HADDON, Walter (1514/15-71), of London and St. Mary Cray, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1514/15, 2nd s. of William Haddon of Bucks. by Dorothy, da. of John Young of Crome D’Abitot, Worcs.; half-bro. of Francis Saunders. educ. Eton c.1529-33; King’s, Camb. Aug. 1533, BA 1538, MA 1541, L1D 1549, fellow 1536-52; adv. Doctors’ Commons 11 May 1555. m. (1) Margaret, da. of Sir John Clere of Ormesby, Norf. 1s. 1da.; (2) lic. 17 Dec. 1567, Anne, da. of Sir Henry Sutton of Notts. s.p.1

Offices Held

V.-chancellor, Cambridge Univ. 1549-50; regius prof. of civil law Mar. 1550-Sept. 1552; master, Trinity Hall Feb.-Sept. 1552; pres. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 30 Sept. 1552-30 Oct. 1553; master of requests Nov. or Dec. 1558-d.; master, prerogative ct. of Canterbury Dec. 1558, judge from 1559; commr. eccles. causes 1559-d.2


Walter Haddon was educated at Eton under Richard Cox, another Buckinghamshire man, and he probably shared Cox’s Protestantism by the time he entered Cambridge as a King’s scholar. There he devoted himself to the study of law and managed to keep clear of theological controversy, although numbering among his friends Martin Bucer (whose executor he became), John Cheke and Peter Osborne. The reign of Edward VI presented Haddon with opportunities and relieved him of inhibitions, and he became ‘one of the great and eminent lights of the Reformation in Cambridge’. He had been master of Trinity Hall for only a few months when the Council decided to impose him on Magdalen College, Oxford, as president in place of the conservative Owen Oglethorpe: this appointment, carried through against opposition from among the fellows, Haddon probably owed in the main to Cecil, with whom he corresponded regularly during his year at Oxford, although Richard Cox, then chancellor of the university, must have welcomed his arrival there.3

Haddon so far fulfilled expectations that when Bishop Gardiner visited Oxford in October 1553 he found Magdalen the most Protestant college in the university. It would have taken more than Haddon’s congratulatory verses on Mary’s accession to have saved him from an enforced resignation of the presidency. He did not, however, accompany his brother James, who was a cleric, into exile, but turned to the practice of the civil law, in which he established a great reputation. Admitted an advocate in May 1555 he began to appear in the court of requests: he also gained a footing in the common law by becoming a member of Gray’s Inn, again doubtless under the aegis of Cecil. After Elizabeth’s accession to the throne, and Cecil’s to power, he was to be much used in both legal and diplomatic affairs.4

Haddon’s Membership of the last two Marian Parliaments bears out his ability to accommodate himself to the regime. His seat for Reigate in 1555 (when his name was inserted in the return in a different hand from that of the document) he probably owed directly to the lord of the borough, William 1st Baron Howard of Effingham. Howard had been an undergraduate at Trinity Hall, although before Haddon’s time as master, and more recently their paths are likely to have crossed in civil jurisdiction. Haddon’s return to the following Parliament for Thetford has more of a family flavour. A duchy of Lancaster borough, Thetford was at this time passing under the control of the 4th Duke of Norfolk, whose local agent was his servant Richard Fulmerston: Haddon was linked with Fulmerston through his brother-in-law and fellow-Member Edward Clere, who had married Fulmerston’s daughter and heir, and in 1567 he was to be named an overseer of Fulmerston’s will. Nothing is known of Haddon’s part in either Parliament: in the first of them he might have been expected to align himself with the opposition but the absence of his name from the list of those who voted against one of the government’s bills suggests that he did not do so.5

After a dozen years of increasing eminence and affluence under Elizabeth, Haddon died on 24 Jan. 1571.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Aged 56 at death according to MI. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 32; C. Coote, Civilians, 41; C142/161/120; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 267-8; Mar. Lic. London (Harl. Soc. xxv), 37; Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 143-4; HL Quarterly, xvii. 99-124; DNB.
  • 2. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 12, 261; 1558-60, pp. 28, 118; 1560-3, p. 279; Add. 5807, f. 106; APC, vii. 30.
  • 3. Strype, Parker, ii. 62, 145-6; APC, iv. passim; Lansd. 3, ff. 9-70 passim; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, i. 332.
  • 4. Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(1), 73, 82; C. H. Garrett, The Marian Exiles, 169; DNB (Haddon, James); Lansd. 12, ff. 124-30; G.I. Adm. 27,
  • 5. C219/24/152; A. H. Smith, County and Ct. 37; PCC 34 Wrastley, 33 Stonard.
  • 6. PCC 7 Holney; C142/161/120; Stow, Survey of London, ed. Strype, iii. 136.