Hicks, Michael (DNB00)

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HICKS, Sir MICHAEL (1543–1612), secretary to Lord Burghley, born 21 Oct. 1543, was eldest son of Robert Hicks of Bristol, Gloucestershire, at one time a London merchant. His mother was Juliana, daughter and heiress of William Arthur, esq., of Clapham, Surrey. Baptist Hicks or Hickes [q.v.] , afterwards first Viscount Campden, was a younger brother. Michael spent some time at Trinity College, Cambridge, and entered Lincoln's Inn on 20 March 1563–4 (Lincoln's Inn Reg.) At an early age he seems to have been received into the household of Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burghley, and ultimately became one of Cecil's two chief secretaries. The position gave him much influence at Elizabeth's court, and being ‘very witty and jocose’ he was popular in society. After Burghley's death Sir Robert Cecil, his successor as lord treasurer, retained Hicks's services. Hicks appeared to have possessed much financial ability, and his personal friends sought his aid and counsel in their pecuniary difficulties. He lent Bacon money in 1593, and between that year and 1608 Bacon sent him several appeals for further loans. Hicks proved a very friendly creditor. Bacon invariably wrote to him in amicable terms, and urged him to preserve good relations between himself and Sir Robert Cecil. To Fulke Greville [q.v.] , another friend, Hicks also rendered like services.

Hicks was wealthy enough to purchase two estates, Beverstone, Gloucestershire, and Ruckholt, Essex. The latter, which he acquired of a stepson about 1598, he made his chief home. He entertained James I there on 16 June 1604, and on 6 Aug. the king knighted him at Theobalds. On 17 May 1603 he became receiver-general for the county of Middlesex, but seems to have surrendered the post on 12 July 1604. In June 1604 he was granted the site and demesne of the priory of Lenton, Nottinghamshire. He died at Ruckholt 15 Aug. 1612, and was buried in the chancel of the neighbouring church of Leyton, where an elaborate monument in alabaster, with recumbent figures of himself (in full armour) and of his widow, was erected to his memory. Hicks's house at Ruckholt was demolished in 1757. According to Wotton, Hicks ‘was well skilled in philological learning, and had read over the polite Roman historians and moralists; out of which authors he made large collections, especially of the moral and wise sentences out of which he filled divers paper-books, still remaining in the family.’ An interesting letter from Hicks to the Earl of Shrewsbury about Raleigh's trial in 1603 appears in Lodge's ‘Illustrations,’ iii. 214.

Hicks married in 1597 Elizabeth Colston of Forest House, Waltham, widow of Henry Pervis or Parvish (said to be an Italian merchant) of Ruckholt. His eldest son, William, to whom Burghley stood godfather, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge; was elected M.P. for Great Marlow in 1625 and 1640; was a sturdy royalist, and suffered six weeks' imprisonment for his action at the siege of Colchester in 1648. He died at Ruckholt on 9 Oct. 1680, aged 84, having married Margaret, daughter of William, lord Paget. From his second son, Michael, descended the ninth baronet, Sir Michael Edward Hicks-Beach, who was created first Viscount St. Aldwyn in 1905.

[Wotton's Baronetage, ed. Kimber and Johnstone, i. 158; Spedding's Life of Bacon, vols. i. ii. iii.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–10, 17 May 1603, and 28 June 1604; Nichols's Progresses of James I.]

S. L. L.