Open main menu

HEYDON, Sir HENRY (d. 1503), country gentleman, belonged to an old family seated at Heydon in Norfolk. As early as the thirteenth century one of the family resided in Norfolk, and the principal branch of it remained for many years in that county, inheriting the estates at Heydon and Baconsthorpe. Sir Henry was son and heir of John Heydon of Baconsthorpe (d. 1479) (Paston Letters, iii. 196), an eminent lawyer, by Eleanor, daughter of Edmund Winter of Winter Berningham, Norfolk. He married Elizabeth or perhaps Anne (see ib. ii. 304), daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, knt., and aunt of Anne Boleyn.

Heydon was steward to the household of Cecilia, duchess of York, widow of Richard, duke of York. In 1485 he was knighted. He appears to have been a man of considerable public spirit, and of refined and devout sentiments. He built in the space of six years the manorhouse at Baconsthorpe, a sumptuous quadrangular pile, now ruinous, entirely from the ground, except the tower, which was built by his father. He also built West Wickham Court in Kent, and rebuilt the parish church of West Wickham, close by it. The church of Salthouse and the causeway between Thursford and Walsingham were erected at his expense. In 1443 the moieties of Hyde Manor in Pangbourne, Berkshire, of Nutfield, Surrey, and of Shipton Sollars Manor, Gloucestershire, were settled upon him and Elizabeth his wife as her inheritance. He died in 1503, and was buried beside his father in the Heydon Chapel at Norwich Cathedral. The chapel is now destroyed, and the monuments mentioned by Blomefield have disappeared. In one of the windows of West Wickham Church there is the representation in old stained glass of a kneeling human skeleton, with the words ‘Ne reminiscaris domine delicta nostra nec delicta nostrorum parentum.’ The figure is supposed to be a memorial of Sir Henry, whose arms are figured in the glass.

[Gurney's Records of the House of Gurney, 1848, &c., pp. 411, 412; J. H. Hayden's Records of the Connecticut Line of the Hayden Family, 1888, pp. 16, 17; Blomefield's Topographical Hist. of Norfolk, vi. 505, 506; Hasted's Hist. of Kent, 1778, i. 108; Verney Papers (Camd. Soc.), p. 39.]

G. C.