HENDEN, Edward (1567-1644), of Gray's Inn and Biddenden Place, Kent; later of Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

bap. 8 Mar. 1567, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Simon Henden (d.1617), of Benenden, Kent.1 educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1583; Staple Inn; G. Inn 1586, called 1591.2 unm. kntd. 4 Feb.1639.3 d. by 13 Jan. 1644. sig. Edwarde Henden.

Offices Held

Reader, Staple Inn 1602; ancient, G. Inn 1603, reader 1614, bencher 1614-16; 4 sjt.-at-law 1616;5 judge of Chancery Ct. of the Cinque Ports by 1639;6 bar. Exch. 22 Jan. 1639-d.;7 standing counsel, Tenterden, Kent 1641.8

J.p. Kent 1602-at least 1642,9 Northumb. Westmld. Cumb. 1639, Norf. and Beds. 1641;10 freeman, Rye, Suss. 1614;11 commr. charitable uses, Kent 1616, 1637, Canterbury, Kent 1635,12 subsidy, Kent 1621-2, 1624,13 sewers, Rother valley 1623-at least 1629;14 steward to Abp. of Canterbury 1626-?33;15 commr. oyer and terminer, Kent, Canterbury and Cinque Ports 1627, Home circ. 1635, Northern circ. 1638,16 piracy, Cinque Ports 1639.17


Henden’s ancestors were Kent clothiers, who originally settled at Henden, near Woodchurch, but moved to Benenden.18 The first of his family to proceed to higher education, Henden befriended George Abbot, the future archbishop of Canterbury, while at Balliol College, Oxford.19 He subsequently entered the inns of court, where he kept detailed reports of Elizabethan cases which survive in manuscript.20 In 1614 the corporation of Rye, about a dozen miles from his birthplace, offered him a seat in the Addled Parliament as an economy measure, since as reader of Gray’s Inn he could be expected to bear his own charges.21 On 9 Apr. he was added to the committee for privileges. In his maiden speech on 6 May he supported a bill to reduce the cost of defending title to land against the Crown. In the debate on the highways bill on the next day, he ‘moved to have an addition for mending bridges’. He was among those appointed on 13 May to consider a bill enabling an east Sussex gentleman to pay his debts. On the second reading of the bill to establish a hospital at East Grinstead under the will of the 2nd earl of Dorset (Robert Sackville*), he moved that ‘the lessees and parties interested may attend the committee and be heard’. He agreed with Sir Edward Hoby that Richard Martin* should be reprimanded for his offensive remarks as counsel for the Virginia Company, but disagreed with Sir Roger Owen on requiring all members of the Virginia Council to withdraw. He was also named to committees to consider the repeal of the Fish Packing Act, a matter of interest to his constituency, and to recommend ‘some course concerning the old debts’.22

Henden’s practice was sufficiently lucrative for him to proceed to the dignity of the coif in 1616 ‘for a large sum of money’, and to purchase Biddenden Place, in the next parish to Benenden, from Sir Anthony Mayney*.23 He successfully defended the town clerk of Rye and a former mayor in the Exchequer in 1618,24 and acted as counsel for lord keeper Williams at a parliamentary inquiry in 1624 into a complaint of denial of justice to Lady Darcy over her claim to a Surrey advowson.25 In 1626 Archbishop Abbot appointed him steward of his estates in Kent in succession to Sir Robert Hatton*. That same year Sir John Hippisley* believed that Henden was collaborating with Sir Dudley Digges* in setting up Hatton against Buckingham’s henchman Sir Edwin Sandys*, in the Kent county election.26

In 1633 Henden was bequeathed the bible kept by in Archbishop Abbot’s study at Lambeth.27 He contributed £50 to the expenses of the First Bishops’ War in 1639,28 when he was also appointed an Exchequer baron. At the Somerset assizes in 1642 he refused to read Parliament’s condemnation of the commission of array, and the Commons prepared to impeach him. The committee never reported, however, and he was allowed to retire peacefully to his Kentish estate during the Civil War.29 In November 1643 the committee for the advancement of money imposed on him the punitive assessment of £2,000. His nephew and heir, Sir John Henden, had paid in half by 11 Jan. 1644, but by this time he may have been dead, for two days later Sir John was given leave to go down to Biddenden to make arrangements for his funeral. The balance was cleared by the end of the following month.30 Henden was buried on 23 Jan. in the chancel of Biddenden church, as requested in his will of 7 June 1643.31 His nephew was appointed sheriff of Kent for 1646-7, but was accused of complicity with the royalists in the Second Civil War. Despite the efforts of John Wildman†, he was cleared. 32 No later member of the family served in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Soc. Gen. Benenden par. reg.
  • 2. GI Admiss.; Al. Ox.; Readers and Readings in Inns of Ct. and Chancery ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. xiii), 52.
  • 3. Diary of Sir Richard Hutton 1614-39 ed. W.R. Prest (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. ix), 113.
  • 4. PBG Inn, i. 156, 162, 208, 209, 221.
  • 5. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 180.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1639, p. 365.
  • 7. Diary of Sir Richard Hutton, 113.
  • 8. Arch. Cant. xxxiii. 102.
  • 9. C231/1, f. 129v; PRO 30/26/104, f. 23.
  • 10. C231/5, pp. 350-1, 431, 434.
  • 11. E. Suss. RO, Rye 47/86.
  • 12. C93/7/7; 93/10/18; C192/1, unfol.
  • 13. C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 14. C181/3, f. 94; 181/4, f. 29.
  • 15. Bodl. Rawl. A346, f. 226.
  • 16. C181/3, f. 213; 181/5, ff. 9, 123v.
  • 17. C181/5, f. 131.
  • 18. E. Foss, ‘Legal Celebrities of Kent’, Arch. Cant. v. 33; E. Hasted, Kent, vii. 175.
  • 19. PROB 11/164, f. 212.
  • 20. Harl. 1331.
  • 21. E. Suss. RO, Rye 47/68 (corp. to Henden, 7 Mar. 1614).
  • 22. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 166, 173, 258, 276.
  • 23. Order of Sjts.-at-Law, 328; Hasted, vii. 132.
  • 24. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports ed. F. Hull (Kent Recs. xix), 419-20.
  • 25. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 262v.
  • 26. Bodl. Rawl. A346, f. 226.
  • 27. PROB 11/164, f. 212.
  • 28. SP16/538/84.
  • 29. W.R. Prest, Rise of the Barristers, 368.
  • 30. CCAM, 301.
  • 31. Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC 31/122, f. 292; Cent. Kent. Stud. CP26/1/2, f. 317.
  • 32. CCAM, 1281-2.