Thomas Gorges, MP, Colonial Governor of Maine

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Col. Thomas Gorges, MP, Colonial Governor of Maine

Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Batcombe, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Death: October 21, 1670 (48-56)
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Gorges and Barbara Baynard
Husband of Mary Gorges and Rose Alexander
Father of Henry Gorges; Thomas Gorges; Ferdinando Gorges; Susan Gorges; Alexander Gorges and 1 other
Brother of Ferdinando Gorges; Governor Col. John Gorges and Reverend Robert Gorges

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About Thomas Gorges, MP, Colonial Governor of Maine

Family and Education b. c.1618, 1st s. of Henry Gorges of Batcombe by Barbara, da. of Thomas Baynard of Colerne, Wilts.; bro. of John Gorges. educ. L. Inn 1638, called 1647. m. (1) Mary, da. of Martin Sanford of Nynehead Court, Som., 3s. 1da.; (2) 23 Mar. 1658, Rose (d. 14 Apr. 1671), da. and coh. of Sir Jerome Alexander, j.c.p. [I], of Dublin, wid. of Roger Mallock of Cockington, Devon, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. c.1649.1

Offices Held

Dep. gov. Maine 1640-3; commr. for assessment, Som. 1649-52, Devon and Som. 1657, Som. Jan. 1660; j.p. Som. 1649-53, 1656-July 1660, Devon 1657-July 1660; lt.-col. of militia horse, Som. 1650, commr. for scandalous ministers 1654; recorder, Taunton by 1655-?62; commr. for militia, Som. Mar. 1660.2

Commr. for fraudulent debentures 1656-8.3

Biography Gorges was the eldest of four forceful brothers from an obscure cadet branch of the family. His father played no part in the Civil War, but he himself interrupted his law studies at the behest of his distant cousin Sir Ferdinando Gorges to serve as deputy governor of Maine. He returned to England after a few years and became recorder of Taunton, which he represented throughout the Protectorate. A Presbyterian and a Cromwellian, especially after his brother Robert became secretary to Henry Cromwell in Ireland, Gorges was re-elected in 1660, and included by Lord Wharton among his friends. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named only to the committee of elections and privileges, and those to consider the bill to confirm land purchases and to inquire into the fraudulent conversion of public funds. He was given leave to go into the country on 20 June, and probably received a hint from his cousin Sir Edward Hyde not to return. He settled on his wife’s property near Exeter, and lost his recordership when the Taunton corporation was dissolved by the commissioners. He died on 21 Oct. 1670, lamenting few and ‘evil have been my days’, and was buried at Heavitree. His direct descendants emigrated or fell into obscurity, though his nephew Henry was returned for Herefordshire in 1698.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690 Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy Notes 1. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 41; Som. Wills, vi. 57; R. Gorges, Gorges Fam. 197; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 547. 2. Province and Court Recs. of Maine (Maine Hist. Soc. i), 36-41; CSP Dom. 1649-50, p. 521; 1655-6, p. 33. 3. CSP Dom. 1656-7, p. 15; 1658-9, p. 3. 4. Gorges, 183-99; D. Underdown, Som. in the Civil War, 172-3; B. F. Cresswell, Churches of Exeter, 38.

Thomas Gorges (1618 – 17 October 1670) was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1654 and 1660. He was a colonial governor of the Province of Maine from 1640 to 1643 and served as an officer in the Parliamentary Army during the English Civil War.

Early life

Gorges was born in 1618 to Henry Gorges of Batcombe, Somerset and his wife Barbara Baynard, daughter of Thomas Baynard of Colerne, Wiltshire. He was a student of Lincoln's Inn in 1638.

Deputy governor of Maine

In 1640 Gorges was selected by his distant cousin, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, to be deputy governor of the Province of Maine in New England. The province was at the time a small number of sparsely populated communities in present-day southern Maine. Thomas was a Puritan, and established friendly relations with the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony, whose governor John Winthrop described him as "sober and well-disposed". Gorges was responsible for establishing a stable government in Maine, something his relative William had been unable to do a few years earlier. Gorges' success at governance was somewhat short-lived. He departed the province in 1643 to fight in the English Civil War, and the province was eventually absorbed in to Massachusetts, which also made territorial claims to the area.

Legal and parliamentary career

Upon his return to England, Gorges supported the Parliamentary cause. He resumed his law study and was called to the bar in 1649. He succeeded his father in 1649 and became a justice of the peace in the same year. In 1650, he was a lieutenant colonel the Somerset cavalry. He was elected Member of Parliament for Taunton in 1654 for the First Protectorate Parliament. He was responsible for raising funds and materials in Somerset to support Cromwell's war with Spain. By 1655 he was recorder of Taunton. In 1656 he was re-elected MP for Taunton in the Second Protectorate Parliament and was returned again in 1659 for the Third Protectorate Parliament. He was elected MP for Taunton again in 1660 for the Convention Parliament. He was deprived of his recordership in 1662 when the commissioners dissolved Taunton corporation.

Gorges died at home in Heavitree, Exeter at the age of about 52, complaining few and "evil have been my days". He was buried in the local church.


Gorges was twice married. He married firstly Mary Sanford, daughter of Martin Sanford of Nynehead Court, Somerset and had three sons and a daughter. He married secondly on 23 March 1658, Rose Mallock widow of Roger Mallock of Cockington, Devond and daughter of Sir Jerome Alexander, Justice of Common Pleas of Dublin and had a son and daughter. She died on 14 April 1671.

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Thomas Gorges, MP, Colonial Governor of Maine's Timeline

Batcombe, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Age 32
Age 42
October 21, 1670
Age 52