RENDA, Thomas (c.1660-1723), of Wallingford Castle, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1660. m. (1) bef. 1683, Elizabeth (d. 1710), 1da.; (2) 22 Dec. 1711, Sarah (d. 1751), da. of Thomas Ley of London.1
Freeman, Wallingford 1701.2
Almost nothing is known about Renda before he entered Parliament. In 1693 he was described as a London merchant in the patent incorporating a company for making iron with pit coal under the governorship of Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II*. In 1698 Renda was in correspondence with the Board of Trade over a proposed infringement of a patent owned by himself and others for making halfpennies and farthings for the plantations and England. In 1703 he was trying to defend his rights against an ex-partner’s wish to revive the patent, and in May 1705 a petition of his own to this purpose was dismissed when Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) decided to use the officers of the Mint instead. As late as 1712 Renda and his partners were still protecting their claims, if the crown saw fit to sanction a renewed patent. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that Renda’s association with Wallingford began shortly after a grant from the crown to John Latten in December 1699 of the manor and castle there. Renda seems to have been in possession of the castle the following year, for in November 1700 the corporation minutes record that the town clerk was to ‘wait on Mr Renda and desire his assistance in looking after the fee farm rent paid by this corporation’. In return Renda was admitted a freeman on 1 Jan. 1701, preparatory to his election to Parliament later that month. In June 1703 he increased his stake in the borough by lending the corporation £200.3
By the time of his election to the Commons therefore, Renda had established a local interest. No doubt he also had the support of the new high steward of the borough, the staunchly Tory 2nd Earl of Abingdon (Montagu Venables-Bertie*). In the 1701 Parliament his name appears on a list of Members likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. He was also blacklisted as an opponent of making preparation for war. After securing re-election in November 1701, he was listed with the Tories in Robert Harley’s* analysis of the new House. His name also appeared on a ‘white list’ of those Members who supported the motion on 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings over the impeachments of William III’s Whig ministers. Returned again in 1702, he voted on 13 Feb. 1703 against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the abjuration bill. The following session he was forecast as a supporter by Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) over the Scotch Plot. He was also forecast as doubtful on the Tack in October 1704, but does not appear on Harley’s lobbying list. On most lists he was classed either as voting against the Tack or having been absent, but Parker’s Ephemeris (1713) adds Renda as one of eight Tackers missed off previous lists.
At the general election, Renda’s defeat was a disappointment to the Tory newsletter writer Dyer, whereas Lord Halifax (Charles Montagu*) was correspondingly pleased that ‘a creature of Lord Abingdon’s’ had been laid aside. Shortly after this election there is evidence of a conflict with the corporation over some buildings erected by Renda on land leased from them. Legal proceedings resulted, and in April 1706 Renda’s loan was returned to him. This dispute can only have harmed his interest and he does not appear to have stood in 1708. The death of the Tory Member William Jennens* facilitated his return, however, at a by-election in February 1709. After fighting off a petition in December 1709, he was able to vote against Dr Sacheverell’s impeachment in 1710. Returned again in the 1710 election he was classed as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’ of that year. His name was to be found on a ‘white list’ of Tory ‘patriots’ opposed to continuing the war and on a list of ‘worthy patriots’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration, both in the 1710–11 session. The latter list also noted his membership of the October Club, a fact confirmed by Boyer. In the 1713 session he voted on 18 June for the French commerce bill. Renda probably stood down in favour of his son-in-law Richard Bigg* at the 1713 general election, but was back in the House shortly after the new Parliament sat when Simon Harcourt III*, the other Member for Wallingford, decided to sit for Abingdon, thereby causing a by-election which Renda won.4
Renda stood for Wallingford at the 1715 and 1722 general elections, being defeated on both occasions. He died on 15 Mar. 1723, aged 62. His will dated 1714 left his estate to his granddaughter, Elizabeth Bigg, and ordered a monument to be set up in his memory in the chancel of St. Mary’s, Wallingford. He left a widow, Sarah, who petitioned the crown for a reversion of her husband’s lease of the castle in 1725, which appears to have been given to the Whig MP William Hucks by 1727.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Berks. Arch. Jnl. xxxix. 168; IGI, London; Innes Smith, Students of Medicine at Leyden, 141.
- 2. J. K. Hedges, Hist. Wallingford, ii. 239.
- 3. Sel. Charters, 229; CSP Col. 1697–8, pp. 125–6; Cal. Treas. Bks. xviii. 319; xx. 118; Newton Corresp. v. 357–8; CJ, xiii. 201; Hedges, i. 151; ii. 239; Berks. RO, Wallingford bor. statute bk. 1648–1766, ff. 187v, 188, 201.
- 4. Bodl. Rawl. D.863, f. 89; Add. 61458, f. 159; Wallingford bor. statute bk. 1648–1766, ff. 215, 215v; CJ, xvi. 242–5.
- 5. Hedges, ii. 382; PCC 82 Richmond; Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1720–8, pp. 359–60, 365–6.