HADDON, Walter (c.1516-71), of London and St. Mary Cray, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. c.1516, 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, aged 16, BA 1538, MA 1541, LLD 1549, fellow 1536-52; adv. Doctors’ Commons 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

Vice-chancellor, Camb. Univ. 1549-50; regius professor of civil law Mar. 1550-Sept. 1552; master, Trinity Hall Feb.-Sept. 1552; president, Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 30 Sept. 1552-30 Oct. 1553; master of the PCC Dec. 1558, judge from 1559; master of requests Nov. or Dec. 1558; eccles. commr. from 1559.2


Haddon’s academic career ended with his enforced retirement from the presidency of Magdalen some months after the accession of Queen Mary. Qualifying as an advocate he gained a reputation as a civil lawyer in the court of requests, and on Mary’s death was recommended to Elizabeth by Sir Nicholas Throckmorton as a master of requests. His was one of the few recommendations made by Throckmorton approved by the Queen. Described by De Quadra, the Spanish Ambassador, as ‘the greatest heretic in all England’, Haddon was on the commission to give the oath of supremacy to the clergy. In August 1561 he went to the Netherlands, ostensibly at the petition of English merchants to arrange contracts for cloth exports, but, De Quadra thought, really to encourage a protestant rising against Spain. Four or five years later he went there again to discuss a resumption of trade with Flanders. These missions apart, he was active mainly in his legal work in the court of requests and the prerogative and admiralty courts. He was also used by the Queen and Cecil as a pamphleteer, particularly in the famous controversy with the Portuguese Franciscan, Osorio.3

Haddon constantly corresponded with Sir William Cecil on a variety of subjects, both private and public. He was also on friendly terms with Leicester, and Sir Thomas Heneage was his ‘closest and dearest friend’. His return for Poole was no doubt secured by the 2nd Earl of Bedford, but Haddon used his own good standing with the Queen to obtain her consent to a petition from the town, in all likelihood the confirmation of its charter, dated 23 June 1568. The ‘name of incorporation’, wrote Haddon to Cecil, ‘is so discredited with her that she agreed only because they had been long suitors and to save my reputation, as she termed it, in that I had given them hope’. His return for Warwick was probably due to the influence of the Earl of Warwick. On 22 Mar. 1563 he is mentioned in the Commons journals as being one of the committee to investigate the case of Gabriel Pleydell. In the second session of this Parliament a bill concerning perjury was committed to him (18 Feb. 1566) and he was appointed to the succession committee on 31 Oct. He was one of 30 MPs summoned on 5 Nov. 1566 to hear the Queen’s message on the succession.4

Haddon was treated well by the Queen. He was granted a £50 annuity in 1559 and on 2 Mar. had a grant of the manor of Wymondham, Norfolk; in 1570 she leased him the manor of Hatcham Barnes in Surrey and Kent. Most of his other property in Kent was purchased in the last few years of his life. His offices alone must have made him a wealthy man, and on one occasion he was rebuked by a friend for not taking advantage of his university connexions to obtain the lease of any valuable parsonages.5

By July 1570 he was suffering from the stone and unable to ride. A few months later he made his will, leaving £200 to his son, together with his books and a gold chain. He asked for some ‘token of remembrance’ to be given to Peter Osborne and his wife, and left 40s. to Christ’s Hospital, London. The residue of his goods he bequeathed to his ‘dear wife’ Anne, who afterwards married Henry Brooke alias Cobham I* . The previous day Haddon had settled all his lands on trustees to her use for life. He died 24 Jan. 1571, aged 56. His only surviving son outlived him by less than three months, and his only daughter presumably having predeceased him, his eventual heir was a distant cousin. Haddon, a prolific writer in both prose and verse, was considered one of the best Latinists of his day. His monument in Christ Church, Newgate Street, celebrated his legal and classical learning and his rhetorical ability.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. DNB; H.L. Quarterly, xvii. 99-124; Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 32; C142/161/120; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 267-8; London Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv), 37; Reg. Christ Church, Newgate (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxi), 268.
  • 2. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 12, 261; 1558-60, pp. 28, 118 etc.; 1560-3, p. 279; Add. 5807, f. 106; C. Coote, Civilians, 41; APC, vii. 30; PCC prob. reg. 1559-70 passim; PCC 7 Holney.
  • 3. Lansd. 12, ff. 124-30; EHR, lxv. 91-8; APC, vii. 30; CSP For. 1561-2, pp. 247, 642; 1564-5, pp. 313, 450; CSP Span. 1558-70, p. 212.
  • 4. E. Rosenberg, Leicester as a Patron of Letters, 140; HMC Finch, i. 11, 19; CPR, 1566-9, p. 166; Hutchins, Dorset, i. 22; Lansd. 7, f. 50; Camb. Univ. Lib. Gg. iii. 34, p. 209; CJ, i. 66; D’Ewes, 89, 127.
  • 5. CPR, 1558-60, p. 111; PRO Index 16772, ff. 148, 265; C142/161/120; CSP Dom. Add. 1547-65, p. 552.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 385; PCC 7 Holney; C142/161/120; C24/103; T. Wilson, The Art of Rhetorique (1553), f. 68b; Stow, Survey of London, iii. 136.