HUCKS, William (1672-1740), of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Mdx.
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Family and Education
bap. 22 Oct. 1672, 1st s. of William Hucks, brewer, of St. Giles-in-the-Fields by his w. Lydia Head. m. lic. 1 Sept. 1696, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Selwood of Abingdon, Berks., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1691.1
?Freeman, Brewers’ Co. 1687; brewer to Household 1715–d.2
Freeman, Abingdon 1698, Wallingford 1710.3
Hucks’s father may have been the maltster of that name who leased some land from Abingdon corporation for the term of 21 years in December 1662. What is certain is that Hucks inherited a brewery in Duke Street, Bloomsbury, from his father and remained in that trade throughout his life, often in partnership with his own brothers or his son, Robert†. It was probably he, rather than his father, who was admitted to the Brewers’ Company in 1687 and who served as overseer of the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields two years later. By 1697 he was probably one of the leading brewers in the capital and in 1699 he fined rather than serve as surveyor of St. Giles. He retained his connexion with the parish, serving as a vestryman between 1709 and 1731 (when the parish was divided), and acted as the receiver of subscriptions for building a workhouse in 1724. His most fitting benefaction to the area was a statue of George I which was set up on the steeple of St. George’s church in Bloomsbury.4
It was as a London brewer, with ‘no manner of estate’ in Berkshire, that Hucks attempted to enter Parliament for Abingdon at the 1698 election. His opponents alleged that the basis of his interest was the promise of a post in the excise commission, which would place at his disposal considerable patronage for distribution among local men. This inducement to stand was widely seen as a ploy by the Whigs to unseat Simon Harcourt I*. In the event Harcourt was returned, and though Hucks petitioned, he ended up being ordered into custody on 3 Mar. 1699 for ‘presuming to make use of the authority of the government’ to facilitate his election. On 12 Feb. 1706, he made a more successful petition to the Commons, complaining of a riot which had taken place at the Mint, when several constables had attempted to serve a warrant on one Thomas Jones, whom Hucks was suing for bankruptcy. The result was several resolutions of the House on 23 Feb. enjoining action against criminals taking refuge in the Mint.5
Hucks again challenged Harcourt at Abingdon in the 1708 election, being seated on petition in January 1709. Although not active in the House, Hucks followed the Whig line, supporting the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709 and the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell a year later. At the general election of 1710 he was defeated at Wallingford. He did not stand there again until the more propitious circumstances of 1715 when he was victorious. The Hanoverian succession saw him appointed a deputy-lieutenant for Westminster and also the official brewer for the royal household. In later years he built up his estates in the Wallingford area, by both freehold purchase and lease, and acquired a lease of the castle in about 1727. He died on 28 Nov. 1740 and was succeeded by his son Robert.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, London; J. A. Gibbs, Hist. Antony and Dorothea Gibbs, 37; Cussans, Herts. iii. 346.
- 2. Gibbs, 37; J. Beattie, Eng. Court in Reign of Geo. I, 252.
- 3. Berks. RO, Abingdon bor. recs. min. bk. 1686–1767, 12 July 1698; Berks. RO, Wallingford bor. statute bk. 1648–1766, f. 236v.
- 4. Berks. RO, D/EP/7/80 notes on MPs no.24, p. 2; PCC 8 Fane; Gibbs, 37; J. Parton, Hosp. and Par. of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, 392–3; P. Mathias, Brewing Industry in Eng. 9; N. and Q. ser. 11, ii. 50.
- 5. Add. 70305, Abingdon election case, 1699; NLW, Kemeys-Tynte mss 333, Thomas Lloyd to Sir Charles Kemys, 3rd Bt.*, 3 Mar. 1699.
- 6. Add. 33225, f. 17; Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1720–8, pp. 359, 365, 403.