WROUGHTON, Sir William (1509/10-59), of Broad Hinton, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. 1509/10, o.s. of William Wroughton of Broad Hinton by Anne, da. of Sir William Norris of Yattendon, Berks. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of George Twyneho of Keyford by Frome, Som., s.p.; (2) by 1540, Eleanor, da. of Edward Lewknor of Kingston Buci, Suss., 4s. inc. James† and Thomas† 3da. suc. gdfa. 4 Aug. 1515. Kntd. 11 May 1544.2
Lt. and chief forester, Chute forest, Wilts. 1542; j.p. Wilts. 1543-7, 1558/59; commr. musters 1546, chantries, Wilts. and Salisbury 1548, relief, Wilts. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; other commissions 1544-54.3
His father’s early death left William Wroughton the heir to his grandfather, Sir Christopher Wroughton, who died in 1515 possessed of the ancestral manor of Broad Hinton, near Swindon, and numerous estates in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. In the following year Sir John Seymour paid £500 for Wroughton’s wardship and on coming of age the heir was licensed to enter on 30 Mar. 1531. His mother married Sir John Baldwin, who died in October 1545, whereupon Seymour’s son the Earl of Hertford tried to have her placed in Wroughton’s care, since she had for long been ‘abstracted of her wits’.4
When musters were taken in 1539 Wroughton and his servants accounted for 13 men in the hundred of Ramsbury. Since he was among the esquires appointed to welcome Anne of Cleves, his wife may have been the Mistress Wroughton listed among the ladies of the Queen’s household in 1540. Four years later he joined Hertford on his Scottish campaign and was paid for conducting 100 men from York to Newcastle before being knighted by the earl at Leith. Wroughton was a Victim of ill-health: in 1546 he was noted as ‘sick’ on a list of gentry who were to attend the court during the embassy of the Admiral of France, and in November 1548 he was to be absent from Parliament with an attack of his ‘old disease of the colic and stone’.5
It is not clear how closely the Wroughtons were related to the Seymours, but Hertford described Wroughton as kinsman when seeking for him the custody of his mother. The relationship and their service together may have led Hertford, when Protector and Duke of Somerset, to promote his return as a knight of the shire to the Parliament of 1547. His presence on several local commissions, in particular those concerned with the spoliation of the Church, suggests that Wroughton was ready to serve both Somerset and the more extreme reformers who displaced him, but he was passed over three times in succession for the shrievalty and he is not known to have bought any monastic or chantry lands, despite Aubrey’s statement that he built a new mansion at Broad Hinton from the stones of Bradenstoke abbey.6
On 22 July 1553 Wroughton joined with (Sir) John Bonham, Sir James Stumpe and (Sir) John Thynne (who was to marry his daughter Dorothy), in a declaration of allegiance to Queen Mary and three days later they were thanked for their service and instructed to remain in Wiltshire. Wroughton does not seem to have been involved in the subsequent quarrel between Thynne and Charles, 8th Baron Stourton. Although he was elected with Sir John Marvyn to Mary’s second Parliaments, he is rarely mentioned during her reign. He may have been returned with the support of Sir William Herbert, formerly his fellow-Member and now Earl of Pembroke, whose tenant at ‘Montour’ he was at the time of his death. After interfering in defence of some unnamed retainers who had been implicated in a robbery, he was committed to close custody in the Fleet on 4 Nov. 1556 and at the end of the month was forced to enter into a bond of 2,000 marks for his good behaviour: in the previous September his wife’s nephew Edward Lewknor had died in the Tower while awaiting execution for his part in the Dudley conspiracy. Wroughton may have been kept out of Mary’s later Parliaments by this offence and perhaps also by his health; while he was in the Fleet the warden had been ordered to allow him the freedom of the prison on account of his sickness.7
Wroughton made his will on 10 Sept. 1558, committing his soul to ‘Jesus Christ, my Redeemer’ and asking for burial wherever it should please his executors. The widow was to have all his lands in Broad Hinton, Hinton Columbine, Medbourne and Woodhill, Wiltshire, for life, as her agreed jointure, although the rectories of Broad Hinton and Wroughton were to pass respectively to their first and second sons, Thomas and George, when they should come of age. Thomas also received livestock and some specified jewellery, and shared plate and household goods with his mother; George and a third son William were each to have 20 marks a year from the rectory of Wroughton or, if the title should be held invalid, from lands at Beversbrook. Further lands and £100 were left to the youngest son James, and £200 apiece to two daughters, Dorothy and Anne; a third daughter, recorded by Aubrey from the memorial in Broad Hinton church, must have died young, since there is no other reference to her. The widow, who was left £100 and the residue, was appointed executrix, with Thomas Wroughton as co-executor and ‘my brother Hassett’, that is, John Blennerhasset (he and Wroughton had married half-sisters), John Erneley†, Richard Kingsmill† and John St. John, as overseers. An inquisition taken on 18 Sept. 1559 found that Wroughton had died on 4 Sept. and that his eldest son, whose wardship was granted to John Berwick, was then aged 19. His widow married Sir Giles Poole.