ARMYNE, Sir William, 1st Bt. (1593-1651), of Osgodby, Lenton, Lincs. and Orton Longueville, Hunts.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Dec. 1593, 1st s. of Sir William Armyne* and his 1st w. Martha, da. of William, 2nd Lord Eure; bro. of Evers Armyne*.1 educ. privately (James Wadeson) 1607; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1610.2 m. (1) 14 Dec. 1619 (with £2,000),3 Elizabeth (bur. 27 Sept. 1626), da. of Sir Michael Hicks* of Austin Friars, London and Ruckholt, Low Leyton, Essex, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) 28 Aug. 1628, Mary (d. 6 Mar. 1675),4 da. and coh. of Henry Talbot† of Orton Longueville, wid. of Sir Thomas Holcroft* of Vale Royal, Cheshire, 1s.5 cr. bt. 28 Nov. 1619;6 suc. fa. 1622.7 d. 10 Apr. 1651.8
Commr. sewers, River Gleane, Lincs. and Notts. 1619-34, Holland, Lincs. 1626, Newark, Notts. 1627, Fenland 1629-46;9 freeman, Boston, Lincs. 1621;10 j.p. Lincs. (Kesteven) 1622-6, 1628-36, by 1639-d., (Holland and Lindsey) by 1650-d., Northumb., 1645-d., Cumb., Hunts., and Surr. by 1650-d.;11 dep. lt. Lincs. by 1623-45;12 commr. navigation of River Welland, Lincs., Rutland and Northants. 1623-34,13 swans, Lincs., Northants., Rutland and Notts. 1625, Lincs. and elsewhere c.1629, Lincs. 1635;14 collector (jt.), Privy Seal loans, Lincs. 1625-6;15 commr. Forced Loan, Lincs. 1626-7;16 sheriff, Lincs. 1629-30, Hunts. 1639-40;17 commr. charitable uses, Lincs. 1636, 1642,18 assessment, Kesteven 1641, Lincs. 1643-d., Hunts. 1645-d., Westminster 1649, Cumb., Mdx. and Surr. 1649-d., defence, East Midland Assoc. 1642, Eastern Assoc. 1643, sequestration (Lindsey) 1643, levying money (Kesteven and Lincoln) 1643, New Model Ordinance, Lincs. 1645, oyer and terminer 1645, militia 1648; gov. Westminster sch. 1649;19 custos. rot. Lincs. 19 Jan. 1651-d.20
Armyne was created a baronet in his father’s lifetime, and a fortnight later married the daughter of Sir Michael Hicks. He was returned at a by-election for Boston in 1621; the corporation chose him, possibly without his knowledge, ahead of two external candidates, and admitted him to the freedom of the borough gratis, ‘in regard he is a gentleman of note in this country and likely to do good service to this house without anyways charging them’.24 In the Commons he joined his father, who was sitting for Grantham; the two cannot be distinguished in the parliamentary records. At the next general election Armyne helped to secure a seat at Grantham for Sir Clement Cotterell, who was also returned at Boston, and in the ensuing by-election Armyne was re-elected for Boston, where he was popular with the dominant puritan element among the corporation.25 He left no trace on the records of the 1624 Parliament.
In 1625 Armyne was returned for Grantham, but again went unnoticed in the parliamentary records. The following year he was elected for Lincolnshire, presumably with the support of the 4th earl of Lincoln. He was appointed to eight bill committees during the second Caroline Parliament, including those for the increase of trade (3 Mar. 1626) and to limit the number of clerical magistrates (10 March).26 He was named to the conference with the Lords on foreign policy (7 Mar.) and, after complaining of the difficulties caused by the trade embargo with France and the activities of Spanish privateers, he was among those ordered to prepare for another conference to consider a petition from oppressed merchants (17 March).27 On 20 Mar. he supported a motion by his friend, Sir John Eliot, to postpone consideration of supply for a week.28 His connection with Eliot was reflected in his appointment on 3 May as one of the assistants to the managers of the duke of Buckingham’s impeachment.29 On 22 May, when Sir John Savile, who was charged with writing a letter critical of the attack on Buckingham, demanded an open warrant for summoning witnesses, Armyne and Eliot urged the House to refuse. Savile thereupon accused them of participation in a conspiracy against him, but was obliged to apologize.30 Armyne was among those appointed on 24 May to consider a private bill promoted by the 2nd earl of Exeter (William Cecil†). He was subsequently named to committees to marshal the grievances (25 May), and to witness the unsealing of Eliot’s papers following his arrest (1 June).31
After the dissolution Armyne was removed from the Lincolnshire commission of the peace. Although appointed one of the commissioners for the Forced Loan, he refused either to collect the levy or to contribute to it, following the lead of the earl of Lincoln and several other prominent members of the county bench. Armyne spent three months in the Fleet before being committed to the custody of the sheriff of Oxfordshire, remaining defiant until all the refusers were released from custody on 2 Jan. 1628 following the failure of the Five Knights’ case to resolve their predicament.32
Armyne’s actions over the Loan did nothing to diminish his local popularity. One of the ‘honest sons of Lincolnshire’ on whom Eliot relied, he was returned for the county in 1628, along with another refuser, Sir William Wray*.33 He was named to the privileges committee (20 Mar.), and instructed to attend a conference on the general fast (21 March). He was also appointed to investigate complaints about the billeting of soldiers in Surrey (28 Mar.), to prepare a list of office-holders suspected of popery (24 April), to hear William Nowell’s* petition against Sir Edward Mosley* (3 June), and to consider merchants’ losses (13 June).34 His bill committees included a private measure promoted by the 2nd earl of Devonshire (Sir William Cavendish*) (21 Apr.), and a bill to allow marriages in Lent (22 April).35 His final appointment of the session was to the conference of 20 June on the title of the Petition of Right.36 In the second session he was again named to a conference with the Lords for a general fast (27 Jan. 1629). His only other appointment was a committee for a bill to prevent recusants evading forfeitures of their lands through the use of trustees (28 January).37 He took no known part in the tumultuous scenes at the dissolution, but he attempted to communicate with Benjamin Valentine* in the Tower, and encouraged Eliot to publish ‘The monarchie of Man’.38
Over the next ten years Armyne opposed the Personal Rule of Charles I at a local level in various ways; he was again dismissed from the county bench for refusing to pay Ship Money, a stance he maintained even when appointed sheriff of Huntingdonshire in 1639-40.39 A leading parliamentarian during the Civil War, he was appointed but declined to sit in judgment over the defeated king. After the regicide Armyne served on the Council of State, and held local and national office throughout the Commonwealth until he died, intestate, on 10 Apr. 1651. He was buried at Lenton.40 His portrait is held by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. He was succeeded by his eldest son, William†.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), p. 41.
- 2. DWL, Morrice ms M11, f. 10; Al. Cant.; J.T. Cliffe, Puritan Gentry, 80.
- 3. A.G.R. Smith, Servant of the Cecils, 176.
- 4. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), p. 41.
- 5. Add. 6675, f. 14; VCH Hunts. ii. 192.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 97, 98; CB, i. 130.
- 7. C142/394/73.
- 8. CSP Dom. 1651, p. 173, 176.
- 9. C181/2, f. 353v; 181/3, ff. 168v, 198v, 228v; 181/4, ff. 29v, 39v, 154v; 181/5, ff. 9v, 269.
- 10. Boston Corp. Mins. ed. J.F. Bailey, ii. 322.
- 11. C231/4, ff. 134, 210, 261; C231/6, p. 8; C193/13/2, f. 38v; SP16/405, f. 39v; Anon., Names of JPs (1650), pp. 10, 27, 32, 33, 42, 55.
- 12. C231/4, f. 163v; Lincs. AO, Yarb. 8/2/3; DWL, Morrice ms M11, f. 1.
- 13. C181/3, f. 99; 181/4, f. 161.
- 14. Ibid. ff. 165, 268; 181/5, f. 14.
- 15. E401/2586, p. 158; APC, 1626, p. 168.