WHITEWAY, William I (1570-1640), of Dorchester, Dorset

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. 1570, 1st s. of William Whiteway, yeoman, of Denbury, Devon and Thomasine, da. of John Gould of Staverton, Devon.1 educ. appr. Dorchester 1585;2 factor, France 1590.3 m. 16 Nov. 1598, Mary (d.1655), da. of John Mounsell, merchant, of Weymouth, Dorset, 5s. (4 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1614.4 admon. 7 May 1640.5

Offices Held

Member, Spanish Co. 1605,6 French Co. 1611,7 Dorchester New Eng. Co. 1624.8

Capital burgess, Dorchester 1610,9 bailiff 1611-12, 1616-17, 1620-1, 1625-6, 1635-6,10 alderman 1629-d.,11 j.p. 1630-d.,12 mayor 1631-2.13


Whiteway was apprenticed at the age of 15 to his cousin John Gould, a Dorchester merchant. In 1591, caught up in the French wars of religion, he was imprisoned in Honfleur for being a Protestant, and released only on payment of a £300 ransom. He settled in Dorchester in 1600, joined the Spanish and French Companies, and bought Cary mills, near Wareham, Dorset in 1610. A prominent member of the corporation, whose house was regularly used as the assize judges’ lodgings, he apparently supplied most of the funds for erecting the borough workhouse, or ‘hospital’, in 1616.14

Returned for Dorchester to the 1624 Parliament, Whiteway was named only to the committees for the bills to permit free fishing in North American waters, and to relieve the London Feltmakers from the effects of a decree in Chancery (15 Mar. and 30 April). He attended both committees, and also exercised his right as a Dorset Member to help scrutinize a bill for settling the custom of the manor of Beaminster Secunda.15 Re-elected in 1625, he failed to feature in the records of the Westminster sitting. On 10 July, just before the recess, he lost £150 when a ship laden with kerseys was captured by French pirates in the Channel. It was presumably to this incident that he alluded on 11 Aug., in his solitary speech at the Oxford sitting, when he complained that Sir Francis Stewart* had ‘suffered a pirate to take an English ship’ before his very eyes while on naval patrol in the Channel. Whiteway added that the owners had offered Stewart ‘great sums of money, or half the goods of the ship’ if he would give chase, but Stewart had refused, saying that ‘his commission was not to go on the French coast where he conceived the pirate was’.16

As a Dorchester bailiff, Whiteway was ineligible to serve in the 1626 Parliament, but he returned his son William to the Commons at the April by-election triggered by the death of Michael Humfrey*.17 Whiteway was excused that year from contributing to the Privy Seal loan, perhaps on account of financial problems. A few months later he had to borrow £100 from his wife to pay the first year’s rent on Ashton farm, near Dorchester, which he leased from the 2nd earl of Suffolk (Theophilus Howard, Lord Howard de Walden*), lord lieutenant of the county.18 In February 1628 he signed a petition to the duke of Buckingham from Exeter’s merchants, who complained that they were unable to pay their employees due to the detention of their goods in France. He compounded for knighthood in 1631, paying £15.19 Whiteway’s religious preferences are reflected in his donation of Calvin’s complete works, in eight volumes, to the Dorchester library. He drew up his will on 13 May 1639, desiring to be decently buried the churchyard of St. Peter’s, Dorchester. His charitable bequests included £53 to the poor of Dorchester and Denbury, besides 2s. each to ‘every one of the children that are taught in the hospital’ at Dorchester. To one of his daughters-in-law he left 20 of the best ewes at Ashton, ‘to be taken in the wool at midsummer’, and to his nephew Peter Middleton† £10 ‘to buy him a gelding’. The will was witnessed on 4 Jan. 1640 by Denis Bond† and John White, the local rector and one of the overseers, and proved by Whiteway’s only surviving son John† on 7 May that year.20

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. W.M. Barnes, ‘Commonplace Bk. of a Dorsetshire Man’, Procs. Dorset Nat. Hist. and Antiq. Field Club, xvi. 61, 64.
  • 2. Dorset RO, D53.
  • 3. Barnes, 66.
  • 4. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 387, 482; Barnes, 66-8.
  • 5. PROB 11/183, f. 50v.
  • 6. Spanish Co. ed. P. Croft (London Rec. Soc. ix), 48.
  • 7. Select Charters of Trading Cos. ed. C.T. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), 66.
  • 8. D. Underdown, Fire from Heaven, 133.
  • 9. Municipal Recs. of Dorchester ed. C.H. Mayo, 41.
  • 10. Hutchins, ii. 354.
  • 11. Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 57.
  • 12. William Whiteway of Dorchester (Dorset Rec. Soc. xii), 110.
  • 13. Hutchins, ii. 354.
  • 14. Dorset RO, D53; D413/37; Barnes, 66, 68; Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 644; Hutchins, ii. 397.
  • 15. CJ, i. 686b, 695a; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 201-2, 220.
  • 16. William Whiteway of Dorchester, 73; Procs. 1625, pp. 457-8.
  • 17. C219/40/34.
  • 18. APC, 1625-6, p. 370; William Whiteway of Dorchester, 85; Dorset RO, D10/M74; PROB 11/183, f. 50v.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 576; E401/2450.
  • 20. Municipal Recs. of Dorchester, 581; PROB 11/183, ff. 49-50.