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Thomas Foley
Witley Court, Worcestershire
Born(1617-12-03)3 December 1617[1]
Died1 October 1677(1677-10-01) (aged 59)
Occupation(s)Ironmaster and politician

Thomas Foley (1617–1677) was an English ironmaster and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1677.


Foley was the eldest son of Richard Foley and his second wife Alice Brindley, herself the daughter of Sir William Brindley of Willenhall. His father was a prominent Midlands ironmaster of Stourbridge. Foley took over his father's business and made great profits from it in the 1650s and 1660s, which he used to buy estates. He was appointed High Sheriff of Worcestershire for 1656–57.[2]

In 1659 he was elected Member of Parliament for Worcestershire in the Third Protectorate Parliament. He was elected MP for Bewdley in 1660 for the Convention Parliament. In 1673 he was elected MP for Bewdley in a by-election to the Cavalier Parliament.[3]

Foley built Witley Court. In the late 1660s, he founded a bluecoat school at Stourbridge known as Old Swinford Hospital, which he endowed in his will.

Foley married Anne Browne, daughter of John Browne. They had four sons and two daughters:

He handed his business over to his sons.


  1. ^ Mosley, Charles (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Vol. 1. Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 1448.
  2. ^ Sachse, William. Lord Somers: A Political Portrait. p. 4.
  3. ^ History of Parliament Online - Foley, Thomas

4 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

from L&M Companion
Thomas Foley (1617-77), elder son of Richard Foley, who had founded a manufacturing dynasy in Worcestershire in the early part of the century, was said by the Puritan moralist Richard Baxter (also from Worcestershire) to have got £5000 p.a. by fair dealing. Thomas's grandchildren moved into a different world, his grandson Thomas becoming 1st Baron Foley in 1712, and two of his granddaughters marrying the politicians Robert and Edward Harley.

Brother of Robert Foley…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

After the Restoration, Robert Foley Snr. became the chief supplier of ironmongery to the navy and receiver-general of aids in Worcestershire.
So Pepys might have met him, but definitely knew of him.

By 1674 Foley's financial affairs were in considerable disorder, partly because the Government had failed to pay his bills.

His son's Parliamentary bio volunteers this background material:

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Whitley Court was closely associated with the Foley family for nearly two centuries, and their wealth was based on the iron industry.

When Thomas Foley bought the Witley estate in 1655, Witley Court was a notable Jacobean mansion that had grown out of a medieval manor house. Follies, who began producing nails – gradually abandoned the industrial base they had enriched and turned their attention to becoming aristocrats and politicians.

The 1st Baron Foley (1673–1733) enlarged the house considerably and added wings on either side.

It was beautiful ... pictures at…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.