LONG, Walter I (by 1594-1637), of Draycot House, Draycot Cerne, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1594,1 2nd s. of Sir Walter Long† of Draycot Cerne and Wraxall, Wilts., being his 1st s. by his 2nd w. Catherine, da. of Sir John Thynne* of Longleat, Wilts.2 educ. L. Inn 1614.3 m. (1) by 1614, Anne (d. 10 July 1627),4 da. of Sir James Ley*, 1s.; (2) July 1636,5 Elizabeth (d.1658),6 da of George Master† of Cirencester Abbey, Glos., wid. of Edward Oldisworth [Holdsworth] of Wootton-under-Edge and Bradley, Glos., 1s.7 suc. fa. 1610;8 kntd. 26 May 1625.9 d. July 1637.10 sig. Walter Longe.
The Longs had been settled at South Wraxall, Wiltshire, since the end of the fourteenth century.14 An early predecessor, Robert Long, had sat for Old Sarum in 1414 and descendants continued a record of prolific parliamentary service for six generations. In the 1450s the Longs married into the Cerne family, owners of Draycot manor, by which they substantially increased their estates to become one of the most significant landed families in the county.15 Minor branches of the family were established in several other Wiltshire parishes as well as in Preshaw, Hampshire; the Longs of Whaddon, south-east of Salisbury, may have been a cadet branch.
Long’s father, Sir Walter, who is reported to have introduced tobacco smoking to Wiltshire, was the last to hold the united estates of Draycot and Wraxall.16 He settled Wraxall and its dependent manors upon the heirs of his second wife, Catherine, on the occasion of their marriage in 1593.17 Catherine reputedly encouraged him to exclude the children of his first marriage from his will, but legend claims that an apparition of Sir Walter’s first wife stayed the clerk’s hand.18 The will, as proved in 1610, was a confused reversal of the earlier settlement: John, the eldest son from the first marriage, was to inherit Wraxall manor and the contents of Draycot House, while the subject of this biography, being the eldest son of the second marriage, received the Draycot estate. Long also received an annuity of £30 during his minority, which was to be increased to £50 while he continued to live with his mother, who died shortly afterwards.19 However, perhaps because the executors included interested parties such as Sir William Eyre* and the lawyer Egremont Thynne, the division of these properties was never properly accomplished. Wraxall was kept from John, the rightful owner, and it was not until 1622 that Long relinquished control of this manor and several other properties to his half-brother.20
Although his father had been active in county government, and had one of the muster divisions named after him, Long himself took little interest in county administration.21 Despite inheriting considerable estates he was appointed to few local commissions, and was conspicuously inactive as a magistrate.22 He made an equally negligible impression in Parliament. In March 1621 he was returned at Westbury in succession to his father-in-law Sir James Ley, who had stood down following his appointment as chief justice of King’s Bench, but neither in 1621 nor in 1625, when he represented Westbury for a second time, did he leave any trace on the records of the Commons’ debates. On sitting for a third time in 1626, he was one of three possible Members referred to in the Journal as ‘Mr. Long’, the other two being his brother Robert and Walter II. The last named was by far the most active of the three, but this Member had a discernible interest in some of the measures to which ‘Mr. Long’ was associated. Coming from a family steeped in puritanism - his father had been closely allied to Wiltshire puritans such as his counsel Lawrence Hyde* and Sir John Thynne* - he may have been the man nominated to committees for drafting a petition to the king to remove recusant officeholders (20 Mar.), and for scrutinizing a bill to mitigate the sentence of greater excommunication (2 May).23 As a Wiltshire burgess, Long was eligible to sit on the committee for the Snell family estate bill (8 May), in which measure he apparently had a personal interest: three years later he was sued in Chancery for making an usurious loan upon a mortgage of the rectory of Kingston St. Michael, Wiltshire, owned by Lady Anne Snell.24
Despite his substantial landed income, Long failed in December 1624 to repay a £200 debt to Francis Theobald of Gray’s Inn. Instead, he conveyed a lease of Draycot Park to his brother Robert and Sir Edward Bayntun* for £2,000, enabling them to repay the loan by the sale of wood and parkland, which raised £660. Both men subsequently refused to pay Theobald, although judgement was given in the latter’s favour in 1630.25 In the following year another Chancery suit forced Long to lease the Wiltshire manor of Stanton St. Quentin.26 Long generally enjoyed good relations with his father-in-law, who built a two-storey porch at Draycot House embossed with his coat of arms, but a difference arose after Ley’s third marriage, and Sir James (by then earl of Marlborough) ultimately ‘begged pardon of Lady Anne [Long] on bended knee of his heart for his conduct towards her.’27
Long died intestate in July 1637, and administration was granted to his elder son James in the following November.28 Unspecified land had been entailed on James in 1635 on his marriage to the daughter of Sir William Dodington I*, and he now inherited the extensive Draycot estate. A royalist cavalry commander during the Civil War, James served as MP for Malmesbury, Wiltshire, after the Restoration; his descendants became earls of Mornington.29
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Henry Lancaster
- 1. C142/334/65. Date calculated from age given in father’s i.p.m.
- 2. R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Heytesbury Hundred’, 60.
- 3. LI Admiss.
- 4. Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 239.
- 5. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 117.
- 6. Anon. Peds. of Fam. of Long (1878).
- 7. Wilts. IPMs, 237-45.