Methold, William (DNB00)

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METHOLD, Sir WILLIAM (1560?–1620), lord chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland, born about 1560, was eldest son of William Methold of Rushworth and South Pickenham, Norfolk, by Susanna, daughter of George Alington of Swinhope, Lincolnshire, and Rushworth, Norfolk (Visitations of Norfolk, Harl. Soc., p. 198). On 20 Feb. 1580-1 he was admitted a member of Lincoln's Inn, in 1608 he was Lent reader of his inn and a bencher, and in 1611 he was made a Serjeant. On 16 March 1612 he was appointed chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland and a privy councillor, and was knighted by James I (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 163; Smyth, Law Officers of Ireland, p. 141). He subsequently became lord chief justice of the king's bench in Ireland, and was appointed a joint keeper of the great seal on 10 April 1619 (ib. pp. 26, 217). Methold died on 7 March 1620, and was buried in Christ Church, Dublin. His wife was Margaret, daughter of John Southwell of Barham, Suffolk. By her he had an only daughter, Elizabeth, who on 18 July 1608 married at Dagenham, Essex, Thomas Potts, master of the harehounds to James I and Charles I (Lodge, Peerage, ed. Archdall, vi. 14), and after her husband's death suffered so much poverty that the council of state, on 25 May 1655, granted her a pension of 10s. a week. Lady Methold survived her husband, and married Sir Thomas Rotheram, knt., one of the privy council of Ireland. She died on 23 Dec. 1640, in the lifetime of her second husband, and was buried in Christ Church, Dublin, on the 26th.

Methold's nephew, William Methold (d. 1653), son of Thomas Methold, by Susanna, daughter of Anthony Hogan of Gosthorp, Norfolk, was apprenticed to a merchant at Middleborough. He was on his own petition admitted into the East India Company's service in 1615, and sailed for Surat. He travelled much in India, and visited the diamond mines of Golconda in 1622, being the first Englishman to accomplish the journey. His narrative of his Indian travels, entitled 'Relations of the Kingdome of Golchonda and other neighbouring Nations within the Gulfe of Bengal a,' &c., was printed in 1626, when Methold had returned to England, in the fifth volume of Purchas's ' Pilgrims,' pp. 993–1007. Purchas, in the preface, passes a high eulogium on Methold. On 27 June 1628 he was sworn a 'free brother' (i.e. in effect a director) of the East India Company. In 1632 he acted as deputy of Humphrey Leigh as swordbearer of the city of London. In 1633 he was sent by the company to Surat in charge of an important mission to Persia (cf. Addit. MS. 11268, p. 46). He probably came home again in 1636. In 1650 he was deputy governor of the East India Company. He died possessed of great wealth on 5 March 1652-3 at his mansion, Hale House, afterwards known as Cromwell House, Kensington, which he had purchased about 1648 of the executors of his first wife's relative Sir William Blake; it was pulled down in 1850 to form a site for the Great Exhibition. He had also bought land in Yorkshire, Wiltshire, and Somerset, and buildings near Charing Cross. He was buried as 'Meathall' on the 10th in Kensington Church (Register, Harl. Soc., p. 123). He married twice. By his first wife, Mary Blake, of a Hampshire family, whom he married in 1632-3, he had two sons and three daughters; she was buried at Kensington on 5 Oct. 1652. His second wife was Sarah, daughter of Sir Richard Deane, at one time lord mayor of London, and widow of William Rolfe of Ealing, Middlesex, whom he married on 16 Feb. 1652-3; her will was proved on 8 April 1678. He erected almshouses for six poor women near Hale House, and endowed them with 24l. per annum; but they were removed in 1865 by the Metropolitan Railway Company under their statutory powers.

[Notes of much value kindly supplied by E. Chester Waters, esq.; Woolrych's Lives of Eminent Serjeants-at-Law,i. 165-9; Blomefield's Norfolk, ed. Parkin, vi. 73; Waters's Genealog. Memoirs of the Chesters of Chicheley, ii. 696; Nichols's Herald and Genealogist, vi. 598; Pedigree of the Methwold Family, 4to, 1870, pp. 21-4; Faulkner's Kensington, pp. 331, 370; Lysons's Environs, iii. 180, 186, 228; Jones's Treasures of the Earth, p. 215.]

G. G.