Thomas Cheek

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Sir Thomas Cheek, Cheeke or Cheke (died March 1659) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in every parliament between 1614 and 1653.[1]


Cheek was the son of Henry Cheke and his wife Frances Radclyffe (daughter of Sir Humphrey Radclyffe of Elstow and sister of Edward Radclyffe, 6th Earl of Sussex), and grandson of Sir John Cheke, royal preceptor and classical scholar. He was educated at St Peter's School, York where his school fellows included Thomas Morton, afterwards Bishop of Durham, and Guy Fawkes. He lost his father while a minor: he wrote a Greek letter and Latin verses to the Lord Treasurer in 1586 in which he called himself an orphan, and spoke of his father being gone to the joys of heaven. In it he prays his Lordship, that as he was always a help and a sanctuary unto his father, so he would be to him.[2] Cheek was knighted by King James I on 11 May 1603.[3]

In 1614, Cheek was elected Member of Parliament for Newport, and was elected MP for Harwich Harwich in 1621. In 1624 he was elected MP for both Bere Alston and Essex, and chose to sit for Essex. He was MP for Bere Alston again in 1625 and was elected MP for Maldon in 1626. In 1628 he was elected MP for Colchester where he sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years.[4] He was awarded MA from Cambridge University in 1629.[5]

Cheek was elected MP for Harwich in April 1640 for the Short Parliament and was re-elected for Harwich again in the Long Parliament in November 1640.[4] He survived at least until Pride's Purge.[6]

Cheek purchased Pirgo Park in Havering, Essex from the Grey family. He died at "a great age", and was buried on 25 March 1659 in St Alban, Wood Street in the north chapel near his grandfather Sir John Cheke.[7]


The Cheeke girls, Essex and Anne, painted by van Dyck

Thomas Cheek's first wife was Katharine, a daughter of Peter Osborne and his wife Anne Blyth. Osborne was a very loyal friend of Cheek's grandfather, and had given him a home in his last months following his release from the Tower of London in 1556. Anne Osborne was the daughter of John Blyth, first Regius Professor of Physick in the University of Cambridge (1540), who had married Sir John Cheke's sister. Thomas Cheek therefore married his own second cousin: they were married for nearly twenty years, and had a son Anthony in Virginia [citation needed].

Katharine Cheek died on 11 February 1615 of sepsis or gangrene after being bled by the queen's surgeon for a minor complaint.[8][9]

He married secondly Lady Essex Rich, third daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick. They had three sons and six daughters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A. Thrush, 'Cheke, Sir Thomas (1570-1659), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster and Pyrgo, Havering, Essex', in A. Thrush and J.P. Ferris (eds), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629 (from Cambridge University Press, 2010), History of Parliament Online.
  2. ^ J. Strype, The life of the learned Sir John Cheke, kt., first Instructer [sic], afterwards Secretary of State, to King Edward VI (John Wyat, London 1705), p. 189.
  3. ^ Knights of England
  4. ^ a b Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 229–239.
  5. ^ "Cheeke, Thomas (CHK629T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ The parliamentary or constitutional history of England;: being a faithful account of all the most remarkable transactions in Parliament, from the earliest times. Collected from the journals of both Houses, the records, ..., Volume 9 p27
  7. ^ Strype, Life of the learned Sir John Cheke, pp. 189-191].
  8. ^ Elizabeth McClure Thomson, The Chamberlain Letters (London, 1966), p. 131.
  9. ^ John Nichols, Progresses of James the First, vol. 3 (London, 1828), p. 39.
  10. ^ Tate Gallery - Two Ladies of the Lake Family circa 1660 by Sir Peter Lely.
  11. ^ Strype, Life of the Learned Sir John Cheke, p. 190.
  12. ^ H.W. Forsyth Harwood, 'Ingram, Viscount Irvine', in J. Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage: Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland (David Douglas, Edinburgh 1908), V (1908), pp. 9-20, at p. 13.
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Newport
With: Thomas Trevor
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Harwich
With: Edward Grimston
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
With: Thomas Jermyn jun.
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Essex
With: Sir Francis Barrington, 1st Baronet
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
With: William Strode
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Maldon
With: Sir William Masham, 1st Baronet
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Colchester
With: Edward Alford
Parliament suspended until 1640
Parliament suspended since 1629 Member of Parliament for Harwich
With: Sir John Jacob, 1st Baronet 1640
Sir Harbottle Grimston, 1st Baronet 1640–1647
Capel Luckyn 1647–1648
Not represented in Barebones Parliament