Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Honywood, Thomas

HONYWOOD, Sir THOMAS (1586–1666), parliamentarian, born at Betchworth Castle in Surrey on 15 Jan. 1586, was son of Robert Honywood (d. 1627) of Charing in Kent and Marks Hall in Essex, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Browne of Betchworth (d. 1631). Michael Honywood [q. v.] was a younger brother. An elder half-brother Robert inherited from the father Charing and his Kent estate, Thomas taking Marks Hall, where he chiefly lived. He was knighted in 1632.

When the civil war broke out, Honywood sided with the puritans, and Marks Hall became a headquarters for the roundheads in Essex. Throughout 1643 he, with other deputy-lieutenants, was busily raising troops for the parliament, and carrying out the orders of the leaders in London (cf. the correspondence preserved among the manuscripts of Mr. G. A. Lowndes, App. to 7th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. pp. 551–66). In 1648, with Colonel Whalley and two thousand horse and foot of the district, he effected a junction with Fairfax, advanced upon Colchester, and was present at its surrender on 27 Aug. In the course of the next year Honywood and Colonel Cooke received orders to dismantle the fortifications of the town, which they did not obey.

On 21 Jan. 1650 a commission was granted to Honywood to be colonel of a regiment of foot for the eastern division of Essex; in December of the same year he again garrisoned Colchester, and on 19 Feb. following he had a commission as captain of horse. In March 1651, while in Colchester, he probably had to meet large expenses out of his own estate, and wishing to send away the garrison, he was met by a refusal from the council on the ground that the fortifications had not been dismantled, as had long ago been ordered. When, however, on 5 July he certified that the place could no longer be held by troops, he was allowed to dismiss the soldiers. The same year Honywood hurried from Essex with all the troops he could gather, in company with Colonel Clarke, to Worcester, where he took part in the battle at the head of his Essex regiment. After the battle Honywood and his Essex friend, Colonel Cooke, passed through Oxford, and were created doctors of civil law. In 1654 he was one of the knights of the shire for Essex, and did good service for Cromwell in assisting to put down the rising of that year. He was paid 500l. by warrant in 1655, probably to compensate him for paying his regiment. In 1656 he was again in parliament, and in 1657 he became a member of Cromwell's upper house. A man of character and the brother-in-law of Sir Henry Vane, Honywood was powerful in Cromwell's court. He was able to get his relative, Sir Robert Honywood of Charing, made a member of the council of state in 1659, and he was himself a very active commissioner in the east of England in that year.

Honywood (according to Pepys) stayed with Pepys's father on 2 June 1660. He was then very old. He died at Cotton House, Westminster, on 26 May 1666, while on a visit to his son-in-law, Sir John Cotton of Connington, the son of the antiquary (see under Cotton, Sir Robert Bruce). His body was buried in the chancel of Marks Hall Church.

Honywood married, 10 May 1634, Hester (d. 1681), daughter of John Lamotte, a merchant of London, widow of John Manning. By her he had seven children, of whom four died young; his daughter Elizabeth (1637–1702), who had married Sir John Cotton, with his sons Thomas (1639–1672), and John Lamotte (d. 1693), survived him. The two sons succeeded to the family estate in succession, and both died without issue. The property thus passed to Robert Honywood of Charing.

[Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 168; Chester's Lond. Mar. Lic. p. 705; Morant's Essex, ii. 167; Berry's Essex Genealogies, p. 72; Hist. MSS. Comm. App. to 7th Rep. pp. 551–66; Whitelocke's Mem. pp. 311, 666; Cromwell's Colchester, i. 106 et seq.; Noble's Regicides, i. 361; Pepys's Diary, i. 104, 361; Burton's Diary, clxxxii; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–60.]

W. A. J. A.