William Herrick (MP)

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Sir William Herrick (1562 – 2 March 1653) was an English jeweller, courtier, diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1601 and 1622.

Herrick was the son of John Heyrick of Leicester and was baptised on 9 December 1562. His father was an ironmonger at Leicester. He was sent to London in about 1574 to be apprenticed to his elder brother Nicholas Herrick, a goldsmith in Cheapside. After six years he set up in business on his own in Wood Street on premises leased from the Goldsmith’s Company. He also became a moneylender and in a few years he had made himself a fortune and was able to purchase Beau Manor Park from the Earl of Essex, and obtained a right to arms. He came to the notice of Queen Elizabeth, who sent him on a mission to the Ottoman Porte and on his return he was rewarded with a lucrative appointment in the Exchequer. He was made a freeman of Leicester in 1601 when he presented the corporation with a dozen silver spoons in lieu of a fee.[1][2]

In 1601, Herrick was elected Member of Parliament for Leicester. He became principal jeweller to the King, Queen and Prince of Wales in 1603 and held the post until 1625. He became a freeman of the City of London in May 1605 and was knighted in the same year. He served as MP for Leicester for part of the 1604–1611 parliament. He was prime warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company from 1605 to 1606. In 1607 he took as apprentice his nephew Robert the future poet. In 1621 he was elected MP for Leicester again.[1]

Herrick died at the age of about 90 and was buried at St Martin’s Church, Leicester.[1][3]

Herrick married Joan May, daughter of Richard May of London and of Mayfield Place, Sussex on 6 May 1596, and had at least one son. His brother Robert was also an MP.[1]

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Parliament of England
Preceded by
George Parkins
John Stanford
Member of Parliament for Leicester
1601
With: George Belgrave
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Skipworth
Henry Beaumont
Preceded by
Henry Rich
Sir Francis Leigh
Member of Parliament for Leicester
1621-1622
With: Sir Richard Moryson
Succeeded by
Sir Humphrey May
William Ive