HEVENINGHAM, Henry (1651-1700), of Heveningham, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



26 Mar. - 2 June 1685
1695 - 26 Nov. 1700

Family and Education

b. 5 Jan. 1651, 2nd s. of Arthur Heveningham of Hockwold, Norf. by his w. Jane, ?da. of Sir Edmund Mundeford of Feltwell, Norf.  educ. Pembroke, Camb. 1667; G. Inn 1669.  m. 3 July 1684, Frances (d. 1714), da. and coh. of William Willoughby†, 6th Baron Willoughby of Parham, wid. of Sir John Harpur, 3rd Bt., of Swarkeston, Derbys. and Charles Henry Kirkhoven, 1st Earl of Bellomont [I], s.psuc. bro. by 1669.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Thetford 1682, mayor 1682–3, 1684–5; freeman, Dunwich 1691, alderman 1694–d.2

Capt. of horse indep. tp. 1685, Queen Dowager’s regt. (later 6 Drag. Gds.) 1686–Nov. 1688; lt. gent. pens. 1689–d.3


Heveningham, a ‘tall, thin-gutted mortal’, was often lampooned as a fop and pretended wit. He wrote several verses connected with the activities of the drinking club ‘the Knights of the Toast’ of which he was a member, and has been claimed as the author of the poem ‘The Fair Stranger’, formerly attributed to Dryden. According to one satire he was an intimate of the 1st Duke of Devonshire (William Cavendish†), in fact Devonshire’s ‘second self’. Although he had raised a troop for James II against Monmouth, and had afterwards been commissioned, he went over to the Prince of Orange in November 1688. In return he was given a place worth £500 p.a. and in 1690 was appointed to the Suffolk lieutenancy. Having failed to secure election to the Convention, he stood as a Whig in a by-election for Dunwich in 1691, with the assistance of Sir Robert Rich, 2nd Bt.* After a double return the election was decided against him by the House. He was alleged by Tories to have played a part, together with Rich, in obtaining in 1694 a purge of the commission of the peace in Suffolk in favour of the Whig party, and in the 1695 election came in with Rich at Dunwich, defeating two Tories.4

On 16 Dec. Heveningham was appointed to the drafting committee for a bill to prevent the wearing of gold and silver in wartime. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, and signed the Association promptly. On 21 Feb. he was a teller on the Court side against passing the bill to regulate elections, and he also told on 10 Mar. in favour of engrossing the Quakers’ affirmation bill. Listed as voting in March for fixing the price of guineas at 22s., his other tellerships in this session were on 7 Apr. against referring a petition to the committee on the wine duties bill; on 14 Apr. against the motion that whoever advised the King to refuse his assent to the bill to regulate elections was ‘an enemy to the King and kingdom’; on 15 Apr. against adjourning the report of the committee on the bill to confirm the grant from the Earl of Torrington (Arthur Herbert†) in the Bedford level; and twice on 18 Apr. in favour of amendments to the bill for preventing Catholics from disinheriting their Protestant heirs, and to Torrington’s bill, obliging the Earl to complete all agreements previously entered into by King James. He took the chair of the committee of the whole on the bill to amend the Post Office Act on 23 Apr. Early in the following session he was a teller twice for the Court party on divisions over supply: on 26 Oct. for going into committee, and on 4 Nov. for agreeing with the committee on the army estimates. He absented himself from the crucial division of 25 Nov. on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder, telling a colleague who rebuked him that ‘he would not condemn a man he had been drunk with’. But otherwise he continued to act as a Court party teller: for agreeing with the supply committee to extend the 1694 Tonnage and Poundage Act until 1706 (2 Dec.); on an adjournment motion (9 Dec.); and in favour of the bill to oblige the fugitives among Fenwick’s co-conspirators to give themselves up (7 Jan. 1697). He was a teller twice on the land tax bill, on 23 Jan., for engrossing, and three days later, at its third reading, against a rider concerning the qualifications of MPs. On 17 Feb. he told for a resolution of the committee of supply to grant a leather duty. His other two tellerships were on 3 Apr. for engrossing the wine duties bill, and on 16 Apr. against a motion to read an Act of Philip and Mary relating to the abduction of heiresses. In the 1697–8 session he was a teller four times: on 9 Mar. 1698 to engross the salmon preservation bill; on 12 Mar. on the date for going into committee on the blasphemy bill; on 18 May against condemning the Lords’ amendments to this bill; and on 22 June against an amendment to the bill for incorporating the New East India Company to fix at 6 per cent the interest rate on the company’s borrowing. He had also reported the bill to regulate the manufacture of gold and silver thread on 18 June, carrying it up to the Lords two days later.5

Returned again with Sir Robert Rich at Dunwich in 1698, after resisting a temptation to join instead one of their Tory opponents, Heveningham was twice listed as a placeman in 1698 and was classed as a member of the Court party in September. In this session he managed the bills to prevent exportation of corn and to prevent distilling from corn; he also attended several conferences with the Lords on this legislation. He told against the moral reform bill proposed by (Sir) John Philipps (4th Bt.) on 5 Jan., and it was reported shortly afterwards by Sir William Cook, 2nd Bt.*, that Heveningham had been ‘very eminent’ in ‘publicly ridiculing’ the bill, he and his cronies acting ‘more like advocates of vice than morality’. He voted on 18 Jan. 1699 against the third reading of the disbanding bill. He also told on 20 Feb. against the Derwent navigation bill (he having a connexion with the county through his wife’s first husband); against a place bill on 8 Mar.; and on an adjournment motion concerning the land tax bill on 11 Mar.6

Heveningham died on 26 Nov. 1700, and was buried in the parish church at Heveningham. His wife, presumably financially secure as a result of her previous marriages, was not mentioned in his will, his heir being his sister Elizabeth.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. PCC 180 Noel, 247 Nabbs; Add. 19135, f. 268; CP, iii. 106.
  • 2. H. Le Strange, Norf. Official Lists, 230; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Dunwich bor. recs. EE6 1144/13, p. 73; EE6 1144/14.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1686–7, p. 169; 1687–9, p. 370; 1689–90, p. 25; 1700–2, p. 150.
  • 4. N. and Q. ccii. 199–203; Poems on Affairs of State ed. Cameron, v. 373, 534; ed. Ellis, vi. 40; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 711; CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 69; Bohun Diary ed. Wilton Rix, 122.
  • 5. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 82.
  • 6. Add. 22186, f. 98; 22248, f. 7; Northants. RO, Isham mss 5526, John to Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Bt.*, 28 Sept. 1695; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Gurdon mss mic. M142(1), Cook to Thornagh Gurdon, 19 Jan. 1698[–9].
  • 7. Add. 19135, f. 268; PCC 180 Noel.