Guy, Henry (DNB00)

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GUY, HENRY (1631–1710), politician, only son of Henry Guy by Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Wethered of Ashlyns, Great Berkhampstead,was born in that parish on 16 June 1631. The father died in 1640, the mother in 1690, aged 90, when she was buried in the chancel of Tring Church, and her son erected a monument to her memory. Henry was admitted at the Inner Temple in November 1652, but adopted politics as a profession. He spent some time at Christ Church, Oxford, and was created M.A. in full convocation on 28 Sept. 1663. He afterwards held an excise office in the north of England, and ingratiated himself with the electors of the borough of Hedon in Yorkshire, where he was admitted a free burgess on 2 Aug. 1669. On 8 March 1670 he was elected its member in parliament, and continued to represent it until 1695. He again sat for it from 1702 till 1705, when his parliamentary career ended. He presented to the borough at different dates a large silver cup, a silver salver, and a very fine silver mace. On the corporation in trust for several objects he settled the annual sum of 20l., and in 1693 he erected for its inhabitants' a very large and convenient town hall.' His first appointment about the court was to the post of cupbearer to the queen, but he was soon admitted among the boon companions of Charles II. On the resignation in 1679 of Colonel Silas Titus, he became groom of the bedchamber, but sold his office by December of that year. In March 1679 he was appointed secretary to the treasury, and the payments from the public funds passed through his hands until Christmas 1688. Mr. Akerman edited from a manuscript in the possession of Mr. William Selby Lowndes for the Camden Society in 1851, as vol. lii. of their publications, the details of 'moneys received and paid for secret services of Charles II and James II from 30 March 1679 to 25 December 1688,' which consisted of an account rendered by Guy some time after the accession of William III. In the 'Correspondence of Henry, Earl of Clarendon' (ed. 1828), i. 654-5, are printed the particulars of sums paid to him for secret service money for one year, to 7 March 1688.' When Henry St. John first came to court, Guy especially warned him 'to be very moderate and modest in applications for friends, and very greedy and importunate' when he asked for himself. He seems to have acted on the same principle himself. On the death of Henrietta Maria in 1669 he obtained a grant of the manor of Great Tring, and on the estate he built, from the design of Sir Christopher Wren, an elegant house 'and adorned it with gardens of unusual form and beauty,’ the cost of which, according to popular rumour, was borne by his pickings from the treasury. This property he sold in 1702. In 1680 he acquired from Catherine of Braganza a lease for thirty years of the manor of Hemel Hempstead, and in 1686 some lands in Ireland were ordered by the king's letter to be transferred to him. In 1686 he was also residuary legatee to Thomas Naylor, a man of much wealth, who was buried in Westminster Abbey on 12 Nov. 1686. William III dined with him at Tring in June 1690. In March 1691 he was made a commissioner of customs, but in the following June returned to the secretary ship of the treasury. His displacement was talked of in February 1695, and when the charge of having accepted a bribe of two hundred guineas was brought home to him, he was forced to resign and was committed to the Tower (16 Feb.) In 1696 he guaranteed, with many other members of his party, a loan from the Dutch government of 300,000l. He was reckoned a high churchman, and he allowed 20l. a year to the curacy of Tring. He died on 23 Feb. 1710, and gossip assigned to William Pulteney, afterwards Earl of Bath, 'the greater part of his estate,' which was valued, in common belief, at 100,000l. He left 500l. a year and 40,000l. in cash to Pulteney, who also succeeded him in the good graces of the electors of Hedon. Henry Savile, writing to Lord Halifax in 1679, praises Guy's 'steady friendship,' with the warning that 'whatever disadvantages his exterior may show to so nice a man as you,' a fitter man for a friend could not be found in England. Halifax two years later acknowledges Guy's superiority in understanding 'the methods of the court.'

[Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, i. 510; Cussans's Hertfordshire, iii.pt.i. 16, 23, 82, 152; Students of Inner Temple, p. 344; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, 1857, ii. 22, 52, 250-1, iii. 443, 458, iv. 92, 560, vi. 695; Hatton Corresp. (Camden Soc.), i. 183; Savile Corresp. (Camden Soc.), pp. 121, 129,261 ; Letters of H. Prideaux( Camden Soc.), p. 130; Swift's Works, ed. 1883, xvi. 374-5; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), ii. 272; Athenæ Oxon. iv. 627; Macaulay's History, ed. 1871, iv. 129; Poulson's Holderness,ii. 154, 174; Hasted's Kent, i. 174; Chester's Registers of Westminster Abbey, p. 217; Hist. MSS. Comm. Appendix to the 4th Rep. 298, App. to 7th Rep. 374, 794-7, App. to 8th Rep. 38]

W. P. C.