HAYDON, John (by 1514-88), of London and Cadhay in Ottery St. Mary, Devon.

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 1514, 2nd s. of Richard Haydon of Woodbury, Devon by 1st w. Joan, da. of Maurice Trent of Ottery St. Mary; bro. of George. educ. L. Inn, adm. 10 July 1529, called 1539. m. settlement 1526-7, Jane, da. and h. of Robert Grenville of Cadhay, s.p.1

Offices Held

Pensioner, L. Inn 1564, ass. bencher 1567.

Escheator, Devon and Cornw. Nov. 1539-Jan. 1541; attorney, city of Exeter from 1544; under steward, escheated lands of Marquess of Exeter in Cornw. Devon and Som. from 1545, former lands of St. Anthony in Roseland abbey from 1545, manors of Abbotsham, Cornwood and Hatherleigh, Devon from 1545, Ottery St. Mary by 1546, Bradninch, Devon till c.1558.2


John Haydon owed his single return to Parliament to his employment by the duchy of Cornwall which owned the borough of Dunheved, and to his marriage into a branch of the Grenville family influential in its locality. His fellow-Member Robert Monson was, like him, a Lincoln’s Inn man. Haydon was a man of some wealth whose professional services were retained by several magnates in Devon and by the corporation of Exeter, and who ‘enlarged his demesnes’ by the acquisition of lands in the neighbourhood of his home; on 27 Nov. 1539 he bought some of the buildings of Dunkeswell abbey from Sir John Russell, Baron Russell, and some of the Marquess of Exeter’s forfeited estates from the crown, and seven years later he purchased a property called Huntebere in Ottery St. Mary from Thomas Goodwin, of whose will he was later named an overseer. His wealth seems to have been derived not only from professional fees and the perquisites of his various offices but also from his business as a property agent. In the closing years of Henry VIII’s life he and Thomas Gibbs were engaged in buying and selling monastic lands; in April 1545 they paid nearly £900 for property in Exeter, which less than a year later they sold at the same price to Sir John Williams. In July 1547 Haydon, Thomas Horner and others purchased an Oxfordshire manor only to sell it again in the following April to Oliver Hyde.3

Under Elizabeth, Haydon spent much time in London, where he was active in the affairs of his inn, in particular in its reconstruction. He also undertook the building of ‘a fair new house’ at Cadhay, using materials from the former college at Ottery. It was perhaps to atone for this spoliation that he helped to negotiate the foundation of a grammar school at Ottery and became one of its first four governors. He died on 9 Mar. 1588 and was buried at Ottery St. Mary, where a monument was erected to his memory: the heir to his lands was his great-nephew Robert Haydon, who had married the eldest daughter of Sir Amias Paulet.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 458; W. C. D. Whetham, Ottery St. Mary, 178.
  • 2. Exeter act bk. 2, f. 60v; LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; Devon Monastic Lands (Devon and Cornw. rec. soc. n.s. i), 81; C3/158/9.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; C3/158/9; T. Risdon, Survey Devon (1811), 47; Devon Monastic Lands, 7, 59; PCC 6 Crymes; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 201-2, 327; 1555-7, p. 552.
  • 4. Black Bk. L. Inn, i. 341, 353-4, 362, 383; St.Ch.2/33/10; 4/6/52; Risdon, 47; Whetham, 178; LP Hen. VIII, xx; Vis. Devon, 458-9.