Thomas Bambridge

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A painting of six men wearing white wigs, and dressed elegantly, seated around a table covered with a green cloth. Eight men, also wearing wigs and dressed in finery, are standing behind the table. One man without a wig, dressed in a rougher style, and with a rough-looking face, stands at the front of the table, addressing the others. Another rough-looking man stands at the back. A black man wearing only a cloth around his waist kneels in front of one of the men wearing a wig. The black man is wearing an iron device around his neck. Another iron device is lying on the floor behind him.
Thomas Bambridge (standing, far left) being questioned by James Oglethorpe (believed to be the figure seated, far left, in front of Bainbridge) of the parliamentary Gaols Committee, which visited the Fleet on 27 February 1729. Sir Archibald Grant (standing third from the right) commissioned this painting from William Hogarth, who sketched it when he accompanied the committee on the visit, later painting it in oil.[1]

Thomas Bambridge (died 1741) was a British attorney who became a notorious warden of the Fleet Prison in London.[2]

Bambridge became warden of the Fleet in 1728. He had paid, with another person, £5000 to John Huggins for the wardenship. He was found guilty of extortion, and, according to a committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into the state of English gaols, arbitrarily and unlawfully loaded with irons, put into dungeons, and destroyed prisoners for debt, treating them in the most barbarous and cruel manner, in violation of the law. He was committed to Newgate Prison, and an act was passed to prevent his enjoying the office of warden.


  1. ^ The prisoner in irons is thought to be the Portuguese Jacob Mendez Solas, the first prisoner to be jailed for debt in the Fleet wearing double irons. See The Gaols Committee of the House of Commons, National Portrait Gallery accessed 13 September 2009.
  2. ^ Hanham, A. A. "Bambridge, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1255. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

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