Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Street, Thomas

STREET, Sir THOMAS (1626–1696), judge, son of George Street of Worcester, born in 1626, matriculated at Oxford, from Lincoln College, on 22 April 1642, but left the university without a degree in February 1644–5. He was admitted on 22 Nov. 1646 a student at the Inner Temple, where he was called to the bar on 24 Nov. 1653, and elected a bencher on 7 Nov. 1669. Returned to parliament for Worcester on 18 Jan. 1658–9, he kept the seat, notwithstanding an attempt to exclude him on the ground that he had borne arms for the king and used profane language; and he continued to represent the same constituency until the general election of February 1680–1. He was subsecretary to the dean and chapter of Worcester Cathedral from 1661 to 1687, was appointed one of their counsel in 1663, and elected prætor of the city in 1667. In 1677 he was appointed justice for South Wales (February), and called to the degree of serjeant-at-law (23 Oct.); on 23 Oct. of the following year he was advanced to the rank of king's serjeant; on 23 April 1681 he was raised to the exchequer bench, and on 8 June following he was knighted at Whitehall. The same year, at the Derby assizes, he passed sentence of death as for high treason on George Busby, a catholic priest convicted of saying mass, but reprieved him by order of the king. In 1683 he sat with Sir Francis Pemberton [q. v.] at the Old Bailey on the trial of the Rye-house conspirators. On 29 Nov. 1684 he was removed to the common pleas. His patent was renewed on the accession of James II, who suffered him to retain his place notwithstanding his judgment against the dispensing power in the case of Godden v. Hales. Sir John Bramston (Autobiogr. Camden Soc. p. 224) insinuates—what became the general belief—that his judgment was inspired by the king with the view of giving an air of independence to that of the majority.

On the accession of William III Street was ignored, and retired to his house at Worcester, where he died on 8 March 1695–6. His remains were interred in the south cloister of Worcester Cathedral, in the north transept of which is a monument by Joseph Wilton [q. v.] By his wife Penelope, daughter of Sir Rowland Berkeley of Cotheridge, Worcestershire, he left an only daughter.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Inner Temple Books; Nash's Worcestershire, Introd. p. xxx, vol. ii. App. p. clvi; Green's Worcester, i. 160, ii. 37, App. p. xxviii; Burton's Diary, iii. 70, 253, 425; Granger's Biogr. Hist. of England, iv. 314; Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc.); Sir Thomas Raymond's Rep. pp. 238, 431; Wynne's Serjeant-at-Law; Official Returns of Members of Parliament; Cobbett's State Trials, viii. 526, ix. 536, 593, xi. 1198; Keble's Rep. iii. 806; Cal. State Papers, 1659–60 p. 121, 1660–1 pp. 47, 64, 144; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, i. 77, 318, 382, 386; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iii. 27; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. p. 53; 11th Rep. App. ii. 83, 291, vii. 9; Britton's Hist. and Antiq. of the Cathedral Church of Worcester, App. p. 94; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.