WESTWOOD, Hugh (by 1500-59), of Chedworth, Glos.

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. by 1500. m. (1) by 1521, Agnes, (2) Jane, da. of Sir Alexander Baynham of Westbury-on-Severn, wid. of Robert Wye (d.1544) of Lipyeate, Som.; 1s. illegit.1

Offices Held

Queen’s collector of rents, Marlborough, Wilts. in 1534 and 1544-5; j.p. Glos. 1547, q. 1554-d.; commr. relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; other commissions, Glos. and Worcs. 1554-8; escheator, Glos. 1550-1.2


Hugh Westwood’s parentage has not been established. There seems to be no reason to connect him with the Worcestershire family of that name and he may have been of relatively humble origin. First appearing in 1521 as the grantee, with his wife Agnes, of a crown lease for 21 years of the demesne lands of Chedworth, a lease which they exchanged for a similar one in 1532 and again in 1543, Westwood also held a lease from Tewkesbury abbey of neighbouring Coln St. Denis which, after that manor and Calcot had been granted at the Dissolution to William Sharington, he converted into a freehold by purchase from Sharington in 1543. That Westwood was linked—although in what way does not appear—with the Tame family of Fairford is shown by his receipt of bequests from both Sir Edmund Tame the elder and the younger: in 1534 the first of them left him a life interest in tenements at Tewkesbury and ten years later the second bequeathed him a lease of Chedworth parsonage. Shortly before his death the younger Tame was also licensed to alienate the manor of Swindon, Wiltshire, to Westwood and Maurice Denys. The Tames had made their fortune from Cotswold wool, and Westwood was to do the same: it has been calculated that at his death he had upwards of 6,000 acres of grazing land and he was to bequeath at least 1,300 sheep.3

Westwood lived to enjoy other powerful connexions. As a collector of rents at Marlborough for Queens Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr he was associated with Sir John Brydges, who besides being his near neighbour at Coberley would also become his kinsman when Westwood married Jane Baynham, Brydges’s first cousin. It could scarcely have been other than Brydges’s influence which procured Westwood’s election for Wootton Bassett in 1545, his fellow-Member being Brydges’s son Edmund. (For either or both of them it could have been a re-election, since the names for the borough for the two previous Parliaments are unknown.) Westwood is not known to have sat again, but he might have been one of those whom the contemporary observer had in mind in describing how ‘the ears of the great sheepmasters do hang upon this House’ when there was any question of limiting their activities by legislation.4

Westwood died on Oct. 1559. Where John Tame had applied the profits of the fleece to Fairford church, Westwood focussed his philanthropy upon education. By his will of 1 May 1559 he endowed a grammar school at Northleach, which lies a few miles north-east of Chedworth; the trustees included Edmund Brydges, by then the 2nd Baron Chandos, (Sir) Nicholas Arnold, Henry Hodgkins, Sir Giles Poole and (Sir) Thomas Throckmorton I. His other principal charity was the foundation of an almshouse at Bibury, where in 1552 he had bought the manor from William Herbert I, 1st Earl of Pembroke. In the absence of legitimate offspring the bulk of his lands and goods passed to his nephew Robert Westwood; his widow received the manor of Arlingham, on the banks of the Severn (which she had probably brought to the marriage), with cattle, sheep and household goods, and an illegitimate son Hugh, his child by Anne Hughes, was left 100 sheep, farm implements and an annuity of £6 13s.4d. The executors were his wife and his nephew Robert Westwood, and the overseers Henry Hodgkins and Thomas Watson; the will was proved on 5 Apr. 1560.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Elizabeth McIntyre


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. LP Hen. VIII, iii; A. C. Painter, ‘Hugh Westwood’, Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. liv. 85-105.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, vii, xix, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 84; 1550-3, p. 394; 1553, pp. 354, 414; 1553-4, p. 19; 1554-5, pp. 106-7; 1557-8, pp. 364-5; APC, vi. 93; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxiii. 67.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iii, v, xvii-xix; VCH Glos. viii. 29; Painter, 86, 87, 93; PCC 23 Mellershe.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, vii, xix, xx; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. vi. 184-5.
  • 5. C142/126/80; PCC 23 Mellershe; CPR, 1550-3, p. 246; Rudder, Glos. 232-3.