Rokeby, Thomas (1631?-1699) (DNB00)

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ROKEBY, Sir THOMAS (1631?–1699), judge, second son of Thomas Rokeby of Burnby in the East Riding of Yorkshire, a Cromwellian officer, who fell at the battle of Dunbar on 3 Sept. 1650, by Elizabeth, daughter of Robert, and sister of Sir William Bury of Grantham, Lincolnshire, was born about 1631. His father, Thomas Rokeby, was eldest son of William Rokeby of Hotham in the East Riding, by his cousin Dorothy, daughter of William Rokeby of Skiers, and niece of Ralph Rokeby (d. 1595) [see under Rokeby, Ralph, (1527?–1596)]. Thomas Rokeby, the future judge, was admitted on 20 June 1646 a pensioner at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, where he matriculated in the following month, graduated B.A. in January 1649–50, and at Christmas following was elected to a fellowship at his college, which, however, he resigned in Michaelmas 1651. He had meanwhile, 17 May 1650, been admitted a student at Gray's Inn, where in June 1657 he was called to the bar, and in 1676 elected ancient. A strong presbyterian, and possessed of large estate and influence at York, he exerted himself on behalf of the Prince of Orange in November 1688, and on the change of dynasty was rewarded with a puisne judgeship in the common pleas, 8 May 1689, having received the degree of serjeant-at-law four days before. He was knighted at Whitehall on 31 Oct. following, and was removed on 28 Oct. 1695 to the king's bench. He was a member of the commissions which tried, 23–4 March 1695–6, Sir John Friend [q. v.] and Sir William Parkyns [q. v.] He died on 26 Nov. 1699 at his rooms in Serjeant's Inn. His remains were interred on 8 Dec. in the memorial chapel of his ancestor, William Rokeby [q. v.], archbishop of Dublin, in the church at Sandal, near Doncaster. His wife, Ursula, daughter of James Danby of New Building, Thirsk, survived him, and died on 10 Aug. 1737.

Rokeby was a competent judge, and a man of profound piety, as abundantly appears from his ‘Diary,’ edited with a memoir by Raine, in Surtees Society's Publications, vol. xxxvii. His portrait was painted by G. Schalken.

[Diary and Memoir above mentioned; Foster's Gray's Inn Adm. Reg.; Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs, i. 529, iii. 543, iv. 587; Howell's State Trials, xiii. 1, 63, 451; Le Neve's Pedigrees (Harl. Soc.); Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees and Familiæ Minorum Gentium (Harl. Soc.).]

J. M. R.