HUNGERFORD, Sir John (1566-1635), of Down Ampney, Glos.

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

b. 6 Aug. 1566, 1st s. of Anthony Hungerford of Down Ampney and Bridget, da. of John Shelley of Mitchelgrove and Patcham, Suss.; bro. of Anthony*.1 educ. St. John’s, Oxf., 1583, MA 1594.2 m. (1) by 1584 (with at least £150),3 Mary (d. 18 July 1628),4 da. of Sir Richard Berkeley*, lt. of the Tower, of Stoke Gifford, Glos. 2s. 6da.;5 (2) 10 Nov. 1632,6 Anna (d.1664),7 da. of Edward Goddard of East Woodhay, Hants, and wid. of Robert Arnold of Armswell, Dorset, s.p.8 suc. fa. 1589;9 kntd. c.1591.10 d. 18 Mar. 1635.11 sig. John Hungerforde.

Offices Held

J.p. Glos. 1592-d., Wilts. 1596-d.;12 sheriff, Wilts. 1592-3, Glos. 1597-8;13 kpr. Fisherton Anger gaol, Wilts. 1592-3;14 commr. subsidy, Glos. 1593, 1608,15 Wilts. 1622, 1624, 1629;16 kpr. (jt.) Braydon Forest, Wilts. by 1601;17 commr. swans, Berks., Oxon., Wilts., Glos., Hants and Northants. 1606, 1615, 1627,18 sewers, Glos. 1607, 1615, 1625,19 Thames navigation, Oxf. 1607,20 charitable uses, Glos. 1607,21 Privy Seal loan, 1625,22 Forced Loan, Wilts. 1626-7,23 oyer and terminer, Glos. 1628,24 knighthood fines 1631,25 repair of St. Paul’s Cathedral 1632;26 dep. lt., Glos. and Wilts. 1625.27

Gent. of privy chamber by 1615;28 groom of the body by 1618.29


A branch of the Hungerford family had been based at Down Ampney since 1374.30 At his father’s death in 1589, Hungerford inherited the manor along with the remaining 21-year lease of Down Ampney parsonage, while his mother, Bridget, retained the profits of Latton, Stock and Great Bedwyn manors until she died in 1621.31 Although Bridget was a convicted Catholic, Hungerford nevertheless heeded his Protestant father’s admonitions, according to his brother ‘and soon wound himself out of the snares of the cunning hunters’.32 He later profited from the estates of a recusant, receiving £68 a year from land and tenements in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, together with £160 from the Exchequer for the sale of distrained goods.33

Hungerford was admitted to the Gloucestershire magistracy three years after inheriting his father’s estates, and served as sheriff of Wiltshire in the same year, aged only 26.34 His election as a knight of the shire for Gloucestershire in 1597 reflected his status in the county, and may also have been assisted by his wife’s Berkeley family connections. In 1604 he was returned for Cricklade, a borough three miles from Down Ampney. His relation John Pleydell had served the borough in 1593, and through him Hungerford may have gained the support of the town’s parliamentary patron, Gray Brydges†, 5th Baron Chandos.35 Hungerford’s first appointment was to the committee for setting down the House’s findings regarding the disputed Buckinghamshire election (30 Mar. 1604). He was subsequently named to prepare for a conference with the Lords on religion (19 Apr.), and to attend the conference at which James set out his proposals for union with Scotland (20 April).36 He was also chosen to consider numerous bills, including measures against transporting undressed woollen cloths (4 Apr.) and for the relief of plague (18 May).37 Having inherited the patronage of Down Ampney and acquired the patronage of several other livings through property purchases, it was fitting that Hungerford should be nominated to the committee for a bill against ecclesiastical pluralism (4 June), and he made his first known speech, of which no details survive, on 13 June in the debate over the petition offered to the king against subscription and the use of popish rites and ceremonies in the church.38 A fortnight later, on 29 June, he lightheartedly defended himself against any imputation of nonconformity, asserting that he should be recorded as ‘a man of good religion’.39

In October 1604, during the prorogation, Hungerford, Sir Henry Poole*, Lawrence Hyde I*, and other local magistrates complained to the 1st earl of Hertford, the lord lieutenant of Wiltshire, about the insolent behaviour of his servant, Josias Kirton, muster-master for the county. The dispute was unresolved by the end of the following summer, when Hungerford wrote to Hertford asking him to suspend Kirton’s pay until the matter had been heard by the Privy Council.40 Despite this conflict, Hungerford was appointed to attend Hertford on his embassy to Brussels in April and May 1605 to ratify the Treaty of London.41 Soon afterwards Hungerford was again pricked to serve as sheriff, this time for Gloucestershire. The shrievalty could have conflicted with his membership of the Commons when Parliament resumed; however, he was permitted to decline the appointment.42

In the second session Hungerford was named to consider the repeal of an Elizabethan Act determining the length of kerseys (5 Feb. 1606), a matter of great concern to his cloth-town constituency, and also bills for the improvement of highways (6 Feb.) and the repair of Chepstow bridge (31 March).43 Religious measures are again prominent among his appointments, with bill committees for the better observing of the Sabbath (29 Jan.), ecclesiastical government (1 Apr.); and a conference on recusancy (3 February).44 Although not recorded as a participant in the debate, he presumably supported Poole’s motion on 16 Apr. for the case against Hertford and the muster-master Kirton to be investigated as a grievance.45 Personal connections may have led to Hungerford’s nomination for bills concerning the estate of Lord Chandos of Sudeley (7 Apr. 1606), and the surrender of the office of chief butler by Richard Sackville, his son-in-law’s half-brother (27 Mar. 1607).46

At the start of the third session Hungerford was again named to confer with the Lords concerning the Union (24 Nov. 1606).47 He was also appointed to consider a bill confirming letters patent conferred on Robert Bathurst of Lechlade manor, Gloucestershire (15 Dec. 1606), with whom he and Sir Henry Poole, his fellow Member for Cricklade, entered into an indenture on 9 Mar. 1607.48 His various other bill committee nominations included one for flood relief in Gloucestershire and Somerset (3 Mar. 1607).49 In the fourth session Hungerford’s first appointment was to the conference with the Lords at which the Great Contract was unveiled (15 Feb. 1610).50 He was also named to bill committees concerning forcible entry (24 Feb.), the export of commodities (16 Mar.) and iron ordnance (17 Mar.), piracy (21 Apr.), and the supply of naval timber (25 June).51 His interest in the latter measure may have reflected his position as joint-keeper of Braydon forest, as for many years he was closely involved with the protracted programme to disafforest the area, in which he rented several parcels of land.52 Although his connection with the East Anglian gentry is obscure, it is notable that Hungerford was named to the committees for three private Norfolk estates bills, concerning Sir John Heveningham* (20 Feb.), Sir Francis Hobart (27 Mar.), and Sir Robert Drury (27 Mar.), and to the Norfolk and Suffolk salt marshes bill (20 March).53 Following the death of his kinsman John Pleydell in 1608, a private bill was entered concerning the latter’s estates and debts, for which a committee was appointed, whose members included Hungerford and all the other Wiltshire Members (14 June). Hungerford left no trace on the records of the brief fifth session.

Hungerford enjoyed some favour at Court, and had the honour to be a pall-bearer at Anne of Denmark’s funeral.54 In the country, he had sufficient wealth and status to enable him to secure favourable matches for his children. In 1602 his elder son, Sir Anthony, married the daughter of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote, Warwickshire. Sir Thomas agreed to pay £2,000 as her marriage portion, while for the couple’s maintenance Hungerford was to release £200 a year from six of his Wiltshire manors. However, this arrangement resulted in a long and acrimonious dispute when Hungerford immediately reneged on his payments, and he was still being sued by Sir Thomas’s widow as late as 1617.55 Sir Anthony, a quick-tempered youth, challenged (Sir) George Marshall* in October 1617, allegedly for having insulted Hungerford, for which he was fined £1,000 and imprisoned for two years.56 Hungerford’s eldest daughter, Barbara, married the illegitimate son of Thomas Sackville†, 1st earl of Dorset and lord treasurer to both Elizabeth and James.57 Three other daughters married into prominent gentry families.58

Making his will on 1 Mar. 1630, Hungerford bequeathed £20 to the poor of four parishes, and confirmed an earlier conveyance of the profits of two manors for the benefit of his granddaughter during her minority. His second son, John, received the rental from a further two manors.59 Hungerford died on 18 Mar. 1635, and was buried at Down Ampney church, where his eldest son, Sir Anthony, who was to become a colonel in the parliamentary army, erected an alabaster monument to his memory.60 Neither of Hungerford’s sons entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. Add. 33412, f. 67; Wilts. RO, 1836/1, unfol.; PROB 11/71, f. 273v.
  • 2. Al. Ox.
  • 3. Add. 33412, f. 68; PROB 11/74, f. 232; 11/104, f. 108.
  • 4. Lansd. 901, f. 38; MI in Down Ampney church.
  • 5. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 89; E. Oliver, Mems. of the Hungerford, Milward and Oliver Fams. 17.
  • 6. J.E. Jackson, Hungerford Fam. Collections, iii. 198.
  • 7. Add. 33412, f. 67.
  • 8. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxix), 168; Add. 33412, f. 67; Add. 23690, ff. 87v-8.
  • 9. PROB 11/74, f. 231v; Add. 23690, ff. 87v-8.
  • 10. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 88.
  • 11. R.C. Hoare, Hungerfordiana, 48; S. Rudder, Glos. 417.
  • 12. CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 186; Hatfield House, ms 278; APC, 1596-7, p. 122; C231/4, ff. 13, 22, 199; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, pp. 8, 18; SP16/212 ff. 26, 67; C193/13/2, ff. 28v, 73.
  • 13. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 51, 154.
  • 14. HMC Hatfield, xiii. 473.
  • 15. APC, 1592-3, p. 474; SP14/31/1, f. 47.
  • 16. C212/22/21, 23; Add. 34566, f. 132.
  • 17. E134/43Eliz/Hil.8.
  • 18. C181/2, ff. 4v, 232v; 181/3, f. 227.
  • 19. C181/2, ff. 23v, 240v; 181/3, f. 172.
  • 20. C181/2, f. 34.
  • 21. W.H. Stevenson, Cal. Gloucester Recs. 74.
  • 22. SP16/44/5; E401/2586, ff. 23-5.
  • 23. C193/12/2, f. 64; Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 145.
  • 24. C181/3, f. 240v; APC, 1627-8, p. 289.
  • 25. E178/5310, ff. 5, 9.
  • 26. Glos. RO, TBR A1/1, f. 80.
  • 27. SP16/10/5; 257/59; E401/2586, pp. 23-5.
  • 28. SP15/40/28.
  • 29. LC2/5, f. 45v.
  • 30. J. Aubrey, Top. Collections, 267, 407; Rudder, 417.
  • 31. PROB 11/74, ff. 232, 232v; C142/220/84; R. Atkins, Ancient and Present State of Glos. 210-11.
  • 32. A. Hungerford, Memorial of a father to his deare children (1639) STC 13972, p. 45.
  • 33. S03/3, unfol. (Nov. 1605); 3/4, unfol. (Jan. 1610); CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 384, 580; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 451, 634; xix. 290; xx. 47.
  • 34. CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 186; APC, 1591-2, p. 501; 1592, pp. 15, 244, 331; 1599-1600, p. 439; 1601-4, p. 280.
  • 35. Aubrey, 170.
  • 36. CJ, i. 160a, 180a.
  • 37. Ibid. 165b, 213b.
  • 38. Ibid. 231b, 238b.
  • 39. Ibid. 991b, 999b.
  • 40. Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. ed. W.P.D. Murphy (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 30-1, 38-9, 46-7, 64-5.
  • 41. HMC Bath, iv. 200.
  • 42. SP77/7, f. 130; SO3/3, unfol. (June 1605).
  • 43. CJ, i. 264a, 291a.
  • 44. Ibid. 261b, 263a, 291b; Subscription Bk. of Bps. Tounson and Davenant ed. B. Williams (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxxii), 23.
  • 45. Bowyer Diary, 130.
  • 46. CJ, i. 294b, 356a.
  • 47. Ibid. 324b.
  • 48. Ibid. 330b, 350a.
  • 49. Ibid. 346a.
  • 50. Ibid. 393b.
  • 51. Ibid. 399a, 412a, b, 419b, 443b.
  • 52. LR2/194/31; Wilts. RO, 100/1; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlv. 556-7; Archaeologica xxxvii. 307.
  • 53. CJ, i. 397b, 413a.
  • 54. J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, iii. 340.
  • 55. C2/Jas.I/L15/48.
  • 56. SP14/93/158; 14/94/23; Add. 33412, f. 68v; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 111.
  • 57. Add. 33412, f. 67; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 89.
  • 58. Wilts. N and Q, v. 381; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 176.
  • 59. PROB 11/168, f. 42; C142/526/142.
  • 60. Add. Ch. 66220; J. Smith, Men and Armour for Glos. 409; Add. 33412, ff. 151v-2.