ARUNDELL, Thomas (1633-1712)

ARUNDELL, Thomas (1633–1712)

suc. fa. 28 Dec. 1694 as 4th Bar. ARUNDELL OF WARDOUR.

Never sat.

b. 1633, son of Henry Arundell, 3rd Bar. Arundell of Wardour and Cicely, da. of Sir Henry Compton of Brambletye, Suss., wid. of Sir John Fermor of Somerton, Oxon. educ. unknown. m. c.1659 Margaret (d. 23 Dec. 1704), da. of Thomas Spencer of Ufton, Warws., wid. of Robert Lucy of Charlecote, Warws., 3s. (1 d.v.p). 1 d. 10 Feb. 1712.

Associated with: Breamore, Hants and Old Wardour, Wilts.

Like his father, Thomas Arundell, 4th Baron Arundell was a committed Catholic. Barred from the House of Lords by the Test Acts, he was widely believed to be a Jacobite sympathizer and was constantly under suspicion. Uncertainty about his loyalties was reinforced by memories of his father’s long public career and by the knowledge that his aunt had taken the veil. The events of the Revolution of 1688 brought even higher levels of suspicion. When he was arrested in January 1689 he was described as ‘a very active papist’, and for Roger Morrice, at least, his subsequent discharge raised worries about Catholic subversion even in the new government.2 Arundell’s continued involvement in the Catholic community reinforced this distrust still further, especially after one of his younger sons died at the battle of the Boyne fighting for James II.3 He received a substantial legacy from Cardinal Howard in 1694 and was again arrested in March 1696 in the aftermath of the Assassination Plot.4 Ten years later a visit from Lady Powis (wife of William Herbert, 2nd marquess of Powis), during a trip in which she allegedly made her way ‘cross the country from one papist’s house to another in a coach and six horses’, aroused fears that that all were involved in a conspiracy to promote a French attack.5 The paucity of the family papers for this period makes it difficult to be sure how justified such suspicions were, though the survival of a copy of the confession of Sir John Fenwick, and a report of the debate over his attainder in December 1696 suggests rather more than a passing interest in politics and the fate of at least one Jacobite conspirator.6 Whatever his political and religious loyalties were, Arundell’s surviving ‘cellar book’ shows that he regularly entertained his Protestant neighbours, Sir John Hoby and Sir Giles Long, as well as the Catholic Bishop Gifford, Whig and Tory alike.7 At his death in February 1712 he was succeeded by his son Henry Arundell, 5th Baron Arundell of Wardour.


  • 1 Add. 70244, H. Jeffreys to Speaker Harley, 1 Jan 1705.
  • 2 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 460.
  • 3 Collins, Peerage (1812), vii. 53.
  • 4 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 341; iv. 31.
  • 5 Add. 70223, J. Dewey to R. Harley, 10 June 1706.
  • 6 WSHC, 2667/25/7.
  • 7 Ibid. 2667/12/101.