JACKMAN, Henry (c.1551-?1606), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. c.1551, 2nd s. of Edward Jackman (d.1569) of Hackton in Upminster, Essex, alderman of London, by his 2nd w. Anne, da. of Humphrey Packington, merchant of London, wid. of Humphrey Style. educ. Madgalen Coll. Oxf. 1571 aged 20, BA 1573; I. Temple 1575. ?unm.1

Offices Held


Jackman was a cloth merchant, living in London, with, so far as is known, no Wiltshire property. However, he was related to various families in the county, and must have had commercial connexions with others, as much wool came into London from that county. His mother’s sister married Sir Lionel Duckett, who was sheriff of London in the same year as Jackman’s father. Duckett bought the manor of Calne, and his nephew Stephen settled nearby. It is fairly obvious therefore that Jackman was returned to Parliament for Calne through the influence of his Duckett relatives. At Hindon and Westbury it is possible that he relied on the local importance of some of his trading connexions in Wiltshire, but family marriages may again have been decisive. Jackman’s niece Elizabeth married Sir William Eyre, one of the knights of the shire for Wiltshire in 1597.2

Though the journals, as preserved by D’Ewes, only mention Jackman as one of the burgesses for Calne on a cloth committee (15 Mar. 1593) and as a member of the monopolies committee on 10 Nov. 1597, he was in fact an interesting and probably active Member. Among some papers of his, preserved in the Lansdowne manuscripts—perhaps by his friend, Michael Hickes—are his notes of proceedings in the Parliament of 1589; two speeches which he probably delivered in that Parliament, one on the third reading of the subsidy bill and the other on a bill against foreigners; and the text of a speech in 1597 on the tillage bill. The first speech opposed granting a double subsidy. Jackman argued that the bill proceeded neither from a personal appeal by the Queen nor, in spite of what Privy Councillors might say, from any urgent threat of invasion. In any case, since the first instalment of the second subsidy was not to be paid until the end of three years, it would be too late for defence. If the bill passed, Englishmen would be required to carry an additional burden of taxation when they had still not recovered from the heavy financial commitments of the Armada year, and while what was in effect a forced loan was still being collected from the wealthier inhabitants of each county. Jackman reminded the House of the ‘suits, exclamations, complaints and lamentations’ which always accompanied a subsidy collection—complaints which in this case he felt would be fully justified. He thought that the grant of a double subsidy would constitute a dangerous precedent.

In his attitude both to the subsidy bill and to the tillage bill of 1597, Jackman was in a minority in the Commons. The main provisions of the latter measure were that all land which since the Queen’s accession had been converted to pasture, having been formerly under tillage for at least 12 years, should be restored to arable, and that no such conversions should be allowed. The supporters of the bill used most of the standard arguments of the time, including the distress caused to the poor by the high price of grain, and by eviction from their smallholdings in the interests of greedy landlords and sheep farmers. ‘The eyes of the poor’, declared one speaker, ‘are upon this Parliament, and sad for the want they yet suffer’. Jackman refused either to become sentimental over the poor, or to admit that corn prices were high because of an increase in pasture farming. He blamed the weather for the existing dearth of grain, and pointed out that as recently as 1593 there had been plenty. In his opinion more, not less, land had been ploughed up in the last few years. A skilful debater, he listed several of the arguments stressed by supporters of the bill to prove his own point, and cited a precedent for rapidly rising corn prices from the reign of Henry III, when enclosed farms were virtually unknown. The second part of his speech survives only in note form. The arguments are those of a shrewd and original mind, unlikely to be affected by an emotional approach to economic problems. Members who were so sensitive to the plight of the poor, he argued, should consider the decline in the cloth industry which must result from the passage of the bill, owing to the inevitable rise in prices and rents of pasture lands. This would undoubtedly lead to an increase in the number of beggars. Again, if much more corn were produced, within a short time grain prices would decline steeply, and farmers would be unable to pay their rents. Jackman opposed legislation which relied on coercion. ‘Men are not to be compelled by penalties, but allured by profit, to any good exercise’.

How this speech, if it was delivered, was received by the House is a matter for conjecture. There is no doubt that Jackman’s friends among the clothiers and sheep farmers of Wiltshire would have approved. The bill was finally passed, at first sight in an even more rigorous form, but many districts were exempted from its operation.3

Comparatively little information about Jackman’s domestic life survives. He was well known to Michael Hickes, and was very possibly the ‘Mr. Jackman’ who in September 1600 was invited to join a party for hunting and bowls at the house of (Sir) Robert Wroth I; Hickes also received an invitation. So far as can be ascertained, Jackman lived almost entirely in London or in Essex, where at one time he was assessed for a loan as ‘of the Havering liberty’. In 1598 he bought property in the bishopric of Durham, but presumably only as a speculation: one of the sellers was a London haberdasher. His name appears also in connexion with a few lawsuits, in one of which he asked for help from the Earl of Huntingdon.4

A man of this name, of the London parish of St. Martin-without-Ludgate, died in the summer of 1606, and his nuncupative will, drawn up on 10 June in that year, was proved about five weeks later by his niece Jane Jackman, the residuary legatee. There were bequests of clothing of various kinds to a number of relatives, and several debtors were granted remission of part of the small sums involved. The will does not look like that of a wealthy man, legacies to nephews and nieces rarely exceeding ten marks or £10, and it may not be that of the MP.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Morant, Essex, ii. 393; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 426; Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxix), 102; Wards 9/140, f. 467; A. B. Beaven, Aldermen of London, i. 218; PCC 61 Stafforde.
  • 2. Beaven; Vis. verbarSalopverbar (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 174; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 51-2; Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. vii. passim.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 440-1, 444, 501, 555; Lansd. 55, ff. 180, 186; 83, f. 199; 105, f. 201; Neale, Parlts. ii. 206-7, 339-43.
  • 4. Lansd. 87, f. 218; 113, f. 191; C54/1585; St. Ch. 5/J12/7, 20.
  • 5. PCC 61 Stafforde.