Bury, Thomas (1655-1722) (DNB00)

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BURY, THOMAS (1655–1722), judge, youngest son of Sir William Bury, knight, of Linwood in Lincolnshire, waa born in 1655, took a bachelor's degree at Lincoln College, Oxford, in February 1667, and in 1668 was entered a student at Gray's Inn. He was called to the bar in 1676, and after some years' practice became a serjeant-at-law in 1700, and on 26 Jan. 1701, when Sir Littelton Powys was removed to the king's bench, he was created a baron of the exchequer. Of this his epitaph says that he 'by his Great Application to the Study of the Law, raised himself to one of the highest Degrees in that Profession,' but Mr, Speaker Onslow, in his notes to Bishop Burnet's 'History,' affirms 'that it appeared from Bury's book of accounts (a most unlikely place for such a revelation) that he gave Lord-keeper Wright a bribe of 1,000l. for elevating him to the bench. For fifteen years he continued to discharge the duties of a puisne judge. In 1704, when corrupt practices had extensively prevailed at the Aylesbury election, the whigs, who were then defeated, knowing that proceeding by a petition to the House of Commons would be useless, caused actions to be brought in the queen's bench by some of the electors against the returning officers. One of these actions, the leading case of Ashby v. White, after judgment for the defendants in the queen's bench, from which Lord Chief Justice Holt dissented, was taken to the House of Lords upon a writ of error, and the judges were summoned to advise the house. Of these judges Bury was one, and his opinion was given in support of that of the lord chief justice in the court below; and Lord Somers being of the same opinion, the decision of the queen's bench was reversed bv fifty to sixteen. On 20 and 22 April 1710 he, with Chief-justice Parker and Mr. Justice Tracy, at the Old Bailey, tried one Damary for riot and being ringleader of a mob. There is a letter of his (25 June 1713) preserved among the treasury papers to the lord high treasurer, about offering a reward for the apprehension of one Robert Mann. On the death of Sir Samuel Dodd, Bury was raised by King George I to be chief baron of the exchequer 10 June 1716. He died on 4 May 1722, suddenly, having been engaged in the discharge of his judicial duties until within a few hours of his death; and was buried, with a handsome tomb, in the parish church of Grantham, Lincolnshire. He left no issue, and his estates at Irby, near Wainfleet, passed to his grandnephew, William Bury, of Lyndwood Grange, Lincolnshire. There is a portrait of him, engraved in mezzotint by J. Smith, after a picture by J. Richardson dated 1720 (Noble, Granger, iii. 198).

[Foss's Lives of the Judges; Campbell's Lives of the Chief Justices, ii. 160; Patents, William III, p. 5; Burnet, v. 219 note; Luttrell, 6, 572, 573; Wotton's Baronetage, iv. 99; Epitaph Grantham church; Turnor's Grantham, 18; Collins's English Baronetage, iv. 99; Cal. Treas. Papers, 1708–14; Redington, p. 492; Catalogue Oxford Graduates.]

J. A. H.