Pengelly, Sir Thomas

, a learned judge, was born in Moorfields, May 16, 1675, and, as the anonymous author of his life says, was baptised by the name of Thomas son of Thomas Pengelly; but others have supposed that he was a natural son of Richard Cromwell the protector, | For this supposition we find no other foundation than that Cromwell, who lived very privately in the neighbourhood, had known Mr. Pengelly from his youth, afterwards kept up a friendship with him, and died at his seat at Cheshunt, in August 1712. Mr. Pengelly was brought up to the bar, and becoming eminent in his profession, was made a serjeant May 6, 1710; knighted May 1, 1719, and in June following appointed his majesty’s prime Serjeant at law, on the decease of sir Thomas Powis. He sat as member for Cockermouth, in Cumberland, in the parliaments called in 1714 and 1722. He was made chief baron of the exchequer Oct. 16, 1726, on the death of sir Jeffery Gilbert; and his conduct on the bench corresponded with the high reputation he had acquired at the bar. He died of an infectious fever, caught at Taunton assizes, April 14, 1730. He excelled in profound learning, spirit, justice, and generosity, and dared to offend the most powerful, if he thought their conduct reprehensible. He was a florid, yet convincing orator, an excellent judge, a pious Christian, and an accomplished, sprightly companion. By a humane codicil in his will, dated in 1729, he left a considerable part of his fortune to procure the discharge of persons confined for debt, which was accordingly done by his executor Mr. Webb. There is a copy of this will published in his life, but the name of his residuary legatee is for some reason omitted. The anonymous history of Oliver Cromwell, first printed in 1724, has been supposed to have been written by him, but this is doubtful. It has been also attributed to Dr. Gibson, bishop of London. 1


Some private passages of the Life of Sir Thomai Pengelly, 1733, 8vo. Noble’s Supplement to Granger.