Chicheley, Thomas (DNB00)

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CHICHELEY, Sir THOMAS (1618–1694), master-general of the ordnance, sixth in direct descent from Henry Chicheley, who took up his residence at Wimple or Wimpole in Cambridgeshire, was eighth in descent from William Chichele, sheriff of London, a younger brother of Henry Chichele [q. v.], archbishop of Canterbury and founder of All Souls College, Oxford. The family was one of the wealthiest in Cambridgeshire, and many of its members served the office of high sheriff, while Wimple was one of the finest seats in the eastern counties. Thomas Chicheley was high sheriff in 1637, and was elected M.P. for Cambridgeshire in 1640 to the Long parliament, but as a zealous royalist who fought for the king he was disabled from sitting in 1642. He was severely punished as a malignant in the time of the Commonwealth, and had to compound for his estate of Wimple by a heavy payment. After the Restoration he was, however, restored to favour, and was elected M.P. for Cambridgeshire again in 1661, when he showed himself once more to be a faithful royalist. He was further made one of the commissioners for administering the office of master-general of the ordnance, with John, lord Berkeley of Stratton, and Sir John Duncombe, in 1664. On 10 June 1670 he was knighted, sworn of the privy council and maae master-general of the ordnance, but resigned that post in 1674, when he was succeeded, by the king's special license, by his elder son. Sir John Chicheley, knight. According to Pepys (see esp. Diary, ed. Lord Braybrooke, iii. 398), Sir Thomas Chicheley lived in great style in Queen Street, Covent Garden, and it was probably owing to his extravagance that he was obliged to sell the old family estate of Wimple to Sir John Cutler in 1686. He sat again, however, in parliament for the borough of Cambridge in 1678, 1679, 1685, and 1689, and died in 1694, at the age of seventy-six.

[Stemmata Chicheleiana; Pepys's Diary; Lysons's Cambridgeshire. In Mrs. Green's Calendar of State Papers for the reign of Charles II there are many documents signed by Chicheley relating to his position at the ordnance office.]

H. M. S.