HAWKINS, Nicholas, of Cardiff.

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

s. of Nicholas Hawkins, alderman and bailiff of Cardiff, by his w. Joan. m. Joan, da. of Thomas Taylor of Cardiff.

Offices Held

Bailiff, Cardiff 1595, 1597, 1611, alderman 1608.


Hawkins belonged to a family which owned considerable burgage property in Cardiff and was of good civic standing—good enough to embolden Hawkins to resist persistent attempts by some of the local gentry to overawe his town. In 1595 he and his fellow-bailiff arraigned before the Star Chamber (Sir) William Herbert I of Swansea and a posse of his followers on charges of riot (in which one of Herbert’s servants was fatally wounded), forcible release of prisoners from the town gaol, and interference with the course of justice through the connivance of his kinsman Edward Kemeys of Cefn Mably, the sheriff. Herbert brought counter-charges of slander, but Hawkins won his case and Herbert was heavily fined. Four years later Hawkins obtained another verdict against Kemeys in the same court on charges of subornation of justice, as a result of which Kemys was imprisoned in the Fleet and fined £500, while Hawkins was awarded 100 marks damages against him. In the same year Hawkins, having paid for his temerity by a spell in Cardiff gaol, prosecuted Kemeys for venality, this time in the Exchequer.

As Hawkins was so opposed to the Herbert family his return in 1597 for Cardiff Boroughs, where Pembroke influence was the rule, is difficult to explain except as a successful challenge to Pembroke’s position. Hawkins’s name does not appear in the parliamentary journals, but he may have served on a committee for Newport bridge appointed on 29 Nov. Hawkins was named an alderman for life in Cardiff’s new charter of 1608. The date of his death is not known: the last reference found to him is dated 1618.

Cardiff Recs. ed. Matthews, i. 65, 213, 473, 482; iii. 46-9, 119; iv. 78; v. 515-16; Rylands Eng. ms 311; Clark, Cartae, v. 2020; CPR, 1557-8, p. 287; Star Chamber, ed. Edwards (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist and Law ser. i), 77; Exchequer, ed. E. G. Jones (same ser. iv), 218; Stradling, Storie of the Lower Borrowes, ed. Randall and Rees (S. Wales and Mon. Rec. Soc. Pubs. i), 98-113; D’Ewes, 565.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A.H.D.