MANWOOD, Sir Peter (c.1568-1625), of Hales Place, Hackington alias St. Stephens, Kent, Ford Place, Hothe, Kent and St. Bartholomew the Great, 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.1568,1 o. surv. s. of Sir Roger Manwood† of Hackington, c. bar. exch. 1575-92, and 1st w. Dorothy, da. of John Theobald (Tebald) of Seal, Kent, wid. of John Croke† of Doctors’ Commons, London and Christopher Aleyne, Mercer, of London and Littlebury, Essex. educ. Saffron Walden g.s. Essex; I. Temple 1584; travelled abroad 1595?, 1598, 1604. m. 10 Jan. 1588, Frances, da. of Sir George Hart of Lullingstone, Kent, 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.).2 suc. fa. 1592; cr. KB 25 July 1603.3 d. 20 June 1625. sig. Pe[ter] Manwood

Offices Held

Commr. survey, Dover harbour, Kent 1590,4 inquiry into Catholic missionaries, Kent 1592;5 j.p. Kent 1590-d.;6 capt. militia ft. 1595-at least 1621;7 commr. grain 1595,8 subsidy, 1595,9 1602-8,10 Canterbury, Kent 1603-4,11 Kent and Canterbury 1621, 1624,12 sewers, Kent by 1596-d., Kent and Suss. 1604-at least 1609,13 musters, Kent 1597;14 bridge warden, Rochester, Kent 1598-1621 (snr. warden 1599, 1609, 1615);15 gov. Cobham New Coll. Kent by 1599, pres. aft. 1599;16 dep. lt. Kent 1601-at least 1619;17 commr. oyer and terminer, Home circ. by 1602-d.;18 sheriff, Kent 1602-3;19 commr. lands of Lord Cobham (Henry Brooke II† alias Cobham), Kent 1608,20 Admty. causes 1608,21 aid 1609-10,22 piracy, Cinque Ports 1612-at least 1616;23 kpr. Ford Palace and Park 1613-at least 1617;24 commr. charitable uses, Kent 1615-16;25 trustee, properties to finance scholarships at King’s sch. Canterbury 1618;26 freeman, New Romney, Kent 1621.27

Steward, Christmas feast, I. Temple 1615-18, 1623.28


Termed ‘the collector’ by the scholar Edward Grimeston, whom he patronized, and ‘an encourager of virtue, learning and learned men’ by William Camden, Manwood was a noted antiquarian who donated manuscripts to the newly formed Bodleian library.29 His family was of knightly status during the early fifteenth century, but his paternal great-grandfather was a mere draper. The latter settled at Sandwich and began the family tradition of representing the port in Parliament in 1523. Manwood’s father, Sir Roger, pursued a profitable if controversial legal career and proved a great benefactor to the town. Manwood himself was born in about 1568, the eldest of three brothers. He attended school in Essex and was sent in 1584 to his father’s alma mater, the Inner Temple, where he remained until at least 1590.30 Sir Roger, now chief baron of the Exchequer, clearly expected Manwood to follow him into the legal profession, but after he died in 1592 Manwood pursued the life of a country gentleman from his seat at Hackington, near Canterbury, though he also maintained a London townhouse. An assiduous magistrate, he became a pillar of county administration, and represented Sandwich in four successive parliaments under Elizabeth.

Manwood’s inheritance proved precarious. In 1593 he remonstrated with Kent’s subsidy commissioners that his annual landed income amounted to less than £1,200 while his debts stood at £3,000. There was undoubtedly some truth to this claim, although Manwood may have deliberately under-estimated his income in order to obtain a lower assessment, as an early Jacobean valuation prepared for lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) puts the true figure at around £1,500.31 In December 1602 Manwood was pricked as sheriff of Kent, and consequently in June 1603 he was required to entertain at Canterbury the Ambassador dispatched by France to greet James I on his accession. Despite his straitened finances Manwood did not skimp, for which he was warmly commended to Cecil by the master of Ceremonies, Sir Lewis Lewknor*.32 Rewarded at the coronation by being made a knight of the Bath, the financial toll exacted by his shrievalty nevertheless proved heavy, and consequently he increased his borrowings and sold some property.33

Manwood was a supporter of the Brookes of Cobham during the late Elizabethan period. Cobham support partly explains why he was returned for Sandwich to the final four Elizabethan parliaments, as William Brooke†, 10th Lord Cobham, and his son Henry Brooke II†, 11th Lord Cobham, both served as lord warden of the Cinque Ports. At the county election of 1601 Manwood cast his vote in favour of the 11th Lord Cobham’s candidate, (Sir) Francis Fane*, and in the following year he was appointed a deputy lieutenant on Cobham’s recommendation.34 The fall in 1603 of Lord Cobham deprived Manwood of his patron, and despite his considerable property holdings in Sandwich the borough’s senior seat, which he had previously enjoyed, fell to Sir George Fane, the nephew of the new lieutenant of Dover Castle, while the remaining burgess-ship went to a townsman as custom demanded. Manwood therefore came in for Saltash, Cornwall, probably on the interest of his fellow antiquary, Richard Carew†.

Although a parliamentary veteran, Manwood played little recorded part in the Commons’ activities. During the opening session he was named to the grievances committee set up on the motion of Sir Robert Wroth I (23 Mar.), and was among those appointed to hear the king explain his intentions over Union with Scotland on 20 April. Four days later he was appointed, as a knight of the Bath, to the committee for the repeal of a private Act of 1601. During the purveyance debate of 7 May he was among those mentioned as able to make ‘more pregnant proof’ of the abuses committed by purveyors. He was subsequently twice appointed to committees on bills concerning the Kentish estates of Sir Henry Neville II* (14 May and 14 June), and probably introduced another private bill to enable his maternal kinsman John Tebold to sell land (19 May), since he was the first Member appointed to the committee, whose proceedings were reported by Matthew Hadde. He helped to manage the conference on wardship of 26 May, and on 13 June was named to the committee for the bill to restrict episcopal leaseholds.35 This measure must have held considerable interest for him, as he leased the archbishop of Canterbury’s manor of Westgate Court, which adjoined his seat at Hackington, and some marshland in Chislet belonging to the archbishop.36 His final committee nomination of the session was to consider the bill for confirming letters patent (5 July).37

During the recess Manwood was licensed to travel abroad with Sir Norton Knatchbull* and Sir Edward Boys*, but he returned to England by May 1605, when he accompanied the earl of Northampton to Windsor for Northampton’s investiture as a knight of the Garter.38 In the second session he was named to three legislative committees, of which two were of special interest to the Cinque Ports: one concerned promoting the export of beer (27 Mar. 1606), while the other sought to curb unlawful fishing (3 Apr. 1606). The third committee dealt with a bill to confirm the Pinners’ Company charter (1 Apr. 1606). In the third session he attended the Union conference of 1 Dec. 1606 and was appointed to the committee to ensure the transfer of Cheshunt vicarage to Salisbury (12 Dec. 1606). Three other minor committee appointments also came his way, including one to consider the petition of the London armourers and gunmakers (6 May 1607). In the fourth session his only committee appointments concerned the highway repair bill (3 Mar. 1610) and a measure dealing with Rochester (23 June 1610) of uncertain purpose.39 As a warden of Rochester bridge, the latter undoubtedly concerned him closely. He received no mention in the slender records of the autumn session.

Throughout the first Jacobean Parliament Manwood had been steadily selling property and increasing his borrowings.40 Over the next few years his finances deteriorated further as his three eldest sons were sent abroad for their education.41 Sometime between 1611 and 1618 he was forced to part with his London townhouse.42 Despite the decay in his fortunes, Chamberlain reported in early March 1614 that he was ‘almost assured’ of the coveted place of senior knight of the shire, and he was indeed elected.43 He was appointed to only two committees in the Addled Parliament, on bills to prevent clerical non-residence (12 May), the appointment of brewers and tipplers to the magistracy and drunkenness (31 May).44 In 1618 he published the memoirs of Roger Williams with the help of the historian Sir John Hayward, and was included in a petition sent to the marquess of Buckingham as being suitable to join a revived Society of Antiquaries.45 By 1620 he was in need of a parliamentary seat to stave off his creditors, but though he stood for the junior place at Sandwich in December he was defeated.46 An opening arose at New Romney in January, however, when the elected Member, James Thurbarne, asked not to be returned. Manwood had formerly owned property in Romney Marsh, and as late as 1615 he had sent its corporation a buck as a gift from his estate.47 At ‘his earnest request’ the borough agreed to substitute his name for Thurbarne’s.48

Manwood left no trace on the records of the third Jacobean Parliament. Following a bout of illness in August, he fled from his creditors to the Netherlands, having first conveyed his entire estate to trustees.49 He spent the summer of 1622 at Bergen-op-Zoom, where he lived off the charity of an English officer. From Bergen he sent detailed reports of the unsuccessful Spanish siege to his friends Dudley Carleton* at The Hague and the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, Lord Zouche. In July 1623 he journeyed to Brussels hoping to live off another friend, William Trumbull*, but he evidently planned to return to England soon thereafter, for in November he was appointed to help supervise the Christmas festivities at the Inner Temple.50 He seems not to have returned until March 1624, when he was prosecuted by his creditors who complained that his estates were encumbered and could not be sold.51 He turned to Lord Zouche, who petitioned the king to grant him time to sort out his debts and allow him to ‘end his days in his own country, having not ... long to live, being old and so very worn by his being beyond seas as he is very weak’.52 Consequently Manwood remained at liberty. In June 1624 he wrote to Trumbull that ‘It is said of the Parliament men of account that they have done their endeavours to be of the Court’. He died on 20 June 1625 and was buried the same day at Hackington.53 No will or administration has been found. He was succeeded by his second son, John, who was appointed lieutenant of Dover Castle in 1639 and sat for Sandwich in the Short Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. C142/244/112; Staffs. RO, D593/S/4/60/17.
  • 2. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 144; Add. 29759, ff. 26v-7, 49v; CITR, i. 327; IGI (Kent); N. Carlisle, Endowed Gram. Schools, i. 442; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 148; 1598-1601, p. 132.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 155.
  • 4. Lansd. 66, f. 34.
  • 5. Staffs. RO, D593/S/3/6.
  • 6. Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Eliz. ed. J.S. Cockburn, 293; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 158.
  • 7. Lansd. 78, f. 140; HMC Finch, i. 42.
  • 8. Staffs. RO, D593/S/3/7.
  • 9. Ibid. D593/S/4/38/16.
  • 10. E115/260/114; 115/266/122, 156; 115/275/118; SP14/31/1.
  • 11. E115/244/79; 115/245/6.
  • 12. C212/22/20; 212/22/23.
  • 13. CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 224; C181/1, f. 57; 181/3, f. 157v.
  • 14. APC, 1597, p. 109.
  • 15. Traffic and Pols. ed. N. Yates and J.M. Gibson, 293.
  • 16. Arch. Cant. xxvii. 84.
  • 17. APC, 1601-4, p. 450; 1618-19, p. 339.
  • 18. C181/1, f. 15v; 181/3, f. 138v.
  • 19. List of Sheriffs comp. A Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 69.
  • 20. C181/2, f. 64v.
  • 21. HCA 14/39/217.
  • 22. SP14/43/107.
  • 23. C181/2, ff. 185, 246v.
  • 24. D.M. Owen, Cat. of Lambeth Mss 889 to 901, p. 25; LPL, TGI, ff. 1, 10v.
  • 25. C93/6/18; 93/7/7.
  • 26. W.K. Jordan, Social Institutions in Kent (Arch. Cant. lxxv), 93.
  • 27. SP14/119/19.
  • 28. CITR, ii. 92, 97, 104, 109, 140.
  • 29. G.N. Clark, ‘Edward Grimeston the Translator’, EHR, xliii. 588; E. Webb, G.W. Miller, J. Beckwith, Hist. Chislehurst, 150; W.D. Macray, Annals of the Bod. Lib. (2nd edn.), 424.
  • 30. Cat. of Mss in I. Temple Lib. ed. J. Conway Davies, iii. 1187.
  • 31. Staffs. RO, D593/S/4/6/24; HMC Hatfield, xxii. 13, 533.
  • 32. HMC Hatfield, xv. 120-3, 152-3.
  • 33. C54/1751, 1753; Add. 29759, f. 15.
  • 34. Add. 34828, f. 15; HMC Hatfield, xi. 522.
  • 35. CJ, i. 151a, 180a, 184a, 202a, 210a, 222a-b, 237b, 238b.
  • 36. CSP Dom. 1598-1601, pp. 527, 531; Canterbury Cathedral Archives, DCc/CA 3, f. 180; C142/451/108.
  • 37. CJ, i. 252b.
  • 38. Add. 34218, f. 87.
  • 39. CJ, i. 290b, 291b, 292b, 326b, 327b, 330a, 369b, 374b, 416b, 442b.
  • 40. C54/1836; 54/1869; 54/1910; LC4/197, ff. 25, 48.
  • 41. Add. 29759, ff. 23-4, 143; C3/337/51; and see ROGER MANWOOD.
  • 42. Sold for £1,000 to Sir Edward Carey, who died in 1618: C2/Chas.I/B43/22. For Manwood’s ownership of the property in 1611, see N. Moore, Hist. St. Bart’s. Hosp. ii. 297-8.
  • 43. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 516.
  • 44. CJ, i. 483a, 503b.
  • 45. Clark, 593; Archaeologia, i. p. xxi.
  • 46. CD 1621, vii. 568.
  • 47. C54/1836, 1869; Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports ed. F. Hull (Kent Recs. xix), 412.
  • 48. E. Kent Archives Cent. NR/AC1, f. 266v.
  • 49. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 285; C3/337/51.
  • 50. SP84/107, ff. 49, 189, 205; 84/108, ff. 19, 25, 71, 86-7; 81/26, ff. 189-90 (misfiled); Chamberlain Letters, ii. 456; Carleton to Chamberlain ed. M. Lee, 305.
  • 51. C2/Jas.I/M4/31; C3/337/51.
  • 52. SP14/162/48.
  • 53. T. Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 153; Canterbury Cathedral Archives, St. Stephen’s Hackington par. reg.