SANDYS, Sir William (c.1575-1628), of Winchester, Hants and Clerkenwell Green, Mdx.

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.1575, o.s. of Sir Walter Sandys† of Timsbury, Hants, and Mabel, da. of Thomas Wriothesley†, 1st earl of Southampton.1 m. 22 Nov. 1596,2 Elizabeth (bur. 2 Feb. 1658), da. of Sir William Cornwallis† of Brome, Suff., s.p.3 kntd. 22 July 1601;4 suc. fa. 1609.5 d. 28 Oct. 1628.6

Offices Held

Commr. piracy, Southampton, Hants and I.o.W. 1603;7 j.p. Hants 1604-d.;8 freeman and alderman, Winchester 1607-d.;9 commr. gaol delivery, Winchester 1612-d.;10 sheriff, Hants 1611-12;11 capt. militia ft. Hants to 1625.12

?Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary c.1625.13


Sandys’s father, the younger son of a family seated in Hampshire since 1386, leased property in Winchester, and was a member of the corporation.14 The family may have been distantly related to a Gloucestershire branch that produced a namesake, Sir William Sandys of Brimpsfield, who served as sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1626 and lived until 1641.15 Sandys himself was knighted in 1601, and was granted the reversion of a Suffolk manor by the Crown in 1605.16 His marriage to the niece of Sir Charles Cornwallis* brought him many Catholic connections, and may explain why in 1603 he acted as surety for Robert Catesby, one of the Gunpowder plotters.17 As a result of this entanglement and some ill-advised investments, Sandys fell disastrously into debt. By 1608 he owed Sir John Hobart I* £300, and within the next two years, having inherited various Hampshire property including the tithes, rectory and lands at Mottisfont, he was obliged to start selling his assets.18

Financial difficulties probably motivated Sandys’s entry to Parliament for Winchester in 1614, though his first aim seems to have been to secure a piece of private legislation rather than parliamentary protection. This was a bill to enable him to make a jointure for his wife, which appears among a list of measures ‘to be propounded’ compiled by Sir Francis Bacon*, but it got no further than a first reading (24 May). Sandys left no other trace on the records of the Addled Parliament.19 Despite his debts, he subsequently contributed £13 6s.8d. towards the Benevolence,20 and in 1617 he stood bail of 500 marks for his sister-in-law Lady Fermor, who had shot an over-impetuous admirer.21 Sometime thereafter he seems to have relocated to London, perhaps as a result of declining health, and was living in Clerkenwell by 1619. His debts rapidly increased to £1,000, but he does not seem to have stood for Parliament again.22

Assessed at £30 for the Privy Seal loans in 1625, either Sandys, or possibly his namesake, became an unsalaried courtier at around this time. Sandys was granted special permission to remain in London, notwithstanding his local duties as a Hampshire magistrate, and was rated for the Forced Loan in Middlesex rather than his county of origin.23 In July 1627 he received a licence to travel abroad, perhaps to visit a Continental spa.24 He died, childless and intestate, on 28 Oct. 1628 with his debts still uncleared, leaving his estate to revert to the senior branch of the family, and was buried at Mottisfont.25

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/312/134.
  • 2. London Mar. Lics. ed. J. Foster, 1184; Reg. St. Botolph’s Bishopsgate, i. 29.
  • 3. Westminster Abbey Reg. ed. J. Chester, 150.
  • 4. B.B. Woodward et al. Hants, iii. 193.
  • 5. C142/312/134.
  • 6. C142/462/141.
  • 7. C181/1, f. 73v.
  • 8. C66/1620; E163/18/12.
  • 9. Hants RO, W/B1/1, f. 313.
  • 10. C181/2, ff. 177, 355v; 181/3, ff. 18v, 233.
  • 11. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 56.
  • 12. Add. 21922, f. 5; CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 49.
  • 13. LC3/1, unfol.
  • 14. Hants RO, W/F2/2, ff. 227, 319v; W/B1/1, f. 269.
  • 15. E.S. Sandys, Hist. Fam. Sandys, ii. peds. E, F.
  • 16. Lansd. 1217, f. 71v; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 211.
  • 17. HMC Hatfield, xviii. 442.
  • 18. Bodl. Tanner 283, f. 176v; VCH Hants, iii. 334, 447; iv. 487.
  • 19. Letters and Life of Francis Bacon ed. J. Spedding, v. 17; Procs. 1614 (Commons), 329, 335.
  • 20. Whithed Letter Bk. (Hants Recs. ser. 1), p. 123.
  • 21. Mdx. Co. Recs. ed. J.C. Jeaffreson, ii. 129; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 71.
  • 22. HMC 6th Rep. 605; W.J. Pinks, Hist. Clerkenwell, 106; CSP Dom. 1623-5, pp. 127, 382.
  • 23. Add. 21922, f. 16; CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 507; CSP Dom. 1627-8, pp. 2, 3.
  • 24. SO3/8, unfol.
  • 25. C142/462/141; Sandys, 260.