HAWTREY, Ralph (1570-1638), of Eastcote Hall, Ruislip, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

bap. 14 Aug. 1570, o.s. of Edward Hawtrey of Ruislip and Elizabeth, da. of Gabriel Dormer of Lee, Bucks. educ. G. Inn 1600. m. c.1598 Mary (bur. 4 Apr. 1647), da. of Sir Edward Altham of Marks Hall, Latton, Essex, 3s. 1da. suc. fa. bef. 1593. bur. 31 Mar. 1638. sig. Raffe Hawtrey.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Ruislip manor, Mdx. c.1594-at least 1637;2 j.p. Mdx. by 1606-at least 18 Jan. 1621, 24 Feb. 1622-d.,3 commr. subsidy 1602, 1608, 1621, 1624,4 sewers, Coln valley 1609, 1624,5 oyer and terminer, Mdx.1630-at least 1636,6 dep. lt.7


The senior line of the Hawtrey family had been seated at Chequers, Buckinghamshire since the thirteenth century. William Hawtrey of Chequers sat for Buckinghamshire in 1563 and his brother, Michael, for Bedford in 1572. A cadet branch was established early in the sixteenth century when a younger son, Ralph Hawtrey, married Winifred Wollaston of Ruislip, a village 20 miles away across the county border. Their second son, Edward, married Elizabeth Dormer of Lee, Buckinghamshire, who bore him four children.8 Ralph, the oldest child and only son, was apparently born and certainly baptized at Hedsor, Buckinghamshire on 14 Aug. 1570.

Nothing is known of Hawtrey’s education. His economic prospects depended on the lease his family had held since 1532 of the lands of the rectory of Ruislip,9 and on his office, acquired in about 1594, as bailiff of Ruislip manor on behalf of King’s College, Cambridge.10 Hawtrey’s surviving papers show him to have been a careful accountant and tactful manager of the college’s interests.11 From 1602 this office brought Hawtrey into contact with Robert Cecil†, shortly to be raised to the earldom of Salisbury, who leased the manor’s demesnes.12 During the mid-1620s and early 1630s Hawtrey was clearly on excellent personal terms with college’s provost, Samuel Collins, who asked him, in April 1623, to intercede with the household officers of the 2nd earl of Salisbury (William Cecil*) over an alleged act of discourtesy by Collins to the earl.13 By then, Hawtrey had prospered enough to have landed interests in other counties14 and had considerable experience of borrowing and lending in London and elsewhere.15

Hawtrey had connections with the Dormer and Pye families in Buckinghamshire and played a part in the settlement of the 3rd earl of Bedford’s estate.16 His marriage in about 1598 to Mary Altham linked him to an important Essex family with legal associations and perhaps explains his admission to Gray’s Inn in August 1600, less than a week after the entry of two of his wife’s relatives.17 This connection with Gray’s Inn may cast light on the marriage of Hawtrey’s daughter, Mary in 1618 to the future attorney-general and lord chief justice of Common Pleas, John Bankes*. It perhaps also explains his business dealings in 1620-1 with the Gray’s Inn lawyer Edward Ayscough*.18

It was probably his family connections rather than his record as a magistrate or subsidy commissioner that recommended Hawtrey to Wendover in 1628. The borough, which was unincorporated, was owned by the Hawtreys of Chequers by the late sixteenth century. In 1628 the owner was Mary, daughter of Sir William Hawtrey and widow of Sir Francis Wolley†, and it was probably she who was responsible for the election of her kinsman.19

Hawtrey continued to prosper in the 1630s. He had £1,300 out on loan to the 4th earl of Bedford (Sir Francis Russell*), among others, in May 1635,20 and maintained a household of at least six male and two female servants at Eastcote Hall.21 His carefully prepared will left his wife an annuity of £100 plus half his bedding, household stuff and plate together with the next presentation of the living of Denham, Buckinghamshire for his second son, Edward, while his youngest son, Ralph, received a gelding and cancellation of an obligation in which they were both bound. The bulk of his remaining estate he left to his executor, his eldest son John, with a request to his son-in-law, Sir John Bankes, to act as supervisor. Hawtrey died believing that he would be saved by Christ’s merits,22 and was buried on 31 Mar. 1638 in St Martin’s, Ruislip, where he and his wife are commemorated by an alabaster wall monument.23 His grandson Ralph represented Middlesex in Parliament in 1689 and 1690. Portraits of Hawtrey and his wife by Cornelius Jansen survive today at Kingston Lacy, Dorset.24

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Chris Kyle / Christopher Thompson


  • 1. F.M. Hawtrey, Hist. Hawtrey Fam. i. ped. I, 38, 42; L.E.Morris, Hist. Ruislip, 13; GI Admiss.; Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 4; Lord Boston, ‘Notes on the Hist. of the Manor and Church of Hedsor’, Bucks. Recs. viii. 498. The Hedsor parish registers for 1570 are no longer extant, but see Cent. Bucks. Studs. PR 100/1/1.
  • 2. LMA, Acc/0249/0144, 0147, 0811.
  • 3. C219/35/1/24; C231/4 ff. 93, 135v; C66/2234; SP16/14/45.
  • 4. LMA, Acc/0249/0178, 0186; SP14/31/1; C212/22/21, 23
  • 5. C181/2, f. 90; 181/3, f. 116
  • 6. C181/4, ff. 25, 106; 181/5, f. 57v.
  • 7. MI, Ruislip church, printed in Hawtrey, 42.
  • 8. Ibid. 21-2, 35-38. VCH Mdx. iv. 131, 134-135, 139, 142, 144.
  • 9. VCH Mdx. iv. 142.
  • 10. King’s Coll., Camb. holds numerous documents generated from Ruislip during Hawtrey’s term of office in RUI/29, 50, 133, 141-165, 399. Hawtrey’s grandfather appears to have been bailiff in 1540-3: RUI/361.
  • 11. LMA, Acc/0249/308, 313, 316, 346-350.
  • 12. VCH Mdx. iv. 134-5.
  • 13. LMA, Acc/0249/326, 330, 334.
  • 14. LMA, Acc/0249/0134-0139, 0156, 0160, 0196, 0242, 0250-0276, 0460.
  • 15. LMA, Acc/0249/0150, 0154, 0158, 0174.
  • 16. LMA, Acc/0249/818.
  • 17. Barrington Fam. Letters 1628-32 ed. A Searle (Cam. Soc. ser. 4. xxviii), 177-8; GI Admiss. 99.
  • 18. C54/2462/20.
  • 19. VCH Bucks. iii. 25.
  • 20. LMA, Acc/0249/818.
  • 21. LMA, Acc/0249/867.
  • 22. PROB 11/176, f. 376; C142/770/64; LMA Acc/0249/867.
  • 23. VCH Mdx. iv. 144; Hawtrey, 42.
  • 24. Hawtrey, facing pp. 38, 42.