TIPPING, Thomas (1653-1718), of Wheatfield, Oxon.

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



1689 - 1690
1695 - Jan. 1701

Family and Education

bap. 29 Apr. 1653, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Tipping of Wheatfield by Elizabeth (d. 1698), da. and coh. of Sir White Beconshaw of Moyles Court, Ellingham, Hants.  educ. Trinity, Oxf. 1669; L. Inn 1672.  m. 17 Mar. 1698 (with £3,000–£6,000), Anne (d. 1728), da. of Thomas Cheeke, lt. of the Tower, of Pirgo, Havering, Essex and h. to her bro. Thomas Cheeke, 1s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1693; cr. Bt. 24 Mar. 1698.1

Offices Held

Freeman, New Woodstock 1685, Wallingford 1685.2

Lt.-col. Ld. Mordaunt’s ft. Nov. 1688–?Mar. 1691; gent. of privy chamber 1689–1702.3


The Tippings were originally a Lancashire family, a branch of which settled at Merton, Oxfordshire during the reign of Henry VIII. The acquisition of further property in the county, and also in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, saw Tipping’s great-grandfather, Sir George, established at Wheatfield in 1601. Tipping himself was the eldest surviving child of 16. He seems to have been marked out for rapid advancement, being elected knight of the shire for Oxfordshire in 1685, probably with the support of the lord lieutenant, the Earl of Abingdon. Tipping’s willingness to oppose James II’s religious policies can only have been strengthened by the execution of his maternal aunt, Alice Lisle (wife of the regicide, John†), for harbouring a fugitive from Sedgemoor, a sentence widely perceived as a judicial murder promoted by Judge Jeffreys. However, misuse of his position in a case of wardship forced Tipping to flee to Holland in 1686. He sailed with William of Orange’s invasion fleet in 1688, and his main role in the aftermath of the invasion appears to have been in the rudimentary fiscal administration set up by William before he reached London. Tipping played an active role as a Member of the Convention of 1689, securing the reversal of Alice Lisle’s attainder and his own outlawry. However, he was unable to retain his seat at the 1690 election, prompting the Tory William Helyar† to remark, ‘if Tipping is out, poor Athanasius his creed will be out of danger of an Act of Parliament for its abrogation’. This is the first of several contemporary observations which suggest that Tipping’s religious views were Low Church, Latitudinarian and possibly heterodox. Another indication of his Whiggish views was his belief that the Earl of Shrewsbury had resigned because he felt that the kingdom would be ruined by allowing the Tories too much influence.4

Very little is known about Tipping’s career during his enforced absence from the Commons. He had been replaced in Lord Mordaunt’s regiment by March 1691, although the reason is unknown. In March 1692 he petitioned the Treasury without success with a proposal to farm the duty on low wines. The following year he succeeded his father to an estate which was in poor financial order. Indeed, the provisions of his father’s will instructed the trustees, his wife Elizabeth, second son William and John Wallis*, to sell estates to pay off a mortgage of £3,500. Tipping’s pecuniary difficulties did not prevent him subscribing to the original stock of the Bank of England in 1694. He may even have seen his material salvation in terms of a place in the fiscal administration (with its attendant opportunities for profit) as his name was put forward as a commissioner of the excise by the Whigs in the summer of 1694. This proposal foundered on the rock of William III’s opposition, who would not accept Tipping ‘for many reasons’.5

The 1695 election saw considerable manoeuvring at Wallingford before Tipping was returned with a Tory, William Jennens*. Contrary to his previous penchant for outspoken speeches, Tipping seems now to have adopted a low profile. In political terms he supported the predominantly Whig ministry. On 31 Jan. 1696 he was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division over the proposed council of trade. Although given leave of absence on 8 Feb. for six weeks to recover his health at Bath, he was listed as signing the voluntary Association later in February, and in March voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the following session he did not vote in the divisions on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder bill on 25 Nov. 1696, possibly because he was abroad, a pass having been granted in October to Thomas Tipping, ‘a colonel and assessor in Parliament’ and Thomas Harley*, to visit Spain and Portugal. In mid-February 1698 there were reports that he had been made a baronet and that he would marry a lady with a portion of £3,000–6,000. Both reports proved true: on 17 Mar., in a ceremony performed by Bishop Burnet of Salisbury, he was married to Anne Cheeke, a niece of the Earl of Orford (Edward Russell*), and one week later his patent for a baronetcy was issued. George Smalridge, the future Tory bishop, commented upon Tipping’s new honour by suggesting it was well timed ‘if his Majesty is resolved to grant the request of his Commons, that he would for the future distinguish by his favours such persons as are eminent for virtue and piety’, implying that Tipping was neither. On 6 Apr. 1698 he received leave of absence to visit his mother who was dying. Her will provides further evidence of the disarray of the family finances. Following his re-election in 1698, Tipping was afterwards classed as a Court supporter, and on 18 Jan. 1699 voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill. On 25 Feb. he was given leave of absence for ten days to travel into the country, and he was in the country again in May 1699 to attend the funeral at Rycote of his former patron Lord Abingdon. However, his political allegiance lay firmly in the Whig camp, so much so that a list of early 1700 classifying Members according to ‘interests’ and factions grouped him with his wife’s relatives, the Russells (Orford and the Duke of Bedford).6

It is uncertain whether Tipping stood at the general election of January 1701. Although still holding local office, as a deputy-lieutenant and justice, his political career had begun to flounder amid his financial difficulties. Indeed, as early as November 1700 he had tried to borrow money from John Verney* (later Lord Fermanagh). On 6 Dec. 1703 the Commons heard a petition from Tipping for leave to bring in a bill to sell the manor of Ickford in Buckinghamshire in order to settle debts left by his father. The bill passed without difficulty, but not before Lord Weymouth (Thomas Thynne†) had been strongly urged to oppose the bill at the committee stage in the Lords. It was intimated to Weymouth that Tipping’s own debts and lifestyle were responsible for his financial plight and that, if passed, the bill would be followed by others aimed at selling off other estates to the ruin of his family. By September 1706 Tipping claimed to have paid off all but £300 of the £6,000 debt bequeathed to him by his father, but he was still attempting to borrow from Verney in the years that followed.7

Tipping may have been the man whom Dr William Stratford described in 1711 ‘as notorious a Whig as is in the county’, although this was more probably William Tipping of Ewelme. In April 1713 Tipping was hoping for an infusion of wealth following the death of one of his young Cheeke relatives, the immediate prospect of £1,000 p.a. being described by Lord Fermanagh as ‘a handsome windfall to a needy family’. Only a month later it was reported that Tipping and his brother had ‘turned Tory’. When Tipping died on 1 July 1718, it seems likely that he was deeply in debt, and possibly in prison. Administration of his estate was granted to a creditor in April 1719. He was succeeded as 2nd baronet by his son, also Thomas, who was fortunate enough to be able to rely on his mother’s increasing wealth. Tipping’s two daughters were the ultimate beneficiaries of their brother’s will, proved in 1725; an Act was passed in 1726 to sort out the estates, and afterwards their mother’s fortune also, since she had become heiress to both the Cheeke and Orford estates. Not surprisingly the daughters married well, one to Samuel Sandys†, the other to Thomas Archer†.8

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 451; VCH Oxon. viii. 267; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/50, John Verney to Coleman, 23 Feb. 1697–8; St. Paul’s Covent Garden (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxxv), 66.
  • 2. Woodstock council acts, 11 Mar. 1685; Wallingford bor. statute bk. 1648–1766, f. 128.
  • 3. N. Carlisle, Gent. Privy Chamber, 203.
  • 4. J. Dunkin, Hist. Bullington and Ploughley, ii. 47; VCH Oxon. 267; Oxon. Rec. Soc. xi. 337–8; Add. 14316, f. 1; 41814, f. 250; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 136, 213; x. 1181, 1305, 1393; xxiii. 442; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1557–1696, p. 458; Bodl. Ballard 38, f. 126; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 57.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 74; 1694–5, p. 180; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1534; PCC 45 Box; DZA, Bonet despatch 6/16 July 1694; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 1238a, b, Sunderland to Portland, 13 July 1694.
  • 6. HMC Downshire, i. 543, 545–7; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 412; Verney mss mic. 636/50, Verney to Coleman, 23 Feb. 1697–8, Tipping to [Verney], 4 Aug. 1698; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 344, 356; St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, 66; Nichols, Lit. Hist. iii. 269; PCC 241 Lort; Tanner 21, f. 69.
  • 7. Verney mss mic. 636/51, Verney to Tipping, 14 Nov. 1700; 636/53, same to same, 20 Sept. 1706, 30 Sept. 1708, Fermanagh to Ralph Verney†, 10 Aug. 1708; Bath mss at Longleat House, Thynne pprs. 25, ff. 213–14.
  • 8. HMC Portland, vii. 25–26; Verney mss mic. 636/55, Fermanagh to Ralph Verney, 27 Apr. 1713, Lady to Lord Fermanagh, 11 May 1715; PCC 24 Farrant, 65 Brook; LJ, xxii. 510; Boyer, Pol. State, xxxv. 108–9; Burke, Extinct Bts. 528.