Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Thomas Thoroton (1723-1794)


Thomas Thoroton was the only surviving son of Robert Thoroton . In 1751, the year he inherited the Screveton estate, Thomas married Roosilia Drake, illegitimate daughter of the 3rd Duke of Rutland by his long-standing mistress Elizabeth Drake. Thomas worked as agent and secretary to the 3rd Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle. He was M.P. for Boroughbridge from 1757 to 1761 and Newark from 1761 to 1768, through the patronage of the Earl of Lincoln (later 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne ). The patronage of Lord Granby, son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland, secured him the seat of Bramber from 1768-1780. He was Secretary to the Board of Ordnance from 1763-1770, under Granby as Master-General.

The Thoroton family lived primarily with the Duke of Rutland's family at Belvoir Castle or Rutland Gate in London, and the fortunes of many of Thomas and Roosilia's children were bound up with the Manners family. Their second son John (1758-1820), a clergyman, was the chaplain at Belvoir Castle and rector of Bottesford. Their third son Robert (b 1761) was private secretary to the 4th Duke of Rutland, and clerk of the Irish House of Commons. Their daughter Mary (1755-1832) eloped in 1778 with Charles Manners-Sutton (1755-1828), a grandson of the 3rd Duke, who became rector of Screveton following his ordination in 1780, and later became Archbishop of Canterbury. Their daughter Roosilia also married a grandson of the 3rd Duke, and John married a granddaughter.

In 1789 Thomas sold his estates at Alfreton and Swanwick, Derbyshire, and used the money to fund the purchase of Flintham House and land at Flintham, Nottinghamshire, close to Screveton. 


Thomas Thoroton married Roosilia Drake (1736-1823) in 1751, and had: 

  • Roosilia Thoroton (1752-), married her cousin Captain Evelyn Sutton of Screveton, illegitimate son of Lord Robert Manners-Sutton, son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland, and had:
    • Admiral Sir Charles Sutton (1775-1828) 
    • Roosilia Elizabeth Sutton (-1835) 
    • Isabella Mary Sutton (-1836) 
    • 2 other children 
  • Mary Thoroton (1755-1832), married her cousin Charles Manners-Sutton, later Archbishop of Canterbury (1755-1828), in 1778, and had:
    • Charles Manners-Sutton, 1st Viscount Canterbury (1780-1845) 
    • Lt-Col Francis Manners-Sutton (1783-1925) 
    • 10 daughters 
  • Sir John Thoroton (1758-1820), chaplain to the Duke of Rutland and rector of Bottesford 1782-1820, married his cousin Elizabeth Manners, daughter of Captain Edward Manners, illegitimate son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland by Elizabeth Drake, and had 2 daughters
  • Catherine Frances Thoroton (1759-), married Francis Dawson in 1787 and had:
    • Francis Dawson, rector of Chislehurst, Kent 
  • Robert Thoroton (1761-1797), private secretary to the 4th Duke of Rutland, and clerk of the Irish House of Commons. Unmarried 
  • Rev. Peter Thoroton (1763-1817), rector of Screveton 1788-1801, rector of Ashby with Oby and Thirne 1800-1803, rector of Colwick and West Bridgford 1803-1817. Unmarried 
  • Charlotte Thoroton (1764-). Unmarried 
  • Levett Thoroton (1766-). Died in childhood 
  • Edward Thoroton (1769-). Unmarried 
  • Rev. Charles Roos Thoroton (1770-1846), rector of Screveton 1801-1821, rector of Llansantffraid ym Mecham, Montgomeryshire 1817-1846, rector of Bottesford and chaplain at Belvoir Castle 1821-1846. Unmarried 
  • George Thoroton (1774-). Died in infancy 
  • Isabella Mary Thoroton (1775-). Unmarried  

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, estate papers, family wills and settlements, and legal papers, in the Thoroton Hildyard Collection (THF) held by Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham
  • Correspondence with the 2nd Duke of Newcastle and the 3rd Duke of Portland, 1749-1776, in the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection (Ne), and in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection (Pw) , held by Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham: browse records in which Thomas Thoroton is indexed
  • Correspondence with the 2nd Duke of Newcastle, 1760-1766, in the British Library, Manuscript Collections (Add MSS 32911-74 passim)
  • Papers relating to Thomas Thoroton's personal estate, 1794-1827, in the Tallents and Company archive at Nottinghamshire Archives (DD/T/127)

Published Sources

  • Walter E. Manners. ‘Thoroton, Thomas (1723?–1794)’, rev. Martyn J. Powell, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 [available online to subscribers, ]
  • ‘Thoroton, Thomas’, in Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (eds), History of Parliament, The Commons 1754-1790 (London: History of Parliament Trust, 1985) [King's Meadow Campus Ref JN673.H6]
  • Myles Thoroton Hildyard. The Thorotons (privately printed, 1991) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Special Collection Oversize Not 150.V30 THO]  
  • Walter E. Manners.  Some account of the military, political and social life of the Right Hon. John Manners, marquis of Granby (London : Macmillan, 1899) 

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651