MYTTON (MITTON), Henry (-d. aft.1651), of Westminster and Melton Mowbray, Leics.
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Family and Education
2nd s. of Richard Mytton of Halston, Salop and Anne, da. of Edward Pate of Eye Kettleby, Leics.1 m. Nov. 1624 (with £1,000) Frances, da. of Sir William Mynne of Epsom, Surr., gent. pens. 1603-18, ?s.p.2 d. aft. 1651.3
Groom, privy chamber 1618, gent. by 1623-?42.4
Freeman, Much Wenlock, Salop 1623/4.5
The Myttons made their fortune as Shrewsbury drapers, and regularly represented the borough in Parliament under the early Tudors. At the end of the fifteenth century the head of the family bought Halston manor, near Oswestry, and the lordship of Mawddwy, Merioneth. Cadet branches of the family acquired small estates in several parts of the Marches, but this Member’s father inherited no lands. While his elder brother Edward became a member of the Worcester corporation, Mytton was probably raised in Leicestershire by his mother’s relatives. However, nothing is heard of him before 1612, when his relative Sir Edward Greville* assigned him a modest grant of lands at Sisonby, near Melton Mowbray.6 Greville’s fortunes were rapidly dwindling at this time, but he had useful contacts at Court, and probably secured Mytton his place in the Privy Chamber in 1618. Mytton clearly made a good impression there, earning a promotion from groom to gentleman by 1623.7
Mytton’s life is difficult to disentangle from that of his brother’s second son Henry Mytton of Shipton, Shropshire (d.1663), who served as bailiff of Wenlock liberty in 1622-3 and 1642-4.8 At face value, the latter man looks much more likely to have been the 1624 MP, but in fact the courtier became a freeman of Wenlock liberty at around the time of the election, while in January 1624 he also became guardian of the under-age daughter of Sir Edward Lawley*, whose family had dominated Wenlock for three generations.9 Mytton left no trace on the records of his only Parliament, and by the time of the next general election, in the spring of 1625, he had managed to alienate both key influences at Wenlock: the corporation was apparently offended by a clumsy attempt to influence its municipal elections at Michaelmas 1624; while the grandmother of Mytton’s ward was upset by his unilateral decision to take his charge to Leicestershire, where he ultimately married her to Sir Roger Bertie. If he stood for re-election in 1626, he must have received a crushing defeat, as even his nephew endorsed the return of Thomas Lawley of Spoonhill in his stead. Perhaps to underline the point, the indenture was endorsed with the words ‘nemine contradicente’.10
Mytton’s temporary custody of the Lawley estates may have helped him to secure a match with a sister of a gentleman pensioner, John Mynne, in November 1624. His wife had good prospects, as her father had left her a dowry of £1,000 in his will, and her brother-in-law George, Lord Berkeley leased his lands in Melton Mowbray to Mytton. However, it quickly emerged that Mynne’s willingness to permit his sister to marry a man with few assets was influenced by his own financial problems: needing to sell his patrimony to settle his father’s debts of £6,000, he refused to pay his sister’s portion, claiming that his entailed estates were not liable for the debt. Mytton had a weak case against his brother-in-law, as he had failed to demand any security for payment of the dowry before his marriage, and it seems likely that he settled for a much reduced sum.11 Shortly thereafter his woes were compounded when he lost custody of a farm which may have been his only freehold land, and in 1634 he ran into trouble with High Commission.12 By 1638 his debts totalled £1,100, a heavy burden for a man with little land, and his sister-in-law Lady Berkeley was forced to rescue him from his Leicestershire creditors.13
Mytton was probably ruined by the advent of the Civil War. No composition proceedings were brought against his Leicestershire estates by Parliament, which suggests that he did not join the king at Oxford. Moreover, in addition to the loss of his fees and board at Court, Mytton’s lands at Melton lay in an area hotly contested by both sides during the conflict, and he was forced to default on his interest payments due to Lady Berkeley. Last heard of in a Chancery suit in 1651, he probably died at Melton later in the decade. No will or administration has been found, and he is not known to have left any heirs.14
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 362-3.
- 2. C2/Chas.I/M64/27.
- 3. C2/Chas.I/M59/29.
- 4. LC5/50, p. 137; PROB 11/142, f. 502; LC2/6, f. 37; SP16/2/118.
- 5. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), vi. 276.
- 6. Worcester Chamber Order Bk. ed. S. Bond (Worcs. Hist. Soc. n.s. viii), 55, 117; C2/Jas.I/M12/9.
- 7. C78/340/19; PROB 11/142, f. 502.
- 8. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), vi. 246, 275, 279; C2/Chas.I/W96/2; C8/96/63.
- 9. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), vi. 276; PROB 11/142, ff. 80, 502.
- 10. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), vi. 276; WARD 10/43/1; C2/Chas.I/M1/62; C219/39/166.
- 11. PRO 30/26/186; LC2/6, f. 47; C2/Chas.I/M64/27; O. Manning and W. Bray, Hist. Surr. ii. 612.
- 12. C2/Jas.I/M12/9; C2/Chas.I/M59/29; C78/257/15; CSP Dom. 1633-4, p. 582; 1635-6, p. 470.
- 13. C2/Chas.I/B47/60; 2/Chas.I/M66/50; C3/414/190.
- 14. C2/Chas.I/B47/60, 2/Chas.I/M59/29.