Heyman, Peter (DNB00)


HEYMAN, Sir PETER (1580–1641), politician, born on 13 May 1580, was the eldest son of Henry Heyman of Somerfield Hall, Sellinge, Kent, by Rebecca, daughter and coheiress of Robert Horne [q. v.], bishop of Winchester. He commenced his career as a soldier. Passing over to Ireland with detachments sent by Queen Elizabeth to act against the insurgents, he did excellent service, for which he received a grant of lands, probably in co. Cork. On his return to England, he was knighted by James I. The dates of these events are not accessible. To the parliament of 1620–1 he was returned as member for Hythe (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1619–23, p. 212), and soon became prominent as a debater. Early in 1622 Heyman spoke sturdily against the king's demand for a loan of money. As a punishment, he was ordered to attend Lord Chichester into Germany, and to make the journey at his own charge (ib. p. 366). He continued to represent Hythe in the first and second parliaments of Charles I (1625 and 1627). On account of his continued opposition to the government of Charles I, he was charged before the council with refractoriness and an unwillingness to serve the king, and on his refusal to pay a fine, was commanded to go to the Palatinate on the royal service at his own cost. When parliament met on 17 March 1627–8, Heyman bore a conspicuous part in the attack on the government, and on 3 April 1628 spoke at length in the discussion on the recent imprisonment of members of parliament or their designation for foreign employment for non-compliance with the king's demands for loans of money. When the speaker (Sir John Finch) refused to allow Eliot's ‘Short Declaration’ to be read, and tried to leave the chair on 2 March 1628–9, Heyman said he was sorry that the speaker was a Kentish-man, ‘and that you are of that name which hath borne some good reputation in our own country,’ and suggested that he should be called to the bar and a new speaker chosen. On the following day parliament was dissolved. Heyman and eight others were summoned by warrant to appear next morning before the council. He obeyed, and underwent a searching examination, but as he refused to answer out of parliament for what he had said in parliament, he was committed close prisoner to the Tower. On 7 May an information against him and the other members was filed in the court of Star-chamber by the attorney-general (ib. 1628–9, p. 540). Through the favour of Secretary Viscount Dorchester, Heyman was soon afterwards enlarged, but the king interfered, and under his sign-manual Heyman was consigned to closer confinement than before. In a letter to Lord Dorchester, dated 18 May 1629, he details his sufferings and the attempts to overawe the counsel retained for his defence (State Paper Office, Dom. Chas. I, vol. cxlii. art. 97). On 22 May he put in his plea and demurrer (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1628–9, p. 556). His counsel made a successful defence, and after some further imprisonment, Heyman obtained his freedom (State Trials, ed. Cobbett and Howell, iii. 235–336).

Heyman was elected to the Long parliament (November 1640) as a representative for Dover, his son Henry taking his place at Hythe. He died before 20 Feb. 1640–1, when a new member of parliament was elected to fill the vacancy caused by his death. On 4 March 1640–1 his estate was administered to by his son Henry (Administration Act Book, P. C. C., 1641–2, f. 20). He married, first, Sarah (d. 1615), daughter and coheiress of Peter Collett, merchant, of London, by whom he had a son and a daughter; and secondly, Mary, daughter and coheiress of Ralph Woolley, also a London merchant, by whom he had five sons and five daughters. On 18 July 1646 the sum of 5,000l. was voted by parliament to Heyman's heirs for the losses and sufferings undergone by him and for his service done to the Commonwealth ‘in the Parliament in tertio Caroli I.’

[Rev. Canon Hayman in Reliquary, xx. 86–90, 145–51; Gardiner's Hist. of Engl. vii. 75, 80; Official Lists of Members of Parliament, i. 497.]

G. G.