BEESTON, Hugh (c.1547-1626), of Denbighshire and Beeston, Cheshire.
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Family and Education
b. c.1547, prob. 2nd s. of Sir George Beeston of Beeston by his 1st w. educ. ?BA Oxf. 1563; L. Inn 1565. m. Margaret, da. of Roger Downes, wid. of Philip Worth of Titherington, 2s. d.v.p. 1da. Kntd. 1603; suc. bro. 1608.
Dep. comptroller, Cheshire, Flints. 1585, comptroller 1589; receiver gen. of the revenue in the Exchequer for Cheshire and N. Wales by Apr. 1595; j.p. Cheshire from c.1592, Denb. 1596.
Sir George Beeston’s two eldest sons, born within two years of each other, were both christened Hugh, and until 1603, when the younger was knighted, it is difficult to distinguish their careers. There is no evidence as to which brother was educated at Oxford and Lincoln’s Inn. On the whole it is more likely that Hugh the younger, who was certainly the receiver general, was also the Member of Parliament for so many constituencies open to court influence. As an Exchequer official he was in touch with Burghley, and became a close friend of Sir Robert Cecil—connexions which probably secured him the seats at Bodmin and West Looe, and almost certainly at Knaresborough: Cecil had become chancellor of the duchy barely a fortnight before the Knaresborough election. Again, it was presumably Cecil who asked his brother-in-law the 11th Lord Cobham, lord warden of the Cinque Ports, to nominate Beeston at Winchelsea. His elder brother joined him once, sitting for Stafford in 1604 until his death in 1608.
Beeston was appointed to only one committee in the 1597 Parliament, concerning the punishment of rogues, on 22 Nov. He was more active in 1601. On 13 Nov.
Mr. Hugh Beeston stood up in the lower end of the House and said, Mr. Speaker, we that be here cannot hear you that be above; I would it would please them that speak there to speak louder. Also I am to certify you that I am here for a town but not for mine own country of Denbighshire or for any part thereof; but if I should not speak somewhat for my country, I dare not go thither again.
He proceeded to question the Speaker on the Denbighshire election dispute. He also spoke (1 Dec.) for the bill against double payment of debts on shop books, being concerned to show how this bill would keep young men from running too far into debt. He was named to the subsequent committee on 25 Nov. He was appointed to two other committees in 1601, concerning Rochdale in Lancashire (11 Nov.) and church attendance (2 Dec.). He may also have served on the main business committee (3 Nov.) and that on the Severn harbour bill (21 Nov.) by virtue of his position as Member for Winchelsea.2
Beeston was granted the Denbighshire estate of Plas Cadwgan after the execution of its owner, Edward Jones, for complicity in the Babington plot, and he apparently lived there when he was not at his town house in the Strand. When he became head of the family in May 1608, he moved to Beeston, succeeding his brother on the Cheshire commission of the peace, and becoming an active government official in Cheshire and North Wales. In 1595, following a rumour that he was seriously ill, the Earl of Essex wrote to Burghley recommending Gelly Meyrick to succeed him as receiver. In November the same year Beeston sat on a commission to inquire into certain of the Queen’s lands and tenements. At about the same time he seems to have been employed in some private capacity by Robert Cecil: the two men were close friends, and in 1598 Beeston offered to accompany him to France. Beeston was also the ‘ancient and loving friend’ of Michael Hickes. Either Beeston or his brother served as treasurer of the Islands voyage under the Earl of Essex.3
Beeston remained in favour under James I, who confirmed him in his offices, and in December 1604 joined his son with him as ‘Comptroller of all records and fines in the counties of Chester, Flint and Carnarvon’. Beeston died in February 1626.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 2. Ormerod, Cheshire, ii(1), pp. 271-2; Lansd. 91, f. 110; 106, f. 1; OR, i. 446; A. G. R. Smith, ‘Sir Michael Hickes and the Secretariat of the Cecils’ (London Univ. PhD thesis, 1962), 287-8; D’Ewes, 561, 624, 634, 636, 647, 651, 664; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 210, 271.
- 3. NLW, Edward Owen Deeds, 90, nos. 4, 20, 102, 110; Townshend, 210; Lansd. 78, f. 90; 79, f. 77; HMC Hatfield, v. 114, 391; viii. 16; Chamberlain Lette