TWISDEN, Thomas (1602-83), of Bradbourne House, nr. Maidstone, Kent.

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



c. Nov. 1646
c. Apr. - 2 July 1660

Family and Education

b. 8 June 1602, 2nd s. of Sir William Twysden, 1st Bt. (d.1629), of Roydon Hall, East Peckham by Anne, da. of Sir Moyle Finch, 1st Bt., of Eastwell; bro. of Sir Roger Twysden, 2nd Bt. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1614; I. Temple 1617, called 1626. m. 26 Dec. 1639, Jane, da. of John Thomlinson of York, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da. Kntd. 2 July 1660; cr. Bt. 13 June 1666.

Offices Held

Recorder and town clerk, Maidstone 1642-50; j.p. Kent 1642-?50, Mar. 1660-d.; I. Temple 1646; commr. for militia, Kent Mar. 1660, oyer and terminer, London, Mdx. and Northern circuit July 1660, Norfolk circuit and Wales 1661, Midland circuit 1662, sewers, N. Kent, Havering and Dagenham levels Sept. 1660, assessment, Kent 1661-80.2

Serjeant-at-law 1654-5, j.K.b. 2 July 1660-78.


Twisden, a younger son, was the first to adopt consistently this spelling of the name. A lawyer by profession and brother-in-law of the Cromwellian officer, Matthew Thomlinson, he was installed as recorder of Maidstone when the radicals seized power in 1642, and sat as a recruiter until Pride’s Purge. He built up a flourishing practice during the Interregnum, but was imprisoned for a few days with John Maynard I after appearing for the defence in Coney’s case. He bought Bradbourne House, four miles from Maidstone, in 1656.3

Twisden was returned for Maidstone at the general election of 1660, and during the first two months of the Convention he was moderately active in the Lower House. He was named to nine committees, including those appointed to consider the use of the King’s name for proceedings under the great seal, the bill cancelling grants of offices made since May 1642, and a proviso for the use of Latin in letters patent. He is recorded as speaking once, on 27 June, when he favoured reading the petition of Oliver St. John. Five days later he became a judge, and took part in the trial of the regicides, and later in those of Sir Henry Vane, Bunyan, and Fox. He was no bigot, and condemned the multiplication of ecclesiastical offences. He retired in October 1678, on grounds of health and age, and was awarded a pension of £500. He died on 2 Jan. 1683 and was buried at East Malling.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Basil Duke Henning


This biography is based on J. R. Twisden and C. Dudley Ward, Fam. of Twisden and Twysden.

  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. C181/7/46, 47.
  • 3. Add. 37157, f. 65.
  • 4. Bowman diary, f. 28.