HARVEY, Sir William (d.1642), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

o.s. of Henry Harvey of Kidbrooke, Kent by Jane, da. of James Thomas of Llanvihangel, Mon. m. (1) 1598, Mary, da. of (Sir) Anthony Browne, 1st Visct. Montagu, wid. of Henry Wriothesley, and Earl of Southampton, and of Thomas Heneage; (2) 1608, Cordell (d.1636), da. and coh. of Brian Ansley of Lee, Kent, 3s. d.v.p. 4da. (3 d.v.p.). Kntd. 1596; cr. Bt. 1619, Baron Hervy [I] 1620, Baron Hervey 1628.

Offices Held

Served in navy, capt. 1597, r.-adm. 1621.

Gent. pens. by 1587; remembrancer of first fruits and tenths 1603; keeper of St. Andrew’s castle, Hants. c.1598-1604.1


Harvey was an officer on Lord Howard of Effingham’s flagship in the Armada campaign, distinguishing himself in a raid on Calais. Eight years later, his services at Cadiz won him a knighthood and in that August he was described as the captain and owner of a ship called the Darling at Portsmouth. In 1597, as captain of the Bonaventure, he took part in the Islands voyage, and by September 1598 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the comptrollership of the navy. In 1600 he took a prominent part in the Irish wars, and remained closely connected with the navy right up to the time of the expedition to La Rochelle in 1627, on which he served as rear-admiral. He was consulted frequently on matters of naval administration and finance during the early Stuart period.2

Harvey presumably obtained his return for Horsham in 1601 through his first wife’s nephew, the young Viscount Montagu, who was a son-in-law of Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst. His name appears on one committee, 3 Nov., concerning the state of Ireland and questions of defence.3

In his will, dated 16 Dec. 1637, Harvey left the ordering of his burial to his executors, ‘so that it be privately and without pomp or unnecessary expense’. The bulk of his estate, including the manor of Kidbrooke and his house at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, ‘where I have long dwelt’ was to go to his daughters Elizabeth and Helena, all his other children having died. Small bequests included one of £5 to the poor of that parish and another of £10 to ‘my deputy in the office of first fruits’. In the event, only Elizabeth survived him. She married a cousin of the elder line, John Hervey of Ickworth who, through her, inherited Kidbrooke. Harvey—one of the many candidates for Shakespeare’s ‘Mr. W. H.’—was buried in Westminster abbey on 8 July 1642.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.


  • 1. CP; Hasted, Kent, i. 437-8; E407/1/34; SP14/60; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 19; 1603-10, p. 126.
  • 2. W.L. Clowes, Royal Navy, i. 520, 529, 575, 589; ii. 65; J. K. Laughton, Defeat of Span. Armada, i. 15, n. 15; HMC Hatfield, vi. 354, 361; x. 322; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 467; 1598-1601, p. 95; 1625-6, p. 494; 1627-8, pp. 24, 57, 61, 82, 139, 179; W. Oppenheim, Admin. of the Royal Navy, i. 149; C. D. Penn, Navy under the Early Stuarts, 174; APC, 1618-19, p. 307; 1626-7, p. 141.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 642.
  • 4. PCC 172 Essex; A. L. Rowse, Shakespeare’s Southampton.