STANWIX, Thomas (?1667-1725), of Carlisle, Cumb.

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



1702 - Mar. 1721
2 Aug. 1721 - 1722
1722 - 14 Mar. 1725

Family and Education

b. ?24 Sept. 1667, o. s. of Thomas Stanwix of Carlisle by Grace, da. and h. of Thomas Fairfax of Parkhead, Cumb.  educ. Camb. LL.D. 1717.  m. Susanna, s.p.1

Offices Held

Capt.-lt. 13 Ft. 1691, capt. 1692; capt. 14 Ft. 1693, Earl of Arran’s Horse 1694–7; 6 Drag. Gds. May 1702; lt.-col. Ld. Henry Scott’s Ft. 1704; brevet col. 1705; lt.-gov. Carlisle 1705–d.; col. of newly raised regt. of ft. 1706–11, brig.-gen. 1710; gov. of Gibraltar 1711–13, Chelsea Hosp. Jan. 1715–June 1720; col. of newly raised regt. of ft. 1715–17, 30 Ft. July–Aug. 1717, 12 Ft. 1717–d.; gov. Kingston-upon-Hull Mar. 1721–d.2

Alderman, Carlisle 1705, mayor 1715–6.3


A member of a long-established Carlisle family, Stanwix had pursued a military career in the 1690s but had been placed on half-pay following the end of the Nine Years War. Little more is known of him until his candidacy at the first Carlisle election of 1701. Defeated at the poll, Stanwix petitioned against the return of James Lowther, and, according to the Lowthers, received the enthusiastic support of Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Bt.* Both Lowther and his father, Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, made strenuous efforts to oppose Stanwix’s petition, Sir John declaring his surprise that ‘a man of Mr Stanwix’s fortune’ contested the election in the first place. However, such reflections and the attempts of the Lowthers to have Stanwix withdraw his petition had no effect. Though Stanwix’s petition was not heard during the 1701 session, he spent time at Carlisle in August making preparations to renew his petition in the next session. From the autumn of 1701 onwards, the expectation of a dissolution altered the purpose of Stanwix’s visit to Carlisle and he spent his time canvassing, but he was defeated at the poll in the December general election. Stanwix again petitioned, but Lowther’s assiduous lobbying led to a late date being set for consideration and Stanwix’s claims were not heard. Lowther’s hope that Lord Carlisle (Charles Howard*) could buy off Stanwix by obtaining for him a new commission proved misplaced, since Stanwix’s request for a lieutenant-colonel’s commission in a new regiment of foot did not gain Carlisle’s support. In May 1702 Stanwix nevertheless obtained a commission for a troop of horse, and, though he departed for Holland the same month, he renewed his candidacy at Carlisle at the election later that summer, achieving first place in the poll.4

Despite his earlier flirtations with the Musgrave interest, Stanwix proved himself a Whig during the 1702 Parliament. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted in favour of the Lords’ amendments to the bill enlarging the time for taking the Abjuration, and on 28 Nov. 1704 he did not vote for the Tack. His military career also progressed at this time, with his appointment on the recommendation of Hon. Henry Boyle* as lieutenant-colonel of a newly raised regiment, and in January the following year he was nominated lieutenant-governor of Carlisle. This latter appointment had been made on the recommendation of Lord Carlisle, and indicated Carlisle’s willingness to acquiesce in Stanwix’s election. The 1705 election campaign was nevertheless keenly fought at Carlisle, and Stanwix was forced to complain to Bishop Nicolson of Carlisle ‘for giving him [Stanwix] the character of a Presbyterian’. None the less, Stanwix again topped the poll and was somewhat surprisingly described in an analysis of the new Parliament as a ‘High Church courtier’. He voted on 25 Oct. 1705 for the Court candidate for Speaker, and in February 1706 supported the Court in the proceedings on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill, but otherwise his preoccupations appear to have been primarily local. In late 1705 and early 1706, for example, he supported Thomas Lamplugh’s* Parton harbour bill, and in the same period was engaged in defending himself before the Treasury against claims that he had obstructed salt tax officials in the execution of their duties. Local affairs also claimed his attention in the following session, as is evident from his inclusion on 13 Feb. 1707 on a committee to consider a petition from the corporation of Carlisle concerning its loss of revenue owing to the removal of tolls and customs on cattle and goods imported from Scotland. He made little further contribution to the Parliament, however, as the following month his regiment was sent to the Iberian Peninsula. While serving in Portugal, reports reached England that Stanwix was suffering from a serious illness, but speculation that this might prove fatal was ill-founded. After being classed at the beginning of 1708 as a Whig, he was returned unopposed at Carlisle in the election later that year. He returned to England at the end of 1708 to oversee army recruitment, and early in 1709 supported the naturalization of the Palatines. He had, however, returned to Portugal in time to fight at Caya in the summer of 1709, and does not appear to have returned to England before the 1710 election.5

Stanwix was again successful at Carlisle in 1710. In the ‘Hanover list’ he was classed as ‘doubtful’, an uncertainty which may have arisen from his long recent absence from the House and his retention as a military placeman under a Tory administration. That he continued to support the Court seems to be borne out by his inclusion on the 1711 list of ‘worthy patriots’ who took part in exposing the mismanagements of the previous ministry, and by his appointment in January 1711 to the governorship of Gibraltar. Leaving England in the spring of 1711, he did not return until the late summer of 1713, following his removal as governor. Consequently, Stanwix missed the last two sessions of the 1710 Parliament, but was returned unopposed at Carlisle in 1713. In this Parliament Stanwix returned to the Whig fold, voting on 18 Mar. 1714 against the expulsion of Richard Steele, and was classed as a Whig in both the Worsley list and another comparison of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments. Stanwix remained in the Commons, with one short break in 1721, until his death on 14 Mar. 1725. He bequeathed his property in Carlisle and Middlesex to his wife, and thereafter to his nephew John Roos, with the proviso that he assume the surname of Stanwix. This he accordingly did, and entered Parliament for Carlisle in 1741.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. IGI, Cumb.; J. Foster, Vis. Cumb. 128; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland mss, Stanwix ped; Boyer, Pol. State, xiv. 345.
  • 2. Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletters 21 Feb. 1712–13, 11 June 1713.
  • 3. Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Carlisle bor. recs. Ca/2/2, f. 56.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. xv. 447; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/L1/1/45, Thomas Tullie to Lady Lonsdale, 25 Jan. 1700[–1]; D/Lons/W2/2/4, James to Sir John Lowther I, 13 Feb., 11 Mar. 1700[–1], 8, 22 Apr., 8 May, 26 Aug., 23 Sept., 22 Oct., 15 Nov., 18, 23, 27 Dec. 1701; D/Lons/W2/2/5, same to same, 8, 10, 17, 20, 22 Jan., 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 19, 21 Feb. 1701[–2], 12 May, 7 July 1702; D/Lons/W1/21, Sir John Lowther I to Ld. Wharton (Hon. Thomas*), 24 Mar. 1700[–1], Mar. 1701.
  • 5. HMC Ormonde, n.s. viii. 56, 58; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 366; Marlborough Letters and Despatches ed. Murray, i. 597; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 273; Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/8, James to Sir John Lowther I, 22 Sept., 10 Nov., 6 Dec. 1705; D/Lons/W2/1/39, same to William Gilpin, 10 Jan. 1705[–6]; D/Lons/W2/40, same to same, 23 Dec. 1707; Cal. Treas. Bks. xx. 142, 496; xxi. 189; xii. 478; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1702–7, p. 395.
  • 6. SP 34/14, f. 137; Bolingbroke Corresp. i. 463–4; Newdigate newsletters 21 Feb. 1712–13, 11 June 1713; The Gen. n.s. vi. 208; PCC 100 Romney.