HUNGERFORD, John (c.1560-1636), of Cadnam, Bremhill, Wilts.

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

b. c.1560, 1st s. of Walter Hungerford of Cadnam and Frances, da. of John Cock† of Broxbourne, Herts.1 educ. I. Temple 1580.2 m. settlement 1596,3 Elizabeth (bur. 10 May 1650),4 da. of Thomas Estcourt, judge, of Shipton Moyne, Glos., 5s. 4da.5 suc. fa. 1601.6 d. 29 Mar. 1636.7 sig. Jhon Hu[n]gerforde.

Offices Held

J.p. Wilts. 1602-d.,8 sheriff 1605-6;9 commr. subsidy 1607-8,10 1611,11 1622, 1624-5,12 1629,13 col. militia ft. 1610,14 commr. Forced Loan 1627.15


Hungerford was distantly related to the more substantial Hungerfords of Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, and Farleigh Castle, Somerset. His immediate forebears settled at Cadnam by the early sixteenth century, and his grandfather Robert, a Wiltshire sheriff and magistrate, represented the nearby borough of Calne in 1553. Hungerford’s father owned 1,900 acres in Wiltshire, including four manors. Much of this property was located in the north-east of the county, on which basis Hungerford was returned four times during the Elizabethan period for Wootton Bassett.16 In 1604, however, he found a seat at Chippenham, either through his own standing as a local gentleman, or on the nomination of his kinsman, Sir Edward Hungerford† of Farleigh Castle, one of the borough’s patrons.17

Hungerford had little impact on the Elizabethan House of Commons, and he also maintained a relatively low profile during the first Jacobean Parliament, apparently never contributing to debate.18 Prior to December 1606, when his distant kinsman Anthony Hungerford* was knighted, the Journal rarely distinguishes between these two Members, though it was definitely Hungerford himself who was nominated to scrutinize bills on the cloth industry and Thomas Mompesson’s Wiltshire estates (24 Feb. and 26 Nov. 1606).19 Thereafter, he was appointed to another 12 legislative committees, whose subjects included beer sales to unlicensed alehouses (13 Dec. 1606), the avoidance of outlawries (6 June 1607), the punishment of sturdy rogues, and the speedier payment of poor relief (21 Apr. and 25 May 1610).20

Despite his early experience in Parliament, Hungerford was not selected for local office until middle age. In September 1610, having already served as sheriff for Wiltshire, he was chosen to replace the ailing Sir Henry Bayntun* as colonel of a regiment of foot. However, two days after his appointment he wrote to the earl of Hertford, the lord lieutenant, wishing to be relieved of the office. He suggested that he was ill suited for the position because of his ‘different course of life and bringing up, having never given or bent myself to any study or knowledge in military matters’. He also argued that he was of insufficient status, having not been knighted, that he was incapacitated in cold weather as a result of breaking his leg after a fall from a horse, and that the financial burdens of office would be particularly acute because he had nine children to support. Hertford replied that Hungerford could retire if he found a replacement, but this he evidently did not do, for within a fortnight his regiment was ordered to muster in Chippenham. He was still colonel in the following April, albeit still ‘not settled in his regiment’.21 While Hungerford’s large family may indeed have prohibited the additional cost of military service, he was clearly a man of some means. The Cadnam property had been assessed for subsidy in 1600 at £24, among the highest ratings in the hundred, and by 1607 the assessment had risen to £33. In around 1604 he was able to lend £20 to the Crown.22 His wife, known to have inherited some plate, may also have brought him a considerable dowry, for in 1599 her father was able to set aside £1,000 as marriage portion for his second daughter. At her death she held property in her own right in Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire.23

Little is known of Hungerford’s later years. He was still an active j.p. in 1628, when he signed a letter with other magistrates objecting to the king’s proposal for a loan from Wiltshire, and suggesting that the money should be raised through Parliament.24 By the time of his death, in March 1636, his estate was apparently somewhat diminished, though he still owned more than 1,500 acres in Wiltshire and Berkshire. This property descended to his eldest son. He also left bequests amounting to £480 to his other four sons, and a life interest in Cadnam to his wife, who would later be buried with him in the family vault in Bremhill church.25 None of his sons sat in Parliament - two became lawyers, one a doctor, and one a prebend of Wedmore - though his grandson Sir George, who was to succeed to the Cadnam estate, represented Wiltshire constituencies seven times during the Restoration.26

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 94.
  • 2. I. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. C142/264/161.
  • 4. Add. 23690, f. 91.
  • 5. Vis. Wilts. 94; Add. 33412, f. 116v; PROB 11/171, f. 273.
  • 6. C142/264/161.
  • 7. Vis. Wilts. 94.
  • 8. C231/1, f. 128v; SP16/405.
  • 9. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 154.
  • 10. E179/199/356; SP14/31/1, f. 47.
  • 11. E179/199/366.
  • 12. C212/22/21, 23; E179/199/378.
  • 13. E179/199/399.
  • 14. Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. ed. W.P.D. Murphy (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 159.
  • 15. C193/12/2, f. 64v.
  • 16. Vis. Wilts. 90-4; HP Commons, 1509-58, ii. 412; C142/264/161.
  • 17. Recs. of Chippenham Bor. ed. F.H. Goldney, p. xii.
  • 18. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 354.
  • 19. CJ, i. 273a, 325a.
  • 20. Ibid. 330b, 379b, 419b, 432b.
  • 21. Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. 159, 162, 165, 172.
  • 22. E179/198/333; 179/199/356; E401/2586, f. 23; Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. 184.
  • 23. PROB 11/94, f. 326v; 11/216, f. 275.
  • 24. Longleat, Thynne Pprs. (IHR microfilm), viii. 127.
  • 25. PROB 11/171, f. 273; 11/216, f. 275; Som. Wills ed. F. Brown, vi. 83, 85; C142/581/132; Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and E.A. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 89, 286-90.
  • 26. Add. 33412, ff. 119, 140v; Add. 23690, f. 91; I. Temple Admiss.; Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857: Bath and Wells Dioc. comp. J.M. Horn and D.S. Bailey, 88.