PORTMAN, Sir Hugh (c.1562-1604), of Orchard Portman, Som.

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.1562, 1st s. of Sir Henry Portman by Joan, da. of Thomas Mitchell of Cannington. educ. M. Temple 1586. suc. fa. Jan. 1591. Kntd. by 1597.

Offices Held

J.p. Som. from c.1592, sheriff 1590-1, 1600-1, dep. lt. Nov. 1597.1


Portman owned ten manors and over 100 houses in Somerset, where his family had lived as minor gentry since Edward I’s reign. (Sir) William Portman became chief justice of the Queen’s bench in Mary’s reign and it was he and his son Sir Henry who extended the Somerset estates and acquired land in Devon, Dorset, Hampshire and St. Marylebone, Middlesex.2

As knight of the shire for Somerset in the Parliament of 1597, Portman could have served on committees concerned with enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), rebuilding Langport Eastover (10 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.). He was given leave to depart on 6 Dec. There are a number of references to his activities in Somerset: investigating complaints about the recruitment of soldiers; controlling grain supplies and seeing to the county musters. In 1600 and in the following year he contributed a light horse for service in Ireland. He also had friends in London, among them Sir John Harington, who wrote in 1598 of hoping to see ‘your lady’ before Christmas next. Who she was is not known; the herald’s visitations mention no wife and Portman’s will, proved 16 Mar. 1604, does not show him to be married. He asked to be buried at Orchard Portman, and left £100 to the poor, to be distributed by his brother John, his executor and heir. His unmarried sister Rachel received £500, and his ‘aunt Stowell’ £100. Three brothers-in-law and a number of nephews and nieces were mentioned, as well as his married sisters. Two of the overseers were Edward Phelips and Edward Hext.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.


  • 1. C142/229/101; Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 127; APC, xxviii. 92.
  • 2. Collinson, Som. i. 56-7; ii. 277, 327-8, 333, 346; iii. 73, 103, 274; Foss, Judges, v. 387-8; C142/229/101; VCH Hants, iv. 456.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 568; APC, xxvi. 498; xxvii. 167-8; xxviii. 92, 559; xxx. 439; xxxii. 279; HMC Hatfield, vii. 72; J. Harington, Nugae Antiquae, ed. Park (1804), i. 236, 317; PCC 31 Harte.