Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln

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The Earl of Lincoln
Lord High Admiral
In office
MonarchsEdward VI, Mary I
Preceded byThe Earl of Warwick
Succeeded byThe Lord Howard of Effingham
Personal details
Manor of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, England
Died16 January 1584/85
London, England
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Blount
Ursula Stourton
Elizabeth FitzGerald
  • Thomas Clinton, 8th Baron Clinton (father)
  • Jane Poynings (mother)
Edward Clinton, Baron Clinton, drawn before his acquisition of the title Earl of Lincoln, by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1534–1535. Royal collection, Windsor Castle
"Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, 1584", portrait by unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 900
Arms of Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln, KG: Quarterly 1st and 4th Argent six crosses crosslet fitchy three two and one Sable on a chief Azure two mullets Or pierced Gules (for Clinton); 2nd and 3rd quarterly Or and Gules (for Saye)

Edward Fiennes, or Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln KG (1512 – 16 January 1584/85) was an English landowner, peer, and Lord High Admiral.[1] He rendered valuable service to four of the Tudor monarchs.


Edward Clinton, or Fiennes, was born at Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire, the son of Thomas Clinton, 8th Baron Clinton (1490–1517), by Jane (or Joan) Poynings, one of the seven illegitimate children of Sir Edward Poynings (1459–1521) of Westenhanger, Kent. She was the sister of Thomas Poynings, 1st Baron Poynings (died 1545), Edward Poynings (died 1546), and Sir Adrian Poynings. After the death of the 8th Baron Clinton in 1517, Jane Poynings married, as his second wife, Sir Robert Wingfield (died 1539).[2][3][4][5]

Clinton succeeded his father as 9th Baron Clinton in 1517. As he was only five years old when his father died, he was made a royal ward in the Court of Wards and by 1530 had been married to the King's former mistress, the 30-year-old Elizabeth Blount.



Clinton joined the retinue of King Henry VIII at Boulogne and Calais in 1532. He sat in the House of Lords in 1536 and later served in the Royal Navy against French and Scottish naval forces from 1544 to 1547. He was knighted in Edinburgh by Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, for his part in the capture of that city in 1544. He also took part in the Siege of Boulogne in September 1544. Under John Dudley, Viscount Lisle, he saw action against the French at the Battle of Spithead in 1545 and was sent as one of the peace commissioners to France the following year.


In August 1547, Clinton was sent to Scotland with a fleet of twelve ships to support the Siege of St Andrews Castle and prevent a French intervention, but he arrived too late. He captured Broughty Castle on 24 September, refortified it with the aid of an Italian military engineer, and installed Andrew Dudley as its captain, leaving him three ships, the Mary Hamborough, the Barque Eger, and the Phoenix.[6]

Clinton commanded the English fleet during the invasion of Scotland by Edward Seymour and provided naval artillery support at the Battle of Pinkie on 15 September 1547. In August 1548 he sailed into the Firth of Forth and scattered French and Scottish ships near Leith. He then landed 500 men to burn the ships in the harbour of Burntisland and contemplated fortifying the harbour for English use. He was aboard the Great Barque.[7]

Governor of Boulogne[edit]

Appointed as Governor of Boulogne in 1547, Clinton successfully defended the city against a French siege from 1549 to 1550. That same year, with Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and of Nottinghamshire and served as Lord High Admiral under King Edward VI from 1550 to 1553, and again in the reign of Queen Elizabeth from 1559 to his death in 1585. He was a Privy Counsellor from 1550 to 1553 and briefly served as an envoy to France in 1551. After his appointment as Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire in 1552, Clinton took part in the defeat of Wyatt's Rebellion in Kent in 1554.

He was a commander of the expedition of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke to support the Spanish forces at the Battle of Saint Quentin in northern France on 10 August 1557, but arrived after the battle was largely won. Upon his return to England, Clinton took command of the English fleet, raided the French coast and in 1558 burnt the town of Le Conquet and the surrounding area.

Northern Rebellion[edit]

With Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Clinton was in joint command of a large army during the Northern Rebellion; however, the army was still being assembled when the rebellion was defeated in January 1570. He was created Earl of Lincoln in 1572, and served as ambassador to France, during which time he undertook several commissions from Queen Elizabeth I until his death in London on 16 January 1585. As Lord Admiral he is credited with at least one important reform: setting up a separate Court of Admiralty in Ireland.

In 1541-42 following the dissolution of the monasteries, Clinton and his wife, Ursula, were granted the lands of the earlier Aslackby Preceptory of the Knights Templar—later belonging to the Knights Hospitaller—at Aslackby in Lincolnshire.[8]

Marriage and children[edit]

Elizabeth FitzGerald, ("the fair Geraldine") daughter of Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, third wife of Lord Clinton

He married three times:


He died in London on 16 January 1585.


  1. ^ "Clinton, Edward Fiennes de" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. ^ Rose Whetehill (1472-1521+), A Who’s Who of Tudor Women: W-Wh, compiled by Kathy Lynn Emerson to update and correct Wives and Daughters: The Women of Sixteenth-Century England (1984) Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Stevens 2004.
  4. ^ Cokayne 1945, p. 669.
  5. ^ Robertson 2004.
  6. ^ Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1547-1563, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), pp. 13-14, 21.
  7. ^ Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1547-1563, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), p. 159.
  8. ^ Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire 1933, p.42
  9. ^ a b Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 587.
  10. ^ a b George Edward Cokayne. Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, Volume 2, G. Bell & sons, 1889, pp 76-77. Google eBook
  11. ^ Metcalfe, Walter C. (1881). The Visitation of the County of Lincoln in 1562-4. London, England: George Bell and Sons. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 17 September 2020.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Lord High Admiral
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord High Admiral of England
Succeeded by
Custos Rotulorum of Surrey
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Lincoln
Succeeded by
Preceded by Baron Clinton