HAKEWILL, William (1574-1655), of Wendover, Bucks.

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

bap. 30 Oct. 1574, 1st s. of John Hakewill of Exeter by Thomasine, da. of John Peryam. educ. ?Exeter Coll. Oxf.;2 Staple Inn; L. Inn 1598, called 1606. m. 1617, Elizabeth (d. June 1652), da. of (Sir) Henry Woodhouse of Waxham, Norf., at least 2s. suc. fa. 1615.

Offices Held

Bencher, L. Inn by 1616, Lent reader 1625, keeper of the black bk. 1633, treasurer 1637-8; master in Chancery 1647-52; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, Bucks. Berks. after 1603.

Member, Antiq Soc. c.1591.


Hakewill was a distinguished Member of Parliament, constitutional lawyer and historian, whose career lies almost entirely outside the Elizabethan period. By his marriage he was related to the Bacon and Killigrew families. Though his own family came from Exeter, he went to live at Bucksbridge House, and later at the Hale, Wendover, which was doubtless more convenient than the west country for his career at Lincoln’s Inn, where he was for many years one of the principal benchers. Wood described him as

a grave and judicious counsellor [who] out of his great and long conversation with antiquity, did extract several remarkable observations concerning the liberty of the subject and [the] manner of holding Parliament.3

Hakewill was related to William Peryam, the judge, patron of the borough of Bossiney at the end of Elizabeth’s reign, and it was doubtless on his nomination that Hakewill sat for Bossiney in 1601. An active member of the Commons even at the outset of his parliamentary career, Hakewill spoke in debates in the 1601 Parliament. On 21 Nov. in the debate on monopolies, a list of all existing patents was read out, after which Hakewill asked:

‘Is not bread there?’ ‘Bread?’, quoth one. ‘Bread?’, quoth another. ‘This voice seems strange’, quoth another. ‘This voice seems strange’, quoth a third [sic]. ‘No’, quoth Mr. Hackwell, ‘If order be not taken for these, bread will be there before the next Parliament’.

On 3 Dec. he intervened in the debate on the avoidance of the double payment of debts, opposing the bill. He spoke three times on the subject of iron ordnance, attempting to rescue the bill against the export of ordnance from the ‘everlasting sleep’ into which it had fallen (8, 10, 18 Dec.). He attempted to revive another bill on 14 Dec. concerning soldiers, mariners and the maintenance of shipping, reasoning in the following manner:

It was well said by one that ships were the walls of our kingdom, which if we suffer to decay, as I am certainly assured they are decaying, not only a quarter, or third part, but even half, and as our strength diminisheth, so our enemies increase.

He seems not to have been named to any committee in 1601.4

Of puritan religious convictions, Hakewill expressed the wish in his will that the cost of his funeral should not exceed £40. He made bequests to his eldest son William and his second son Robert, and appointed William Fretwell and Henry Harris executors. He died 31 Oct. 1655, aged 81.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Reg. Univ. Oxf. ii(1), p. 263; Wood, Ath. Ox. ed. Bliss, iii. 231-2, suggests Exeter 1601.
  • 3. DNB ; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 437, 603; Lipscomb, Bucks. ii. 490; L. Inn Black Bk. ii. passim; Spedding, Bacon, vi. 208.
  • 4. D’Ewes, 648, 667, 671, 677, 688; Neale, Parlts. ii. 419-20; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 239, 283, 284, 293, 294, 307, 323, 333.
  • 5. VCH Bucks. iii. 27; PCC 442 Aylett.