HASSARD, Robert (1582-1624), of Blackfriars, London and Carshalton, Surr.
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Family and Education
Freeman, Lyme Regis 1621.5
Hassard was descended from Dorset merchants active in both Lyme Regis and Bridport.6 However, his father Robert, who served for Lyme Regis in the 1589 and 1593 Parliaments, owned the Devon manor of Beer, and styled himself a gentleman.7 A controversial figure who supported Lyme’s puritan faction, Robert was effectively forced to resign from the borough’s corporation in 1608, but was restored nine years later.8 Hassard himself sought his fortune at Court, becoming a clerk to his kinsman Edmund Tilney, the master of the revels, by 1601. He was granted a pension of £50 for life in 1611, and perhaps around that time became a clerk in the Jewel House. Certainly he was described as the king’s servant in 1618, when he obtained the postmastership of Chester in reversion after Peter Proby†, who outlived him. In London he resided in Blackfriars, though he also purchased Carshalton parsonage in 1621.9
Hassard sat for Lyme Regis in the 1621 Parliament, the first of his family to represent the borough since his great-uncle John in 1604-10. He received no appointments, but on 17 May he drew on his specialist knowledge of the gold trade, gained in the Jewel House, to denounce Sir Edward Villiers*: ‘There is a monopoly of gold weights, and albeit it be not by a patent, yet it is by a Proclamation, and a great grievance.’10
By 1624 Hassard had won promotion at Court, becoming an esquire of the body to James I. He is known to have written from London to his father in Dorset in December 1623, conceivably alerting him to the imminent parliamentary elections, in which he was again returned for Lyme Regis. A month later, while waiting to resume his Commons’ seat, he lobbied the government on behalf of a Lyme man whose ship had been requisitioned for military service.11 He attracted no personal nominations during the last Jacobean Parliament, but in his capacity as a Dorset burgess he attended the committee for the bill to settle the manorial customs of Beaminster Second (21 May).12 Hassard died intestate on 1 Sept. that year, and, for reasons which remain unclear, was buried at Lewes, Sussex rather than Lyme Regis. No subsequent member of this family entered Parliament.13
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Colyton Par. Reg. ed. A.J.P. Skinner (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. extra ser. i), 45; PROB 11/152, f. 299v.
- 2. Surr. Arch. Colls. xxiv. 66; Suss. N and Q, iii. 58; Add. 5698, f. 95.
- 3. F.S. Boas, Queen Eliz., the Revels Office and Edmund Tilney, 22.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 24; C66/2151/19; Suss. N and Q, iii. 58.
- 5. Dorset RO, B7/B6/11, p. 14.
- 6. PROB 11/30, f. 331; 11/41, f. 84.
- 7. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 268; D. and S. Lysons, Devonshire, 436; PROB 11/152, f. 299v.
- 8. Dorset RO, B7/D1/1, pp. 23, 26, 51.
- 9. Boas, 22, 25; CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 53, 520; 1623-5, p. 500; C66/2151/19; Surr. Arch. Colls. vii. 133.
- 10. Nicholas, Procs. 1621, ii. 87; CD 1621, ii. 378.
- 11. Yonge Diary ed. G. Roberts (Cam. Soc. xli), 71; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 150.
- 12. C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 201.
- 13. PROB 6/11, f. 96v; Suss. N and Q, iii. 58.