TWYNEHO, William (c.1553-1610), of Southover, Suss.

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



1604 - c. Aug. 1610

Family and Education

b. c.1553, o.s. of Edmund Twyneho† of Notcliffe, Glos., surveyor, duchy of Lancaster (south pts.) 1548-77, and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Munden of Watton Hall, Watton at Stone, Herts., wid. of Robert Burgoyne of Sutton, Beds., auditor in the Ct. of Augmentations.1 educ. King’s, Camb. 1569, BA (Pembroke) 1573; L. Inn 1576.2 m. Audrey, da. of William Mordaunt of Oakley, Beds., at least 1s. 1da. (d.v.p.).3 suc. fa. 1577, uncle William† 1594.4 d. bet. 18 July-24 Oct. 1610.5

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suss. 1602, 1604.6

Patentee, mfr. of smalt 1605-d.7


Twyneho came from a branch of a West Country family that had produced a knight of the shire for Dorset in 1478. His father and uncle both served the Catholic Lords Paget, and his uncle was removed as a magistrate in 1587 for being ‘backward in religion’.8 Twyneho himself was a ‘well deserving friend’ of Robert Sackville*, lived on the Sackville estate and was bequeathed a life annuity of £50 in his patron’s will in 1609. While conformists themselves, the Sackvilles had close links with many of the leading Catholic families of Sussex, and it was presumably Robert or his father, lord treasurer Dorset (Thomas Sackville†) who recommended Twyneho to Sir Richard Lewknor, chief justice of Chester. The latter secured his return for both Midhurst, Sussex, where his family had personal influence, and Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, doubtless with the assistance of the Shropshire lawyer Sir Henry Townshend*, Lewknor’s partner as justice on the Cheshire assize circuit.9

Twyneho left little trace on the records of the 1604 session, being named to just two committees, these being for bills to regulate the making of barrels (24 Apr.) and promote archery (7 June). In 1605, presumably with Dorset’s approval, he secured a patent for the manufacture of smalt, a dyestuff also known as ‘blue starch’, at a rent of £20 p.a., which was investigated as a monopoly during the 1606 session. On 16 Apr. Twyneho admitted that he was the chief beneficiary of the patent. He mounted a spirited defence on 28 Apr., but (if he can be believed) because some Members ‘imagined it to be made of wheat, and therefore unprofitable to the commonwealth’, the patent was condemned as a grievance on 10 May, though it remained in force until 1611.10 In the next session, he was appointed to consider the bill to enable Robert Sackville’s son Richard, a minor, to surrender his rights as chief butler of England (28 Mar. 1607), and in the spring session of 1610 he was named to two committees, one for relief of three inmates of London prisons (2 July), the other to consider the extortions practised upon recusants arrested by ecclesiastical pursuivants (18 July). On the same day he successfully claimed parliamentary privilege for his son, who had been arrested. He was dead by 24 Oct., when a by-election to replace him was held at Bishop’s Castle.11 Nothing further is known of the family.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Simon Healy


  • 1. VCH Glos. viii. 37, 63; VCH Herts. iii. 163.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.
  • 3. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 181; C2/Jas.I/C9/42.
  • 4. PROB 6/2, f. 113; PROB 11/84, f. 217.
  • 5. Date of by-election at Bishop’s Castle.
  • 6. C181/1, ff. 28, 81v.
  • 7. C66/1682.
  • 8. PROB 11/46, ff. 210-11; 11/84, f. 217; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 128; Beds. N and Q, iii. 92.
  • 9. PROB 11/113, f. 183r-v; BISHOP’S CASTLE.
  • 10. CJ, i. 183b, 233b, 299a, 301b; C66/1682; Bowyer Diary, 132, 156.
  • 11. CJ, i. 356a, 444b, 451a, 452a; P.R. Harris, ‘Rpts. of William Udall’, Recusant Hist. viii. 265, 277; HMC 10th Rep. iv. 406.