WINCH, Humphrey (c.1555-1625), of Everton, Beds.

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. c.1555, s. of John Winch (d.1582), of Northill. educ. St. John’s Camb. 1570; L. Inn 1573, called 1581. m. Cicely, da. of Richard Onslow, 2s. 3da. (1s. 2da. d.v.p.). Kntd. 1606.

Offices Held

Dep. recorder, Bedford prob. c.1593, certainly by 1596-1604; j.p. Beds. from c.1601; bencher, L. Inn 1595, Autumn reader 1597, censor 1600, keeper of the black book 1603, treasurer 1605-6; serjeant-at-law, chief baron of Exchequer [I] 1606; c.j. King’s bench [I] 1608-11; j.c.p. (England) 1611-d.; member, council in the marches of Wales 1623-d.2


Winch represented Bedford in four successive Parliaments, vacating his seat on his appointment to the Irish judiciary in 1606. He owed his return for the borough to Oliver St. John II, later 3rd Baron St. John of Bletsoe, who was nominally the recorder of Bedford after the death of Thomas Snagge I in 1593, but who delegated the performance of the office to Winch. Early in 1593 St. John was supporting Peter Wentworth’s scheme for introducing a bill to settle the succession. On 21 Feb. Wentworth and his cronies assembled in Winch’s chambers at Lincoln’s Inn to discuss the bill and plan their campaign. They intended a second gathering on the following day, after Wentworth had shown his bill to James Morice, but someone informed on them and Wentworth was put in the Tower. Winch was allowed to continue to attend the Commons, but forbidden to leave London even after the end of the session. For a lawyer he was only moderately active in Parliament. He reported a bill about jurors (15 Mar. 1593), another about horse stealing (21, 22 Nov. 1597), sat on a few legal committees and those considering maltsters (7 Dec. 1597, 12 Jan. 1598). As one of the Bedford Members he was put on a committee concerned with draining the fens (3 Dec. 1597). He was on the main business committee of the 1601 Parliament (3 Nov.) and on committees concerning the penal laws (2 Nov.), monopolies (23 Nov.), the Exchequer (25 Nov.) and the lands of Lewis Mordaunt (3 Dec.). On 5 Dec. 1601 he spoke during the debate on church attendance, and on 10 Dec. about the export of ordnance. When the Exchequer bill was received from the Lords, Winch and the solicitor-general were ordered to consider it urgently, as time was running short if the bill were to be completed before Parliament rose. In fact the measure was ‘put by’, owing to the dissolution several days later.