MASON, Sir Robert (1626-69), of Hidden, Hungerford, Berks.; Cannon Ct., Kingsclere and Eastgate House, Winchester, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 26 Oct. 1626, 1st. s. of Robert Mason† of Lincoln’s Inn and Winchester, recorder of London 1634-5, by 1st w. Edith, da. of John Foyle† of Shaftesbury, Dorset. educ. St. Alban’s Hall, Oxf., matric. 20 May 1642, aged 15. m. c.1658, Catherine, wid. of John Vaux, MD, and of Thomas Hussey of Hungerford Park, Berks., 1s. suc. fa. 1635; kntd. 9 Apr. 1661.1
Cornet (royalist) ?1644.2
Gent. of privy chamber June 1660-d.3
J.p. Hants July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Berks. Aug. 1660-1, Hants 1661-d., Winchester 1666-d.; freeman, Winchester 1661; commr. for corporations, Hants 1662-3, dep. lt. 1667-d.4
Mason’s father, a lawyer of Shropshire origins, sat for Winchester in 1628 and helped to draw up the Petition of Right, but had come to terms with the Court before his death. Mason was persuaded by one of his father’s executors to ride in the troop of his kinsman Sir Humphrey Bennet at the age of 18, and afterwards continued in the King’s garrisons for his own safety until taken prisoner by Sir William Waller I at Devizes. Apart from his house in Winchester, he owned the manor of Hidden, leased Cannon Court Farm and Stubbington Warren from the Marquess of Winchester, and held Itchell Farm in Crondall in trust for a younger brother. Out of this he had to pay an annuity of £300 to his step-mother, who had remarried Richard Goddard, and to find nearly £6,800 in legacies under his father’s will. Despite his plea of ‘infancy and ignorance’ he was fined £740, and after the second Civil War, in which he raised a party of horse for the King round Farnham, a further £522. Undaunted, he joined in Penruddock’s rising at Salisbury in 1655; escaping abroad, he was outlawed, but pardoned on the intervention of Thomas Hussey, whose widow he was later to marry. He had to give security for no less than £11,000, and settle £100 p.a. on the widow and children of a Cromwellian major-general.5
In consideration of his signal endeavours for the Restoration, Mason was made a gentleman of the privy chamber and knighted, but his application for an office under the bankruptcy commission does not seem to have been successful, though he endeavoured to keep his name before the Government by sending rather nebulous information about the danger of disturbances in the Kingsclere area. He succeeded Goddard at a by-election for Winchester in 1666 without a contest, presumably as a court supporter, but he was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was twice added to the committee of elections and privileges, but the only bills with which he was specifically concerned were for rebuilding London after the Great Fire and settling the estate of Sir Kingsmill Lucy. His will, signed on 21 Mar. 1669, was proved on 13 May. He was buried in Winchester Cathedral. His only son died of smallpox at the age of 22, leaving an estate reduced by litigation to £100 p.a. or less to a cousin, Michael Ernle of Brimslade Park.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 208; PCC 13 Pile, 59 Coke; S. Gale, Cathedral Church of Winchester (1715), 50.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1645-7, p. 466.
- 3. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 166.
- 4. SP29/225/101; Winchester corp. assembly bk. 5, f. 162, ledger bk. 5, f. 142.
- 5. SP23/197, ff. 61-66; 102, f. 202; Cal. Cl. SP. i. 390; VCH Hants, v. 5; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1044; CSP Dom. 1648-9, p. 261; 1655-6, p. 276; 1656-7, pp. 192, 316; Thurloe, ii. 366.
- 6. Merc. Pub. 11 Apr. 1661; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 397; 1661-2, pp. 138, 141; PCC 59 Coke, 87 Cottle.