HYDE, Nicholas (c.1572-1631), of Marlborough, Wilts.; Hinton Daubney, Catherington, Hants and the Middle Temple, London; later of Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, London

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.1572, 4th s. of Lawrence Hyde† (d.1590)1 of Gussage St. Michael, Dorset and West Hatch, Wilts. and his 2nd w. Anne, da. of Nicholas Sibell of Farningham, Kent; bro. of Henry†, Lawrence I* and Robert*.2 educ. Exeter Coll., Oxf. 1590, aged 18; M. Temple 1590, called 1598.3 m. by 1602, Mary, da. of Arthur Swayne of Sarson, Amport, Hants, 7s. (3 d.v.p.) 4da. (3 d.v.p.).4 kntd. 28 Jan 1627.5 d. 25 Aug. 1631.6 sig. Ni[cholas] Hyde.

Offices Held

Clerk of assize and commr. oyer and terminer, Norf. circ. 1602-4;7 j.p. Wilts. aft. 1608-14, 1617-d.,8 commr. oyer and terminer, London 1626-8, 1629-30,9 Verge 1627, 1629-30,10 Mdx. 1627-9,11 Western circ. 1629,12 Norf. circ. 1629-31,13 Hants and Wilts. 1629,14 Bucks. and Beds. 1630,15 Hants, Wilts. and Dorset 1630-1,16 Wilts. 1631,17 gaol delivery, Newgate 1626-8,18 Ely 1629-31,19 piracy, Suff. 1627,20 London 1630,21 sewers, River Gleane in Lincs., Northants., Hunts., Cambs., Ely, and Norf. 1627, 1631,22 London 1629,23 Hunts., Norf. and Cambs. 1629,24 Northants., Lincs. and Norf. 1629,25 Lincoln, Lincs. 1629,26 Wilts. and Hants 1630,27 subsidy, Wilts. 1629,28 swans, Ely 1630.29

Member, Virg. Co. 1611, cttee. 1621,30 Somers Is. Co. 1615,31 New River Co. 1619.32

Recorder, Bristol, Glos. 1615-31,33 Bath, Som. 1619-c.27;34 reader, M. Temple 1617, bencher 1618-d., treas. 1626;35 counsel to Anne of Denmark to 1619;36 sjt.-at-law and KS 1627;37 c.j.k.b. 1627-d.38

Member, High Commission, Canterbury prov. 1629-d.;39 commr. repair of St. Paul’s Cathedral 1631.40


Hyde, the youngest of four brothers by an interval of a decade, was only 18 when his father died leaving him an annuity of £30.41 He followed his brother Lawrence to Oxford and the Middle Temple, and prospered as a lawyer sufficiently to purchase the Hampshire manor of Hinton Daubney in 1604, by which time he was clerk of assize of the Norfolk circuit.42 That same year he was returned for the Hampshire borough of Christchurch on the recommendation of John Foyle†, who seems to have acted as the borough’s legal adviser. Foyle described Hyde as ‘a very sufficient gentleman’, adding that ‘he dwelleth in Wiltshire where he payeth subsidy, and is every way a fit man agreeable to the Proclamation’.43 This was technically true, since the Proclamation of January 1604 concerning elections did not actually mention the residency requirement for borough candidates.44 Hyde, whose new home at Hinton Daubney in the parish of Catherington lay on the other side of the county, about 28 miles north-east of Christchurch, was apparently returned unopposed.

Hyde is difficult to differentiate in the parliamentary record from his brother Lawrence, who sat for Marlborough, but it seems that Lawrence was the more prolific of the two, both as a speechmaker and committeeman. During the first session Hyde was appointed to only five committees by full name. Two concerned bills to remove benefit of clergy in cases of sheep and cattle theft (21 Apr. 1604, 4 May), two more dealt with wages and apprentices (28 Apr.), while the fifth concerned clerical marriage (11 May).45 He reported the bill to remove benefit of clergy on 28 Apr., and also both labour bills, on 3 and 5 May.46 In the second session he took exception, on 30 Jan. 1606, to some clauses in the purveyance bill, of which his brother was a prominent supporter, moving that there should be no carriage without consent of the party, and was named to the committee.47 He was named in full to two other committees, for private bills concerning the lands of Sir John Skynner (18 Feb.), and John Holdich (16 May).48 Early in the third session Hyde was named to another private bill committee, for the lands of Thomas Mompesson (26 Nov. 1606), but after the Christmas break he went on circuit without leave from the House, as did his brother.49 The Speaker wrote on 3 Mar. 1607 to demand his immediate return within six days.50 No apology is recorded, but he was in attendance again by 27 Mar., when he was added to a committee to consider flood relief in the recently inundated Bristol Channel area.51 As one of the lawyers in the House, he served on the committee for permitting the award of costs to defendants, and reported the bill on 9 June.52

In the fourth session Hyde was named with his brother to consider a bill concerning Dorchester rectory (17 Feb. 1610).53 The two also worked together to make a case against impositions, a grievance they felt ought to be included in the Great Contract to reform the king’s revenue.54 On 9 July both Hydes were among a select group of lawyers ordered to search the records and digest the arguments against impositions in preparation for further negotiations after the summer recess.55 They were also both named in full to a committee to prepare for a final conference with the Lords on impositions and supply on 14 July.56 After the summer recess, Hyde expressed grave doubts about the Contract, which was rejected upon his motion to put it to the question on 7 Nov. 1610. He added that he would deliver his opinion on supply when the time came, ‘and he knew not what should make him fear to do it, for he was in a free council’.57 If he was alarmed by the summoning of 30 prominent Members, including his colleague Richard Martin, to an informal discussion with the king, he did not show it. On 21 Nov. he merely demanded to know ‘whether they have transgressed the orders of the House or no; and therefore he wished that some of them that were there may make a relation of their proceedings’.58 Perhaps as a result the ‘thirty doges’, as James termed them, escaped further censure from the Commons.

Returned for Bath in 1614, Hyde was this time undifferentiated in the records from his eldest brother, Robert Hyde, who sat for Great Bedwyn. However, it was certainly he who maintained the pressure to eradicate impositions. On 20 Apr. he seconded the motion of Sir Edward Giles for including the impositions bill among the bills of grace.59 This was not to be, but in the supply debate on 5 May Hyde insisted, as he had in 1610, that ‘we are here a free council’, and refused to sever the question from impositions.60 On 12 May he was allotted the task of examining precedents since Queen Mary’s reign, which he later declared on 3 June proved the illegality of all impositions, despite the judgment in Bate’s Case.61 In the Merchant Adventurers debate on 20 May Hyde reminded the House that the question of whether to prohibit the export of undressed cloth had been handled in 1597. He supported demands for a committee of inquiry into the recent Cockayne Project, which had attempted, with disastrous effects, to bolster the English clothing industry in this way.62 With the dissolution imminent, he asserted on 3 June that ‘all have shown their willingness to give’, but doubted that any amount of supply would suffice to pay the king’s ever-mounting debts. He added that ‘if these excesses continue it is impossible for the kingdom to subsist or us to help it by all we can give’, and he therefore ‘wished the king might but know these things’.63 On the final day of the Parliament, Hyde moved for a committee to consider an answer to the king’s message, together with supply.64

The day after the dissolution Hyde and those of his colleagues who had assembled the precedents against impositions were summoned before the Privy Council and, having delivered their arguments, were ordered to burn their papers.65 Hyde was dismissed from the Wiltshire commission of the peace, and for the next ten years eschewed national politics. He joined the Somers Island and New River companies, and helped to finance the transport of colonists to Virginia.66 He also invested £370 in the East India Company, and had an interest in a drainage project in Somerset.67 His brother Lawrence, whom he succeeded as recorder of Bristol in 1615, when the latter was promoted to be Anne of Denmark’s attorney, probably arranged his appointment as her standing counsel.68 By 1624 he was of sufficient reputation to be retained by lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*) during his impeachment.69 Returned for both Bristol and Bath to the 1625 Parliament, Hyde chose to sit for the former, receiving at least £5 in wages.70 His appointments included the privileges committee (21 June 1625), and those to consider bills concerning the king’s tenants in Macclesfield (23 June), and petty larceny (25 June).71 He was among those ordered to consider the heads of the petition on religion (24 June), and to draft bills for the modernization of the militia (1 July).72 He chaired the committee to recommend the continuance of statutes, which he reported on 6 July.73

Hyde does not seem to have stood in 1626, but he helped the duke of Buckingham to prepare his defence against impeachment, and was rewarded, after the dismissal of (Sir) Ranulphe Crewe*, by successive promotion to the offices of serjeant-at-law, king’s serjeant, and lord chief justice in 1627.74 His rapid elevation occasioned a lampoon, while Sir Simonds D’Ewes thought him ‘very worldly minded and griping’, with a ‘mean aspect’, which on circuit made him ‘more like unto a clothier or a woolman than a lord chief justice’.75 Bulstrode Whitelocke*, on the other hand, considered him to be a man of ‘good integrity and prudence’, albeit ‘somewhat reserved, and not affable’.76

Hyde took some pains over the education of his nephew, Edward Hyde†, future 1st earl of Clarendon, at the Middle Temple.77 In the 1628 Parliament he was required to defend his actions as a judge in the notorious Five Knights’ case, in which the defendants had defied the Forced Loan of the previous year; as a legal assistant in the House of Lords, he was also called upon to attend various committees, to deliver messages to the Commons, and to help draft pieces of legislation.78 After the fracas at the end of the Parliament in 1629, it fell to Hyde to handle the proceedings against the eight arrested Members, whom he thought should be remanded in prison, ‘as men neglected, until their stomachs come down’.79 Early in 1631 he unwittingly offended the 2nd earl of Salisbury (William Cecil*) by ordering the execution of a condemned prisoner whose reprieve failed to arrive, and was rumoured to be in danger of dismissal.80 He died on 25 Aug. ‘at his own house after he came from the circuit of a burning fever, or as some think, of an impostume in his head’, and was buried at Catherington church, where a fine monument was erected containing his effigy.81 According to his will, dated 20 May 1630, his only surviving daughter received a portion of £1,200; his two younger sons estates in Wiltshire; and his unborn child an annuity of £40.82 His third son, Lawrence, sat for Winchester in the Cavalier Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/224/10; R.C. Hoare, Wilts. ii. 131, 147.
  • 2. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 98-100; Wilts. N and Q, vi. 338-44.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.; MTR, 390.
  • 4. Wilts. N and Q, vi. 502; PROB 11/114, f. 92; 11/160, f. 394v.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 191.
  • 6. C142/720/9.
  • 7. C181/1, ff. 16v, 76v.
  • 8. C231/4, f. 44; C66/1988, 2527; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 18.
  • 9. C181/3, ff. 211v, 253; 181/4, ff. 15, 66.
  • 10. C181/3, f. 217; 181/4, ff. 5, 26v, 48v.
  • 11. C181/3, f. 219v, 243v; 181/4, f. 24v.
  • 12. C181/3, f. 259.
  • 13. Ibid. f. 257; 181/4, ff. 9v, 69, 98v.
  • 14. C181/4, f. 11v.
  • 15. Ibid. f. 25v.
  • 16. Ibid. ff. 43, 51, 70v, 97.
  • 17. Ibid. f. 78v.
  • 18. C181/3, ff. 211v, 242v.
  • 19. C181/4, ff. 4, 67v.
  • 20. C181/3, f. 232.
  • 21. C181/4, f. 45.
  • 22. C181/3, ff. 214v, 220v, 228v; 181/4, ff. 83, 93v.
  • 23. C181/3, f. 255v.
  • 24. C181/4, f. 19v.
  • 25. C181/4, f. 29v.
  • 26. Ibid. f. 39.
  • 27. Ibid. f. 49.
  • 28. Add. 34566, f. 132.
  • 29. C181/4, f. 56.
  • 30. A. Brown, Genesis of US, 546; Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, i. 473.
  • 31. J.H. Lefroy, Memorials of Bermuda, i. 99.
  • 32. Select Charters of Trading Cos. ed. C.T. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), 111.
  • 33. J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, ii. 644; A. Beavan, Bristol Lists, 232.
  • 34. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 129.
  • 35. MTR, 614, 627, 702.
  • 36. LC2/5, f. 33v.
  • 37. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 520.
  • 38. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 162.
  • 39. R.G. Usher, Rise and Fall of High Commission, 352.
  • 40. CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 6.
  • 41. Clarendon, Life (1827), i. 3.
  • 42. VCH Hants, iii. 96.
  • 43. Dorset RO, DC/CC, acc. 7998, unfol. (Foyle to Mayor, 28 Feb. 1604).
  • 44. Stuart Royal Procs. ed. J.F. Larkin and P. Hughes, i. 66-70.
  • 45. CJ, i. 182b, 189b, 198a, 206b.
  • 46. Ibid. 189a, 197a, 199a.
  • 47. Ibid. 261b, 262a.
  • 48. Ibid. 270b, 309b.
  • 49. Ibid. 325a.
  • 50. Ibid. 346b.
  • 51. Ibid. 355b.
  • 52. Ibid. 380b.
  • 53. Ibid. 394b.
  • 54. Parl. Debates 1610 ed. S.R. Gardiner, pp. 109, 120.
  • 55. ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 23.
  • 56. CJ, i. 449b.
  • 57. Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 319; Parl. Debates 1610, p. 130.
  • 58. Parl. Debates 1610, p. 139; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 31v.
  • 59. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 116.
  • 60. Ibid. 150, 157.
  • 61. Ibid. 219, 417.
  • 62. Ibid. 301.
  • 63. Ibid. 414, 423.
  • 64. Ibid. 440.
  • 65. Liber Famelicus of Sir J. Whitelocke ed. J. Bruce (Cam. Soc. lxx), 42-3.
  • 66. Recs. Virg. Co. iii. 84, 594.
  • 67. PROB 11/160, f. 394v.
  • 68. LC2/5/33v.
  • 69. Chamberlain Letters, ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 555.
  • 70. Procs. 1625, pp. 205, 208; HMC Lords, n.s. xi. 189; Bristol RO, mayor’s audit bk. 1625-9, p. 41.
  • 71. Procs. 1625, pp. 206, 226, 245.
  • 72. Ibid. 241, 282.
  • 73. Ibid. 324.
  • 74. R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 326.
  • 75. Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes ed. J.O. Halliwell, ii. 49-51; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 185, 188,199.
  • 76. B. Whitelocke, Memorials of the Eng. Affairs (1843), i. 47.
  • 77. Clarendon, i. 7, 9, 11.
  • 78. Lords Procs. 1628 v. 88, 96, 112, 133, 223, 235, 272, 565, 567, 712; Procs. 1628, vi. 37-9.
  • 79. CSP Dom. 1629-31, pp. 77, 79; Birch, ii. 10,15, 16, 57.
  • 80. HMC Cowper, i. 426.
  • 81. C142/720/9; Clarendon, i. 13; Sir William Jones*, Reports (1675), p. 247.
  • 82. PROB 11/160, f. 394v; N. Pevsner, Buildings of Eng.: Hants, 160.