SERGISON, Thomas (1701-66), of Cuckfield Place, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Feb. 1701, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Warden of Cuckfield, mercer, by Prudence, da. and h. of Michael Sergison, niece of Charles Sergison, M.P., of Cuckfield Place. m. (settlement 19, 20 Apr. 1732) Mary, da. of William Pitt, 3da. suc. fa. 1718; gt.-uncle, Charles Sergison, to Cuckfield estate, taking the name of Sergison.
In 1732 Thomas Warden inherited a large estate in Sussex, including a good deal of house property at Lewes, from his great-uncle, Charles Sergison, whose name he assumed. Next year ‘the Tory gentlemen’ of the neighbourhood set him up for Lewes1 in opposition to the Duke of Newcastle’s candidates. Narrowly defeated in 1734, he stood again unsuccessfully in 1741 and once more at a by-election in 1743 when, after much vacillation, he allowed his supporters to put him up, only to withdraw before the poll. Sergison, Newcastle’s agent, reported on the last occasion,
by his unaccountable proceedings in this affair has riveted your Grace’s interest, and done more service than his friendship would have done, for though the natural interest he has [in Lewes] from property is considerable and his estate in the county makes it there so, yet such is the disposition, irresolution, and closeness of the man, that with as many hundreds as he has thousands per year, without vanity I would engage to bring more votes to a county election.
Still, when sounded by Sergison in 1746 with a view to an agreement, Newcastle’s agent was strongly in favour of coming to terms. Newcastle at first took the line that if he brought Sergison in for Lewes it would look as if he had been ‘forced’; tried to induce him to accept instead a seat at one of his Yorkshire boroughs; and asked for ‘a declaration how he would vote in the House’. To this Sergison replied that he would ‘only accept of being chose for the county or Lewes’, pointing out that since he admittedly could not be returned there without Newcastle’s consent ‘whilst you are in power,... no one of common sense could say you was forced’. As to a declaration, he said that he
should never declare beforehand how he should vote and chose to do more than he engaged for rather than engage for more than he should do, but could say this with great truth, that if he went into the House prejudiced any way it would be in your favour ... and that he thought [he] could be able to do you more service by sometimes voting against than always with you.
From this position he would not budge and in the end Newcastle accepted him on his own terms.2
For the rest of Sergison’s life he sat for Lewes without opposition as Newcastle’s candidate. In 1751 he was included in a private whip sent by Newcastle to his parliamentary followers in the House. He seems to have asked for no favours for himself but to have looked after his relations.3 Politically, he was as good as his word, adhering to Newcastle till his own death on 13 Dec. 1766.