Sir William Herrick (28)

Father: John Eyrick or Heyrick(27)
Mother: Mary

Spouse: Joan (May) married 1596

Biography Notes...

He was a goldsmith in London, the "Principal Jeweler (or Teller) of the Crown", then became a courtier and politician in 1575. Queen Elizabeth commissioned him to an embassy to the Ottoman Porte in Turkey. Upon his return he was appointed a lucrative situation in the Exchequer which he held through the remainder of the reign of Elizabeth and the following reign of James. Due to his diplomatic success with the Turks, he was Knighted by James I in 1605. He was a member of Parliament 1601-1630. He also was involved in the settling of Virginia (He signed the Third Virginia Charter - see Virginia.).

Beau Manor


He lived in Leicestershire and London then bought Beau Manor Park, in the Parish of Loughboro and County of Leicestershire, from the Earl of Essex . "By honorable service and great diligence in business he acquired a large property and became one of the great men of his time". (from Knowltons, 1897 and Lord- Locke 1836)

BEAUMANOR.*-Beaumanor was leased, soon after 1592, to William Heyricke, of London esq., at an annual rent of £70' In 1595, he purchased Lord Essex's interest in Beaumanor, and took up his residence there, and held court.

Since that period, it has continued uninterruptedly in possession of his descendants. Beaumanor was granted him 18 August, 1598, by Letters Patent under the great seal, in fee, with free warren in his manor, under a yearly fee-farm-rent of £34.19s. 8d. He had a new grant of free-warren in 1616.

In a survey taken in 1656, Beaumanor is thus mentioned :  "This ancient Manor House of Beaumanor standeth and is seated in the Park called Beaumanor Park. The Manor House is moated round about with a very fair and clear moat; and a little distance from the said moat are barns and stables, and all other useful offices standing and seated; about which said building is a second moat; and round about this ancient Manor House lieth the said Park."

.Nichols gives a view of it in Hist. Leic. Vol. III, p. 147. The house was taken down in 1739, and rebuilt; and this also in 1847, when the present mansion was built.


In 1605 when he was knighted he was awarded the HERRICK COAT OF ARMS:

(see also


Thus my thinking is our coat of arms should be more like thus:

Arms: Argent (silver shield) a fesse (bar across the middle) vairé (variegated) or (gold) and gu (red). Thus, a silver shield, with a bar (variegated gold and red) across the middle.

See also

    Fesse  the term in fesse being proper only when there is but one row, i.e. placed across the fess-point (one third of the height of the escutcheon). In bar, or barwise, signifies the horizontal arrangement of charges in two or more rows. Thus there really should be one row, not two? Also, in 1635 (on the right above), the two bars were inverses of each other. Maybe in this fashion the two bars were considered one? The colors are correct with the first 'up point' labeled "G" for red and to the right "or" for gold, and the shield "A" for silver. 

    Vair (from Latin varius "variegated") is the heraldic representation of patches of squirrel fur in an alternating pattern, sometimes of blue and white [gold and red in our case]. 
Regarding vairé (a fur):   The origin of the name is not clear, but the most probable conjecture is that it is derived from a little animal whose fur was much in request, the ver, vairé, or vair, differently spelt, and which appears in Latin as varus. The word seems to have been used (independently of heraldry) for fur, and the following curious error may be noted in passing. The familiar fairy tale of Cinderella was brought to us from the French, and the slippers made of this costly fur, written probably ver or vairé for fur, was mistaken for verré (glass), and thus erroneously translated 'glass slippers,' which of course was an impossible material, but has been repeated in all nursery tale books.

Coat: A bulls head couped (base cut with straight line) argent (silver) horned and eared, sable (black) gorged (about the neck) with a chaplet (garland) of roses ppr. ("party per r") ...divided in some manner... the garland separating the bull from the shield?, but more likely the bull above the shield with a space in between (see the coat of arms in the middle, above )

Motto: Virtus omnia nobilitat ("Virtue in all Nobility", "Nobility is always Virtuous", or the best: "Virtue ennobles all").

He married Joan, daughter of Richard May, Esq. on May 6, 1596 and they had 10 children. He died at the age of 93.

(from Knowltons, 1897). 


And from "A Genealogical Register" by Gen. Jedediah Herrick, the following:

40. 12. SIR WILLIAM HERRICK; d. Mar. 2. 1652-3. aged 96; Leicester, London and Beau Manor Park; member of Parliament from 1601 to 1630 ; Knighted 1605; was a successful courtier and politician from 1575, when he first attached himself to the Court of Queen Elizabeth, by whom he was commissioned on an important embassy to the Ottomon Porte; and as a reward for his singular diplomatic success with the hitherto intractable Turk, he was appointed to a lucrative situation in the  Exchequer, which he held through the remainder of this, and the following reign of James. 

'By honorable service, and great diligence in business, he acquired a very large property, and became one of the great monied men of his time. He had early purchased the estate of the unfortunate Earl of Essex, at Beau Manor Park. in the Parish of Loughboro', and County of Leicester, which is still in the possession of his descendants in the direct line, * and has been, for the last two hundred and fifty years, the Headquarters of our race. The civil wars found William exempted, by great age, from the responsibilities, although it could not protect him from the sufferings and losses, incident to that stormy and distracted period, and attaching to him, especially as a man of wealth, and an old and faithful servant of the Crown." - J. H. 

"William [40], the youngest son of John Heyricke and his wife Marie, was born in the year 1557 that is fifteen years subsequently to the birth of his brother Nicolas to whom we have just referred. In 1575 he was in London as an apprentice with that brother to the trade of a goldsmith, and in 1582 he was still with him, for his father then wrote to him desiring him to be diligent to please his master and mistress,' though he be your brother, & she your sister in-law."

"In, or before, 1590 Mr. William Heyricke had commenced business on his own account his address then being 'gooldsmyth at the Rose in Cheapside,' and a few years subsequently, in 1602-3, we [see] him supplying plate to the Corporation of Leicester. The business of a goldsmith in those days, before the establishment of the modern system of Banking, combined with it many of the features of that profession. In the letters which follow we shall find many allusions to the lending and transmission of money - cattle dealers and others were always ready to avail themselves of the facility and security offered, by which they could pay their money into a person's hands in London and receive it in the country, or vice versa, on the production of a written order, or as we now say, a draft or a cheque.

" Mr. Wm. Heyricke's success in his career was great and rapid: in 1595 he bought that beautiful estate at Beaumanor, which has ever since been in the hands of his descendants, and which again fortunately brought him and his successors into close intercourse with Leicester. He shortly after that event married Miss Joan May, the daughter of Richd. May, Esq., a citizen of London, and sister of Sir Humphrey May, sometime Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Mr. Wm. Heyricke soon became a freeman of Leicester, presenting the Mayor with a 'dosson of sylver spoones' as his fee. In 1601 he was elected one of the members of Parliament for the Borough: about that time he was 'ambassador from Queen Elizabeth to the Porte.' In 1605 he was knighted by James I., and in that year was again returned to Parliament: he held an office in the royal jewel house, being called by the Chamberlains of the Borough 'The King's Mats Jueller' in their accounts for 1603-4, when they presented him with a complimentary present of white and claret wine with sugar and nutmeg: he was a Teller of the Exchequer at about the same period: in fact he had then become a most important personage in London--one of the: many influential men who met daily in the nave of S. Paul's Cathedral to transact their business--one of the great capitalists and the court banker of the day, whose monetary transactions were large, and extended far and near. Owing no doubt to the good principles instilled, and the good, honest, and straightforward example always before his eyes, in his Leicester home, his prosperity did not weaken his domestice affections or his public spirit; the former was evidenced by the never forgotten tokens of his kindly remembrance which were regularly transmitted by him from London to his country relations, and by the unhesitating way (which always met with as quick a response) in which many of them applied to him in any emergency for his advice and assistance; and the latter is no less evident from the free and ready use of his great influence to further the public interest of his native town on many important occasions: all this will be clearly deduced from the collection of letters shortly to be given, and which letters render further remarks upon these characterists superfluous in this place.

" In or shortly before the year 1613 he removed to Wood Street, to which address his London letters were after that date directed 

"After his purchase of Beaumanor he came down frequently into Leicestershire
to visit his new property, and to enjoy the shooting. He took much pride in improving the estate, in planting fruit and other trees, and in adding to the comely decency of his parish church there, as several existing memorials of him can still testify In 1616 he presented to the town of Leicester the portrait of Sir T. White, one of its worthies and benefactors, which is still preserved in the Town Hall, and in 1620 he was elected for the third time its representative in Parliament. Whenever he visited Leicester the Mayor and his brethren were not slack in testifying the respect they felt for him and their high appreciation of the benefits he had conferred upon the town. In 1621-2 the Chamberlains charge in their accounts:-

Item payd for a gallon of wine & suger given to

Sr William Hericke and his Ladye at the Angell

the xxxist July ............................ .

and similar entries occur upon other occasions .

"When Sir Wm. Heyricke finally retired from the busy scenes and duties of his London life to the more peaceful and tranquil enjoyments of Beaumanor Park. I cannot with certainty say, but it would most probably be when he gave up his seat in Parliament in the year 1623. From that time to the date of his death in 1652-3 he appears to have passed his time chiefly in the country, a not distant neighbor of his native town which he loved so well, and surrounded by all that make a revered and respected old age thankful and happy.

"The portrait of Sir Wm. Herrick when he was thirty years of age hangs in the Leicester' Town Hall: it was painted, as the date upon it testifies, ' An. 1594,' but when and how it came into the possession of the Corporation remains to be told. He was buried near the other members of his family in S. Martin's Church, Leicester, where his memorial stone is still preserved. The beautiful estate of Beaumanor has, since Sir Wm. Heyricke's death, been held by six other Wm. Herricks (his descendants) in succession, the last being the late Wm. Perry-Herrick, Esq., whose memory, fragrant with many princely deeds of public munificence, and with still more numerous untold acts of private kindness, will long live in the remembrance and gratitude of his Leicestershire neighbors .


The following was gleaned from a biographical sketch of Sir William Herrick in a little book entitled "Famous London Merchants", by H. R. Fox Bourne. [New York; Harper & Brothers, 1869] 

* * * .. To this Nicholas Herrick, his younger brother, William the most illustrious member of the whole family, who was born in 1557, was apprenticed in 1573 or 1574· The lad was in London two or three years before he could be spared from the shop to go down on a visit to his parents. That he did in the autumn of 1576:

 'I give you hearty thanks,' wrote old John Herrick to Nicholas, 'that you would send him to Leicester to see us, for your mother, and I did long to see him, and so did his brothers and sisters. We thought that he had never been so tall as he is, nor never would have been.'

The tall lad was not able to stay long in Leicester. He soon returned to London, to be followed by the loving thoughts of his parents. Here is a part of a letter written in 1578 by the mother to her loving son William Herrick, in London, dwelling with Nicholas Herrick, in Cheap:

'William, with my hearty commendations, and glad to hear of your good health, etc.; and this is to give you thanks for my pomegranate and red herring you sent me, wishing you to give my daughter [Ursula] Hawes thanks for the pomegranate and box of marmalade that she sent me. Furthermore I have sent you a pair of knit hose, and a pair of knit kersey gloves. I would have you send, me word how they serve you; for if the gloves be too little for you, you should give them to one of your brother Hawes's children, and I would send you another pair.'

In a letter written March, 1580, we find John Herrick thanking William, and his brothers and sisters in London, for 'all their tokens. 'And we be sorry,' he proceeds, 'that you have been at so much cost as you were at for your oysters and lampreys you sent. A quarter of them had been sufficient to send at one time. I would have you be a good husband and save your money. My cousin, Thomas Herrick, and his wife, hath sent you a gammon of bacon, with commendation to your sister Mary and you.' more letters

On the death of Nicholas Herrick, in 1592, his real successor in the goldsmith's business in Cheapside was his younger brother and former apprentice, William.
The trade of a goldsmith was then one of the most lucrative and honorable that an Englishman could follow. It meant much more than dealing in jewelry and trinkets. The old Goldsmith's Guild had the exclusive power of coining money; and to its members belonged especially that irregular sort of banking, which, before it was assigned to a particular class of traders, was also often resorted to by great merchants like Whittington and Gresham. The goldsmiths, whose shops were generally in Cheapside, were great money lenders and the money-changers. Kings and nobles, country gentlemen and merchants, if in need of cash, brought them not only their jewels and trinkets, but often their title-deeds and written bonds, to be held in security for the coin which they required to borrow. Thus they were something between the pawnbrokers and the bankers of modern times. All who needed money, and to whom it was safe to lend it, borrowed from them, and paid good interest for the loans, often forfeiting their property when they were unable to pay back the debts at the proper time, and thus adding yet more to the wealth of the lenders.

Among the goldsmiths of this sort, in the time of Queen Elizabeth, William Herrick came to be the most eminent. The Queen herself was one of his best customers. Employing Gresham, Ducket, and others, to conduct her foreign monetary business, she went to Herrick for the small loans and minor bargains to which, her exchequer being often nearly empty, she very often had to resort. Could we discover the ledgers which old John Herrick bade his son keep carefully, we should see a wonderful array of loans, not only to Elizabeth, but also to nearly everyone of her famous courtiers, the great Earl of Leicester, and his noble nephew, Sir Philip Sidney, the great Earl of Essex, and his worthier rival Sir Walter Raleigh, and half a hundred other men of excellent wit and excellent grace; men whose courtly bearing, noble thought, and noble action, make the age of Queen Elizabeth the most illustrious in our history. 

So high was Elizabeth's opinion of Herrick, that she once sent him an ambassador to the Sultan of Turkey. But she generally found occupation enough for him in his proper trade. To her and to her subjects he lent money almost without limit; and out of the interest thereon, as well as out of the profits of his ordinary work as a goldsmith, he was rich enough in 1595 to buy Beau Manor Park, in Leicestershire. In 1601 he became member of Parliament for Leicester; and on that occasion, we are told, 'he gave to the town in kindness twelve silver spoons.

In 1603, Queen Elizabeth died, and James VI. of Scotland, became King of England as James I. The new King in consideration of his long and faithful service to his late mistress, continued to employ Herrick in the same sort of service, and dignified it by conferring upon him the title of Principal Jeweler or Teller to the Crown. 
Under King James, however, Herrick had a friendly rival in a man in some respects worthier and abler than himself. This man was the famous George Heriot. Heriot, born in 1563, had carried on the same sort of trade, regular and irregular, for more than a dozen years, under King James in Scotland. His little shop or booth, measuring about seven feet square, was the richest spot in Edinburgh, the great resort of King James and his crowd of spendthrift courtiers. Heriot followed him to open a larger shop 'foranent the new Exchange,' which was just being set up in the Strand, on the site of the present Adelphi, and to share with William Herrick the lucrative office of Jeweler to the King of England. Heriot, in the Strand, and Herrick, in Cheapside, ran a race of wealth together. Heriot was plain George Heriot to the last. But on Easter Tuesday, in 1605, says an envious letter writer of the time: 'one Master William Herrick, a goldsmith in Cheapside, was knighted for making a hole in the great diamond the King did wear. The party little expected the honor; but he did his work so well as won the King to an extraordinary liking of it.'

James I. knighted men for smaller services than making a hole in a great diamond; and Sir William Herrick well deserved his honor. In the same year he again entered Parliament as a member for Leicester. He was also chosen alderman of Farrington Without, but from this office, as well as from employment as Sheriff of London, he was afterward excused, on payment of £300, 'in respect,' as it was said, ' that the said Sir William is the King's sworn servant, and can not so necessarily afford the daily service as behoveth.'

During the next dozen years and more, Sir William Herrick. was in almost daily service at the Court. Great sums of money were lent by him to the King in formal ways for public and private uses; and he also lent much money in the less regular ways of personal friendship. 'Since my being teller,' he wrote in a petition dated 1616, 'I have lent his Majesty divers great sums of money gratis, which none of my fellows ever did, to my loss and disadvantage of at least £3000' Yet all these good offices, he complained, were forgotten, and the ungrateful monarch allowed him even to be defrauded and tricked out of his due. A blunder had been made by a clerk copying a deed, which, unless corrected, would cause him a considerable loss every year 'And yet, such is my misfortune,' he said, 'that this little and just favor is not yet allowed me.'

That petition and others of the same sort were answered with gracious words and large promises, and Herrick continued to find means for the extravagant indulgences of the King and his son Charles, afterward Charles I. He was a rich man, however, and found good use for his riches in charitable works and schemes for local improvement in Leicester and its neighborhood. In that neighborhood, at his fine estate of Beau Manor Park, he seems to have settled down, as a retired merchant of great wealth, in or near the year 1624. There he lived splendidly and happily, dealing kindly with his tenants, and winning their hearty love and esteem. At every Christmas time these tenants crowded up with presents, betokening their gratitude. Apples and cakes, puddings and sausages, chickens, capons, turkeys, geese, and pigs, here and there 'one pound of currants', or 'a bottle of claret wine,' are among the articles which the good and careful old man noted down as received from his various dependents.

Sir William Herrick's pleasant life was shared by his good wife, the Lady Joan, famous in her day for her piety and her beauty. She had some beauty, too, if there is. truth in an old portrait of hers which bears this motto: 

'Art may her outside thus present to view, 
How fair within no art or tongue can show.'

(see it below)

"Something of her inner character, however, may be gathered from a letter written by her to her husband when she was absent from him in 1616: 'Sweetheart,' she there says,' I hope you remember Mr. Votier's Godly Use of Prayer' every morning and evening, with all your company. As you love God, leave it not undone; it shall bring a blessing on you and yours.

Sir William Herrick lived in well-employed retirement for nearly thirty years."

Sir William Heyricke, Knight of Beau Manor, in the County of Leicester, died at Beau Manor, when he was 96 years of age. He lived to see William Herrick, of Beau Manor, Esq., his son; and his son's son William Heyricke, of Beau Manor, Esq.; and his son's son's son, William Herricke. of Beau Manor, Esq., yet living, aged 37 years. These four William Herrickes did frequently meet together in the great chamber at Beau Manor. It was the youngest that did write this account; and I was, when Sir William Herricke died, three or four years old, and have had three children born at my manor of Beau Manor. (Memorandum left by William Heyrick, who died in 1705, dated 1688).

Of his son Henry Heyrick, Sir William Herrick wrote thus:  "Thursday, 16th of August, 1604, my wife were brought a bead of a fifthe sonne; Sir David Murray, Mr. John Spilman, and my lady Aston, his gossips. He is nursed at Thissilworth, at 2s. 6d. a week. His name is commanded by Prince Henry to be Henry; and Sir John Spilman would need have him John.. And that he was named Henry." (Lady Aston was wife to Sir Roger Aston, master of the great wardrobe to his majesty.)

Sir William m. 1596, Joan, dau. of Richard May, Esq., of London, and his wife dau. of Hillderson of Devonshire, who was b. 1578, and d. July 3, 1645.


* [Beau Manor in 1885 was] held by the widow of William Perry-Herrick, Esq., and at her death passed out of the name of Herrick.





















Click here to send me changes...