John HENEAGE of Benniworth

Born: ABT 1485, Towes, Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire, England

Died: 2 Jul 1557, Benniworth, Lincolnshire, England

Father: John HENEAGE of Nocton

Mother: Catherine WYMBISH

Married: Anne COPE (dau. of John Cope of Deanshanger and Helmdon and Bridget Raleigh) (w. of William Lovett) ABT 1514 / ABT 1520, Northamptonshire, England

Children:

1. George HENEAGE (Sir Knight)

2. William HENEAGE

3. John HENEAGE

4. Mary HENEAGE

5. Catherine HENEAGE


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born ABT 1485, third son of John Heneage of Nocton by Catherine, dau. of Thomas Wymbish of Nocton. Married ABT 1520, Anne, dau. and heiress of John Cope of Deanshanger and Helmdon, Northants., widow of William Lovett of Astwell, Northants., by whom he had three sons and two daughters. J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1520-d., (Holland) 1522-4, 1531-2, 1537-43; commr. subsidy (Lindsey) 1523, 1524, survey of monasteries, Lincs. 1536, suppression 1539, musters (Lindsey) 1542, (Holland) 1546, benevolence, Lincs. 1544/45, chantries, Lincs., Lincoln, Boston 1546, relief (Lindsey) and Lincoln 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Lincoln 1553; other commissions 1530-d.; v.-adm. Lincs. 1525-c.36.

John Heneage was a member of a Lincolnshire family which was to achieve importance in the 16th century. His three brothers were a dean of Lincoln, an auditor of the duchy of Lancaster, and one of Wolsey's gentlemen ushers. Their lawyer father was a leading local figure who served on many commissions, including the inquest into riots at the Lincolnshire election for knights of the shire in 1510.

For ten years, until his father's death in 1530, John Heneage served with him on commissions. Father and son are thus sometimes difficult to distinguish but it was the younger man who was twice elected a Member of Parliament for Grimsby, first in 1523, when he agreed to bear his own expenses and to serve without wages, and again in 1529, presumably on the same condition. His election no doubt owed something to the influence of his father, who had himself sat for the borough in 1497 and whose extensive properties clustered within 20 miles south of Grimsby. Heneage probably sat for Grimsby again in 1536, when the King asked for the return of the previous Members, and he may have done so for a fourth time in 1542, when the returns are lost and the borough records reveal the name of only one of the two Members. In the interval Heneage had been returned to the Parliament of 1539 as knight of the shire for Lincolnshire, when his fellow-Member was his kinsman Sir William Skipwith. Nothing is known of his part in the proceedings of any of these Parliaments.

After the fall of Wolsey, Heneage had been appointed a commissioner to inquire into the Cardinal's possessions in Lincolnshire, an assignment which foreshadowed his later work as a surveyor for the suppression of the monasteries. Cromwell was to use Heneage to pay pensions to the monks of dissolved monasteries in Lincolnshire, and the Bishop of Lincoln employed him on various errands. It was while he was at Louth, on the bishop's behalf, to conduct the election of the new town officers that on 2 Oct 1536 Heneage was seized by the armed mob which the shoemaker Nicholas Melton (Captain Cobbler in the Lincolnshire Rebellion) had assembled to prevent the expected surrender of their church's treasures to the Bishop. Heneage and others were compelled to take an oath to be true to the commons but during the confusion caused by the arrival of further prisoners he managed to escape. By the following day the insurgents had taken several gentlemen captive to Caistor, where they were forced to write a letter to the King begging a general pardon. This letter Heneage carried to London, arriving at court about nine in the morning of 4 Oct, to be sent back forthwith to Lincolnshire by Cromwell in company with Sir Marmaduke Constable and Robert Tyrwhitt. Heneage reached Stilton on Thursday morning and Sleaford by midnight, and then turned south once again for an all-night ride back to report. AFT such strenuous service in the first days of the rebellion, Heneage played a minor role in the events that followed.

As a suppression commissioner in 1539 Heneage accompanied Dr. John London to take the surrenders of five monasteries in Lincolnshire, including the nunnery of Heynings which was committed to his charge as deputy for his brother Sir Thomas Heneage. At the same time he was enhancing his own position by the purchase of church lands and other properties. In 1536 he received a lease of the grange of Tows in Ludford and of lands there and in East and West Wykeham, in 1537 leases of the rectories of Randley (Ranby?) and Stainton, and in 1539 a lease of West Torrington, all in Lincolnshire. In 1540 he exchanged lands in Deanshanger, Puxley and Wicken, Northamptonshire, and paid nearly 100 for messuages in London, church lands in Lincolnshire, and the house and site of the White Friars, Hull, most of which he sold in the same year. In 1542 he took a lease of Willoughton preceptory, Lincolnshire, with a moiety of its rectory and windmill.

Heneage made his will on 2 Jul 1557, died on the following 21 Jul, and was buried at Hainton. He was survived by his wife, his sons George (then rising 35), William and John, and daughters not named in the will. By the time of his death he had concentrated all his lands in Lincolnshire, where he held some eight or ten properties between Louth and Market Rasen.
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