HARWARD, John (by 1521-58), of Poole, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1521. m. lic. 14 Feb. 1544, Cecily, da. of Richard Haviland of Poole, 6s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Customer, Poole Apr. 1542-1 Dec. 1553.3


John Harward, whose connexion with Poole appears to have begun with his appointment as customer, may have been related to Peter Harward alias Faunt, made customer of Bridport, Dorset, in 1508 and comptroller of Poole in the following year. If John Harward can be identified with a servant of Viscount Lisle’s whose christian name is not known he could have obtained his office through the combined influence of Lisle and of Admiral Russell. There were men of this name in Devon, Gloucestershire, Kent and Sussex: a John Harward was listed among Cromwell’s debtors in 1529 and 1536, and another, perhaps the last abbot of Vale Royal in Cheshire, was the recipient of a pension from the Exchequer during the 1540s and 1550s.4

Harward strengthened his ties with Poole by marrying into one of the leading merchant families which had furnished mayors for several generations. His assessment on goods worth £20 and £30 respectively for the subsidy of 1547 and relief of 1549 placed him in the middle range of local taxpayers. In 1544 he was exempted from military service in France on account of his office, and three years later he received £200 to cover the cost of various fortifications in the west country. His Membership of the last Parliament of Henry VIII’s reign and the first of Edward VI’s is to be explained as much by his customership as his personal standing in the town. Although himself not re-elected after 1547 Harward doubtless helped his brother-in-law William Newman to secure election early in 1553. It is possible that he supported Jane Grey during the succession crisis in the following summer as he sued out a pardon in the autumn and lost his customership before the end of the year. Of his activities during the remaining five years of his life nothing has come to light. By a will made on 2 Apr. 1558 and proved on 6 May following he left £20 each to his six sons for their apprenticeship at the age of 14 and £30 each to his two daughters on marriage. He made his wife and eldest son John residuary legatees and executors and as supervisors he named John Mallock and Thomas Bingley, whom he required to oversee the executorship of his son John until the age of 21.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Foster, Marriage Licences, 643; Hutchins, Dorset, i. 640; PCC 19 Noodes.
  • 3. E122/207/6-8, 121/10-12, 122/1-3, 6, 8-9; Stowe 571, f. 8.
  • 4. CFR, 1485-1509, nos. 909-11; LP Hen. VIII, i, iv x, xiii; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 12-13; 1555-7, pp. 285, 461; E405/115, m. 5; C142/65/39; Rep. R. Comm. of 1552 (Archs. of Brit. Hist. and Culture iii), 24.
  • 5. Foster, 643; Hutchins, i. 34, 640; LP Hen. VIII, xix-xxi; E179/104/174, 185; CPR, 1553, p. 346; 1553-4, p. 443; PCC 19 Noodes.