Sir Thomas Culpeper of Preston Hall, 3rd Bart.1

Male, #9203, (say 1654 - 18 May 1723)
Father*Sir Richard Culpeper of Preston Hall, 2nd Bart. (s 1630 - b 5 Jan 1659)
Mother*Margaret Reynolds (s 1633 - 1691)
Biography Family and Education
b. c.1656, o. s. of Sir Richard Colepeper, 2nd Bt., of Preston Hall by Margaret Reynolds. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. matric. 15 June 1672, aged 15; m. 23 Aug. 1704, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Taylor, 1st Bt., of Park House, Maidstone, Kent, sis. of Sir Thomas Taylor, 2nd Bt., and wid. of (Sir) Francis Wythens of Southend, Eltham, Kent and the Middle Temple. s.p. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. Jan. 1660.

Offices Held
Sheriff, Kent 1703–4.

Biography
The Colepepers were a well-established Kentish family, having been resident in the county since the 12th century. Beginning with Sir Thomas Colepeper of Bayhall, many branches of the family had flowered, so that by the 17th century identification can be very difficult. Thus Colepeper must not be confused with Sir Thomas Colepeper of Hollingbourne (d. 1697), or the latter’s son Thomas (one of the Kentish Petitioners), nor with Colonel Thomas Colepeper, the hot-tempered engineer and inventor who pursued a quarrel against the Earl of Devonshire (William Cavendish†) after 1685. Having succeeded to the baronetcy at an early age, this Member was left in the capable care of his mother, her deceased husband having provided in his will for the education of his children. In the early 1670s, Sir Edward Dering, 2nd Bt.†, thought a marriage for his son to Colepeper’s sister worth pursuing, since the young lady was of ‘a very considerable family in our country’, but financial constraints prevented a match. Indeed, by 1671, when Lady Colepeper was considering this alliance, she estimated that the cost of her son’s education, presumably at Oxford, would be £100 p.a., which would prove a severe constraint on the options available for her daughter, Alicia. In 1681 John Tillotson (the future archbishop of Canterbury) drafted a letter to Colepeper offering moral counsel, having ‘known you from your tender years’, in which he warned the young man, ‘you are now in the slippery and dangerous part of life, exposed to many and powerful temptations, especially in so licentious an age’, adding, ‘I have good hope you are not yet entangled in any very bad course’. In this Tillotson was unsuccessful, for at some point Colepeper took as his mistress the wife of Sir Francis Wythens. Conflict inevitably arose. In 1693 Lady Wythens tried to have her husband incarcerated in a debtors’ prison and in November 1696 Wythens himself entered an information against Colepeper and Sir Thomas Taylor, 2nd Bt. (brother-in-law to both Wythens and Colepeper), for assault. He failed to gain a conviction after Lord Colepeper, Sir Philip Boteler, 3rd Bt.*, Sir George Rooke* and Sir George Choute, 1st Bt.*, all testified to Colepeper’s ‘great worth and honour’. After Wythens’ death on 9 May 1704, Colepeper wasted no time in marrying his widow. Thereafter it was reported that he never lived with her as a husband.

Considerable difficulty attaches to following Colepeper’s career in local office because central government records do not always distinguish between the Member and his namesake of Hollingbourne. One of these men was a j.p. before 1679, almost certainly Sir Thomas Colepeper of Hollingbourne, who also became a deputy lieutenant in November 1679. It was the baronet who was appointed to the lieutenancy in 1685, but it was his Hollingbourne relative who as a ‘Whig collaborator’ was named as such in February 1688. After the Revolution, it seems likely, on grounds of age alone, that the Sir Thomas Colepeper who served as a deputy-lieutenant and militia colonel was the baronet. In 1701 Colepeper was one of the men suggested for the shrievalty, but he was not pricked until 1703–4. He was elected to Parliament for Maidstone in 1705, although he ‘could not be prevailed upon to stand till the alteration was made in Kent’, a reference to Lord Rockingham (Hon. Lewis Watson†) replacing the Earl of Winchilsea as lord lieutenant of the county. Despite the fact that one analysis of the 1705 Parliament classified him as a ‘Churchman’, Colepeper was undoubtedly a Whig. The Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) considered his election in 1705 as a gain for the Whigs, and on 25 Oct. he voted for the Court candidate for Speaker. He failed to support the Court on 18 Feb. 1706 over the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill, which may indicate sympathy with Country Whig views, but on a list of early 1708 he was again classed as a Whig. Returned once more in 1708, Colepeper was marked as a Whig on a list of that year with the election returns appended to it. In 1709 he supported the naturalization of the Palatines and the following year voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Not surprisingly, on the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710 he was again listed as Whig. He was returned at the top of the poll in the 1710 election, but his name does not appear on any division list for the ensuing Parliament. Not having stood as a candidate in the Tory landslide of 1713, he was returned in 1715, being described as a Whig on a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments.

Colepeper continued to sit for Maidstone until his death on 18 May 1723. Perhaps the suddenness of his demise accounts for the fact that his will had not been updated since February 1711. The major beneficiary was Sir Thomas Taylor, 3rd Bt., the son of his sister, Alicia, although Catharine, Lady Twisden (née Wythens), whom some would have as Colepeper’s natural daughter, benefited to the tune of 500 guineas, and mistress Swayne, ‘her woman’, by 100 guineas for faithful service.2 
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Culpepper. 
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Colepeper. 
Birth*say 1654 Thomas was born say 1654. 
Will30 Jul 1657 He is mentioned in the will of Sir Richard Culpeper of Preston Hall, 2nd Bart. on 30 Jul 1657.3,4 
Death of Mother1691 His mother Margaret Reynolds died in 1691 at Aylesford, co. Kent, England
Will13 Jan 1692 He is mentioned in the will of John Culpeper of Riverhead in Seven Oaks, co. Kent at Riverhead, Sevenoaks, co. Kent, England, on 13 Jan 1692.5,6 
Will2 Mar 1695 He is mentioned in the will of Sir Thomas Culpeper of Hollingbourne, Knight on 2 Mar 1695.7,6 
Will7 Aug 1703 He is mentioned in the will of Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple on 7 Aug 1703.8 
Marriage*23 Aug 1704 He married Elizabeth Taylor at Boughton Monchelsea, co. Kent, England, on 23 Aug 1704.9,10 
Death of SpouseFeb 1707/8 His wife Elizabeth Taylor died in Feb 1707/8.9 
Will12 Aug 1710 He is mentioned in the will of John Lord Culpeper 3rd Baron of Thoresway on 12 Aug 1710.11,6 
Will*16 Feb 1710/11 He made a will on 16 Feb 1710/11, and witnessed by Sir Thomas Culpeper of Preston Hall, 3rd Bart.
     In the name of God Amen
     I Sir Thomas Colepepyr Baronet of Preston Hall in the parish of Aylesford in the County of Kent being of perfect health and sound of memory do make this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills and Codicils.
     First I recommend my soul to that Great and Almighty God that gave it to me in whom I hope to find Mercy and Forgiveness for all my sins
     my body I bequeath to the ground to be decently and privately buried in the same grave with my Wife and her Daughter under my servants pew in the Parish Church of Aylesford in the County of Kent.
     I do give and bequest to Sir Thomas Taylor Baronet (Sir Thomas Taylor of Maidstone, 2nd Bart.) the son of my sister the Lady Taylor (Alicia Culpeper) of the park near Maidstone in Kent all my Estate in Aylesford and elsewhere to him and his heirs lawfully begotton provided he pay my such debts as he will easily find to be made appraise and give such legacies as I shall herafter mention.
     I give to the Lady Taylor Twenty Pounds to pay her mourning and cut her off of all pretensions to my Estate
     I give to Robin Colepepper Gentleman (unidentified) one shilling to put him off all pretensions and
     I give to the Lady Twisdon of Parkham now Sir Thomas Twisdens wife the same of five hundred guineas and
     to Mrs Swaynt that was her woman for her faithfull service to her I therefore give unto her One Hundred Guineas and ten pounds a year the proportion to be paid quarterly during her life and ten pounds to buy her mourning
     all the rest of my servants I give that are with me at my Death a years wage except the waggoner and his mate
     I give to the Messrs Riders each of them at Boughton that is the Elder and Younger Brother ten pounds a piece to buy them mourning and
     I do make the above said Sir Thomas Taylor Baronet Sole Executor to this my last Will.
     In witness of I have hereto set my hand and seal this sixteenth day of February 1710/11
     Tho Colepepyr
     Signed and sealed and declared this to be my last Will and Testament in the presence of Barnh Rider Justin Champneie Ric Collins
     Will proved 27 May 1723 by Dame Alicia Taylor alias Colepepyr widow, natural and legitimate sister and named legitimate relative in the will of Sir Thomas Colpepyr late of Aylesford deceased widower because of the death of Sir Thomas Taylor Baronet, the named Executor. (He died 20 January 1720).12,6,13 
Death*18 May 1723 He died at Preston Hall, Aylesford, co. Kent, England, on 18 May 1723.9 
Burial*1723 His body was interred in 1723 at family vault, under South Chancel of St. Peter's Church, Aylesford, co. Kent, England
Probate1723 Probate action was taken on Thomas's estate in 1723 at co. Kent, England,

P.C.C. 94 Richmond. 
Biography* Sir Thomas succeeded as 3rd Baronet and to the Preston estate. He matriculated at Magd. Hall in 1672 at age 15. He was Sheriff in 1704 and was a Member of Parliament for Maidstone, 1705-1723. His wife, Dame Elizabeth predeased him in 1708, and they were both interred in St. Peter's Church, Aylesford. 
Will6 Jan 1727 He is mentioned in the will of Alicia Culpeper on 6 Jan 1727.14,10 

Family

Elizabeth Taylor (1656 - Feb 1707/8)
Marriage*23 Aug 1704 He married Elizabeth Taylor at Boughton Monchelsea, co. Kent, England, on 23 Aug 1704.9,10 
ChartsThe 12th century Culpepers of England: Descendant Chart (16 generations, Males only)
Last Edited20 Sep 2012

Citations

  1. Col. F.W.T. Attree R.E./F.S.A. & Rev. J.H.L. Booker M.A., "Colepeper of Aylesford Pedigree in The Sussex Colepepers, Part I", Sussex Archaelogical Collection, Vol. XLVII, 1904.
  2. History of Parliament Online, The History of Parliament Trust, 1964-2012.
    http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/
    Stuart Handley, "COLEPEPER (CULPEPER), Sir Thomas, 3rd Bt. (c.1656-1723), of Preston Hall, nr. Maidstone, Kent", Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002.
  3. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Will of Sir Richard Culpeper of Maidstone, dated 30 Jul 1657, transcribed by Charles Andrew Grigsby from the image at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Richard_of_Maidstone_1660.pdf.
  4. E-mail written 18 Sep 2012 to Warren L. Culpepper from John Buckley, Lancaster, England, e-mail address.
    John provided numerous edits, improving the accuracy of Charles Grigsby's transcription.
  5. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Will of John Culpeper of Riverhead, dated 13 Jan 1692, P.C.C. 106 Coker, transcribed by Charles Andrew Grigsby. Image at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/John_of_Sevenoaks_1693.pdf.
  6. E-mail written 2007 to Warren Culpepper from Charles Andrew Grigsby, England, e-mail address.
  7. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Will of Thomas Culpeper of Hollingbourne (#8907), dated 2 Mar 1695 and proved P.C.C. Pyne, 274, transcribed by Charles Andrew Grigsby from the images at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Thomas_of_Hollingbourne_1697.pdf.
  8. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Will of Thomas Culpeper of Hollingbourne (#8907), dated 7 Aug 1703, transcribed by Warren Culpepper from the images at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Thomas_of_Middle_Temple_1704.pdf.
  9. Richard K. Evans, The Ancestry of Diana Princess of Wales for Twelve Generations, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007, Repository: Warren Culpepper's Personal Library.
  10. E-mail written 18 Sep 2012 to Warren L. Culpepper from John Buckley, Lancaster, England, e-mail address.
  11. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Will of John 3rd Lord Culpeper, dated 12 Aug 1710, transcribed by Charles Andrew Grigsby. Image at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/John_Baron_of_Thoresway_1719-1.pdf and
    http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/John_Baron_of_Thoresway_1719-2.pdf.
  12. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Will of Sir Thomas Colepeper of Aylesford (#9203), dated 16 Feb 1710/11, transcribed by Charles Andrew Grigsby from images at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Thomas_of_Aylesford_1723.pdf.
  13. E-mail written 18 Sep 2012 to Warren L. Culpepper from John Buckley, Lancaster, England, e-mail address.
    John provided miscellaneous edits to Charles Grigsby's transcription.
  14. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Image at: http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Alicia_of_Aylesford_1734.pdf.