SWYNNERTON, Humphrey (by 1516-62), of Swynnerton Hilton, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. by 1516, 1st s. of Thomas Swynnerton of Swynnerton and Hilton, by Alice, da. of Sir Humphrey Stanley of Pipe Ridware and Clifton Campville. m. by 1540, Cassandra (bur. 7 Jan. 1570), da. of Sir John Giffard of Chillington, 2da. suc. fa. ?1541.1
Bailiff, former estates of Brewood priory, Staffs. by 1537; steward, Cannock forest, Staffs. 24 June 1541-d.; escheator, Staffs. 1559-60.2
In June 1541 Humphrey Swynnerton entered upon a landed inheritance of which the chief component, at Hilton north of Wolverhampton, was assessed for subsidy four years later at 40s. on an annual value of £20. He also added a number of his father’s local offices to his own as bailiff of Brewood, one which he had retained after the purchase of that priory by (Sir) Thomas Giffard, whose sister he had probably already married. Of his outlying properties, he sold the manors of Great and Little Barrow, Cheshire, in 1555 to Sir John Savage, who had long claimed them.3
It was the Giffard connexion which gave Swynnerton his only spell in the Commons: the sheriff who returned him was his brother-in-law and his fellow-Member was his youthful nephew John Giffard. He shared the Giffards’ religious conservatism and doubtless supported the Catholic restoration. His piety found expression in his rebuilding of Shareshill church and in his preservation of a breviary disposed of by Lichfield under Edward VI and returned there by him on Mary’s accession.4
It was as ‘late of Swynnerton alias of Hilton’ that Swynnerton sued out a general pardon in January 1559 but at Swynnerton that he made his will on 6 July 1561. He invoked the aid of the Virgin Mary and the company of heaven to attain salvation, asked to be buried, if he died at Swynnerton, in the lady chapel before the place where her image had stood, or if at Hilton (where he was to die) in the chancel of Shareshill where the image of St. Luke had stood, and left 3s.4d. to the priests at Hampton to pray for his soul. After the expiry of his wife’s life interest in his lands and goods they were to be divided equally between his daughters, whose husbands Henry Vernon and Francis Gatacre he remembered with rings. According to the inscription formerly at Shareshill, Swynnerton died on 25 Aug. 1562. No inquisition has been found, although a writ was issued on 17 Oct. 1562, but the will was proved on 9 Feb. 1563 and the deed allotting Swynnerton to Elizabeth Gatacre (the widow of William Fitzherbert) and Hilton to Margaret Vernon was drawn up on 8 May 1564.5