Thomas Patten, born c.1636, was the son of William Patten, who moved to Preston in the first half of the 17th century, marrying a local woman and becoming mayor. He lived at Patten House at the east end of Church Street.. Sometime after 1665 Thomas Patten married Mary, the daughter and coheiress of John Doughty of Thornley Hall, Chipping, and went on to qualify as a barrister; his legal training seemed to have been used in the management of the landed estate he inherited rather than as a practising lawyer. He was elected MP for the town in 1689 with the support of Lord Brandon and the town’s dissenters. His association with Lord Brandon set him at odds with the Derby faction and he lost his seat to the Tories at the general election. He served as deputy lieutenant and JP until his death in 1697, when Sir Thomas Stanley, who had married Patten’s daughter, inherited the estate. 
Patten’s election in 1689 came shortly after a period in which he and other prominent Whigs had been marginalised in the affairs of the town by the Tories led by Thomas Hodgkinson. Hodgkinson managed to use the fears following on from the Rye House Plot to subject Patten and other Whigs to a search of their houses looking for arms.  Patten used his position as JP to petition for the establishment of meeting houses for dissenters.