BAYNTUN, Sir Henry (1571-1616), of Bromham House, Bromham, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b.1571,1 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Edward Bayntun (Baynton)† and Agnes, da. of Sir Griffith Rhys of Carew Castle, Pemb. educ. L. Inn 1588. m. Lucy (bur. 14 June 1621), da. of Sir John Danvers†of Dauntsey, Wilts., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1593;2 kntd. 14 Sept. 1601.3 d. 24 Sept. 1616.4 sig. Henry Bainton or Bayntun.
Capt. of militia horse, Wilts. by 1586-at least 1597,5 col. of militia ft. by 1605-10;6 j.p. Wilts. 1592-3, 1594-d.;7 dep. warden, Melksham Forest, Wilts. 1600-d.;8 commr. subsidy, Wilts. 1600, 1604, 1608,9 sheriff 1601-2,10 dep. lt. by 1609-at least 1611;11 commr. charitable uses, Wilts. 1613;12 member of the Twelve, Devizes, Wilts. 1614-d.13
The Bayntuns, of ancient pedigree, were the dominant gentry family of north Wiltshire. Having purchased their principal seat of Bromham in 1508, the heads of the family subsequently represented the county in Parliament for four successive generations and were geographically well placed to sit for several nearby boroughs. This advantage was the result of extensive land holdings in the region, accumulated by inheritance, purchase and grant.14 It was said of the Bayntuns that their eminency was ‘in no way inferior to the chiefs of the titular nobility’ and that their properties were comparable to those of a duke.15
Bayntun was the second but first surviving son of Edward Bayntun of Bromham, his elder brother having been reputedly murdered by sorcery in 1564 at the instigation of his aunt, whose own heirs male stood to inherit by the failure of the senior line.16 In Edward’s will dated 21 Sept. 1592, provision was made for Bayntun to be ‘brought up in virtuous and godly life’ by four overseers, among whom were ‘my very good friend’ Sir John Danvers and ‘my cousin and friend’, Thomas Owen†, serjeant-at-law.17 Bayntun inherited the Bromham estate six months later and subsequently went on to marry Danvers’ daughter, Lucy.
Bayntun first sat in Parliament in 1589, when still a student at Lincoln’s Inn. He may have served again in the following Parliament, which took place shortly after he entered into his inheritance; certainly he was returned as junior knight of the shire for Wiltshire in 1597-8. Pricked as sheriff in September 1601, he was rendered incapable of sitting in the final Elizabethan Parliament, but in 1604 he was re-elected to Parliament, this time for Devizes, where he replaced the corporation’s original nominee, John Kent*.18 During the course of the first Jacobean Parliament Bayntun made no recorded speeches, and his committee appointments, other than one to consider a bill regarding entailed lands liable for debt (22 Feb. 1610), were restricted to local issues. These concerned bills for the assurance of Walter Walsh’s lands (10 Mar. 1606), and the sale of the Wiltshire estates of Thomas Mompesson and John Pledell to cover debts (1 Apr. 1606; 14 June 1610).19
Despite the paucity of his known parliamentary work, Bayntun was an active magistrate, attending quarter sessions for all but three years from 1594 to 1616.20 He lent the Crown £33 in 1611 and was one of the few Wiltshire gentlemen to contribute to the 1614 Benevolence, paying £20, the highest sum in the county.21 A captain of the local mounted militia by 1597, in October 1604 he joined other Wiltshire magistrates in complaining to the earl of Hertford, then lord lieutenant of Wiltshire, about the insolent behaviour of the county muster-master.22 In March 1610 he reported on the poor performance of John Hungerford’s* regiment, but was himself replaced as colonel of foot by Hungerford in the following September.23
Bayntun drafted his will on 30 July 1616, some six weeks before his death. The preamble, in which he describes himself as a member of ‘God’s elect’, suggested the strong puritan convictions which had led George Webbe, bishop of Limerick, to dedicate A Poesie of Spirituall Flowers taken out of the Scriptures to him. He bequeathed of £10 to the parson of Bromham and a further £5 to a named ‘preacher and minister of the word of God.’ He also established stocks of £30 each in Devizes, Chippenham and Calne, Wiltshire, for the benefit of apprentices. Unspecified lands and tenements which he had recently purchased were left to his only daughter, Elizabeth, but were go to his son Sir Edward if the latter failed to pay her £3,000 within one year of Henry’s death. It is unclear whether these terms were met in full, but by November 1617 £500 had been paid. Sir Edward was named as executor, while the numerous overseers included Sir Henry Poole* and Sir Roger Owen*. A life term interest in Bayntun’s other main residence, Bremhill manor, Wiltshire, which had been given him on his marriage, was granted to his widow, Lucy.24 Bayntun was buried in the family vault in Bromham church, where he is commemorated by a plaque which had formerly adorned the almshouse that he had built at Bromham in 1612 for six poor people.25 Bayntun was succeeded by his only son, Sir Edward, who was to serve the same three constituencies before becoming a prominent parliamentarian during the Civil War. Bayntun’s only daughter, Elizabeth, later married John Dutton.*
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Henry Lancaster / Andrew Thrush
- 1. C142/234/59.
- 2. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 7-8; LI Admiss.; Reg. St. Martin-in-the- Fields ed. J.V. Kitto, 166.
- 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 99.
- 4. Burke’s Landed Gentry, 1293.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 357; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne Pprs. vii. f. 102.
- 6. Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. ed. W.P.D. Murphy (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 58, 64; Add. 5496, f. 73.
- 7. A.D. Wall, ‘Wilts. Commission of Peace, 1590-1620’ (Univ. Melbourne MA thesis, 1966), p. 163; SP14/33, f. 66; C66/1549.
- 8. VCH Wilts. v. 401, 437; STAC 8/7/9; 8/47/19.