LUMLEY (afterwards SAUNDERSON), Hon. Thomas (c.1691-1752), of Sandbeck, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1722 - 1727
1727 - 29 Jan. 1740

Family and Education

b. c.1691, 4th s. of Richard Lumley, 1st Earl of Scarbrough; bro. of Hon. Charles, James and John Lumley. educ. Eton 1706-7. m. 27 June 1724, Lady Frances Hamilton, da. of George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney [S], 2s. suc. to estates of cos. James Saunderson, M.P., 1st Earl of Castleton [I] taking the name of Saunderson 1723; bro. as 3rd Earl of Scarbrough 29 Jan. 1740; K.B. 27 May 1725.

Offices Held

Capt. Col. Tyrrel’s Drags. 1715; lt.-col. 37 Ft. 1717-18; lt.-col. Duke of Ancaster’s Ft. 1745; clerk to the council of the duchy of Lancaster 1716-31; envoy to Portugal 1722-5; treasurer to Prince of Wales 1738-51.


Thomas Lumley bought a troop in one of the new regiments raised during the 1715 rebellion but left the army in 1718 at the wish of Lord Castleton, who had made him his heir. Returned in 1722 for Arundel on his family’s interest, he was appointed envoy to Portugal, where he remained till 1723, when he succeeded on Lord Castleton’s death to estates in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, worth £8,000 a year, assuming the name of Saunderson. After coming to an arrangement with his creditors, a list of whom in 1724 shows liabilities of nearly £24,000, including over £10,000 to his elder brother, Lord Scarbrough,1 he came home for good at the beginning of 1725, when he was one of the rich commoners chosen to inaugurate the revival of the order of the Bath that year.

Elected for Lincolnshire without opposition in 1727, Saunderson applied for a peerage as Lord Castleton’s heir. Owing to George II’s aversion to granting peerages the request was unsuccessful ‘notwithstanding the most pressing solicitations of my Lord Scarbrough, who, upon his application to her Majesty to use her good offices in favour of his brother, was answered, that she durst say no more to the King upon this head’.2 Going into opposition, he voted against the Government on the civil list debate in 1729 and in all subsequent recorded divisions of that Parliament. He spoke frequently, chiefly in debates connected with the army and foreign affairs. In 1734 he made a speech against the excise bill, arguing that ‘supposing that no tobacco be run, then it must be sold dearer ...; but if the tobacco be dearer, then the Dutch will run more upon you’.3

Re-elected unopposed for Lincolnshire without a contest in 1734, Saunderson continued to speak and vote with the Opposition. In 1737 he was among the Members of the House of Commons who were sounded by the Prince of Wales about an application to Parliament for an increase in his allowance.4 Expressing hearty approval, he spoke for an increase in the ensuing debate and was rewarded with the post of treasurer to the Prince in 1738. In the debate on the convention in 1739 he spoke first for the Opposition, ‘with a great deal of pompous nonsense’ about Captain Jenkins and his ear.5

In 1740 Saunderson succeeded to the earldom of Scarbrough on the suicide of his elder brother, who left a will remitting ‘to my brother Sir Thomas Saunderson any sum or sums of money he shall owe me at the time of my death and any annuity for his own or my own life which he may be engaged to pay me’; giving him £20,000 for the payment of his debts; and, subject to various other legacies, bequeathing all his real and personal estate to James Lumley. The new Earl did not conceal his disappointment at not succeeding to the family estates, taking the line that it was ‘an ill return for the confidence he put in his brother when, being in the entail, so that without his consent the late earl could not dispose of it, he generously consented the cutting it off’.6

After Walpole’s fall Scarbrough, along with the rest of the Prince’s servants, supported the new Government, attending the Prince when he went to court on 17 Feb. 1742 and moving an address approving the Hanoverians on 1 Feb. 1743. He lost his post on Frederick’s death, dying a year later, 15 Mar. 1752.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. E. Milner, Recs. of the Lumleys, 181, 188.
  • 2. Coxe, Walpole, ii. 631.
  • 3. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 126, 143, 171, 318, 349.
  • 4. Dodington Diary, 444.
  • 5. Coxe, iii. 519.
  • 6. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 107.