HATTON (formerly NEWPORT), Sir William (c.1565-97), of Holdenby, Northants.

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.1565, s. of John Newport of Hunningham, Warws. by Dorothy, da. of William Hatton, sis. of Christopher Hatton I. educ. Magdalen Coll., Oxf. c.1577; travelled abroad. m. (1) June 1589, Elizabeth, da. of Francis Gawdy, s.p.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Cecil, s.p. Kntd. 1586; suc. uncle 1591.

Offices Held

J.p.q. Northants. from 1591, Dorset, Norf. from c.1592.


After leaving Oxford, as it seems without a degree (his MA in 1590 must have been honorary), Hatton went abroad. In the early 1580s he was in Paris, travelling with Anthony Ashley. He corresponded with Julius Caesar, who wrote advising the constant study of the Bible as a protection against ‘foolish popery’, and in order ‘that the light behaviour of strange women shall not entrap you’. Hatton was twice returned for his uncle’s borough of Corfe Castle, but his name has been found only once in the surviving journals of the House of Commons. On the last day of the 1589 Parliament he was put on the committee to confer with the Lords about a proposed declaration of war against Spain.

On the death of the lord chancellor Hatton inherited Holdenby and Kirkby Hall, considerable lands in Northamptonshire and Dorset, a town house in Holborn, and the parliamentary patronage of Corfe Castle, which he only had time to exercise once. But his uncle had died owing the Crown £40,000 and the estates were extended. The Queen allowed Hatton on his succession to lease most of the property from her at an annual rent of £1,500 until the debt was paid, but for the remaining few years of his life he was in serious financial difficulties. Unlike his predecessor, he had no court or legal office from which he could raise additional income, and the great house at Holdenby, recently built at fantastic cost, was impossible to manage economically. He was driven to selling estates which had not been extended—for instance, lands in Waterford to Roger Dalton. In 1595 he sold Cecil property worth £1,750 and requested a renewal of his lease of the Savoy—a valuable source of income which he was anxious not to lose. He remained on friendly terms with his uncle’s followers. Anthony Ashley’s brother Robert dedicated a book to him, and Francis Flower bequeathed him a diamond worth £50. Another friend was Henry Unton, with whom he went to the Netherlands in 1586, and fought at Zutphen. On his return from the Netherlands, Hatton attended the funeral of Sir Philip Sidney. After this date there are few references to him outside Northamptonshire, where he played an active part in county business. He died 12 Mar. 1597 at Holborn, and was buried at Holdenby. He left the Queen a jewel worth £200,

so do I to the very instant of my last breathings make this prayer that her Highness may in number of years and happiness of government exceed all her noble progenitors whom she succeeds in this imperial throne.

A schedule of debts totalled £3,700. The estates passed to Christopher Hatton II, son of the lord chancellor’s cousin John Hatton of Long Stanton, Cambridgeshire.

Hutchins, Dorset, i. 471-2; E. St. John Brooks, Sir C. Hatton, 151, 323, 346, 349, 359-61, 368; D’Ewes, 454; HMC Hatfield, v. 23, 276-7; vi. 96; Lansd. 157, ff. 41, 47; PCC 8, 41 Cobham; Bodl. Ashmole 818, f. 41; Northants. RO, cal. Finch-Hatton mss; Coll. Topographica, iii. 291-2.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge