HEYWOOD, Peter (-d.1642), of King Street East, Westminster

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

2nd s. of Peter Heywood of Heywood Hall, Lancs. and Margaret, da. of Roger Gartsyde of Ewood Hall, Lancs. m. (1) w. unknown, s.p.; (2) by 1616, Elizabeth, da. of one Thirrall of Leeds, at least 3s. 4da. (1 d.v.p.).1 bur. 18 Jan. 1642.2

Offices Held

Overseer of the poor, St. Margaret’s, Westminster 1607-8,3 asst. burgess by 1610,4 churchwarden 1616-18, 1622-4,5 vestryman by 1622,6 trustee of poor by 1637;7 commr. (and treas.) sewers, Westminster by 1611-at least 1634;8 collector subsidy, Westminster 1624, Forced Loan 1626-7;9 j.p. Westminster 1625-d.;10 gov. Co. of tradesmen in London and Westminster 1636;11 commr. charitable uses, Mdx. 1637-at least 1639,12 subsidy, Westminster 1641.13


Resident in the parish of St. Margaret’s, Westminster by 1580, Heywood has sometimes been confused with his nephew and namesake, who lived there in the 1630s.14 By 1609 he was living in King Street, in a house leased from the former abbey of Westminster.15 From the dean and chapter he acquired many leasehold properties in St. Margaret’s, often as part of a syndicate which included his fellow Westminster resident, William Man*, who appointed him an overseer of his will.16 Like Man, Heywood did well out of his abbey leases, and at his death was able to bequeath £1,500 in cash to his children.17 Among his tenants in 1601 was the queen’s physician, Lancelot Browne.18

As a member of St. Margaret’s vestry and a city burgess, it is not surprising that Heywood was elected to Parliament for Westminster in 1626. He may also have enjoyed the backing of his landlord, the dean of Westminster, as his sole committee appointment, to consider a bill to prohibit clergymen from being magistrates (10 Mar.), was amended in committee to allow exemptions for deans, among others.19 Once in the Commons Heywood delivered only one recorded speech, in which he complained that the annual cost of poor relief in Westminster amounted to £600 (13 April).20 This heavy financial burden continued to concern him after Parliament was dissolved, for in 1637 he headed the list of petitioners who sought to reduce the city’s Ship Money contribution following an outbreak of plague which had led to a rise in the poor rates.21 Heywood never sat in Parliament again, as his enthusiasm for the Forced Loan, of which he was the local collector, meant that he was not nominated for a seat in 1628.22

Heywood was an active Westminster magistrate, who frequently used his position to fine swearers and drunkards.23 In April 1636 he was appointed governor of the short-lived Company of tradesmen and artificers in London and Westminster. Eight months later the Privy Council agreed to let him have copies of an unspecified complaint against him on the ground that it had ‘formerly received many good testimonies of the care and well deserving of the said Mr. Heywood’.24 During the Bishops’ Wars Heywood seems to have acted as receiver for coat and conduct money for the Westminster bench.25

On 21 Nov. 1640, while in Westminster Hall, he was stabbed in the side with a rusty dagger by a Catholic named John James as he was showing a friend ‘a schedule of such suspected and notorious papists as were about Westminster’ which he had prepared on Parliament’s instructions.26 His injury may have contributed to his death 14 months later. In his will, drawn up in September 1641, he left £5 to the poor of St. Margaret’s and made a gift to his wife and son Thomas of any financial penalty incurred by his assailant.27 He was buried in St. Margaret’s on 18 Jan. 1642. Thomas Heywood later became a page of the bedchamber and keeper of the closet to James, duke of York, but neither he nor any of his descendants sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Iter Lancastrense: A Poem, 1636 ed. R. James, (Chetham Soc. vii), 22; Rev. Oliver Heywood, BA, 1630-1702; His Autobiog. ed. J. Horsfall Turner, i. 118; PROB 11/188, ff. 31v-2; Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A.M. Burke, 92, 101, 108, 116, 125, 135.
  • 2. Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, 600.
  • 3. WCA, E149 (1607-8 acct.) unfol.
  • 4. WCA, WCB1, p. 1.
  • 5. WCA, E150 (1616-17 acct.), f. 1; E151 (1617-18 acct.), f. 1; E13 (1622-4 accts.), unfol.
  • 6. WCA, E2413, unfol.
  • 7. WAM, lease bk. xv. f. 128.
  • 8. LR7/14, pt. 2, no. 13; E403/2733, f. 22; C181/4, f. 191
  • 9. E115/296/103; APC, 1626, p. 321.
  • 10. C231/4, f. 191; D’Ewes ed. W. Notestein, 53.
  • 11. V. Pearl, London and Outbreak of Puritan Rev. 34.
  • 12. C192/1, unfol.
  • 13. E115/303/51.
  • 14. WCA, E146 (1580 acct.), f. 2v. For the confusion, see e.g. Pvte. Jnls. Jan.-Mar. 1642, 431, n. 18; J.E. Smith, ‘Parlty. Representation of Westminster’ (unpub. 1923), p. 134 (typescript in WCA).
  • 15. WAM, lease bk. x. ff. 239v-241. For evidence that the house was situated in King Street East, see WCA, E150, f. 4v.
  • 16. WAM, lease bk. xii. ff. 409-15; xiv. ff. 170v-2, 175v-80, 369-70; xv. ff. 128-9; PROB 11/169, f. 288.
  • 17. PROB 11/188, ff. 31v-2.
  • 18. E407/127, unnumb. item, 25 Mar. 1601, Browne to Vincent Skinner.
  • 19. Procs. 1626, p. 246; C. Russell, PEP, 277.
  • 20. Procs. 1626, ii. 438.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1637, p. 341.
  • 22. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 327.
  • 23. WCA, E153 unfol. (1631 acct.); 154 unfol. (1638-40 accts.). We are grateful to Julia Merritt for the first of these refs.
  • 24. PC2/47, p. 43. For evidence of his industry, see CSP Dom. 1629-31, pp. 302, 355, 485, 498; 1631-3, pp. 298, 435; 1633-4, p. 190; 1634-5, p. 193; 1635-6, 182, 296, 528, 568; 1636-7, pp. 108, 119, 347, 415; 1637, pp. 62, 164.
  • 25. LR9/57, unnumb. item, n.d.
  • 26. D’Ewes ed. W. Notestein, 53; Two Diaries of Long Parl. 137.
  • 27. PROB 11/188, ff. 31v-2v.