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

THOROTON, THOMAS (1723–1784), politician, born in 1723, descended from Thomas, younger brother of Robert Thoroton [q. v.], who on Robert's death without male issue succeeded to the family estates. Thomas was the son of Robert Thoroton of Screveton, by his wife, Mary Blackborne. For a long period he was intimately connected with John Manners, third duke of Rutland, acting as his agent in all his political and private business, and resided at the duke's seat, Belvoir Castle. The Duke of Rutland was politically friendly to Thomas Pelham Holles, first duke of Newcastle [q. v.], and Thoroton was returned to parliament on 4 July 1757 for the Duke of Newcastle's borough of Boroughbridge, and on 27 March 1761 for the town of Newark.

During the seven years' war he maintained a constant correspondence with the duke's son, John Manners, marquis of Granby [q. v.], the great cavalry general. On the appointment of Granby as master-general of the ordnance on 1 July 1763, he made Thoroton official secretary to the board. In 1763 the Duke of Rutland having severed his relations with Newcastle, owing to differences on the question of the peace of Paris, Thoroton withdrew from Newark, and was returned for Bramber in Sussex, as Granby's nominee. He retained his seat until 1782. His connection with the board of ordnance ceased on Granby's death in 1770.

After the death of the third duke of Rutland Thoroton returned to his own residence, Screveton Hall. He had, however, a large share in the management of the English affairs of the fourth duke [see Manners, Charles, fourth Duke of Rutland] while he was lord-lieutenant of Ireland from 1784 to 1787. He displayed great activity during the Gordon riots in 1780, and rescued several victims from the mob. He died at Screveton Hall on 9 May 1794, and was buried in the neighbouring church of St. Wilfred's. Of Thoroton's eight sons, John became rector of Bottesford and chaplain of Belvoir Castle, and was knighted in 1814; and Robert was appointed private secretary to the fourth Duke of Rutland during his viceroyalty of Ireland, and clerk to the Irish parliament. Thoroton's daughter Mary was married to Charles Manners-Sutton (1755–1828) [q. v.], archbishop of Canterbury.

[Part of Thoroton's correspondence with Granby is preserved among the Rutland MSS. at Belvoir Castle (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. v.) See also Manners's Life of John, Marquis of Granby, 1898; Barrington's Personal Sketches; Leslie and Taylor's Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds; Crabbe's Works, Biographical Introduction.]

W. E. M.