William Hakewill

William Hakewill

William Hakewill (1574 – 1655), was a legal antiquarian and M.P.

Born in Exeter, Devon, son of John Hakewill and his wife Thomasine (née Periam). Educated, according to Anthony Wood at Exeter College, Oxford (though he did not take a degree), he later studied law at Lincoln's Inn.

Hakewill became Member of Parliament for Bossiney in Cornwall in 1601, probably nominated for the seat by its patron, his maternal uncle Sir William Peryam, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Though a tyro MP Hakewill was active and spoke out against the excessive granting of monopolies. He also delivered speeches against allowing the export of ordnance to Spain and in favour of keeping a strong navy.

Hakewill was called to the bar in 1606, was a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn by 1616 and Lent Reader in 1625. Described by the antiquarian Anthony Wood as "a grave and judicious counsellor" but "always a puritan", Hakewill was a friend of William Prynne and an associate of John Selden whose critical views on the royal prerogative he shared. He published "The Liberty of the Subject against the pretended Power of Impositions" (1641), "The manner how Statutes are enacted in Parliament by Passing of Bills"(1641) and "Modus tenendi Parliamentum; or, the old Manner of holding Parliaments in England"(1659).

Hakewill was also an early member of the Society of Antiquaries, a friend of Sir Robert Cotton, a kinsman and executor of Sir Thomas Bodley and the elder brother of the author and divine George Hakewill. In 1617 he married Elizabeth Woodhouse, a daughter of Sir Henry Woodhouse of Waxham, Norfolk, by his second wife Cecily Gresham. Her elder half-sister Ann was the third wife of Sir Julius Caesar, Master of the Rolls, to whom Hakewill addressed gratulatory Latin verses (now in the British Library).

In the latter part of his life Hakewill lived at The Hale in Wendover, Buckinghamshire and was survived by at least two sons, William and Robert. His will left instructions that expenditure on his funeral was not to exceed £40.

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