STEWARD, Mark (1524-1604), of Heckfield, Hants; later of Stuntney, Cambs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 1524, 3rd s. of Simeon Steward of Lakenheath, Suff. and Stuntney by Joan, da. and h. of Edward Besteney of Soham, Cambs. educ. ?St. John’s, Camb. 1544. m. Anna, da. of Robert Huicke, physician to Queen Elizabeth, 1s. 1da. suc. bro. 1598. Kntd. July 1603.1
Officer issuing protections authorizing people to collect alms 1567-92; j.p.q. Hants 1583, capt. of musters, Holdshott hundred c.1587, sheriff 1597-.8
The Stewards had settled in East Anglia in the fifteenth century. One of Steward’s uncles was the last prior of Ely and, acquiescing in the religious changes, became the first dean in 1541; another was chancellor (in 1554, dean) of Winchester, and was deprived at the accession of Elizabeth; and a third went into exile under Mary, became pastor of the English congregation at Frankfurt and was associated with William Whittingham and John Knox.2
Steward himself, a younger son with only an annuity of £20 left to him by his father, was forced to seek his fortune away from the family estates. He was described as a servant of the Queen in 1567, and afterwards entered the service of Sir William Paulet, 3rd Marquess of Winchester. By the 1580s he resided at Heckfield, Hampshire, where Winchester had some land, and throughout the decade he supported the Marquess in his struggle with the Earl of Sussex for supremacy in Hampshire. Steward was soon involved in a quarrel on his own account with another of Winchester’s servants, Thomas Dabridgecourt, both men having been appointed to the same captainship of musters. Steward brought a Star Chamber action against Dabridgecourt, and the Privy Council instructed Winchester to settle the matter by dividing Holdshott hundred between the two claimants. Steward sat in the 1589 Parliament for Winchester’s borough of St. Ives, but by April 1592, when the dispute with Dabridgecourt was at its height, Winchester was complaining that Steward had not ‘carried himself toward [him] in the prosecution of this cause with that regard he ought to have had’. In 1597 Steward’s own local influence obtained him a seat at Stockbridge, shortly before he became sheriff of Hampshire. He is recorded as sitting on a committee to reform the poor law, 22 Nov. that year, and is not known to have spoken in the House. Next year he retired to Stuntney, which he had inherited from an elder brother. He retained a London house, where in 1599 an agent, sent by James VI of Scotland to the Pope and the King of Spain, was imprisoned. Steward died in March 1604 and was buried in Ely cathedral. He had made his will when the doctors declared his case hopeless, confessing that he had felt more confidence ‘of God’s mercy within these seven days’ than ‘in seven years of his life before’. The executor was his son Simeon, who received his estates free of encumbrance. A copyhold of £20 went to a servant, ‘whose body and wits in my service I have worn out’. Stuntney passed to his cousin Elizabeth and her son, Oliver Cromwell..3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 11, 128; Genealogist, n.s. ii. 37; J. Bentham, Cathedral Church of Ely, App. 48-9.
- 2. DNB; Al. Cant. iv. 161, 162; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 299.
- 3. CPR, 1566-9, p. 62; APC, xxii. 237-8, 394; xxxii. 281; St. Ch. 5/S6/1, S51/19; D’Ewes, 561; VCH Cambs. iv. 49, 137; C66/1549; VCH Hants. ii. 509; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, pp. 251-2; M. Noble, Protectoral House of Cromwell, i. 84; PCC 10 Babington, 47 Harte; C142/285/144.