HUTTOFT, John (by 1514-42/43), of Southampton and London.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Clerk of the signet Oct. 1538-Jan. 1541; sec. of the council to Queen Anne of Cleves 1540, Queen Catherine Howard Jan. 1541.4
Shortly before his brother-in-law Antonio Guidotti fled abroad in 1535 to the ruin of his family, John Huttoft entered the service of Cromwell where he worked as a clerk under Thomas Wriothesley. Although Cromwell helped his father, a friend of long standing, to pay off some of Guidotti’s creditors it was less to the minister than to Wriothesley that Huttoft owed his promotion. He kept Wriothesley informed on the progress of the conversion of Titchfield abbey and advised him about the estates of Beaulieu abbey, of which Huttoft was made a receiver on the eve of its dissolution.5
Wriothesley was on the Continent when the elections to the Parliament of 1539 were held, but since he was chosen one of the knights for Hampshire he doubtless had a hand in Huttoft’s return for Southampton with his father-in-law John Mill: Huttoft’s father was collector of customs there and since October 1535 he himself had been a freeman. It was during the second prorogation of the Parliament that he became one of the four clerks of the signet and secretary to Anne of Cleves. He must have acquiesced in the Act of the final session confirming the Queen’s divorce (32 Hen. VIII, c.25), for on ceasing to be clerk of the signet he was made secretary to her successor Catherine Howard. Reelected to the next Parliament, with Wriothesley again knight of the shire, he could have played a part in his new mistress’s downfall but he did not long survive her. He was a sick man when he made his will dated ‘anno 1542’. Since he asked to be buried in St. Michael’s church, Southampton, without any provision in case he died elsewhere, and had the will witnessed by his brother-in-law Thomas Mill and John Foster II, Huttoft probably died at Southampton. After providing for his mother and wife he divided the residue between his three daughters and named his wife executrix and his father-in-law overseer. The date of his death is not known but his widow had married Nicholas Thorne, the benefactor of Bristol grammar school, by 1543. three years later she married as her third husband James Paget. She did not prove the will until 1561, perhaps because of the Guidotti debts which neither Huttoft nor his father had managed to settle. No trace of a by-election at Southampton has been found.6