HAWKIN, John, of Huntingdon and Great Gitting, Hunts.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Huntingdon Mich. 1397-8, 1400-1.2
Nothing is known for certain about this Member’s early life, but he may, perhaps, have been the son of John and Katherine Hawkin of Glatton in Huntingdonshire. Certainly, in June 1369, the couple made a settlement of property there in reversion upon their son, John, who thus stood to inherit a fairly modest estate. Whatever his background, Hawkin had established a strong connexon with Huntingdon by January 1397, when he stood surety for Walter Willardby’s attendance in the House of Commons. He himself was returned to the next Parliament, quite possibly because he had pressing business of his own to attend to at Westminster. During the first session, on 3 Oct. 1397, he and a clerk named Nicholas Hemingford were bound over in quite heavy sureties of £40 to keep the peace towards another clergyman and his associates. The outcome of the case is not recorded, but it evidently did not prevent Hawkin’s election as bailiff of Huntingdon at this time. He immediately found himself embroiled in yet more litigation as a result of an assize of novel disseisin arraigned against him and his colleague, John Sabrisforth*, by the abbess of Elstow. That he dealt satisfactorily with the matter on behalf of the community may be assumed from his apparent popularity with the local burgesses, who not only returned him to two more Parliaments, but also soon chose him to discharge a second term as bailiff.3
There is good reason to believe that Hawkin owned property at Great Gidding, near Huntingdon, which would explain his association with certain members of the county gentry. In February 1401, for example, he and John Herlyngton* offered guarantees on behalf of John Waweton* as farmer of the estates of a royal ward, although he was also prepared to perform a similar service for the two Huntingdon burgesses, John Cutler* and Richard Prentice*, who were being sued for debt by Sir John Howard* during this period. Hawkin’s own financial dealings appear to have been transacted on an impressive scale: at all events, in October 1405, he was pardoned a sentence of outlawry incurred for failing to appear in court to defend himself against an action for the recovery of £80 brought by the executors of Simon Bond of Cottesbrooke, Northamptonshire. Hawkin is last mentioned in 1411, as being present at the Huntingdon parliamentary elections.4