Sir William DRURY of Hawstead

Born: BEF 1500, Hawstead, Suffolk, England

Died: 11 Jan 1557/8

Buried: Church of Hawstead, Suffolk, England

Father: Robert DRURY of Hawstead (Sir)

Mother: Anne CALTHORPE

Married 1: Joan St. MAUR BEF 7 Feb 1515/6

Married 2: Elizabeth SOOTHILL (b. ABT 1505 - d. 19 May 1575) (dau. of and co-heir Henry Soothill and Joan Empson) ABT 1535, Suffolk, England


1. Elizabeth DRURY

2. Mary DRURY

2. Robert DRURY of Hawstead

4. Henry DRURY of Lawshall

5. Anne DRURY

6. Dorothy DRURY

7. Frances DRURY

8. Bridget DRURY

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

Born by 1499, first son of Sir Robert Drury of Hawstead by his first wife. Educ. ?Eton; ?King's, Camb. 1511; Lincoln's Inn, adm. 12 Feb 1517. Married firstly, by 7 Feb 1516, Joan, dau. of William St. Maur, who died in childbirth; and secondly, BET Aug 1518 / Feb 1521, Elizabeth, dau. of Henry Sothill of Stockerston Leics., by whom he had four sons and nine daughters. Kntd. 30 May. Succceded family 2 Mar 1535. J.p. Suff. 1529-d., q. 1554; ?esquire extraordinary of the body by 1533; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1536-7, 1544-5; commr. benevolence, Suff. 1544/45, relief 1550; other commissions 1534-d.; PC by 1 Nov 1553.

Until the accession of Mary Sir William Drury shared in the normal duties of a local magnate while appearing at court on important state occasions. In the autumn of 1536 he and his brother Sir Robert assisted Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in quelling the northern rebellion called the Pilgrimage of the Grace, and he was called upon for similar action in 1539 when appointed a commissioner to search and defend the Suffolk coast, and again in 1542 when named by the King as one of those whom Norfolk should take on his expedition to protect the Scottish borders in Sep. During his second term as sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk he returned his nephew Sir William Waldegrave to the Parliament of 1545. Drury's post in the Household, even if he held it until the death of Henry VIII, was not renewed under Edward VI, but he was sufficiently in favour with the Council of the time to be recommended as knight of the shire for Suffolk in the spring of 1553.

Drury and his fellow-Member Sir Henry Bedingfield, likewise a Council nominee, were included in Cecil's list of gentlemen who were expected to transact 'affairs for Queen Jane', but in the event both rallied to Mary. He was the second person sent for by Princess Mary in Jul 1553 when she heard the news of her brother, Edward VI's death. Drury swore allegiance on 17 Jul. Mary ordered all captains to bring their men to muster under Sir William Drury and Sir William Waldegrave. William took 100 men to Kenninghall to assist Mary, who was proclaimed Queen. He became a Privy Councillor some time in the autumn and was one of those charged to survey the ordnance and stores. He was not given office, but under new administrative arrangements in Feb 1554 he was appointed with Sir Robert Rochester and Sir Thomas Cornwallis to order victuals for Calais and Berwick. His position gave him a lien on one of the Suffolk seats and in each of his remaining four Parliaments his partner, who took the junior place in all save the last of them, was his kinsman Sir Henry Jerningham. There are only two references to Drury in the Journal, one to a privilege case in Oct 1553 concerning one of his servants, and the other to the unsuccessful bill for distresses and replevins committed on its second reading in Apr 1554 to him and John Mawdley.

A key player in Queen Mary's bid to restore Catholicism in England, Sir William Drury was ordered to search the house of Thomas Pooley of Icklingham who was leading a Protestant revolt against the Queen's proposed marriage to King Felipe of Spain. Sir William had been previously appointed in 1552 as a commissioner of Suffolk to investigate the question of pensions for dispossesed members of religious houses during the previous reign.

Drury augmented his inheritance of seven Suffolk manors by grant, marriage and purchase. Two of his acquisitions, Lawshall and Whepstead, Suffolk, were confirmed to him by Mary to hold in chief on his surrender of an annuity of 100 marks awarded him in Nov 1553 for his services during the succession crisis.

Sir William had six daugthers, including Anne who married Sir Christopher Heydon of Baconsthorpe, who would later serve as a magistrate in the recuscancy trial of her fourth cousin, John Drury of Godwick. Another dau. was Elizabeth who married Sir Robert Drury of Rougham, her fourth cousin twice removed.

By his will of 6 Dec 1557 his wife and executrix was to have specified lands and rents for ten to 13 years towards the performance of the will and testament. Provision for other members of his family included 200 towards the marriage of his dau. Dorothy. Sir William's son, Robert Drury of Hawstead,  died two days before the making of the will and the estate passed to Robert's son, William Drury, aged seven. Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, the young William Drury's maternal grandfather, was appointed supervisor of the will. He hosted Queen Elizabeth at Hawstead Place during her Progress of Suffolk in 1578. His uncle, Henry Drury (the second son of Sir William, and brother of Robert) lived at Lawshall Manor where he was arrested that same day by Elizabeth.

The seal of Sir William Drury of Hawstead, with the Tau Cross and greyhound crest.


Sir William died on 11 Jan 1558. The inscription on his monument in Hawstead church says of him:

Brass rubbings of Sir William and his first wife, Joan

Whilst he lived here was loved of every wight.

Such temperance he did retain, such courtesy,

Such noble mind with justice joined, such liberality,

As fame itself shall sound for me the glory of his name.


Brasses inlaid atop the tomb of Sir William Drury, with his wives Joan St. Maur, left, and Elizabeth Sotehill, right

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