HEWETT (HUET), Sir William (1572-1637), of Little Church Lane, The Strand, Westminster and Brightwell, Suff.; formerly of Monnox Place, Suffolk Lane, St. Lawrence Pountney, London
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Family and Education
bap. 24 July 1572, 4th s. of William Hewett (d.1599), Clothworker, of London. m. by 1604, Elizabeth (d. 19 Oct. 1646), da. of Richard Wiseman, Clothworker, of London, 5s. (2 d.v.p.), 6da. kntd. 18 Oct. 1606. d. 7 Oct. 1637.1
Member, E.I. Co. 1600;2 ?freeman, Merchant Taylors’ Co. 1601 or 1605.
Kpr. Windsor Little Park, Berks. 1613-at least 1626; commr. oyer and terminer, the Marshalsea 1623.3
Recvr.-gen. of composition money for the Household 1623-at least 1627.4
Hewett’s father, a London Clothworker of Derbyshire origin, has sometimes been confused with his more famous kinsman, lord mayor of London in 1559.5 Hewett himself, the youngest of four sons, inherited £2,000 and some claim to an extensive estate stretching from Kent to Yorkshire.6 He began life as a merchant, joining two of his brothers in the East India Company in 1600, and settled in the London parish of St. Lawrence Pountney, where he married the daughter of a Clothworker. He did not join the Clothworkers’ Company himself, but may instead have entered the more prestigious Merchant Taylors, as men bearing his name completed their apprenticeships and became freemen of this Company in March 1601 and July 1605.7 He evidently prospered, lending £600 to Sir John Leveson* to help fund a lawsuit in 1608.8 In 1610 Hewett, with the assistance of Sir Robert Carey*, then master of Prince Charles’s Household, was granted the keepership of Little Park, Windsor in succession to the then incumbent, Charles Lister†, who died in 1613.9 In July 1613 one of his elder brothers, Sir Thomas, by then an alderman of London, secured a grant of the king’s reversion to their father’s lands which he claimed had been fraudulently conveyed to the Crown by the others, but there was no lasting quarrel and Hewett was to be Sir Thomas’s executor and heir in 1624.10
In January 1616 the Crown bestowed upon Hewett the next presentation to a Hertfordshire rectory.11 However, in February 1617 he spent four days as a prisoner in the Marshalsea on the orders of the Privy Council ‘for his contempt in not appearing before the lords when he was sent for’.12 Later that same year he was involved in raising a loan of £3,000 for the earl of Kellie.13 In 1618 he sold his London townhouse for £1,700 and, by 1623, settled in the Westminster parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where he had been born.14 In 1621 he employed a London carpenter to work on his Suffolk house, but was later sued for payment of a bill of £140.15 His inheritance from his brother, Sir Thomas, included an interest in the debts of the Irishman Florence MacCarthy.16
In 1623 Hewett was appointed to the newly created Household post of receiver-general for purveyance compositions, at the same time as his wife’s brother-in-law, Simon Harvey, was appointed clerk comptroller.17 The fourth Jacobean Parliament chose to examine these offices as part of its investigation into purveyance, and on 1 May 1624 a committee was appointed ‘to peruse Sir Simon Harvey’s books and the patent granted to Sir William Hewett’. After Edmund Sawyer reported from the committee, Hewett was ordered to bring in ‘his book of receipts and accounts’.18 Nothing further happened before the end of the session, but the threat explains Hewett’s return for Windsor on the death of Thomas Woodward, whereby, ironically, he became Sawyer’s fellow Member. The House did not meet again before the king’s death, and although re-elected in 1625 Hewett left no mark on the records of the first Caroline Parliament. In August 1626 the Crown revenue commissioners decided to inspect Hewett’s books for themselves, but a few months later these were given a clean bill of health.19
In the summer of 1626 Hewett was excused the charge of two light horse in Berkshire on the ground that he paid in Suffolk and Middlesex and had nothing in Berkshire save his keepership.20 In 1630 he spent more than £5,600 in purchasing eight manors which had until recently belonged to the Crown from the City of London.21 During the trial of the 2nd earl of Castlehaven (Sir Mervyn Tuchet alias Audley*) in March 1631, Castlehaven’s daughter-in-law was placed in his custody.22 Hewett drafted his will on 3 May 1636. In it he left £200 for the release of prisoners ‘for small debts’, and provided portions of £4,000 apiece for his two unmarried daughters. He also bequeathed £10 each to his friends Sir Richard Shilton* and Sir John Bankes*. He died on 7 Oct. 1637, and was buried, as he had requested, at Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, where his eldest son, Thomas*, had recently settled. His funeral monument described him as ‘a strict observer of times past, a fair example to times present, a rare memorial to future times’ and ‘a sincere member of the church’.23
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Andrew Thrush
- 1. St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxv), 10; H.B. Wilson, Hist. Par. of St. Lawrence Pountney, 12, 206; WCA, F354; N and Q (ser. 2), vi. 465; Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 202.
- 2. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 116.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 590; APC, 1626, p. 232; C181/3, f. 97.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 502; APC, 1627-8, p. 209.
- 5. For this man, see Oxford DNB, xxvi. 915.
- 6. PROB 11/94, f. 29.
- 7. We are grateful to Jessica Collins, archivist of the Clothworkers, for confirming that Hewett did not join the Clothworkers. For the possibility that Hewett joined the Merchant Taylors, see GL, ms 34017/1, ff. 115v, 221.
- 8. Staffs. RO, D593/R/1/1/3.
- 9. SO3/4, unfol. (Feb. 1610).
- 10. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 192; PROB 11/143, f. 55.
- 11. C66/2059.
- 12. APC, 1616-17, pp. 157-8, 169.
- 13. C78/349/7.
- 14. Wilson, 127, 207; WCA, F350.
- 15. REQ 2/420/91.
- 16. CSP Ire. 1625-32, p. 101.
- 17. G.E. Aylmer, ‘The Last Years of Purveyance’, Ec.HR (ser. 2), x. 86n.
- 18. CJ, i. 696a, 782a.
- 19. Univ. London, Goldsmiths’ ms 195, i. ff. 12v, 17, 18v, 21, 36v; APC, 1627- 8, pp. 209-10. For those of his accounts which are known to survive, see E101/627/42-3.
- 20. APC, 1626, p. 232.
- 21. CLRO, RCE min. bk. 1627-32, f. 140v.
- 22. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 325; APC, 1630-1, p. 248.
- 23. PROB 11/175, f. 147; Clutterbuck, iii. 217-18.