BENNET, Sir Humphrey (c.1605-67), of Rotherfield Park, East Tisted, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1661 - Dec. 1667

Family and Education

b. c.1605, 3rd s. of Thomas Bennet (d.1620), Mercer, of London and Babraham, Cambs. by Dorothy, da. of Richard May, Mercer, of London and Rawmere, Suss. educ. I. Temple, entered 1622; St. John’s, Oxf. matric. 4 July 1623, aged 18. m. (1) 7 July 1631, Mary (d.1637), da. of Thomas Smith, merchant, of London and South Tidworth, Hants, 1s. 1da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Meredith Thomas, 2da.; (3) lic. 11 Feb. 1661, ‘aged 50’, Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Button, 1st Bt., of Alton Priors, Wilts., wid. of Sir Richard Norton, 2nd Bt., of Rotherfield, s.p. Kntd. Oct./Nov. 1644.1

Offices Held

Col. of horse (royalist) 1643-5.2

Sheriff, Hants 1643-5; commr. for oyer and terminer, Western circuit July 1660, j.p. Hants July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d.; freeman, Winchester Sept. 1660; capt. of militia horse, Hants Nov. 1660-d., commr. for assessment 1661-d., corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662; sub-commr. of prizes, Portsmouth 1665-7.3

Gent. of privy chamber 1666-d.4

Biography

Bennet bought the Hampshire manor of Shaldon in 1632, and other land which he subsequently valued at £2,000 p.a. He became the most prominent Royalist in the county during the Civil War and Interregnum, and was described as ‘very active and very cruel’ by his enemies. He was knighted after distinguished service at the second battle of Newbury, but went abroad after the fall of Winchester in 1645. He compounded at the rate of one-third for his estate in 1649, paying a fine of £890, but was arrested in the following year as one of the leaders of the western association. He calculated his losses, chiefly in the royal cause, at £10,000, besides his land, though his composition shows that he already owed £2,100 before the Civil War. In 1653 he was forced to sell Shaldon to his cousin, John Lewkenor I, and his wife. As one of the ‘Action party’ of royalist conspirators, he was again arrested in 1655 and imprisoned in the Tower for two-and-a-half years. He obtained release by undertaking to emigrate to Surinam; but he did not do so, and was arrested for the third time in 1658 on the information of John Stapley. He was released on a writ of habeas corpus during the protectorate of Richard Cromwell, but continued to plot for the Restoration.5

As a Cavalier, Bennet was ineligible at the general election of 1660, but in June he stood unsuccessfully at a by-election for Wallingford where his Elizabethan ancestors had lived. He was listed among the proposed knights of the Royal Oak with an income of £1,000 p.a., presumably derived from his third marriage to the sister-in-law of