Thomas Willis 1612-1701
Sir Thomas WILLIS or WILLYS, 1st bart 1612-1701
Born at Balls, near Hertford, son of Richard Willis, lawyer. Matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge 1629, but did not graduate. Admitted at Gray's Inn, 1631. Created a baronet, 1641. He is not known to have been involved in the Civil War, and held various local administrative posts in Cambridgeshire; he became MP for Cambridgeshire in 1659 and for Cambridge in 1660. He was not active as an MP and after being defeated in the parliamentary election of 1679 he largely retired from public life to his estate at Fen Ditton.
The sale Bibliotheca Willisiana ... being the libraries of the learned Sir Thomas Willis, Knt, and the Revd Mr Dey, lately deceas'd, which was held in King's Lynn in 1717, has been associated with this Sir Thomas Willis though the attribution is uncertain. Willis's will has no specific mention of books, and directed that all the residue of his estate should go to his son John 2nd (baronet, d.1704; his son Thomas became the 3rd baronet, and died the following year, 1705).
- Will of Sir Thomas Willis, The National Archives PROB 11/462/282.
- Bibliotheca Willisiana ... being the libraries of the learned Sir Thomas Willis, Knt, and the Revd Mr Dey, lately deceas'd, 1717, ESTC n46619.
- History of Parliament.
- Alston, R. C. Inventory of sale catalogues 1676-1800. St Philip, 2010.
- Venn, J. and J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge, 1922.