TWYSDEN, William (1566-1629), of Roydon Hall, East Peckham, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 4 Apr. 1566, 1st s. of Roger Twysden by Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Wyatt. educ. Magdalene, Camb. 1580, BA 1583; G. Inn 1584. m. 1591, Anne, aged 16, da. of Moyle Finch by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Heneage, 5s. 2da. suc.fa. 1603. Kntd. 1603; cr. Bt. 1611.

Offices Held

Capt. of light horse, lathe of Aylesford, Kent 1601; gent. usher of privy chamber to James I.


The Twysdens had been seated in Kent since the thirteenth century, acquiring Roydon by marriage in the reign of Edward VI. Twysden himself was the grandson of Sir Thomas Wyatt, executed after the rising of 1554. It was not until 1601, when his father’s health began to fail, that Twysden took any part in local affairs.

Twysden’s marriage ceremony was performed by Dean Alexander Nowell of St. Paul’s, at Heneage House, the London home of the bride’s grandfather, Sir Thomas Heneage, vice-chamberlain and chancellor of the duchy. Thereafter Twysden spent much time at court under Heneage’s aegis, and in 1597 he accompanied the 2nd Earl of Essex on the Islands voyage as a volunteer captain. Twysden owed his return to Parliament to his connexion with Heneage, who, in 1593 used his influence as chancellor of the duchy to obtain Twysden a seat at Clitheroe. By 1601 Heneage was dead, and Twysden sat for Helston, a borough where the Cecils sometimes nominated. In both these Parliaments he played the part of an onlooker, and on the latter occasion he kept a diary, of which only fragments remain. His son, Sir Roger, the antiquary, wrote of the management of an estate, burdened by debt, and Sir William’s passion for hunting and hawking, as well as of his life at court and his studies in Hebrew and divinity. But this part of his life belongs to the reigns of the first two Stuarts.

Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 135-6; GEC Baronetage, i. 74; J. R. Twisden, Fam. of Twisden, 106-7, 110, 117-26; Hasted, Kent, v. 96-7; G. S. Thomson, Twysden Lieutenancy Pprs.(Kent Arch. Soc. Recs. x), 113; H. S. Toy, Helston, 116, 495; Stowe 359, ff. 274-301; R. Twysden, Govt. of England (Cam. Soc. xlv), pp. xxviii-xxix.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ibid.