Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Heylyn, Rowland

HEYLYN or HEYLIN, ROWLAND (1562?–1631), sheriff of London, was descended from an ancient family seated at Pentreheylin in the parish of Llandysilio, Mongomeryshire, whose members were hereditary cupbearers (as the name signifies) to the princes of Powys. The names of Heylyn's parents are not known. According to the records of the Ironmongers' Company of London he was born in 1562. On 30 April 1575 he was apprenticed to Thomas Wade, was admitted to the freedom of the Ironmongers' Company on 4 May 1584, was an assistant in 1612, and served as master in 1614 and 1625. Heylyn lived in the parish of St. Alban, Wood Street, and on 30 April 1624 was elected alderman of Cripplegate ward (City Records, Repertory 38, fol. 109 b). On Mid-summer day following he was elected sheriff of London, the company presenting him 'with twenty pieces of xxijs the piece towards the trimming of his house, and the loan of such plate as he may want' (Nicholl, Hist. of the Ironmongers' Company, 1666, pp. 197–8). Heylyn in l630 published the Welsh Bible at his own charge in a portable volume. He also promoted the publication of a Welsh dictionary, and a Welsh translation of 'The Practice of Piety' written by Lewis Bayly [q. v.], bishop of Bangor. He died childless in 1631. By his will, dated 5 Sept. 1629, and proved 15 Feb. 1631 [Audley, 23], he left the bulk of his estate at Laleham and Staines in Middlesex, and various manors in Staffordshire and other counties, to Thomas Nicholls, son of his sister Anne, and Thomas Hunt, son of his sister Eleanor, a life interest being reserved to his wife; 300l. was bequeathed to the corporation of Shrewsbury (with which place he was closely connected) in trust for the poor, 100l. to Bridewell and 50l. to Christ's Hospital, 300l. to poor ministers, besides 100l. for the benefit of poor prisoners in London detained for debts less than 4l. He also left 200l. to the Ironmongers' Company as stock to be lent, in portions of 50l. for four years, to four journeymen of the company, and 100l. to provide for a yearly sermon in thankful remembrance of the deliverance from the Gunpowder plot, and for a dinner afterwards (ib. p. 560). His wife Alice, who died in 1641, also bequeathed 100l. to the company (ib. p. 475). A portrait of Heylyn, painted by Henry Cooke in 1640, is preserved in the court room at Ironmongers' Hall (ib. p. 464). Portraits of Heylyn and his wife and of his daughter and her husband were, in 1801, in the possession of Major-general William Congreve, R.A. then residing at Charlton, Kent (Gent. Mag. 1804, pt ii. p. 723). Dr. Peter Heylyn [q. v.], chaplain of Charles I, was the grandson of Rowland Heylyn's brother.

[Two identical but most inaccurate accounts of Rowland Heylyn are given by the biographers of Dr. Heylyn, John Barnard (Life of Dr. Heylyn, by Theologo-historicus, London, 1683. 12mo) and G. Vernon (Life etc. London, 1682. 12mo). Mr. E. Rowley Morris has obligingly supplied information.]

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