BEESTON, William (-d.1638), and Possbrook, Titchfield, Hants.

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



Family and Education

1st s. of George Beeston (d. bef. 1611)1 of Oakham, Rutland and Isabel, da. of one Man.2 educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1605, BA 1609, MA 1612; travelled abroad (Low Countries) 1622-3.3 m. by 1630, Elizabeth, da. of Arthur Bromfeild* of Southampton, Hants, 2s. 5da.4 suc. uncle John 1611.5 d. Dec. 1638.6

Offices Held

Fellow of St. John’s by 1610-c.1630;7 tutor to James Wriothesley*, Lord Wriothesley 1619-24, and to 4th earl of Southampton 1624-5.8

Freeman, Yarmouth I.o.W. 1624;9 verderer, New Forest, Hants by 1634-d.;10 commr. piracy, Hants and I.o.W. 1635-6,11 sewers, Hants and Suss. 1638.12


Beeston assumed the arms of the Cheshire Beeston family, and inherited land in Nottinghamshire; but his known relatives were only on the fringes of the gentry, and he entered Cambridge as a sizar. While at St. John’s he served as tutor to the earl of Southampton’s heir, accompanying him on a European tour in 1622-3.13 It was through this connection that he was nominated by Southampton, captain of the Isle of Wight, for Yarmouth to the 1624 Parliament. He was returned, but left no trace on the records of proceedings. He used the opportunity of being in London to take his close friend from Cambridge, the antiquary (Sir) Simonds D’Ewes†, to hear a sermon on 7 Mar. preached by Richard Senhouse, bishop of Carlisle, with whom they afterwards dined.14 In September Beeston again accompanied Southampton and Wriothesley to the Low Countries, and when both succumbed to fever two months later he became tutor to the 4th earl, living on his estate at Titchfield.15 By his own account a ‘poor man’, he died in December 1638, and was buried at Titchfield.16 After bequeathing token legacies of 5s. each to his children, he left all his property, worth £571, to his wife, whom he made executrix. His father-in-law and Southampton’s steward Thomas Risley* were appointed overseers.17 His eldest son and heir, Henry, became warden of New College, Oxford, and his younger son William rose to become governor of Jamaica, but none of his descendants entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. PROB 11/117, f. 341v.
  • 2. W. Berry, Hants Gen. 290.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; D’Ewes Diary, 1622-4 ed. E. Bourcier, 105, 153, 180.
  • 4. Harl. 1473, ff. 206-v; Titchfield Par. Reg. ed. K. Hayward, 124, 135, 139.
  • 5. PROB 11/117, f. 341v.
  • 6. Berry, 290.
  • 7. PROB 11/117, f. 341v; R.F. Scott, Recs. of St. John’s Coll. Camb. ii. 24.
  • 8. D’Ewes Diary, 105; C.C. Stopes, Life of Henry, 3rd Earl of Southampton, 475-6; C3/397/59.
  • 9. Add. 5669, f. 60v.
  • 10. Cal. New Forest Docs. ed. D.J. Stagg (Hants Rec. ser. v), 40.
  • 11. C181/5, ff. 24, 58v.
  • 12. C181/5, f. 116.
  • 13. Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes ed. J.O. Halliwell, 166-71.
  • 14. D’Ewes Diary 1622-4, 185.
  • 15. C3/397/59.
  • 16. Autobiog. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes, 166; Berry, 290.
  • 17. Hants RO, 1638A15/1.