TOLHURST, Jeremiah (1615-71), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.

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

bap. 3 Nov. 1615, o.s. of Jeremy Tolherst, yeoman, of Icklesham, Suss. by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Paul Wymond, attorney, of Winchelsea, Suss. m. (1) lic. 25 Sept. 1636, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Soule, tailor, of Rye, Suss., 1da.; (2) by 1661, 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1623.1

Offices Held

Lt. of ft. (parliamentary) to 1644, capt. 1644-9, maj. 1649-58, capt. 1658-Dec. 1660; dep. gov. of Carlisle 1655-Mar. 1660; gov. of Newcastle Mar.-Dec. 1660; maj. Sayer's Ft. 1667.2

Freeman, Dumfries by 1654, Newcastle 1655, member of hostmen's co. 1655; commr. for sequestrations, Cumb. and Westmld. 1655, security 1655-6; j.p. Cumb. 1656-61, Northumb. 1657-July 1660; jt.-farmer of excise, Northumb. Cumb. and Westmld. 1657-8; commr. for assessment, Dumfries 1657, Dumfries and Northumb. Jan. 1660, Northumb. Aug. 1600-61, militia, Northumb. 1659, Cumb. and Northumb. Mar. 1660; sub-commr. of excise, Cumb. and Westmld. 1661-2; customs official, Newcastle by 1664-at least 1669.3


Under his father's will Tolhurst was to receive at least £100 when he came of age. Through his mother he was connected with the leading families in the Cinque Ports, and his first wife brought him three houses in Rye as her inheritance. A tailor by trade, he served in a Kentish regiment during the Civil War before transferring to the New Model Army. After defending the regimental pay-chest in a Leveller mutiny, he came into the north as a follower of Sir Arthur Hesilrige. He acquired interests in coal and salt, and helped to supply Cromwell's army during the Scottish campaign. But his daughter married the son of a Cumbrian Cavalier, and Tolhurst himself came increasingly under suspicion. As deputy to Charles Howard* at Carlisle he wrote to George Monck* after the return of the secluded Members:

I shall be very vigilant to secure this garrison and the country for the service of the present Parliament, for whom I first took up arms, and I shall send a list of the officers of these companies for whose fidelity I dare engage. All men in these parts, except Anabaptists, Independents, and Quakers, are well pleased, and I believe you will find that party adverse everywhere. I am sorry to say so, for I bear respect to some of them.

On his promotion to Newcastle he was described as one 'not enamoured' of the republican form of government.4

Tolhurst was returned for Carlisle at the general election of 1660, doubtless on Howard's interest, and marked as a friend on Lord Wharton's list. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was appointed to only four committees, those to consider duties payable to foreign ships, the navigation bill, the observance of the Lord's day, and the establishment of Dunkirk. His only speech, in defence of Hesilige on 24 Aug., did him no harm, for a few days later he obtained an order to reimburse him out of the excise for £100 spent on the Newcastle garrison.5

Tolhurst did not stand again and resumed his business interests on Tyneside. After a brief spell as excise commissioner in Cumberland and Westmorland he was given a post in the customs, which brought him into conflict with Lord Townshend (Sir Horatio Townshend*) over the fraudlent measurement of coal imports. On behalf of the Newcastle hostmen he submitted a memorandum to the commission for balancing trade with Scotland in 1668. After clearing his excise account at the Exchequer, over which there had been prolonged difficulties, he emigrated to the West Indies. Lord Ashley (Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper*) wrote to him in July 1671:

Had I known of your intentions of going to America before you left England, I should have proposed an employment in a country like to afford you greater advantages. ... To carry out so promising a beginning I know no man fitter than yourself, nor to whose care I could with more confidence commit the management of those people.

Tolhurst died intestate in Jamaica three months later. He was the only member of his family to enter Parliament, and nothing further is known of his descendants.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. E. Suss. RO, Icklesham bishops' transcripts; Lewes archdeaconry wills, B4/37; B5/127; Mar. Lic. (Suss. Rec. Soc. i), 79, 232; PCC 81 Parker; Vis. Cumb. and Westmld. ed. Foster, 122; Royalist Comps. (Surtees Soc. ci), 288.
  • 2. Thurloe, iii. 300; vii. 861.
  • 3. Old Parl. Hist. xx. 307; Reg. of Freemen (Newcastle Recs. iii), 72; Hostmen's Co. (Surtees Soc. cv), 270; Thurloe, iii. 562; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 178, 344, 467, 473; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 649.
  • 4. Royalist Comps. 287-8; CSP Dom. 1653-4, pp. 117-18; 1667-8, p. 511; Cal. Cl. SP, iii. 206; HMC Popham, 168; Thurloe, vii. 861.
  • 5. Old Parl. Hist. xxii. 444.
  • 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 398; iii. 66; Hostmen's Co. 133; CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 247; L. F. Brown, Shaftesbury, 165; CSP Col. 1669-74, p. 264.