Pedder, Thomas — 1729-1781

Thomas Pedder, the son of Richard and Jennet Pedder was baptised 1 May 1729, died unmarried and was buried 7 December 1781. 1 He was elected councilman 29 January 1771, alderman 22 February 1779 2 and was mayor of Preston in 1779-8. 3

David Berry in his account of the Preston Election of 1768 quotes from one of the party addresses published during the campaign, which he believes, from comparing it with other sources, refers to Thomas:

Friday morning was ushered in by an assault upon the house and warehouse of a principal manufacturer in this town, in which they committed the greatest havoc and destruction. His goods and materials of manufacture were thrown out of the windows, and he himself at last reduced to the necessity of giving up his money, and begging his life on his knees. 4

David cautions that the account should not be accepted uncritically, since the contest was fiercely partisan. What it does make clear is that in 1768 Thomas was regarded as one of Preston’s leading manufacturers. His house and warehouse were situated on the west side of the Market Place. 5

In 1755 Richard Pedder and his sons Edward and Thomas were described as linen drapers in a property transaction in Penwortham. 6 Nine years later when the Pedders were negotiating a £2000 bond on the property Edward and Thomas were described as merchants. Their father had died two years earlier.

Thomas was heavily involved in similar Pedder family acquisitions of estates for miles around Preston. For example, in 1769 he bid £2260 to acquire Larbreck Hall, near Blackpool, and its surrounding estate. 7

Portrait of Thomas Pedder of Preston

At some point in the middle of the century he sat for his portrait, which features in an article on the artist Christopher Steele by Mary Burkett, published in the Walpole Society journal. Thomas left the portrait to his nephew, the Rev John Pedder, the vicar of Garstang, along with the rest of his furniture, and it remained in that branch of the Pedder family when they moved to Finsthwaite in the Lake District. Although the caption attributes the portrait to Steele, Mary Burkett suggested that while some features of the portrait support a Steele attribution, others do not. 8

1 ‘St John, Preston, Baptisms 1725-1752, Page 38, Entry 4. Source: LDS Film 1278740’, n.d.,; ‘St John, Preston, Lancashire, Burials 1781 – 1785, Page 14, Entry 1. Source: LDS Film 1278740’, n.d.,

2 W. A. Abram, Memorials of the Preston Guilds (Preston: Preston Guardian, 1882), 91, 101.

3 David Berry, ed., ‘Preston Court Leet Records’, n.d.,

4 David Berry, ‘Preston Election of 1768 – Propaganda’, Wyre Archaeology Group, accessed 21 July 2022,

5 William Dobson, History of the Parliamentary Representation of Preston: During the Last Hundred Years (Preston: Dobson, 1856), 14,

6 ‘DDX 3073/8 – Bargain and Sale’ (13 August 1755), DDX 3073/8, Lancashire Archives,

7 ‘DDPD 8/10: Particulars of Sale of Larbreck Hall (52 Ac.) with Bids up to £2260 by Thomas Pedder.’ (12 May 1769), DDPD 8/10, Lancashire Archives,

8 Mary Burkett, ‘Christopher Steele 1733-1767’, The Volume of the Walpole Society 53 (1987): 193–225 Fig. 203, not paginated.

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