NORWOOD, Henry (c.1614-89), of Leckhampton, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



20 Apr. 1675

Family and Education

b. c.1614, 2nd s. of Henry Norwood (d.1616), barrister, of the Middle Temple and West Camel, Som. by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Rodney of Rodney Stoke, Som. educ. I. Temple 1637, called 1660. unm.

Offices Held

Capt. of ft. (royalist) 1643, maj. by 1654; capt. of Sandown Castle 1661-3; lt.-col. Lord Rutherford’s. Ft. 1661-4; dep. gov. Dunkirk Mar.-Nov. 1662; col. of ft. 2 Tangier Regt. 1664-9; lt.-gov. Tangier 1666-9.1

Esquire of the body Mar. 1660-?85; treasurer, Virginia 1661-73; warden of the Fleet prison c.1670-6, 1679; commr. for Tangier 1673-80; member, R. Fishery Co. 1677.2

Commr. for loyal and indigent officers, Kent 1662; j.p. Glos. 1670-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.; freeman and common councilman, Gloucester 1671, alderman 1672-d., mayor 1672-3; commr. for assessment, Glos. and Gloucester 1673-80, 1689 inquiry, Forest of Dean 1679; dep. lt. Glos. 1683-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.3


The Norwoods, originally a Kentish family, acquired the manor of Leckhampton, eight miles from Gloucester, by marriage in 1486. Norwood inherited a small property in Worcestershire from his father, a barrister, who died when his son was an infant. Norwood himself was also destined for a legal career, but with the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the King’s forces and distinguished himself at the storming of Bristol in 1643. He was in the Worcester garrison when it surrendered at the end of the Civil War, and went into exile in Holland. He returned to England in June 1649 and paid £15 as composition for his delinquency. Charles II recommended him to the royalist governor of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley, who sent him to Scotland with a sum of money which obtained for him a patent as ‘escheator, treasurer and receiver of quit rents’ in the colony during pleasure. He took no part in the second Civil War, but was arrested in 1652 on a charge of complicity in the murder of Dorislaus. An active royalist conspirator, he was imprisoned from 1655 to 1659, and was taken prisoner in Booth’s rising.4

On the eve of the Restoration Norwood was rewarded for his services with a post at Court. He was belatedly called to the bar, and acquired shipping interests in the American and Mediterranean trades; but his ambitions were primarily military. For most of the next ten years he was on garrison duty overseas, though enjoying frequent spells of home leave. He was at odds with the civil authorities in Tangier, especially after the new charter of 1668, and finally returned to England in the following year. He disposed of his Virginia post, though he continued to receive one-third of the profits from the purchasers. He acquired the wardenship of the Fleet prison, exercising the functions by deputy. He settled at Leckhampton, which he purchased from a cousin, and soon became embroiled in the disputes of the neighbouring corporation. Gloucester was sharply divided at this time between the ‘loyal’ and ‘adverse’ parties. There being a vacancy on the aldermanic board, Norwood was proposed by the ‘loyal’ faction as a compromise candidate. He was duly elected to the common council, as a step towards the aldermanship and eventually the mayoralty, but in the municipal elections in October the opposition proved obdurate and the charter was surrendered. Norwood was present at the surrender and was named an alderman for life in the new charter issued in April 1672. In the next year he was elected mayor. On 20 Apr. 1675 he was returned in the by-election occasioned by the death of Sir Edward Massey. The election was disputed, and apparently a petition was submitted either by the defeated candidate, William Cooke, or by some of the Gloucester electors, though it is not recorded in the Journals. Norwood had been duly returned by the senior sheriff, and was allowed to take his seat, although he was not declared elected for another three years. He was appointed to the committee on the explanatory bill against the growth of Popery on 18 May and listed as an official, presumably because of his wardenship of the Fleet, though he sold this in 1676 for £3,000 down and a rent of £800 p.a. for 14 years. He was marked ‘doubtful’ on the working lists, and Sir Richard Wiseman feared that ‘Mr Norwood would show tricks too, if he could get by them’. In 1677 Shaftesbury listed him ‘thrice vile’, and his name appears on the government list of court supporters in 1678, though (Sir) Joseph Williamson complained that he had been ‘wanting’ in a debate. His only committee was to review the highway laws on 25 May.

Although not blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’ of court supporters by the Opposition, Norwood is unlikely to have stood again. He resumed his wardenship of the Fleet in 1679 when the payments fell into arrears. He must have opposed exclusion, for he was added to the lieutenancy in 1683. But he was absent from the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from local office. He probably welcomed the Revolution, for in April 1689 he subscribed £1,700 towards a loan to the new Government. This substantial amount indicated that he was a man of considerable means though he had been hard hit at the Stop of the Exchequer. He died on 14 Sept. 1689 and was buried at Leckhampton, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament. In his will he confirmed the grant of 1686 whereby he had settled the Leckhampton estate on the sons of Francis Norwood, the cousin from whom he had purchased it.

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


Unless otherwise stated this biography is based on J. H. Trye, ‘Col. Henry Norwood of Leekhampton, Glos.’, Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xlvii. 113-21; F. Harrison, ‘Henry Norwood, Treasurer of Virginia’, Virginia Mag. of Hist. and Biog. xxxiii. 1-10; P. Hardacre, ‘Further Adventures of Henry Norwood’ (ibid.), lxvii. 271-83; and on Norwood’s own account, A Voyage to Virginia (P. Force, Tracts, iii. no. 10).

  • 1. Jnl. Soc. Army Hist. Research, iv. 192; Thurloe, iii. 96.
  • 2. Williamson Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. viii), 149.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 196.
  • 4. G.M.N. Callam, Norwoods, i. 15, 23.