WILLYS, (WILLIS), Sir Thomas 1st Baronet.(1612-1701), Born at Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire baptized 6 Sept. 1612, 1st son of Richard Willis, counsellor at law, of the Inner Temple and Fen Ditton by Jane, daughter. and heiress. of William Henmarsh of Balls Park, Hertfordshire; educated St. John's, Hertford (Mr Frisney); Christ's, Cambridge 1629; Graduated Inn 1631. Married 1633 to Anne (died 20 Oct. 1685) daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Wilde of Mystole, Kent; Created Baronet 15 December. 1641
Willys's ancestors had resided in Cambridgeshire in Elizabethan times, but it was not until the succeeding reign that they had a grant of the crown manor of Fen Ditton, two miles from Cambridge. Unlike his brother Richard, who fought with distinction for the King, Willys took no known part in the Civil War, and held local office throughout the Interregnum, which may have facilitated his brother's notorious betrayal of the Sealed Knot to the Protectorate Government. In 1659 he became the first of the family to sit in Parliament.
Willys expected to be re-elected for the county in 1660, but his refusal to commit himself to an unconditional Restoration led to his defeat. Nevertheless, he was returned for the borough. An inactive Member of the Convention, he made no recorded speeches and was appointed to only five committees, including the committee of elections and privileges, and those to settle the establishment of Dunkirk and to draw up instructions for disbanding the army. Although doubtless in opposition, he was proposed as a knight of the Royal Oak with an income of L1,000 per annum He is unlikely to have stood in 1661, though two years later Samuel Pepys, then just embarked on his career in the Navy Office, thought it worth his while to "confute and disabuse" his allegations of "errors and corruption" in the navy and the "great expense thereof".
Willys stood for Cambridge again as a country candidate at the first general election of 1679. Though he was defeated and his petition never reported, Shaftesbury marked him "honest". As an exclusionist he was removed from the commission of the peace in 1680, and thenceforth seems to have withdrawn from public life. He died on 17 Nov. 1701, aged 89, and was buried at Fen Ditton. His grandson, the sixth and last baronet, sat from 1727 to 1732 as a government supporter.
10 Feb 2004, 12:46 a.m. - William Crosby
Father of Thomas Willis the scientist, founder of neurology, author of the best seller on the brain, see Soul Made Flesh by Carl Zimmer?
10 Feb 2004, 12:52 a.m. - William Crosby
Further notes on from a review at Amazon.com....Soul Made Flesh is the remarkable untold story of a dramatic turning point in history -- the exciting discovery of how the human brain works. In an unprecedented examination of how the secrets of the brain were revealed in seventeenth-century England, award-winning author Carl Zimmer tells an extraordinary tale that unfurls against a deadly backdrop of civil war, plague, and the Great Fire of London. At the beginning of that turbulent century, no one knew how the brain worked or even what it looked like intact. By the century's close, the science of the brain had taken root, helping to overturn many of the most common misconceptions and dominant philosophies about man, God, and the universe. Presiding over the rise of this new scientific paradigm was the founder of modern neurology, Thomas Willis, a fascinating, sympathetic, even heroic figure who stands at the center of an extraordinary group of scientists and philosophers known as the Oxford circle. Chronicled here in vivid detail are their groundbreaking revelations and often gory experiments that first enshrined the brain as the chemical engine of reason, emotion, and madness -- indeed as the very seat of the human soul.
Called "as fine a science essayist as we have" by The New York Times, Zimmer tells the story of this scientific revolution through the lives of a colorful array of alchemists, mystics, utopians, spies, revolutionaries, and kings. He recreates the religious, ethical, and scientific struggles involved in the pioneering autopsies of the brain carried out by Thomas Willis; the discovery of the circulation of blood by William Harvey and his flight from London with his besieged king, Charles I; Ren
9 Feb 2006, 5:06 a.m. - in Aqua Scripto
There be a Thomas Willis that:
The house standing in the earlier 17th century is reputed to have been the birthplace of Thomas Willis (1621–75), who discovered diabetes mellitus and was a founder of the Royal Society.
From: 'Great Bedwyn', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 16: Kinwardstone Hundred (1999), pp. 8-49. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=23037&strquery=Willis. Date accessed: 09 February 2006.
9 Feb 2006, 5:09 a.m. - in Aqua Scripto
For the M.P. see "A Petition of Sir Thomas Willis Baronet, and Roger Pepys Esquire; complaining of undue Practices in the Election of Burgesses to serve in this present Parliament for the Town of Cambridge; was read.
Resolved, &c. That the said Petition be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of Elections and Privileges; to examine the Matter of the said Petition; and report the same, with their Opinions therein, to the House."
From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 9: 29 March 1679', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 9: 1667-1687 (1802), p. 579. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=27738&strquery=Willis. Date accessed: 09 February 2006.
Other refs: in
1 Nov 2011, 2:43 a.m. - Terry Foreman
Thomas Willis (27 January 1621 – 11 November 1675) was an English doctor who played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. He was a founding member of the Royal Society.
12 Dec 2015, 2:04 a.m. - Bill
Sir Thomas Willis possessed some property at Ditton, in Cambridgeshire, where he was buried, in 1705, in his ninety-first year. In 1679, he had been put out of the Commission of the Peace for that county, for concurring with the Fanatic party in opposing the Court.—Cole's MSS.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.