7 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

There were several hundred Honywoods in circulation in southeastern England in the mid-1600s, all descended from one woman by the sound of it.

By Edward Wedlake Brayley, John Britton, Edward William Brayley, Gideon Algernon Mantell
Page 36

"In this part of the area [immediately in front of the communion-table [OF THE CHURCH AT KINGSTON-ON-THAMES], on a blue-colored slab, is an almost obliterated inscription in memory of Mrs. Mary Morton, widow of George Morton, of East-Ware in Kent, esq.; and mother of Sir Robt. Morton, knt., sometime captain in the Netherlands; Col. Sir Thos. Morton, knt.; and Sir Albert Morton, knt., principal secretary to King Charles I.

"Mrs. Mary Morton died in April, 1634. She was the daughter of Robert Honywood, of Charing, in Kent (and afterwards of Marks Hall, in Essex), esq., by Mary, his wife, "the wonder of her sex and this age, for she lived to see near 400 issued from her loines.'""

"In the church at Lenham, in Kent, a little village between Ashford and Maidstone, is an inscribed brass in memory of Richard Thompson, esq., who died in 1642." He was grandchild to that truly religious matron Mary Honywood, who had at her decease, lawfully descended, 367 children; 16 of her own body, 114 grand-children, 228 in the 3rd generation, nine in the fourth; whose renown lives with her posterity, whose body lies in this church, and whose monument may be seen at Mark's Hall, in Essex, where she exchanged Life for Life." — Mrs. Honywood died in 1620, in the 93rd year of her age."


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M footnote: Sir Robert Honeywood was one of the commissioners appointed in 1659 to mediate between Sweden and Denmark.

As of August 2020 the Parliamentary biographies for 1640-1660 are still in preparation. They are supposed to be posted this year; will Covid-19 aid or delay this, who knows. Sir Robert wasn't an MP in 1604-1629 or 1660-1690. As he was an Envoy in 1659, hopefully we will learn more about him from these pending biographies.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Page 54 in their list of Members of Parliament:

"1659 SIR ROBERT HONYWOOD, Knt., of Pett in Charing and
Markshall in Essex. Other Honywoods sat for Hastings,
Hythe, and Canterbury."

He didn't last long:

"The returns for the next Parliament, 1660, are missing,
but according to Hasted the Members were:

This should read Sir NORTON KNATCHBULL and JOHN KNATCHBULL, a father and son routine. However, Sir Norton by a licence issued 27 Nov. 1662, married as his second wife, Dorothy, da. of Sir Robert Honeywood of Charing, Kent, wid. of Sir Edward Steward of Barking, Essex. It's all in the family.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir Robert Honywood (3 August 1601 – 15 April 1686), also spelt Honeywood, was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1659. He was a member of the English Council of State.

Honywood was the son of Sir Robert Honywood of Pett's Court, Charing, Kent and Alice Barnham, daughter of Sir Martin Barnham of Hollingbourne. Sir Thomas Honywood was his half-brother.

He matriculated at Hart Hall, Oxford on 30 October 1618, aged about 17.
In 1620 he became a student of Middle Temple.
He was knighted on 15 June 1625.
He spent several years in the household of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, who referred to him as her "steward".
In 1659, he was elected Member of Parliament for New Romney.

During the First English Civil War his marriage into the republican Vane family put him at the heart of the Parliamentary cause (his brother Thomas was also a strong Parliamentarian).

After Parliament's victory in the war he sat in the Third Protectorate Parliament and on the Council of State.

He was chosen with Algernon Sidney and Edward Montagu, later the 1st Earl of Sandwich, as one of the English plenipotentiaries sent in 1659 to negotiate a peace between Sweden and Denmark.
At the same time, he maintained friendly relations with the Queen of Bohemia, and perhaps on this account no action was taken against him at the Restoration of Charles II (her nephew) despite the fact that Sir Henry Vane the Younger, executed for treason in 1662, was his brother-in-law.

He retired into private life, and was mainly occupied in his later years with writing a history of Venice, which was published in 1673.

Sir Robert Honywood MP died in 1686 at the age of about 85, leaving all his property to his wife.

He married, in 1631, Frances Vane, daughter of Sir Henry Vane the Elder and Frances Darcy. She died in 1688.

They had a very numerous family, many of whom died young.
Robert, Charles Ludovic, Elizabeth and Frances are known to have reached adulthood; only Frances is definitely known to have outlived both her parents.
Charles Ludovic married Mary Clement and was the father of several children, including Sir Philip Honywood; he died shortly after his father.
Elizabeth married John Moore, son of the Irish writer Dorothy Durie (née King) and her first husband, Arthur Moore, fifth son of Garret Moore, 1st Viscount Moore and Mary Colley, and had issue. She died before 1688.

For citations, see

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir Robert Honywood was the oldest surviving son, second of 20 children born to Sir Robert Honywood of Petts Court, Charing, Kent, and his wife Alice, daughter of Sir Martin Barnham of Hollingbourne, Kent.

The two Sir Roberts have frequently been confused (including by several of the sources cited here); the father was knighted by King Charles at Canterbury on 15 June, 1625.

The younger, who was also styled as "of Petts Court," received the same honour at Oakfields on 7 July 1627, when he was described as ‘servant to the Queen [Elizabeth] of Bohemia’.

This Robert Honywood was born on 3 August, 1601 at his mother's family seat at Hollingbourne.

He attended Hart Hall, Oxford, in 1618,
and in 1620 was admitted to the Middle Temple.

As a young man, he fought at the rank of colonel in the wars of the Palatinate, the futile attempt to restore the lands taken by the Hapsburgs from the Elector Palatine Frederick and his wife Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James.
It was during this adventure that he was knighted.
At some point, he entered the personal service of Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, who described him as honest and faithful, and thus suitable to be trusted with confidential information.
It is clear that "Robin Honywood" was a confidential correspondent between Elizabeth and the highest levels of the English government.

As of 3 July, 1646, he still held this position, called officially "Superintendant of the Queen of Bohemia's Affairs," with the support of Parliament, which gave him a pass to transport himself and family into Holland on that business.

This was when he acquired his facility with languages. It is also likely that this is when he met Sir Walter Vane, an English soldier in the service of Holland, who became his brother-in-law.

On 3 April 1631, at her family home at Shipbourne, Kent, Sir Robert Honywood married Frances Vane, daughter of Sir Henry Vane, later to be named secretary of state to King Charles.
According their memorial inscription, they had 16 children: 9 sons and 7 daughters.
However, it seems only the names of 8 children have been found recorded in the parish registers of England. All, with the possible exception of a daughter Frances, predeceased their parents.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Some sources claim that, in her Will, Frances Honywood named a surviving daughter Frances as her executor. (A surviving Frances should not be confused with a son Francis who was baptised 24 September, 1637, and died the next year.)
The other children may have been born overseas and their names gone unrecorded or lost.
Of the sons, only two - Robert and Charles - are known to have had children, and daughter Elizabeth Moore. Others can be assumed to have died either young or unmarried.

Known children are:

Robert - bp. 18 May 1632 at St. Margaret's, Westminster (Shipbourne, Kent); m. Margaret; d. abt 1673
Henry - bp. 19 September 1633 at Charing, Kent
Goring - bur. 19 October 1637 at Charing Kent
Francis - bp 24 September 1637 at Charing Kent; bur. 7 May 1638 at Charing Kent
Anne - m. 26 October 1664 Thomas Hooke of Chester, Cheshire
Edward - bp. 3 October 1645 at Shipbourne Kent
Charles - bur. 1 October 1676 at Charing Kent
Elizabeth - m. John Moore of Ireland, son of Arthur Moore

Sir Robert Honywood's allegiance during the first civil war between King Charles and Parliament was strained.
Apparently he still maintained good relations with the king's sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and with his brothers, Sir Philip Honywood, who was a royalist agent.
On the other hand, his in-laws Sir Henry Vane, father and son, were high in the leadership of Parliament until the institution of the Protectorate.

Sir Robert's uncle, Sir Thomas Honywood, was also an active parliamentarian, who was raised to the Cromwellian House of Lords in 1657.
In 1659, Sir Thomas was influential in securing Sir Robert a place on the Council of State.

In June 1659, Sir Robert Honywood, Algernon Sidney, Edward Montagu, and Thomas Boone were chosen as Commissioners Plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace between the kings of Sweden and Denmark.
He remained in Denmark until after the fall of the parliamentarian commonwealth and restoration of the monarchy, bringing the peace treaty to a successful conclusion on 27 May 1660.
Sir Robert Honywood was among the signatories, after which he returned to England.
Samuel Pepys, newly raised to the place of Clerk of the Acts in the Royal Navy, signed an order for a ship to bring him home in August.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The work of the envoys went well, and was well-received by the restored royalist government, and promptly agreed to pay the Commissioners' substantial expenses.
Good relations between Sir Robert Honywood and Charles II improved "when the said Sir Robert Honywood caused his Majesty's Plate and Household-stuff to be delivered at Whitehall".
His primary loyalty seems to have been to the English state, not any party.

Sir Robert Honywood, like his uncle Sir (no longer Lord) Thomas, did not continue in public service. This may be because of the execution, on 14 June 1662, of his brother-in-law, Sir Henry Vane, whom Charles II considered "too dangerous to let live."

Sir Robert's cause was hurt further by his eldest son Robert, then in the service of the United Providences, when he refused the order to return to England during the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1666.
The younger Honywood's estate was forfeited.

In his retirement, Sir Robert Honywood translated Venetian diplomat Giovanni Battista Nani's 1662 work "The History of the Affairs of Europe in this Present Age".
He dedicated the book to his brother-in-law (Dear Brother) Sir Walter Vane, writing "I began it in the Circumstances of an uncomfortable old Age and ruined Fortune, brought upon me, rather by publick Calamity than private Vice, or domestick Prodigality. And I undertook it to divert the melancholy hours, arising from the consideration of either".

Sir Robert Honywood died on 15 April, 1686, and was buried at the church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Charing.
By his will, dated 10 December, 1672, he left all his possessions to his wife. She died on 17 February, 1688, and was buried with her husband.
Their memorial inscription reads:
"Sir Robert HONYWOOD knight, heir to his ancestors Estate at Petts near Charing in this County of Kent having passed all his youth in ye Court and Camp and some of his Elder years in ye Publique Service of his Countrey his latest in a Private Life tooke care in his life time to be Lay’d here and that his only and only Beloved wife Frances VANE, a Pious Exemplary woman in her generation should be layd by him. He died on ye 15th of Aprill 1686 in the 85th year of his age Shee died ye 17th February 1687 in the 74th year of her age. They had nine sons and seaven daughters of whose education they took great care. Walter Honywood Esquire, Eldest son of Robert Honywood Esquire, Eldest son of the said Sir Robert Honywood died 15th July 1686 in ye 22nd year of his age and is layed here also."

For citations see

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.