HAYNE, John (-d.1639), of Exeter, Devon

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

?3rd s. of John Hayne (d.1588) of St. Thomas, nr. Exeter, tanner and his w. Elizabeth.1 m. (1) by 1602, Sarah (bur. 13 Aug. 1625), 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (2) Philippa (bur. 29 Jan. 1640), s.p. bur. 23 Nov. 1639.2

Offices Held

Freeman, Exeter 1602,3 bailiff 1609-10,4 common councilman 1625-d.,5 recvr. 1634-5, sheriff 1635-6.6

Treas., Exeter French Co. 1628-9, gov. 1634-5.7


The Hayne family can be traced in Exeter from the mid-fourteenth century. Hayne himself grew up just outside the city’s walls, in a godly and comparatively comfortable environment. Although a younger son, his patrimony consisted of £100, the bulk of his father’s books, and the eventual inheritance of three small properties. A clothier by trade, dealing especially in serges, he settled in Exeter itself, where he was assessed for subsidy in 1602 at the relatively modest level of £5.8 By the following decade he was exporting small quantities of Devon cloth to France, mainly to the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle. He subsequently secured additional French markets, but never became one of Exeter’s leading merchants. Sufficiently affluent by 1625 to receive a Privy Seal loan demand for £10, he finally became a corporation member in December of that year, having waited an unusually long time after his term as a city bailiff.9

Despite his status as the most junior member of Exeter’s common council, Hayne was almost immediately nominated as one of the corporation’s two candidates in the 1626 parliamentary elections. While this unusual step may have been prompted simply by Hayne’s personal qualities, there was possibly another consideration. The corporation’s exclusive right to choose the city’s Members was challenged that year by Ignatius Jourdain*, who enjoyed the backing of the commonalty. If the corporation wished to snub Jourdain, its selection of Hayne was a particularly pointed gesture, for there was no love lost between the two men since Jourdain’s public exposure of Hayne’s brother Philip as an adulterer in 1623. In the event, Jourdain and Hayne were both elected, and the corporation apparently entrusted its agenda only to the latter, despite his inexperience.10

Although Hayne received no personal committee nominations, he was entitled as a port town burgess to attend the committee for the bill to encourage cloth exports (6 Mar.), and clearly followed this measure’s progress, successfully tendering a proviso for Exeter on 25 March.11 His other principal concern was the current French embargo on English merchants, which affected his constituency particularly badly. This had been sparked by the arrest of the St. Peter of Le Havre on the orders of the lord admiral, the duke of Buckingham, and Hayne apparently believed from the outset that the royal favourite should be punished as a means of resolving this crisis. An ambiguous observation on 24 Feb., that all hindrances involving people should be removed, was followed four days later by a more outspoken attack. Arguing that some men ‘put in trust aim at their own ends, pleasures [and] honours’, behaviour calculated to bring down God’s wrath on the kingdom, he insisted that high rank or position must not protect offenders from prosecution. On 1 Mar. he urged haste in resolving the problem involving the St. Peter, as the French authorities were now moving to dispose of the confiscated English merchandize. The situation had further deteriorated by 17 Apr., when he issued a final appeal for action, informing the House of ‘many complaints out of the west countries for new arrests in France, and great calamities daily befalling the merchants, and restraint of the Protestants’ religion’.12 Hayne may also have lobbied behind the scenes about other grievances, for in October 1626 the Privy Council instructed Exeter’s corporation to supply evidence on abuses relating to the alnage of cloth and the prisage of wines, issues which had been raised recently in the Commons. For his services, Hayne received the customary parliamentary wages of 4s. a day.13

The personal impact of the French trade embargo on Hayne’s affairs probably accounts for his low subsidy assessment in 1629, which once again stood at just £5. By 1634, however, when he became governor of the Exeter French Company, he was exporting cloth across the Channel on the same scale as a decade earlier. Also selected as the corporation’s receiver that year, he served as sheriff of Exeter in 1635-6, though the mayoralty eluded him.14 Hayne drew up his will on 31 Oct. 1639, confident that God would place his soul ‘amongst his company of holy angels and blessed saints’. He had settled the bulk of his estate at the time of his son’s marriage, but now bequeathed £10 to the poor of Exeter. Already ‘weak in body’, he died around three weeks later, and was buried in his parish church of St. Petrock. No other member of his family is known to have sat in Parliament.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: George Yerby / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. PROB 11/73, ff. 100v-1; STAC 8/161/10.
  • 2. T.N. Brushfield, ‘Financial Diary of an Exeter Citizen’, Reps. and Trans. Devon Assoc. xxxiii. 188-9; Devon RO, St. Petrock, Exeter par. reg.
  • 3. Exeter Freemen ed. M.M. Rowe and A.M. Jackson (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. extra ser. i), 110.
  • 4. J.J. Alexander, ‘Exeter MPs’, Trans. Devon Assoc. lxi. 211.
  • 5. Devon RO, ECA Act Bk. 7, p. 625.
  • 6. Alexander, 211.
  • 7. W.B. Stephens, ‘Officials of French Co., Exeter in Early Seventeenth Cent.’, Devon and Cornw. N and Q, xxvii. 112.
  • 8. Brushfield, 188; PROB 11/73, ff. 100v-1; Exeter Tax and Rate Assessments ed. W.G. Hoskins (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. n.s. ii), 1.
  • 9. E190/941/4; 190/943/10; 190/945/8; 190/945/8; E401/2586.
  • 10. Procs. 1626, iv. 235-6; STAC 8/161/10.
  • 11. Procs. 1626, ii. 200, 367, 369.
  • 12. Ibid. ii. 123, 153, 155, 170; iii. 3, 5, 11.
  • 13. APC, 1626, p. 337-8; Procs. 1626, iv. 235-6.
  • 14. Exeter Tax Assessments, 7; E190/945/8; 190/949/3.
  • 15. PROB 11/181, f. 513r-v; Brushfield, 188.