HART, Percival (c.1568-1642), of Lullingstone, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. c.1568, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir George Hart of Lullingstone by Elizabeth, da. of John Bowes of Elford, Staffs. educ. New Coll. Oxf. 1584; G. Inn 1602. m. (1) Anne, da. of (Sir) Roger Manwood; (2) Jane, da. of Edward Stanhope I of Grimston, Yorks.; (3) 1628, Mary Harrison, wid. At least 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1587. Kntd. 1601.
J.p. Kent from c.1591, q.1601.
Hart’s grandfather and namesake, who died in 1580, was chief sewer and knight harbinger to four successive monarchs. Hart himself was the nephew of William Knollys and the cousin of William Brooke alias Cobham*, who died after a duel just before Christmas 1597. Hart was ‘with him most part of [the] day he died’, and succeeded to Brooke’s seat as knight of the shire for Kent soon afterwards. His name had already (3 Oct. 1597) been on a return for Bossiney, but in the event he had remained out of the Parliament at the general election. In January 1598 Hart came in for Kent at a by-election after Moyle Finch had withdrawn under pressure. The details appear in the Kent constituency account. Hart’s version of the way it was settled is as follows:
Whereas there was an agreement before my lord of Essex and Mr. Comptroller [ William Knollys] between Sir Moyle Finch and myself concerning the place of knight of the shire void by the death of my cousin Sir William Brooke, knight; and for that I do understand there are certain ‘chartells’ dispersed by Sir Moyle Finch whereby I find myself wronged; I could do no less in discharge of my own reputation, and for the satisfaction of my friends, but to manifest the truth, which was in this manner: my lord of Essex by Sir Moyle Finch’s means sent for me the Frida[y] before the day of election [i.e. 13 Jan. 1598], where he desired there might be a friendly end of that contention, inferring many reasons how fit every way it were, how troublesome it would be to the country, and finally how acceptable it would be unto him. Sir Moyle Finch then made first proffer, that whereas his cause depending in the Parliament house [his dispute with Thomas Throckmorton over Ravenstone manor] was come to arbitrament and thereby a determinate end, whereof I had credible knowledge beforehand given, and which he did confidently assure unto my lord that so it was; so as my own knowledge agreeing with his word[es] made me in respect of my lord’s request and the country’s ease yield unto a condition[al] offer (which in respect of his cause’s end was no condition at all, but only as it should seem) thus desired to give some colour that he might the better with his credit leave that of[f] which he could not obtain.
So on my part (that there might proceed from me a mutual courtesy) it was agreed that if his cause did not take end (whereof I had an assurance) that then at his lordship’s entreaty I should forbear any further to proceed, his lordship saying it could be to me no prejudice to yield to that offer, [I being] assured to have my desire. Of this end Sir Moyle promised certainly to let me know that night—whereof he failing, I was then freed and discharged of either promise or proffer, and that with my lord of Essex’s consent, who set me at liberty the next morning. Now, the more to confirm the certain end of his cause and his purpose not to adventure his standing, he did the Thursday before this conference and agreement surcease his proceeding in the country, as appeared by his letters sent to Mr. High Sheriff, who reported the same at the day of election; and also by discharging upon the Thursday before the inns and lodgings at Maidstone which he had taken up for that purpose ...
In 1601 Hart again stood at a by-election, this time at Lewes, where he presumably owed his return to his wife’s relative, (Sir) John Stanhope, who was acquainted with Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, the borough patron. Hart was named to two parliamentary committees in 1601, namely clothworkers (18 Nov.) and monopolies (23 Nov.).
Hart held a minor office in the Queen’s household at the time of her funeral, and another in James I’s reign, in connexion with Eltham park. In his will, dated 11 Feb. 1641, he asked for burial in Lullingstone parish church, ‘in the sepulchre of my father and ancestors in as private manner as may be’. He died 8 Mar. 1642.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: P. W. Hasler
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament. E179/282.
- 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 3. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 144; Hasted, Kent, ii. 543 seq.; CP, iii. 348; Staffs. RO, Sutherland mss; C219/284/23, 24; Strype, Whitgift, ii. 373; D’Ewes, 642, 649; LC2/4/4; Lansd. 151, f. 81; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 373; HMC Hatfield, viii. 498, 501; xv. 72; PCC 35 Campbell.