WESTON, Sir Henry (1534/5-92), of Sutton Place, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 1534/5, s. of Sir Francis Weston by Anne, da. and h. of Sir Christopher Pickering of Killington, Westmld.; half-bro. of Henry Knyvet and Thomas Knyvet I. m. (1) 1559, Dorothy, da. of Sir Thomas Arundell† of Wardour castle, Wilts. and Shaftesbury, Dorset, 2s. inc. Richard I 1da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Sir Francis Lovell of Harling, Norf., wid. of Henry Repps (d.1566), of West Walton, Norf., s.p. suc. fa. 17 May 1536, gd.-fa. Sir Richard Weston† 7 Aug. 1541. KB Jan. 1559.1
J.P. Surr. from c.1559, Norf. 1557, Isle of Ely from c.1579; sheriff, Surr. 1568-9; commr. musters 1574.2
In 1541 Henry Weston was left by the will of his grandfather, Sir Richard Weston, the extensive Weston estates, which, his father having been attainted, he could not at that time inherit. In 1549, when he was restored in blood, he was confirmed in the possession of lands at Clandon, Surrey, which had been leased to Sir Richard, and in 1560 he bought the ajoining manor of Merrow from the Crown for £248. He inherited his mother’s estates on her death in 1582, including lands in Surrey which had belonged to her second husband, Sir Henry Knyvet, and to her third husband, John Vaughan I.
Weston was made KB at Elizabeth’s coronation, the Queen perhaps showing him favour as much for his father’s fatal attentions to her mother, Anne Boleyn, as for his own recent service in the defence of Calais. His marriage to Dorothy Arundell made him kin both to the Queen and to the Howard family. In a grant of January 1560 he is described as ‘the Queen’s servant’ (though what office he held, if any, is unknown), and Elizabeth stayed at Sutton in August of that year. She had barely left when there was a fire at the house, in consequence of which Weston seems to have lived for the next few years at Clandon, where his sons were born.3
In 1564 Weston and Sir Edward Bray were, for some unascertained reason, imprisoned in the Fleet, being released on bail in November 1564, subject to attending in the Star Chamber every Friday. In the following month Weston was allowed to return home, providing he saw only his tenants on matters affecting their leases. His influence in Surrey was less than his wealth and connexions might suggest, being overshadowed by that of his neighbour, William More I of Loseley. At the end of 1558 Weston asked More for his support in the next election of knights of the shire, but the county returned to the Parliament of 1559 the two candidates to whom More was already pledged, rejecting not only Weston but also his kinsman, Charles Howard, son of Lord Howard of Effingham. Charles Howard gained the senior seat in the county in 1563, and More took the junior. In 1571, More took the junior seat once again, and Weston was returned with him, the Howard candidate, Charles Howard, perhaps being at sea. This was the only occasion on which Weston enjoyed the prestige of a county seat. There may have been some antipathy between himself and More: in a letter to More in 1591, Lord Howard recommended Weston, ‘his good friend and kinsman’, for the post of verderer in Windsor forest, but Howard was soon protesting that he had acted in ignorance of More’s preference for Lawrence Stoughton, whose candidature for the verderership he did not wish to oppose. In any event Weston owned the Hampshire borough of Petersfield, which he represented in Parliament on seven occasions. The only reference found to him in the journals of the House of Commons is to his membership of the subsidy committee, 7 Apr. 1571.4
Though Weston ought to have taken the oath of supremacy as a Member of Parliament, and as a county official, he was sympathetic to Catholicism, and his name was on a list prepared in the interests of Mary Queen of Scots in 1574. The letter of 1569 in which Thomas Copley protested his Catholic faith and begged for neighbourly treatment, was addressed to Weston. In 1584 Weston asked to be relieved of the command of 250 Surrey levies because of the pressing business ‘in the north’, an excuse plausible enough, in view of his mother’s recent death. In any case he had married into a Norfolk family and become a justice in the Isle of Ely, where his second wife may have had estates. He contributed £100 to defence against the Armada. In 1591, the very year that Weston again entertained the Queen at Sutton, the Privy Council ordered a search for one Morgan, ‘an obstinate and seditious Papist’, who was
thought to be in Sutton, either in or about Sir Henry Weston’s house, or at least, if he be not there now, it is known that at times by starts he useth to come thither in secret sort, and perhaps not called by his right name.
This Morgan may have been a relative of William Morgan III, whom Weston mentions in the will he made in November 1588. He showed particular concern that his surviving son, Richard Weston, and daughter, Jane, should not disturb his bequests to his second wife, which included 1,600 sheep and the contents of the chamber called ‘my lord of Leicester’s chamber’. He died 11 Apr. 1592, and was buried near his grandfather, Sir Richard Weston, in Holy Trinity church, Guildford.