THURBARNE, James (c.1607-88), of Sandwich, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1607, 2nd s. of James Thurbarne (d.1627), counsellor at law, of New Romney, Kent and Gray’s Inn by Mary, da. of Giles Estcourt of Salisbury, Wilts. m. (1) 12 May 1635, aged 28, Ellen, wid. of John Jacob of Sandwich, 2s. 1da.; (2) 18 Nov. 1658, Bennet Forster, wid., s.p.2

Offices Held

Jurat, Sandwich by 1642-Nov. 1660, Dec. 1660-2, 1667-84, town clerk 1642-62, 1667-84, mayor 1665-6; warden of St. Thomas’s hosp. Sandwich 1658-83; member of county committee, Kent 1659; commr. for assessment, Kent Aug. 1660-1, 1665-80, Sandwich Aug. 1660-3, 1666-9, 1677-80.3


Thurbarne may have been descended from the family that twice represented Hastings in the 14th century, but the pedigree has not been worked out. His father sat for New Romney in 1597. Thurbarne, a lawyer, was appointed town clerk of Sandwich in place of a Royalist, and, although he was not active in the Civil War and Interregnum, among his duties was the proclamation of ‘Charles Stuart’ as a traitor, an embarrassing memory in later years. He prospered sufficiently to purchase the manor of Wingham Barton and the site of Richborough Castle in 1651, but his exclusion from the 1656 Parliament shows that he was not considered well-disposed to the Protectorate.4

In 1660, despite the efforts of Edward Montagu I on behalf of a kinsman, the corporation of Sandwich ‘concluded upon’ Thurbarne ‘who hath twice already served us, and long given testimony of his fidelity to the corporation’. He was not an active Member, being named to only two unimportant committees in the Convention. On 27 Nov. the King ordered his dismissal as jurat, but the corporation immediately re-elected him. At the general election of 1661 he defeated the courtier Sir John Mennes. It was expected that Mennes would petition, as Thurbarne was ‘not very well liked by many in the House’, but nothing came of it. He was a supporter of the canopy at the coronation, but was ejected as jurat and town clerk by the commissioners for corporations. Thurbarne was again inactive in the Cavalier Parliament. None of his eleven committees was of political importance, though he was twice named to the committee of elections and privileges. On 3 July 1663 he carried up to the Lords the bill naturalizing two French Protestants resident in Canterbury. In 1669 he was alleged to be the leader of a dissenting congregation, and in the following year the Sandwich corporation incurred a fine of £12 for his failure to take action against a conventicle. He was lax in attendance at the House, being listed as a defaulter in 1671, while later Speaker Edward Seymour wrote to the corporation to complain of his continued absence. Nevertheless he was marked ‘doubly worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list.5

Thurbarne stood down in favour of his son John in 1679. After an unfavourable report on both father and son in 1683, they lost office under the new charter. During Monmouth’s invasion his house was searched, and a small supply of arms and ammunition found. He was buried at St. Peter’s, Sandwich on 23 May 1688. His will does not suggest much wealth, though he left bequests to the poor of all three Sandwich parishes.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Excluded.
  • 2. W. Boys, Hist Sandwich, i. 351; Vis. Glos (Harl. Soc. xxi), 56; Canterbury Mar. Lics. ed. Cowper, ii. 985.
  • 3. D. Gardiner, Historic Haven, 252, 256, 269, 289, 290; Kent AO, SA/AC8, ff. 35-237 passim; A. R. Everitt, Community of Kent, 311.
  • 4. Hasted, Kent, ix. 207, 218; CSP Dom. 1648-9, pp. 72, 73; 1683-4, p. 155; Bodl. Carte 73, f. 393; Kent AO, SA/AC8, ff. 148, 152; C/N1, ff. 165, 174.
  • 5. Gardiner, 289; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 241; G. L. Turner, Orig. Recs. Nonconformity, i. 14; Kent AO, SA/AC8, f. 253.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1683-4, p. 155; PCC 117 Dyke; Boys, i. 351.