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Gravure LGen Talmash

Lieutenant General Tollemache, circa 1750

Thomas Tollemache (Talmash or Tolmach) (c. 1651 – 1694) was an English soldier; the second son of Sir Lionel Tollemache of Helmingham, Suffolk and his wife, Elizabeth, 2nd Countess of Dysart. In 1678 he became captain in the Guards, with which he served in Tangier; in 1685 he was made lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of fusiliers, but gave up his commission shortly after the accession of James II.

Tollemache abandoned King James in favour of the Protestant William of Orange who, in 1688 successfully usurped the English throne during the Glorious Revolution. For his services to William, now King William III, he was made governor of Portsmouth and colonel of the Coldstream Guards; in 1689 he was chosen an English member of parliament. He served with his regiment during the War of the Grand Alliance, seeing action at the Battle of Walcourt in August 1689. In 1691, he served in Ireland, with the rank of major-general, gaining fame at the Battle of Aughrim and at the sieges of Athlone, Galway and Limerick. In the Netherlands he added to his high reputation with his conduct at the battles of Steenkirk and Neerwinden.

Thomas Tollemache by Godfrey Kneller

Tollemache painted by Godfrey Kneller

In 1694 Tollemache proposed, and led, an expedition against the French port of Brest. The French however, had gained intelligence of the proposed attack and had reinforced the garrison and strengthened the port's defences. Although he led the English troops with great gallantry, they were beaten off with heavy losses. Tollemache, himself wounded, succumbed to his injuries, later dying in Plymouth in June 1694. He was buried in the church of St Mary's, Helmingham, Suffolk.


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911) Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press 
  • Piers Wauchope, ‘Tollemache , Thomas (c.1651–1694)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008. The first edition of this text is available as an article on Wikisource: Wikisource-logo.svg "Tollemache, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Estcourt
John Fitzherbert
Member of Parliament for Malmesbury
With: Charles Godfrey
Succeeded by
Goodwith Wharton
Preceded by
Alexander Popham
Sir Basil Firebrace
Member of Parliament for Chippenham
With: Alexander Popham
Succeeded by
Alexander Popham
Richard Long
Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Berwick
Governor of Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Thomas Erle
Preceded by
The Earl of Craven
Colonel of the Coldstream Guards
Succeeded by
The Lord Cutts
Preceded by
Sir Robert Holmes
Governor of the Isle of Wight

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