WHITHED, Sir Henry (1574-1629), of Norman Court, West Tytherley, Hants.

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. 3 Sept. 1574,1 o.s. of Richard Whithed of Norman Court and Christian, da. of William Jephson of Froyle, Hants.2 educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1589.3 m. (1) settlement 20 Mar. 1593,4 Anne (d.1623),5 da. of James Weston†, chan. of Lichfield dioc., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.);6 (2) settlement 10 June 1604,7 Constance (d. 23 Oct. 1626),8 da. of Sir Richard Norton† of East Tisted, Hants, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. 9 suc. fa. 1593;10 kntd. 23 July 1603.11 d. 27 Apr. 1629.12

Offices Held

Capt. militia ft. Hants 1601-28, col. 1628-d.,13 j.p. 1602-d.,14 commr. subsidy 1608, 1621-2, 1624,15 repair of Romsey Bridge, Hants 1608,16 sheriff 1609-10,17 commr. aid 1612,18 relief of maimed soldiers 1612,19 disarming recusants 1612,20 gaol delivery, Winchester, Hants 1622;21 collector of fifteenths, Hants 1624;22 alderman, Winchester 1625-d.;23 freeman, Southampton, Hants 1626;24 commr. Forced Loan, Hants 1626,25 billeting soldiers, 1626,26 martial law 1626-7,27 oyer and terminer 1628.28


Whithed’s ancestors had held the Hampshire manor of Norman Court since 1433, but had not previously sat in Parliament.29 His letter book shows him to have been a most conscientious local official, an active magistrate and captain of militia, and to have been widely respected by the gentry of the county. After the Hampshire election of 1614, Sir Henry Wallop* thanked him for his ‘kindness and constant affection showed me in this last business’.30 Although he does not appear to have stood for election himself during James’s reign, Whithed’s evident sympathy towards Prince Charles and the duke of Buckingham perhaps prompted him to do so in 1625, when he was returned for the shire. He made his maiden speech on 23 June in response to a recusancy bill, in which he urged that licences to travel should be so framed that the government would always know the whereabouts of recusants. He was subsequently named to the committee.31 His other appointments were to help prepare heads for the address on religion (24 June), and to consider bills for the suppression of tippling (24 June) and the restriction of benefit of clergy (25 June).32 By this time may of his fellow Members had lost their enthusiasm for the war against Spain, but Whithed demonstrated his continuing support. He assured the House on 30 June that the collection of fifteenths in Hampshire in 1624 had caused no difficulty as the money had come in ‘very easily’.33 After the Parliament had relocated to Oxford to avoid the plague in London, Whithed spoke on 11 Aug. in favour of additional supply and moved for a division on the subject.34

Returned for Winchester at the next election, probably with the support of his colleague Sir Richard Tichborne*, Whithed’s numerous appointments included the committee for privileges (9 Feb. 1626) and a committee to consider matters of religion (10 February).35 He supported (Sir) John Eliot’s impassioned call on 10 Feb. for the government to give an account of the spending of the subsidies granted in previous parliaments, but five days later he advised caution in tackling the question of Tunnage and Poundage, since it had never been within the remit of the House to set the rates.36 His interest in this matter caused him to be chosen for a select committee to investigate a new imposition on wine (20 February). He was subsequently added to the committee considering the seizure of the St. Peter of Le Havre (23 February).37 In committee of the whole House on 27 Feb., Whithed insisted upon the need for improved military defences, especially along the coasts; his own experience as a captain of the Hampshire militia is reflected in his call to ‘send ammunition into several parts of the kingdom’.38 He was one of the 64 delegates instructed to confer with the Lords on 4 Mar. on the summons sent to the duke of Buckingham, who, as lord admiral, was required to explain his reasons for staying the St. Peter. Two days later, when the matter was debated in committee of the whole House, Whithed declared that ‘the want of money’ was ‘no excuse’ for Buckingham’s failure to guard the Narrow Seas.39 Yet, despite taking a hard line against the duke’s tactical errors, Whithed was not averse to voting subsidies so that the country’s defences could be equipped properly, and in the supply debate on 27 Mar. he dismissed the Commons’ grievances, which he felt had already been answered.40 He was appointed to the committee for the bill to regulate musters (28 Mar.) and on 5 Apr. was ordered to attend the king with the remonstrance after Charles criticized the Commons’ ‘unparliamentary’ proceedings against Buckingham.41

Following the dissolution, Whithed was commended by Tichborne for his diligence in collecting the Forced Loan in Hampshire.42 At the next election, in 1628, he stood for Southampton, and was enrolled as a freeman of the town, but he failed to obtain the backing of Viscount Conway (Sir Edward Conway I*), the lord lieutenant, who had already promised to support Sir Francis Annesley*.43 However, Conway told him that ‘I know well and esteem much your abilities to serve His Majesty and have had good testimony of your good affection to the public, whereof I am ready to bear witness for you’. His influence may have assisted Whithed in gaining a seat at Stockbridge instead, a borough located nine miles from Whithed’s home.44 On taking his seat in the Commons, he was again appointed to the privileges committee (20 Mar. 1628).45 When arbitrary imprisonment was debated on 28 Mar. he moved for an examination of the precedents and the judgment in the Five Knights’ Case, and asked for the records to be produced.46 Three days later, he argued that arbitrary imprisonment was permissible in certain circumstances: ‘no man doubts of this, that no man is to be committed without cause; but may it not be policy of state sometimes to conceal the cause? Sometimes men are committed to prevent stirs in the commonwealth’.47 He supported (Sir) Humphrey May’s contention that either the king or the Privy Council could imprison for reasons of state, but moved to examine ‘what latitude to allow [the judges] in cases that happen so ordinarily’.48 He argued on 4 Apr. that since the proceeds of Tunnage and Poundage were always earmarked to finance the Navy, supply should be given for general expenditure rather than assigned to particular projects. Interestingly, he now opposed the granting of fifteenths, which he had supported in 1625.49 On 22 Apr. he spoke in favour of a bill to outlaw corrupt practices in parliamentary elections.50 His committee appointments included bills to ensure the proper observance of the Sabbath (1 Apr.) and to prevent the sale of judicial offices (23 April).51

During the summer Whithed and Tichborne were praised by Conway for their pains in billeting soldiers.52 Whithed left no mark on the records of the 1629 session, but he probably attended the Commons, for he was buried at St. Clement Danes three days after his death on 27 Apr. 1629, despite his expressed desire for private interment at Tytherley.53 His will, dated 27 Feb., appointed his eldest son Richard*, executor.54

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/235/97.
  • 2. Berry, Hants Genealogies, 106, 194.
  • 3. Al. Ox.
  • 4. C142/235/97.
  • 5. VCH Hants, iv. 523.
  • 6. Hants RO, 4M53/141, f. 61.
  • 7. Hants RO, 5M50/2005.
  • 8. B. Whithead, Hist. Whitehead Fams. 17.
  • 9. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 90.
  • 10. PROB 11/82, f. 9v.
  • 11. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 124.
  • 12. C142/448/92.
  • 13. Whithed Letter Bk. (Hants Recs. ser. i), 1, 4, 51; CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 238, 243.
  • 14. Whithed Letter Bk. 6; C66/1620, 1988; SP14/33; C193/13/1; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 15.
  • 15. SP14/31/1; C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 16. Whithed Letter Bk. 59.
  • 17. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 56.
  • 18. Harl. 354, f. 68.
  • 19. Whithed Letter Bk. 90-1.
  • 20. Ibid. 98-9.
  • 21. C181/3, f. 74.
  • 22. Procs. 1625, p. 278.
  • 23. Hants RO, W/B1/4, f. 45.
  • 24. Whithed Letter Bk, v.
  • 25. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 506.
  • 26. APC, 1626, p. 224.
  • 27. APC, 1626, p. 221; CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 419; 1627-8, p. 440.
  • 28. APC, 1627-8, p. 318.
  • 29. Whitehead, 12, 17, 18.
  • 30. Whithed Letter Bk. 115-6.
  • 31. Procs. 1625, p. 226.
  • 32. Ibid. 226, 239, 241, 246.
  • 33. Ibid. 275; HMC Lords, n.s. xi. 196.
  • 34. Procs. 1625, pp. 465, 467.
  • 35. Procs. 1626, ii. 7, 13.
  • 36. Ibid. ii. 18, 50.
  • 37. Ibid. ii. 73, 103.
  • 38. Ibid. ii. 141.
  • 39. Ibid. ii. 195, 203, 209.
  • 40. Ibid. ii. 379.
  • 41. Ibid. ii. 386, 430.
  • 42. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 506.
  • 43. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 556.
  • 44. Procs. 1628, vi. 166.
  • 45. CD 1628, ii. 29.
  • 46. Ibid. 174.
  • 47. Ibid. 230.
  • 48. Ibid. 233.
  • 49. Ibid. 314; Procs. 1628, vi. 62.
  • 50. CD 1628, iii. 29.
  • 51. Ibid. ii. 227; iii. 44.
  • 52. CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 236, 238, 254, 316.
  • 53. WCA, St. Clement Danes par. reg.
  • 54. PROB 11/156, f. 36v.