HAYWARD, Sir John (c.1591-1636), of Acton Burnell, Salop; later of Hollingbourne and Rochester, Kent

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. c.1591,1 ?5th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Rowland Hayward† (d.1593), Clothworker and alderman of London, and his 2nd w. Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Smythe† of Westenhanger, Kent.2 educ. ?Emmanuel, Camb. 1603.3 m. c.1622, Anne, da. of Sir Michael Sondes* of Throwley, Kent and wid. of Gabriel Livesey (d. 28 Mar. 1622) of Hollingbourne, s.p.4 kntd. 23 (or 29) July 1609;5 suc. bro. Sir George 1615. d. 11 Apr. 1636.6 sig. John Hayward.

Offices Held

Member, Virg. Co. 1610, N.W. Passage Co. 1612, Somers Is. Co. 1615.7

Sheriff, Kent 1623-4, Mont. 1632-3;8 commr. subsidy, Kent 1624, sewers 1626.9


This Member must be distinguished from his more famous contemporary, Sir John Hayward the lawyer and historian (c.1564-1627), who was knighted in 1619.10 Hayward himself belonged to an old Shropshire family, and his grandfather George sat for Bridgnorth in the 1529 Parliament. His father, Sir Rowland, made his fortune as a cloth merchant in London, serving twice as lord mayor and representing the City in the 1572 Parliament. Although Sir Rowland invested much of his wealth in land in Shropshire and Montgomeryshire, the metropolis remained his principal base, and he was buried in his local parish church, St. Alphege, London Wall in 1593.11 Hayward probably grew up either in this neighbourhood or in Kent, where his mother settled with her second husband, Sir John Scott*.12

As a younger son, Hayward inherited only part of the proceeds from the sale of a Middlesex estate, besides a Buckinghamshire manor, which he sold around 1610.13 His decision in the early 1610s to invest in the Virginia Company and similar New World ventures was doubtless influenced by his uncle, Sir Thomas Smythe*. Hayward’s other close kinsmen included Sir Richard Smythe*, receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall, Sir Henry Fanshawe†, king’s remembrancer of the Exchequer, and the courtiers Sir Thomas Knyvett* and Sir Oliver Cromwell*, through whose influence he presumably secured his knighthood in 1609.14 In July 1615 Hayward inherited from his elder brother Sir George an estate allegedly worth £80,000. Later that year he was pricked as sheriff of Montgomeryshire, but did not serve, as it was decided that his property there would not support the office. In Shropshire, however, Hayward now possessed 16 manors, and accordingly he settled at Acton Burnell, about 11 miles from Bridgnorth.15 In 1619 he sold his main property in London to help clear his brother’s debts. In the same year he was licensed to travel abroad.16

If Hayward did visit the Continent, he was back in England in time to secure a parliamentary seat at Bridgnorth in January 1621. Although most of his lands lay within 15 miles of the borough, he owned little property in the town itself, and probably relied on the backing of the recorder, his brother-in-law Sir Henry Townshend*.17 In the Commons, Hayward received the signal honour of inclusion in the committee for privileges (5 Feb. 1621), but otherwise during the spring sitting he attracted only two bill committee nominations, one concerning a local issue, the Welsh cloth trade, the other addressing legal abuses in land transactions (2 and 10 March). In the second sitting he was appointed to help present the Remonstrance to the king (3 and 8 December).18

Around late 1622 Hayward married his widowed kinswoman, Anne Livesey. In November he purchased Minster manor on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, adjacent to her jointure lands. By the following spring he was living at Hollingbourne, her former husband’s seat, and apparently acquired the title to this property in his own right. Hayward’s status as a newcomer was once again overlooked by the government, which appointed him sheriff of Kent in November 1623, though he seems to have received few other administrative tasks in the county. As sheriff he presided over the county’s parliamentary elections in 1624, allegedly displaying partiality towards Sir Edwin Sandys, who successfully sought to become a knight of the shire.19 Hayward’s return to the Home Counties was swiftly consolidated by the sale of most of his Shropshire estates.20 This effectively ruled out the possibility that he might return to Parliament as a Bridgnorth burgess. Moreover, while he backed Sandys’s attempt to win re-election as a Kent shire knight in 1626, he stood little chance himself of securing a seat in that county. Accordingly, he turned for help that year to his brother-in-law Sir Richard Buller*, who arranged for his election at Saltash. Once back in the Commons, Hayward was again appointed to the committee for privileges, along with Buller (9 Feb.), but he received nominations to only two legislative committees, which dealt with unlicensed alehouses and outlawry for debt (25 and 27 March).21

Hayward spent the bulk of his latter years in Kent, although he was presumably resident in Montgomeryshire in 1632-3, when he finally served as the county’s sheriff. Shortly before this, his step-son Michael Livesey came of age, and attempted to recover the Hollingbourne estate, claiming that he could ‘get it by a trick in law’, instead of repurchasing it from Hayward. The latter promptly sold the property to a third party, commenting wryly to Buller that this had foiled ‘the young gentleman’s wit and tricks’. He subsequently settled in Rochester. Hayward drew up his will on 15 Aug. 1635, requesting burial at St. Alphege, London Wall, and making charitable bequests to that parish, Saltash, Bridgnorth and St. Nicholas, Rochester. Apparently of a godly persuasion, he directed that the first of his legacies to be paid should be a £100 bequest to his chaplain. Still childless, he confirmed his nephew Francis Buller* as his principal heir by a trust deed of 30 Aug. 1635, which also specified that Minster manor and his remaining Shropshire lands were to be sold, the proceeds being used to found workhouses in Rochester and elsewhere. Hayward died in April 1636, the last male representative of his line.22

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. C142/363/194.
  • 2. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), iv. 80; A.B. Beaven, Aldermen of London, ii. 36.
  • 3. Al. Cant.
  • 4. C78/502/4; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii.) 106; C142/396/144.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 148.
  • 6. C142/363/194; 142/779/5.
  • 7. A. Brown, Genesis of US, i. 467; ii. 770; CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 239.
  • 8. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 69, 263.
  • 9. C212/22/23; C181/3, f. 203.
  • 10. B.P. Levack, Civil Lawyers in Eng. 237-8.
  • 11. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. li. 127; W. Jay, ‘Sir Rowland Hayward’, Trans. London and Mdx. Arch. Soc. n.s. vi. 509-10, 513, 520-1; OR.
  • 12. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 114.
  • 13. PROB 11/83, f. 178v; C142/241/125; Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 213.
  • 14. Vis. Kent, 114; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), iv. 80; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. i), 8.
  • 15. C142/363/194; C2/Chas. I/L59/59; C78/494/8; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 331.
  • 16. SP14/108/54; APC, 1618-19, p. 467.
  • 17. Jay, 509.
  • 18. CJ, i. 508a, 534b, 548b; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, ii. 276; CD 1621, vi. 482.
  • 19. Vis. Kent, 106; C2/Chas.I/H49/58; C54/2528/11; Antony House, Cornw., ms BC/24/4/49; Dorothea Scott ed. G.D. Scull, 132-3.
  • 20. C54/2542/23; 54/2546/30; 54/2547/29, 31; 54/2584/10.
  • 21. Dorothea Scott, 132-3; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 57; Procs. 1626, ii. 7, 366, 374.
  • 22. C142/396/144; 142/779/5; Antony House, ms BC/24/4/49; PROB 11/171, ff. 208v-10.