MEAUTYS, Henry (c.1585-by 1663), of St. Julian's Hosp., St. Albans and Westmill, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1585, 1st s. of Thomas Meautys of St. Julian’s Hosp. and Elizabeth, da. of Sir Henry Coningsby of North Mimms, Herts.; bro. of Thomas*.1 m. (lic. 19 Aug. 1607, aged 22),2 Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Glover, dyer, of London and Isleworth, Mdx., 6s. 1da. d.v.p.3 suc. fa. c.1618, niece in Gorhambury estate 1652.4 d. by 1663.
Meautys was descended from a Frenchman who came to England to find employment at the court of Henry VII as an interpreter and spy. The family became established in Essex by the mid-sixteenth century, having acquired an ex-monastic estate at Stratford Langthorne, West Ham.8 Meautys’s father was still a minor when he inherited this property in 1576, but preferred to reside at St. Albans, where he leased St. Julian’s Hospital, a former leper colony, from his in-laws, the Coningsby family of North Mimms.9 The Essex lands, rented out to Sir Edward Osborne*, were saddled with the repair of Bow Bridge, and it may have been to enforce the fulfilment of this responsibility that several warrants were issued by the judges of assize between 1614 and 1617. However, the Meautys family disputed their obligations, and the case was eventually referred to the Privy Council in 1623.10 Meautys himself inherited Stratford in around 1618, but never resided there, and after his father’s death he relocated from St. Albans to Westmill, 15 miles eastwards.11
Meautys was recommended by his brother’s employer, Sir Francis Bacon*, to succeed the deceased Robert Shute, as MP for St. Albans in the 1621 Parliament, joining Thomas, sitting for Cambridge, as another of Bacon’s nominees in the Commons.12 He played no known part in the proceedings, and after Bacon’s disgrace is unlikely to have stood again. He sold the bulk of his holdings at Stratford in 1633 and entered his pedigree at the heralds’ visitation of Hertfordshire in the following year.13 He was named to the latter county’s committee in 1643 and to the magistrates’ bench under the Commonwealth, but seems not to have taken up the commission. In 1652 he inherited Gorhambury, the mansion adjoining St. Albans that Bacon had left to Thomas Meautys, but immediately sold it for £10,000 to (Sir) Harbottle Grimston*, who had married the latter’s widow.14 Meautys drew up his will on 21 Sept. 1661, mentioning three young grandchildren, who were committed to the guardianship of a Surrey clergyman, Richard Roberts. What remained of his property in Essex was to be sold to pay debts and legacies. Roberts proved the will on 22 Sept. 1663.15 Nothing further is known of the family.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 247.
- 2. Mar. Lics. (Harl. Soc. xxv), 301.
- 3. Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 75.
- 4. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 93.
- 5. HALS, OFF ACC 1162/159.
- 6. C231/4, f. 171, 231/5, f. 256; C193/13/3.
- 7. A. and O. i. 119, 170, 243.
- 8. Lansd. 1217, f. 39v; Morant, Essex, i. 19; Private Corresp. of Jane, Lady Cornwallis ed. Braybrooke, p. xlviii; C142/173/47.
- 9. VCH Herts. ii. 427, 428.
- 10. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 486; APC, 1621-3, pp. 504-5; 1623-5, p. 69.
- 11. Cal. Assize Recs. Essex Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 151, 167, 205; REQ 2/310/23; SP16/52/61.
- 12. HALS, OFF ACC 1162/159.
- 13. D. Lysons, Environs of London, iv. 248; Vis. Essex, 247.
- 14. Herts. RO, Gorhambury ms 1/A/42; Clutterbuck, i. 93.
- 15. PROB 11/312, f. 84.