HENLEY, Andrew (1622-75), of Bramshill, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



8 May 1660

Family and Education

bap. 7 May 1622, 1st s. of Robert Henley of Henley, Som. and Soper Lane, London, chief clerk of K.b. 1629-42, by 2nd w. Anne, da. of John Eldred of Saxmundham, Suff.; bro. of Sir Robert Henley. educ. M. Temple entered 1634, called 1646; Exeter, Oxf. 1639. m. (1) aft. 1648, Mary (d. 30 July 1666), da. of Sir John Gayer, merchant and Fishmonger, of London, ld. mayor 1646-7, 2s. 2da.; (2) 20 May 1672, Constance, da. of Thomas Bromfield, merchant and Haberdasher, of Coleman Street, London, wid. of Thomas Middleton of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, s.p. suc. fa. 1656; cr. Bt. 20 June 1660; kntd. 21 July 1660.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Hants 1653-4; freeman, Portsmouth Apr. 1660, Winchester 1661; j.p. Hants July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., col. of militia ft. Nov. 1660-?67, dep. lt. 1661-7; commr. of sewers, Bedford level 1662-3, conservator 1666-7, 1669-70; keeper of Frimley walk, Windsor forest 1670-d.; commr. for recusants, Hants 1675.2


Henley’s father was first cousin of the half-blood of Henry Henley; but by his successive occupation of two immensely lucrative offices, first as a Six Clerk in Chancery, and then as chief clerk of the King’s bench (worth £22,500 by his own account), he outstripped the senior line both in wealth and status, acquiring considerable property in Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire, besides an ‘adventure’ of 5,500 acres in the fens. When he was sequestrated he claimed to have gone into the King’s quarters not voluntarily but under constraint, and exhibited debts of £11,585, while his brother-in-law John Maynard I produced counter-bonds from various creditors in the period 1629 to 1642 totalling £27,545. Nevertheless he paid the heavy fine of £9,000 within a month. Henley himself was said to have given £2,500 to needy Cavaliers. He bought some bishops’ lands in Dorset and the manor of Great Bramshill in 1649, but he was probably never entirely free from debt.3

Although ineligible as the son of a Cavalier, Henley was ‘incessantly importuned’ to stand for Hampshire at the general election of 1660, and sent a message to Richard Norton to the effect that he would not oppose him. An electoral bargain was struck:

Whereas we began to hold it doubtful whether I should carry it for knight of the shire or not, so it was agreed that Colonel Norton should decline his being burgess for Portsmouth and get me chosen there, and then I to decline being knight, so I am promised Colonel Norton’s interest (who is governor) and not doubt but I shall [be] burgess of Portsmouth. But if I had been free and declared my mind sooner, I had undoubtedly been knight of the shire.

Henley was duly returned at a by-election for Portsmouth when Norton chose to sit for the county. He seems to have been a totally inactive Member of the Convention, though his baronetcy and knighthood suggest that he was expected to support the Court as a silent voter in divisions.4

Although both Norton and John Bulkeley had promised to join with Henley at the next county election, in the changed circumstances of 1661 they were obliged to step down to borough seats, and he is not known to have stood again. He was desired by the lord lieutenant to stay in the country while most of the deputy lieutenants were attending Parliament ‘in case any commotions should arise by any restless spirits endeavouring to beget new broils’. In 1662 he wrote to his Dorset agent: ‘You know how I am pressed for money. ... I have no other intrada but my rents to support myself.’ Presumably he was extravagant, but it is not known what he spent his money on, except in paying a French chef, against which the rector of Eversley directed a sermon on the sin of gluttony. Henley was already involved in a dispute with the rector over tithes, and he also (more excusably) came into open conflict with Lord St. John (Charles Powlett I) at a time and place that might have had very serious consequences. According to Samuel Pepys:

My Lord St. John did, a day or two since, openly pull a gentleman in Westminster Hall by the nose, one Sir Andrew Henley, whilst the judges were upon their benches, and the other gentleman did give a rap over the pate with his cane, of which fray the judges, they say, will make a great matter.

Lord St. John was quickly pardoned, and was soon in a position to retaliate by dropping Henley from the lieutenancy. But Henley had to petition the King after a prosecution had been started against him in King’s bench, and was not pardoned till 1668. In the following year he added to his debts by the purchase of Eversley manor. He died on 17 May 1675, and was buried at Eversley.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson


  • 1. Soc. of Genealogists, Boyd’s London Units 15608.
  • 2. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 206; Winchester corp. assembly bk. 4, f. 162; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 82; Sloane 813, f. 50v; S. Wells, Drainage of Bedford Level, i. 350, 458-60; Harl. 2579, f. 186.
  • 3. G. E. Aylmer, The King’s Servants, 305-8; SP23/138, ff. 127-37; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 272; Grey, i. 6; VCH Hants, iv. 36, 40; Hutchins, Dorset, ii, 127.
  • 4. Sloane 813, f. 16.
  • 5. Sloane 813, ff. 49, 53, 79; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 312; Pepys Diary, 29 Nov. 1666; CSP Dom. 1666-7, P. 299; 1667, p. 263; 1667-8, pp. 371-2, 514; VCH Hants, iv. 34; C8/262/51; Eversley par. reg.