POWELL, Hugh (d.1587), of Sherborne House, Cathedral Close, Salisbury, Wilts. and Talyllyn, Brec.
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Family and Education
?s. of John or Howell Powell of Brec. educ. ?BA Oxf. 1559. m. aft. 1558, Eleanor, da. of John Corriatt of Salisbury, d.s.p.
Registrar, Salisbury diocese 1562-84; sheriff, Brec. 1582-3.1
A branch of Powell’s family, originally from Breconshire, came into Wiltshire early in the sixteenth century, and the John Powell who in 1550 received a joint grant with ‘Jeronimo’ Barnaby of the registrarship was probably his brother: Hugh’s will refers to land in Fisherton Anger, inherited in 1560 from his brother John. On the authority of pedigrees accepted by Hoare and Berry, Powell’s wife has been described as a daughter of Thomas St. Barbe, but the Wiltshire visitations state that her father was John Corriatt of Salisbury, who died in 1558: his will refers to an unmarried daughter Eleanor, and Powell’s mentions ‘my mother-in-law Anne Corriatt’. The confusion may have arisen from the inscription on Eleanor’s tomb in the south aisle of Salisbury cathedral, describing her as ‘lineally descended’ from the ‘ancient and worshipful family of the Saintbarbes of Ashington, Somerset, and cousin-german to that thrice worthy Lady Walsingham, who was mother to the noble countess of Essex’. This descent is likely to have been through Eleanor’s mother, but, as no Corriatts except John appear in the visitations, this cannot be substantiated. However, there was a close connexion between the two families, John Corriatt acting as procurator in 1543 when William St. Barbe was made provost of St. Edmund, Salisbury.2
Soon after Powell became registrar the dean and chapter gave him a lease of the former prebendal mansion of Sherborne monastery known as Sherborne House, Salisbury, the document describing him as ‘of Great Dorneford [?Durnford], Wiltshire, gent’. There was trouble over his title, as the augmentations office of the Exchequer, claiming it as concealed lands, challenged the right of the ecclesiastical authorities to dispose of it and granted counter leases, but Powell presumably fought off the opposition as his widow was still there some time after his death. On the 1576 subsidy list for New Street ward, Salisbury, he was assessed on £10 in lands.3
Powell may have owed his return to Parliament for Devizes to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, to whom he was related through ‘my cousin William Herbert of London’, and another kinsman of the Herberts, Dr. William Aubrey of Cantreff, Breconshire. However, Bishop Jewel of Salisbury is just as likely to have been behind his return, alone, or by arrangement with Pembroke or the local gentry. Jewel left Powell 40s. in his will which also mentions a ‘servant’ William Powell, probably one of the two brothers with this christian name styled in Powell’s own will ‘the elder’ and ‘the younger’. Jewel’s successor as bishop in 1571, Edmund Geste, continued to employ Powell, but his election patron at Old Sarum in the following year was no doubt the 2nd Earl of Pembroke. The 1572 election indenture indicates that the names were inserted after the rest of the document had been made out.4
Unlikely though it might appear, the description on the sheriff’s list and Powell’s own will make it clear that the registrar and the sheriff of Brecon were one and the same. In 1586 a disagreement with Robert Knollys about ‘the keeping of the possession of the pool of Brecknock’ led to ‘misdemeanours’ and the Privy Council ordered the president of the council in the marches to investigate. Powell died between 1 Aug. and 2 Dec. 1587. His will has the type of religious preamble to be expected from a servant of Bishop Jewel, beseeching God to blot out his sins for Christ’s sake, and to bring him to ‘that place of all joy and felicity obtained ... by the only death and passion of my only lord and saviour Christ Jesus’. He asked to be buried in Salisbury cathedral near his father, and gave instructions for the family arms to be commemorated in a window. He bequeathed £5 to the cathedral and £20 to the poor of the city, together with money to be invested by the mayor and chamberlains to set up young men in merchandise. Several other Wiltshire parishes, including ‘Dornford’ (where he leased the prebend) received money for their poor, as did Talyllyn, Breconshire. Bequests went to members of his family—including William Herbert and William Aubrey already mentioned. There were two brothers William and their children, sisters Eleanor and Jane, and seven ‘brothers-in-law’, including George and John Corriatt. The widow was to have a yearly rent from the parsonage of Fisherton Anger and the furnishings of Sherborne House. The executor and residuary legatee was a nephew Thomas. The widow married Thomas Sadler—probably the one styled ‘my servant’ in Powell’s will—who himself became a registrar of Salisbury.5