UVEDALE, William (c.1528-69), of Place House, Wickham, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1528, 1st s. of Arthur Uvedale of Wickham by Agnes or Anne, da. of Edmund Hazelwood of Northants. educ. L. Inn 1546. m. Ellyn (1533-67), 3rd da. of Sir John Gresham of Holt, Norf., ld. mayor of London 1547, 2s. 1da.
J.p. Hants from c.1559, sheriff c.Mar.-Nov. 1560, commr. piracy Nov. 1565.
The Uvedales were already well established among the leading families in Surrey by the reign of Edward I, but a fortunate marriage caused them, in the year of the Peasants’ Revolt, to move to Wickham in Hampshire, famous as the birthplace of the contemporary bishop of Winchester. Here they entered into the administrative work of the county. Uvedale himself represented the seventh generation to live at Wickham, but, unlike his father, he died comparatively young, so that there is little information about him. He was one of the members suggested as master of the revels at Lincoln’s Inn in 1547, but there is no evidence that he was elected. It is possible, though unlikely, that he was the ‘William Uvedall the younger, gent.’ who was granted the office of ‘clerk of the council of the chamber at Westminster’, at £10 p.a. Uvedale himself made a fortunate marriage to the daughter of a rich merchant who had had transactions with his own father during Henry VIII’s reign.
The date at which William inherited the family estates is not known. Arthur Uvedale, who, according to the family historian, is thought to have been either mentally retarded or so extravagant that he was not permitted to take charge of his property (or, presumably, both), is said by the same writer to have died in 1537 or 1538. This must be wrong: he was still a Hampshire j.p. in June 1540 and a man of the same name, almost certainly William’s father, was alive as late as 1544. No will or inquisition post mortem for Arthur appears to have survived, but William was probably still a minor when he succeeded him. He inherited, in Hampshire, Wickham manor and its appurtenances in several parishes; the manors of Nately Scures, Woodgarston, near Basingstoke, and Widley, held of the Marquess of Winchester; Funtley, held of the Earl of Arundel, and the rectory of Droxford; and, in Surrey, the family’s original property, including the manors of Chelsham and Tatsfield, near the Kent border, and two manors in the parish of Titsey. The Surrey property, held of Lord Hunsdon, contained more than 1,700 acres and was worth about £go a year, but, by an arrangement made in 1562, William paid his uncle, William Uvedale of Himley, Staffordshire, an annuity of £80, so that his own profits from these lands were negligible.
Uvedale was established as a country gentleman and local administrator by the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign. In 1564 he was commissioned to examine a controversy between the mayor and governor of Portsmouth, and the following year became a piracy commissioner. Clearly, he knew the leading families in Hampshire, for among the godparents of his son, baptized in 1560, were Sir William Paulet, grandson of the 1st Marquess of Winchester; Sir William Keilway, father of Francis; and Lady Jane Wriothesley, widow of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, whose residence was nearby at Titchfield. Uvedale was elected for the county in 1563, and made no mark in the House before he was granted leave of absence on 25 Feb., halfway through the session. Classified as a ‘favourer’ of religion in the 1564 bishops’ reports on the local justices, Uvedale had in fact been one of those with whom Bishop Horne of Winchester had conferred before sending his reply to the Privy Council, and the bishop put forward his name as a justice to improve the position in Winchester, which was, for the most part, ‘addicted to the old superstition’. Horne was one of five men named as executors in Uvedale’s will, should his brother Thomas be unable to act. The others, like Horne, were radicals in religion: John Gresham, Uvedale’s brother-in-law; Sir Henry Wallop, Richard Norton I and Richard Inkpen.
Uvedale died on 2 June 1569. In his will, proved 1 July, he asked to be buried in a ‘comely and decent manner, as to my degree it shall appertain’. He ordered ‘a seemly and decent tomb and monument, the same to be built and set on the south side in my chapel nigh the chancel of the parish church of Wickham’, where it still stands, over ten feet high. Such ostentation would have been scorned by the puritans of later years.
This biography is largely based upon H. Leveson Gower ‘Notices Fam. of Uvedale’, Surr. Arch. Colls. iii. The pedigrees in Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 47-8 and Manning and Bray, Hist. Surr. ii. 400, are unreliable. Other sources are: CPR, 1554-5, p. 268; 1560-3, p. 442; APC, v. 262; vi. 29; vii. 207-8, 283; C142/154/103; VCH Hants, iii. 171, 234; iv. 153, 232; CJ, i. 66; Cam. Misc. ix(3), pp. 54, 55; DNB (Uvedale, Richard); PCC 17 Sheffelde.