BENNETT, Sir Robert (c.1570-1649), of New Windsor, Berks.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. c.1570, 2nd s. of John Bennett of Baldock, Herts. and Anne, da. of John Barley of Ashwell, Herts. m. (1) Elizabeth (d. 1610), da. and h. of Robert Garnett of Broxbourne, Herts., wid. of Abraham Hartwell† (d.1606) of Lambeth, Surr., s.p.; (2) by 1614, Audrey, da. of John Page of Harrow-on-the-Hill, Mdx., wid. of John Plomer of London, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. 1 kntd. 11 June 1619.2 bur. 22 Feb. 1649.
Commr. inquiry, Windsor Castle 1629, clerk of the Works 1630/1-43; dep. lt. Berks. by 1640-?2.3
Of relatively humble origin, Bennett rose with his uncle, also Robert Bennett, successively dean of Windsor (1596) and bishop of Hereford (1603). In 1603 he was granted a five-year lease of a house in Windsor as a servant of the dean.4 Fourteen years later, although not the bishop’s formal heir, he received under his will freehold, copyhold and leasehold land in Herefordshire, a lease of the Buckinghamshire rectory of Chipping Wycombe, and a lease in Burford, Oxfordshire, together with £500 in cash.5 It is not clear when he settled at Windsor, but he was returned there to the third Jacobean Parliament. He soon fell ‘desperately ill’, as his fellow Member (Sir) Charles Howard reported, missing the communion on 18 Feb. 1621, and may even have failed to take his seat.6 He was not re-elected in 1624, but was chosen again in the following year, when he left no mark of his presence in the House. In 1627 he was engaged in a Chancery dispute with Sir George Paule* over the registrarship of the court of High Commission. Paule and Lady Bennett’s first husband, John Plomer, had shared this office, and Paule had faithfully paid some £60 a year out of the profits to his heirs, but now successfully objected to their attempt to intrude Plomer’s son as one of his deputies.7
Bennett served as clerk of the works at Windsor Castle till the Civil War. He played no apparent part in the conflict, but was assessed by Parliament at £1,000 in 1644, and discharged on payment of £140.8 Two years later he was one of the parishioners appointed to ‘perform or officiate the lecture’ at Windsor.9 ‘Ill and weak of body’ when he made his will on 9 Dec. 1648,10 he left lands and tenements in London and Windsor, as well as the rectory of Chipping Wycombe, but ordered the property in Windsor to be sold for payment of his debts and maintenance of his daughters. He also bequeathed £5 to the poor of Windsor, where he was buried on 22 Feb. 1649.11 None of his descendants sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 70, 170; VCH Herts. iii. 433; Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry, 31; PROB 11/232, f. 194.
- 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 172.
- 3. Hist. King’s Works ed. H. Colvin, iii. 329-30, 414; CSP Dom. 1640, p. 291.
- 4. The Chapter Acts of Dean and Canons of Windsor ed. S. Bond, 45.
- 5. C142/367/97; PROB 11/130, f. 464.
- 6. CD 1621, vi. 361; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 60.
- 7. C78/301/8; CSP Dom. 1635, pp. 187-8.
- 8. CCAM, 382.
- 9. VCH Berks. iii. 27.
- 10. PROB 11/232, f. 194.
- 11. Soc. Gen., New Windsor par. reg.