on the occasions when the interests of the York corporation necessitated action in Parliament. Jenkins was forecast as likely to support the government in the divisions on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696, and he signed the Association promptly. In the 1696–7 session he voted on 25 Nov. against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. He was given leave of absence on 21 May 1698. At the general election later that year Jenkins was returned in a contested election, and was made an alderman of York the next day. In September he was classed as a Country party supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new House of Commons. On 11 Dec. 1699 he was absent from a call of the House, was sent for into custody and discharged seven days later on paying his fees. Following the presentation on 8 Jan. 1700 of a petition from Jenkins’ constituency for improving the navigation of the Ouse, he was included in the drafting committee for a bill to that effect, which he presented on the 28th. However, the measure was lost after the second reading. In an analysis of the House into ‘interests’ compiled in that year he was classed as doubtful or of the opposition.4

Jenkins did not stand for election to the first 1701 Parliament, possibly owing to the fact that he was elected mayor of York for that year. In March he was recorded as a serving deputy-lieutenant for the East Riding and York. However, in the second 1701 election he was returned in a contest at York, which was one of 16 constituencies which proceeded to give written instructions to their new Members, as part of a predominantly Whig political initiative. Jenkins was returned unopposed in the 1702 election. In the 1703–4 session, on 16 Dec. 1703, he and his fellow Member, Sir William Robinson, 1st Bt., were ordered to prepare a bill to establish a court of conscience at York, another measure that was instigated by a petition from the city, the culmination of collaboration between the two MPs and the corporation. The court bill did not reach the statute book, however, but in January–February 1704 Jenkins successfully managed a bill through the House for taking away the custom of York concerning the disposal of estates by wills, which again was the end result of similar liaison between the city’s MPs and corporation. At the beginning of the 1704–5 session Jenkins was classed as a probable opponent of the Tack, and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704. In the same month he was again ordered to bring in a new bill for a court of conscience in York, and although he and Robinson prepared it, the corporation asked for it to be withdrawn. At the general election of 1705 Jenkins stood down in favour of his nephew Robert Benson*. Jenkins did not stand for York again until 1713, when Benson had been made a peer. However, on this occasion Jenkins was defeated by a Tory, Robert Fairfax, in a close and bitter contest. Jenkins petitioned on 5 Mar. 1714, though without success. However, a re-run of the same electoral contest in 1715 went in Jenkins’ favour. He was classed as a Whig in an analysis of the new Parliament. The high cost of contesting York elections took its toll on Jenkins’ finances, and he could not afford to stand for the city thereafter. He died intestate in 1730.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, i. 144–5.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 109.
  • 3. York City Archs., B39, corp. house bk. 1688–1700, ff. 94, 114; J. Malden, Reg. York Freemen, 271; J. Torr, Antiqs. York, 138.
  • 4. Reresby Mems. 355–7; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), 59, 75; corp. house bk. 1688–1700, ff. 94, 97–98, 110, 114; Add. 70018, ff. 94–95.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1700–2, pp. 250, 253; W. Yorks. Archs. (Leeds), Newby Hall mss NH2483, York polls, 1689–1741; Flying Post, 25–27 Nov. 1701; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 29–30; York City Archs. B40, corp. house bk. 1692–1706, ff. 159–60, 189–90; E40/52, Robinson and Jenkins to [‘my Lord’ Mayor], 16 Nov. [1704], E40/54, mins. concerning the election of MPs for York, Sept. 1713; Borthwick Inst. York, wills, Prerog. ct. Jan. 1737; Clay, 145.