ABT 1496 - Wales, South Yorkshire, England
25 JAN 1567 - London, England
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William Hewett was Lord Mayor of London in 1559 and Master of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers.
In 1528 William was recorded as one of the charter members of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers. The Clothworkers were incorporated by King Henry VIII and combined two earlier guilds into one, The Fullers (1480) and The Shearmen (1508). William had probably apprenticed in one of those earlier trades to be able to join the charter as a full member. William began taking on his own apprentices in 1530 and was made a Junior Warden in 1532.
The Clothworkers finished woven wool cloth by fulling it to mat the fibers and remove grease, drying it, raising the nap and shearing it to a uniform finish. The first Ordinances of The Clothworkers Company attempted to regulate clothworking by maintaining standards and protecting approved practices. Famous Clothworkers included two Kings of England; James I (1603-1625) and Edward VII (1901-1910).
By 1538 the Clothworkers were acknowledged as one of the twelve head companies of London and members of the guild became eligible for high ranking city government positions. William Hewett became First Warden in 1540 and was elected Master of the Company in 1543 after John Tolous left the position to become Sheriff of London.
About 1545 William married Alice Leveson, daughter of Nicholas Leveson, Mercer and Merchant of the Staple of Calais. Nicholas had also been Sheriff of London in 1535. Around the same time William began apprenticing Edward Osborne. William and Alice had many children but all except a daughter named Anne died very young. Anne almost perished in infancy as well when she was accidentally dropped into the Thames River by her nursemaid. According to family tradition, and first printed in 1720 by John Strype, Edward Osborne saved the child's life by diving into the river. After that William treated Edward as a son and when Anne grew up she and Edward were married.
William served as a City Auditor in 1549 and was elected Alderman of the Vintry Ward in September of 1550. He refused the post and was sent to Newgate prison until he changed his mind. William was apparently reluctant to enter politics but became swept along in a game of thrones. As Edward VI's death looked near William was summoned along with a number of other leading merchants by the Duke of Northumberland to sign letters to install Lady Jane Grey as Queen after the 15 year-old king died with no heir. Jane was proclaimed Queen on July 10th, 1553 and removed just nine days later when Mary Tudor was proclaimed. During that time William Hewett transferred from Vintry Ward to Candlewick. William was probably present with the other Aldermen on August 3rd when Mary arrived in London and was presented with the scepter.
Mary was an unpopular Queen because of her negative attitude toward to English Reformation and attempts to restore Roman Catholicism in the country. Riots began in the city almost immediately. The Duke of Northumberland was executed for his role in trying to install Jane Grey, and many city officials were replaced. After a chaotic month the sheriff's position was empty and William Hewett was installed on September 28th. On November 4th he was granted a Coat of Arms. The following January word of Wyatt's Rebellion against Mary spread and William along with the mayor secretly arrested sympathizers in the city. Each Alderman was asked to raise 1,000 fighting men from his ward and days later when a force of 4,000 men led by Thomas Wyatt tried to enter the city over London Bridge they were repelled and then successfully defeated when they marched around the city to try and enter at Ludgate. The rebel leaders were held for trial and executed on February of 1554. Lady Jane Grey and the other officials being held in the Tower of London at that time were also ordered to be beheaded. Some accounts say that William Hewett escorted Jane to the executioners block and others claim that it was the Lieutenant of the Tower. Either way, as Sheriff, William was tied to the reign of Bloody Mary.
Mary's rule lasted only five years before her death in 1558. Her half-sister, Elizabeth I returned stability to London and all of England. William Hewett became the first Lord Mayor of London appointed under Elizabeth and the first Clothworker to hold the office. His acts as mayor included laws to control consumption of alcohol, and the overpricing of goods. He also worked to better food and fuel supplies in the city and crack down on illegal gambling houses. William was knighted on January 21st, 1560. During his term as mayor he was also appointed President of St. Thomas's Hospital in Southwark and remained so until his death.
In the year following his term as mayor William's daughter married to Edward Osborne and his wife died. A large funeral procession buried Alice at St. Martin Orgar church in April 1561. In 1565 William was named as a Governor of the Highgate School, a free grammer school in the London suburbs that still operates in 2019.
William made a will on January 3rd, 1567 and died on January 25th. He left most of his estate to his daughter and Edward Osborne and also lands to his brother Thomas and nephew Henry. Many other distant family members received small gifts. He also made gifts to the Clothworks, St. Martin Orgar church, the Candlewick Ward poor fund, the poor of Wales and Harthill, the poor of St. Thomas's Hospital and the poor prisoners of Newgate and Ludgate. William was buried near Alice at St. Martin Orgar church. The church was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666.
- The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 49 Piece Description: Piece 49: Stonard (1567) Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Prerogative Court of Canterbury: Wills of Selected Famous Persons. Digitized images. Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 1. The National Archives, Kew, England.Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers. Digitized images. Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11. The National Archives, Kew, England.
- Miles Files, Eastern Shore Public Library, http://espl-genealogy.org
- Wikipedia contributors. "William Hewett (Lord Mayor)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Oct. 2018. Web. 6 Feb. 2019.
- Wikipedia contributors. "St Martin Orgar." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Jan. 2018. Web. 6 Feb. 2019.
- Stow, John, 1525?-1605, and John Mottley. A Survey of the Cities of London And Westminster, Borough of Southwark, And Parts Adjacent ..: Being an Improvement of Mr. Stow's, And Other Surveys, by Adding Whatever Alterations Have Happened In the Said Cities, &c. to the Present Year ... London: Printed for T. Read, 1733/35.
- Harrison, William Welsh, 1850-. Harrison, Waples And Allied Families: Being the Ancestry of George Leib Harrison of Philadelphia And of His Wife Sarah Ann Waples. Philadelphia: Printed for private circulation only, 1910.