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Thomas Street (judge)

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The Honourable Baron

Sir Thomas Street

Baron of the Exchequer
Personal details
Born(1625-03-22)22 March 1625
Middlesex, England
Died8 March 1696(1696-03-08) (aged 70)
Spouse(s)Lady Penelope Berkeley
RelativesBerkeley family
Alma materOxford University

Baron Sir Thomas Street, MP, KB, JP (1625-8 March 1696) was an English judge and politician who was a Baron of the Exchequer and member of the last King's Bench before the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Sir Thomas was the only one of ten presiding judges to rule against King James II's attempt to contravene the Test Act in 1687. He sat in the House of Commons between 1659 and 1679. He became Mayor of Worcester in 1667, as his father George Streete, MP had been before him. He was then made Chief Justice for Brecknock, Glamorgan and Radnor in 1677, serving through to 1681, before being made Baron of the Exchequer in April 1681.


Street was born in Worcester, the son of George Streete, MP who had also been Mayor of Worcester. He matriculated at Lincoln College, Oxford on 22 April 1642 aged 16. He entered Inner Temple in November 1646 and was called to the Bar on 24 November 1653. He was a member of the Oxford Circuit, a judicial jurisdiction.[1]

Political career

In 1659, Street was elected Member of Parliament for Worcester in the Third Protectorate Parliament.[2] Street was re-elected MP for Worcester in 1660 for the Convention Parliament. He was appointed JP for Worcestershire on 10 July 1660. In 1661 he was re-elected MP for Worcester in the Cavalier Parliament and sat until 1679. He was sub-secretary to dean and chapter of Worcester from 1661 to 1687. He was town clerk of Worcester and was Mayor in 1667.[3]

An active member of parliament, Street was appointed to 175 committees, in twelve of which he took the chair, made sixteen recorded speeches, and three times acted as teller.[4] When came Monmouth's Rebellion, the Catholic King James II had dispensed with the Test Act and began filling the military high-command with Catholics. This led to a confrontation with Parliament. The issue took shape as the case of Godden v. Hales (1686), which was to be settled by the King's Bench, of which Sir Thomas was by then a member. Of the 10 judges who composed the King's Bench, Sir Thomas was the only one to decide against the King's power to contravene the Test Act,[4][5] giving rise to his reputation and the Street family motto: "faithful among the faithless †", which would appear on his tomb.[citation needed]

Juridicial career

From 1667 to 1677 he was Puisne judge of great sessions and ex officio JP for Brecknock, Glamorgan and Radnor. He became a Bencher of his Inn on 7 November 1669 but was fined £100 for refusing to come up to the bench when called. He became Serjeant at law on 3 July 1677 and was Chief Justice for Brecknock, Glamorgan and Radnor from 1677 to 1681.[3] He became King's Sergeant on 23 October 1678. He was knighted on 8 June 1681 and was a Baron of the Exchequer from April 1681 to 1684. In 1682 he was recorder of Worcester and 1683 recorder of Droitwich 1683, He was a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas from 1684 to 1689.[1]

Further details

Sir Thomas married Lady Penelope Berkeley, of the Berkeley family. He died peacefully at age 70 and was buried in Worcester Cathedral alongside fellow members of the King's Bench.[1] He is the patriarch of the Street family juridical tradition.


  1. ^ a b c "The parliamentary history of the county of Worcester : including the city of Worcester, and the boroughs of Bewdley, Droitwich, Dudley, Evesham, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and Pershore, from the earliest times to the present day, 1213-1897, with biographical and genealogical notices of the members". 21 July 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  2. ^ Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. onepage&q&f&#61, false 229–239.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
Parliament of England
Preceded by
William Collins
Edward Giles
Member of Parliament for Worcester
With: William Collins
Succeeded by
Not represented in restored Rump
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Thomas Street (judge)
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