JORDYN, William II (c.1566-1623), of Chitterne; later of Wilcot, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. c.1566, 1st s. of William Jordyn I of Chitterne by his w. Anne. educ. Merton, Oxf. 1581, BA 1583; M. Temple 1584. m. (1) by July 1597, Elizabeth (d.1601), da. of Sir Edward Caryll of Harting, Suss., s.p.; (2) 1 Dec. 1608, Bridget, da. of John Cornwall of Marlborough, wid. of George Master of Cirencester, Glos., 1s. suc. fa. Jan. 1602. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held


The styling of this man on the 1593 Westbury return as ‘gentleman’ points to his being the younger of two men of that name, father and son, who could have sat in this Parliament. The elder had bought some land in Wiltshire during his service as one of the two secretaries of the 1st Earl of Pembroke, after whose death he set up as a country gentleman, being described as ‘esquire’ in the subsidy assessment of 1576 and buying in about 1580 from his brother-in-law John Temys the manor of Chitterne on Salisbury Plain where he lived for the rest of his life. Of the early life of his eldest son, who is taken to be the Member, little is known. Though he was admitted to the Middle Temple it does not appear that he ever practised the law. His return for Westbury—near Chitterne—may have answered either to professional ambitions or to social pretensions; and the proximity of Chitterne to a borough whose seats were at that time generally available to local gentlemen gave him sufficient claim to one of them. In the House, as a burgess from a Wiltshire borough, Jordyn would have been on a committee concerned with cloth (15 Mar. 1593), but he was not an active MP and his name does not occur in the journals. His first marriage may have followed his only period of service in Parliament within a year or two, since in July 1597 his father settled upon the couple the manor of Whitley and the manor house of Chitterne, which became their home. But during the winter of 1601-2 Jordyn lost both father and wife within the space of a few weeks, Elizabeth on 15 Dec. and William senior on 11 Jan. Six months later his mother was also dead. Her will is noteworthy for its bequests of books: besides a great Bible, she left copies of Calvin’s Institutes and Exposition of Job, of Peter Martyr’s Commonplaces, and of ‘Doctor Fulkes Answers to the Roman Testamente’.

Under his father’s will, and with his mother’s consent, Jordyn had succeeded to the entire estate, saving minor bequests of lands to his four brothers, and he was now equipped to cut something of a figure. He took the opportunity of James I’s accession to gain a knighthood and a new coat of arms; five years later he married again, a son and heir being born in 1614; and for the remainder of his life he ranked as a leading gentleman of the county. He did not, however, remain at Chitterne, which he sold in 1604. In 1611, when he was assessed for a privy seal loan at £20, he was living at Wilcot, in the Vale of Pewsey, and two years later he and his wife were given licence to travel for a year to the Low Countries and Heidelberg. He died in 1623, shortly after the heraldic visitation of Wiltshire at which his pedigree was recorded: his inquisition post mortem shows him as in possession of Whitley and of Chitterne manor house.

Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 86, 104; C142/407/79; Wilts. Arch. Mag. ii. 183-4; xviii. 128; Wilts. N. and Q. iv. 286; vi. 87; Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 45, 140; PCC 2, 69 Montague; D’Ewes, 501; Recovery rolls, Trin. 2 Jas. I, rot. 47.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. T. Bindoff