Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Peyton, John (1544-1630)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1166056Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 45 — Peyton, John (1544-1630)1896Bertha Porter

PEYTON, Sir JOHN (1544–1630), governor of Jersey, was the second son of John Peyton of Knowlton in Kent (d. 26 Oct. 1558), by Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Tyndale, K.B. Before 1564 he went to Ireland to serve under his father's friend and neighbour, Sir Henry Sidney [q. v.] of Penshurst. In 1568 he was again in Ireland with Sidney, then lord deputy, and became a member of his household and the occasional bearer of his despatches to England. In 1585 he served with the expedition to the Netherlands under the Earl of Leicester. In December, Peyton was garrisoned in the fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, and did good service during the following year, in spite of great difficulties through want of supplies (Peyton to Leicester, 11 Oct. 1586; Cotton MS. Galba, C. X. f. 59). In 1586 he received the honour of knighthood. In July 1588 he was appointed colonel in the forces levied for the defence of the queen's person in the threatened attack of the Spanish armada.

In 1593 he was granted the receivership of the counties of Norfolk and Huntingdon, and of the city of Norwich. In June 1597 he was appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London. When Raleigh was under his care in 1603, the prisoner's ‘strange and dejected mind’ gave Peyton much trouble; Raleigh used to send for him five or six times a day in his passions of grief (Addit. MS. 6177, ff. 127, 128).

Early in March 1603, when the queen was lying dangerously ill and the question of the succession was engaging general attention, Peyton, as lieutenant of the Tower, received communications from King James of Scotland. But he avoided all political intrigues (Correspondence of James VI, p. liii). On the death of the queen on 23 March, and the proclamation of King James by the council, Peyton at once despatched his son to Edinburgh to assure the king of his loyalty. He was not, however, sworn a member of the privy council, and on 30 July was removed from the lieutenancy of the Tower, and appointed, in accordance apparently with his own wish, to the less conspicuous post of governor of Jersey (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–10, pp. 25–6; Addit. MS. 6177, f. 128). He took the usual oath before the royal court of Jersey on 10 Sept. 1603.

In the following month some old conversation he had had about the succession was raked up at court, and his loyalty was called in question. Cecil informed him of his danger; Peyton at once furnished a defence, dated 10 Oct. 1603, enclosing a full narrative of the conversation, and the matter dropped (cf. Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, i. 294–7). In January 1603–4 he is stated to have ‘been disgraced for entertaining intelligence between Cobham and Raleigh,’ with whom his son was very intimate (Edwards, Life of Raleigh, i. 373).

Peyton's tenure of the governorship of Jersey was far from peaceful. The island at the time of his appointment was strictly presbyterian. But Peyton, as an ardent episcopalian, endeavoured to alter the form of the church government (Heylyn, Aerius Redivivus, p. 396). Complaints were made by both parties to the king in council, and all were summoned to London in June 1623. The presbyterians were divided among themselves, and Peyton triumphed. Canons establishing episcopalian government were approved on 30 June 1623, and David Bandinel [q. v.] was appointed dean.

Disputes in civil matters also occupied the governor's attention. With the leader of the popular party, Sir Philip de Carteret (1584–1643) [q. v.], and with John Herault [q. v.], bailiff of Jersey, he was involved in constant strife. Peyton claimed the right of appointment to civil offices in the islands, and in 1617 the council declared that the charge of the military forces alone rested in the governor. The bailiff was entitled to control the judiciary and civil service. In 1621 Peyton, however, succeeded in getting Herault suspended from office and imprisoned in England. In 1624, when the case against Herault was heard in London, he was cleared of blame, and Peyton was ordered to pay him the arrears of official salary.

Peyton left Jersey finally in 1628, when his son was appointed his lieutenant. Since his wife's death, in February 1602–3, he fixed his private residence, when in England, at Doddington in the Isle of Ely. He died on 4 Nov. 1630, and was buried at Doddington on 15 Dec. Wotton (Baronetage, ed. Kimber and Johnson, ii. 340) states that he was ninety-nine at the time of his death, and on the monument of his granddaughter, Mrs. Lowe, at Oxford, he is stated to have been in his hundred-and-fifth year. He himself, however, gives his age as seventy-nine in February 1624, and as eighty in December of the same year. He may therefore safely be concluded to have died at eighty-six.

Peyton was regarded with affection by such friends as Sir Philip Sidney, Peregrine Bertie, lord Willoughby de Eresby [q. v.], and Henry Cuff or Cuffe [q. v.], Essex's secretary (Correspondence of James VI, Camd. Soc. p. 92). In Sloane MS. 2442 is a collection made by Peyton of ‘several instructions and directions given to divers Ambassadors and other commissioners appointed to treat with foreign princes about affairs of state, and also some things concerning the Island of Jersey and Count Mansfield,’ &c. It was presented to Charles II by his grandson, Algernon Peyton, D.D., rector of Doddington. He married on 8 June 1578, at Oatwell in Norfolk, Dorothy, only child of Edward Beaupré of Beaupré Hall, Oatwell (by his second wife, Catharine Bedingfield), and widow of Sir Robert Bell (d. 1577) [q. v.] Her large property gave Peyton a position in the county.

His only son, Sir John Peyton (1579–1635), was born in 1579, was admitted fellow-commoner of Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1594, and was knighted on 28 March 1603. He served in the Low Countries in 1612 and 1617, and from 1628 to 1633 was appointed lieutenant-governor of Jersey on behalf of his father. He died in 1634–5, having married, on 25 Nov. 1602, Alice, second daughter of his cousin, Sir John Peyton of Isleham [see under Peyton, Sir Edward]. He was noticeable for his literary tastes, which secured for him the friendship of his neighbour, Sir Robert Bruce Cotton [q. v.] Among the manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library (2044, K.k, v. 2), is ‘The First Part of the Observations of Sir John Peyton the younger, knt., Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, during his travailes.’ It was apparently written in Jersey in 1618, from notes taken when abroad in 1598 and 1599. By his will, dated 24 Feb. 1634–5 (P. C. C. 33, Sadler), he appointed his wife Alice his sole executrix; she was buried at Doddington on 28 March 1637.

[Waters's Genealogical Memoir of the Chesters of Chicheley, pp. 287–98, 310–22; Le Quesne's Constitutional Hist. of Jersey, pp. 165–173, 215–62; Falle's Account of Jersey, ed. Darell, pp. 131–2, 224–5, 410; Cal. State Papers, 1581–1635; Collins's Peerage, 1812, ii. 10; Nichols's Progresses of James I, p. 58; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. ii. 188; Ely Episcopal Records, pp. 283, 288, 289; Rymer's Fœdera (original edit.), xviii. 570, 580, 838; Memoir of William Madison Peyton, p. 323; Hoskin's Charles II in the Channel Islands, pp. 28–33.]

B. P.