Edmund Walsingham

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Sir Edmund Walsingham
Born c. 1480
Died 10 February 1550
Spouse(s) Katherine Gounter
Anne Jerningham
Sir Thomas Walsingham
George Walsingham
John Walsingham
Walter Walsingham
Eleanor Walsingham
Mary Walsingham
Alice Walsingham
Katherine Walsingham
Father James Walsingham
Mother Eleanor Writtle

Sir Edmund Walsingham (c. 1480 – 10 February 1550) was a soldier, Member of Parliament, and Lieutenant of the Tower of London during the reign of King Henry VIII.


Ruins of the Walsingham manor at Scadbury

Although the Walsingham pedigree is said to date to the thirteenth century, the family is first recorded in Kent in 1424, when Thomas Walsingham (died 7 March 1456)[1] and his wife, Margaret,[2] purchased the manor of Scadbury in Chislehurst,[3] to which additional land was added in 1433.[1] Their son, Thomas Walsingham (1436–1467), married Constance Dryland (died 14 November 1476), the daughter of James Dryland, of Davington, by whom he had a son, James Walsingham (1462 – 10 December 1540). After the death of Thomas Walsingham (1436–1467), his widow, Constance, married John Green, who in 1476 was Sheriff of Kent in right of his wife.[4]

James Walsingham married Eleanor Writtle (born before 1465, died after 1540), the daughter of Walter Writtle of Bobbingworth, Essex,[5] by whom, according to a monumental brass formerly in the church at Scadbury, he had four sons and seven daughters, including:[4][6]

  • Edmund Walsingham.
  • William Walsingham (died 1534), who married Joyce Denny (1506/7–1560), the daughter of Sir Edmund Denny, one of the Barons of the Exchequer, and his second wife, Mary Troutbeck (died 1507), the daughter of Robert Troutbeck of Bridge Trafford, Cheshire, by whom he was the father of Sir Francis Walsingham, Principal Secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, and five daughters, Elizabeth (died 1596), Barbara, Christian, Eleanor and Mary (1527/8–1577). After William Walsingham's death, Joyce (née Denny) married Sir John Carey, a younger brother of Sir William Carey, by whom she had two sons, Sir Wymond Carey and Sir Edward Carey.[7][8][9]
  • Elizabeth Walsingham, who married Thomas Ayloffe, second son of William Ayloffe (died 1517), a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn, by his wife Audrey Shaa, widow of John Writtle and daughter of Sir John Shaa, a London goldsmith and Lord Mayor in 1501. Thomas Ayloffe’s elder brother, William Ayloffe (died 1569), married Anne Barnardiston, the daughter of Sir Thomas Banardiston (died 7 November 1542) of Ketton in Kedington, Suffolk, by whom he was the father of William Ayloffe (c.1535 – 17 November 1584).[10][11][12][13][14]
  • Cecily Walsingham.
  • Margaret Walsingham.


St Nicholas' church, Chislehurst, where Sir Edmund Walsingham was buried

Walsingham entered the service of Thomas Howard, then Earl of Surrey, and was knighted by him on 13 September 1513, four days after the Battle of Flodden. In 1520 he was in attendance on Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in Calais in June, and at the King's meeting with the Emperor Charles V at Gravelines in July.

In 1521 he was appointed a sewer in the royal household, was made a freeman of the Mercers' Company, was on the jury which tried and convicted Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham,[5] and succeeded Sir Richard Cholmley as Lieutenant of the Tower of London at a salary of £100 a year. He held the office until Henry VIII's death in 1547,[15] residing in a house at the Tower, and taking personal charge of prisoners of state, among them Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Catherine Howard, the Marquess of Exeter, Lord Montagu, the Duchess of Norfolk, Viscount Lisle, Anne Boleyn, John Fisher and Sir Thomas More.[16][17][18] It was to Walsingham that More made his ironic jest on ascending the scaffold, "I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for my coming down, let me shift for myself".[5][19]

In the 1530s Walsingham acquired long-term leases of the manors of Tyting in Surrey and Stanground in Huntingdonshire, and in 1543 purchased the manors of Swanton Court, West Peckham and Yokes near Scadbury from Sir Robert Southwell. In 1539 the king granted him nine houses in London that had formerly belonged to dissolved abbeys.[17][20]

In 1544 he became vice-chamberlain to Henry VIII's sixth wife, Katherine Parr.[21][5] He was elected to Parliament as a Knight of the Shire for Surrey in 1545.[16][17]

Walsingham died 9 February 1550, and was buried in "a table tomb, richly ornamented with roses, acorns and foliage gilt"[22] in the Scadbury chapel in the church of St Nicholas at Chislehurst.[23] His son and heir, Thomas Walsingham, erected a monument to his memory in 1581; the inscription begins:[24][25]

A knight sometime of worthy fame
Lieth buried under this stony bower
Sir Edmund Walsingham was his name,
Lieutenant he was of London Tower.

His will, dated 8 February 1550, was proved 8 November of that year.[24]

Marriages and issue[edit]

Walsingham married firstly Katherine Gounter or Gunter (before 1495 – c. 1526), widow of Henry Morgan of Pencoed, Monmouthshire, and daughter of John Gounter of Chilworth, Surrey, by his wife Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of William Attworth or Utworth,[16] by whom he had four sons and four daughters:[5][26][27][28]

Walsingham married secondly, Anne (née Jerningham), daughter of Sir Edward Jerningham (died 6 January 1515) of Somerleyton, Suffolk, by Margaret Bedingfield (died 24 March 1504). At the time of her marriage to Sir Edmund Walsingham, Anne (née Jerningham) was the widow of three husbands: Lord Edward Grey (died before 1517), eldest son and heir of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, and grandson of King Edward IV's wife, Elizabeth Woodville; Henry Barley (died 12 November 1529) of Albury, Hertfordshire; and Sir Robert Drury, Speaker of the House of Commons.[39][40][41][42][43]


  1. ^ a b Lee 1899, p. 228.
  2. ^ Robertson 1880, p. 403.
  3. ^ Scadbury Manor Retrieved 15 June 2103.
  4. ^ a b Robertson 1880, p. 390.
  5. ^ a b c d e Robison 2004.
  6. ^ Metcalfe 1879, p. 622.
  7. ^ Robertson 1880, p. 401.
  8. ^ Adams, Bryson & Leimon 2004.
  9. ^ Nichols 1866, pp. 51–54.
  10. ^ Burke 1844, p. 30.
  11. ^ Baker 2004.
  12. ^ Metcalfe 1879, p. 543.
  13. ^ Metcalfe 1878, pp. 141, 340.
  14. ^ a b Crisp 1907, pp. 170–3.
  15. ^ Robison says he relinquished it in 1543.
  16. ^ a b c Lee 1899, pp. 228–30.
  17. ^ a b c Walsingham, Sir Edmund (by 1480–1550), of Scadbury, Chislehurst, Kent, History of Parliament Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  18. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=503BBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT13&dq=thomas+more++Sir+Edmond+Walsingham,+Lieutenant+of+the+Tower&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjc48TZ6YnVAhVq6IMKHUTqBdgQ6AEIOjAD#v=onepage&q=Thomas%20More&f=false
  19. ^ Bridgett 1891, p. 434.
  20. ^ 'Parishes: West Peckham', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5 (1798), pp. 56–70 Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  21. ^ p.165, Linda Porter, Katherine the Queen
  22. ^ Dugdale 1835, p. 468.
  23. ^ Hutchinson, Robert (2007) Elizabeth's Spy Master: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War that Saved England. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84613-0, p. 296
  24. ^ a b Lee 1988, pp. 228–30.
  25. ^ Lysons 1796, p. 351.
  26. ^ Bannerman 1899, pp. 11, 33.
  27. ^ Arnold 1871, p. 3.
  28. ^ Walsingham, Sir Edmund (by 1480–1550), of Scadbury, Chislehurst, Kent, History of Parliament Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  29. ^ Walsingham, Thomas (c.1526–84), of Scadbury, Chislehurst, Kent, History of Parliament Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  30. ^ Guildford, John (by 1508–65), of Hemsted, Kent, History of Parliament Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  31. ^ Burke & Burke 1838, p. 40.
  32. ^ Rokewode 1838, p. 131-3.
  33. ^ Saunders, Thomas (by 1513–65), of London and Charlwood, Surrey, History of Parliament Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  34. ^ It should be noted that Sir Francis Walsingham had a sister named Eleanor (died before 1542) who married Sir William Sharington, with whom Sir Edmund Walsingham's daughter, Eleanor, is confused in some sources.
  35. ^ Brydges 1812, p. 377.
  36. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 169.
  37. ^ Bannerman 1899, p. 11.
  38. ^ Old Lackham House 1902, pp. 60, 62.
  39. ^ According to some sources, Anne (née Jerningham) is also said to have been the widow of a fifth husband surnamed Berkeley, about whom nothing further is known.
  40. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 93.
  41. ^ Hyde 2004.
  42. ^ Challen 1963, pp. 5–9.
  43. ^ 'Anne Jerningham', A Who’s Who of Tudor Women: I-J, compiled by Kathy Lynn Emerson to update and correct Wives and Daughters: The Women of Sixteenth-Century England (1984) Retrieved 13 June 2013.


External links[edit]