Edward Villiers (1620–1689)

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For other people named Edward Villiers, see Edward Villiers (disambiguation).

Sir Edward Villiers (1620 – 2 July 1689) was a British nobleman, politician, knight, and officer from the Villiers family. He was the fourth son of Sir Edward Villiers and Barbara St. John, half-nephew to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, considered him to be a man of "diligence and dexterity" and referred to him as "honest Ned".

He became a colonel, having served against the Scots in 1640 and he was wounded at the First Battle of Newbury in 1643. He was also employed to carry confidential dispatches and served under Sir Richard Willys as governor of Newark before Lord John Belasyse was appointed in Willys's place.

After the end of the First English Civil War, he was implicated in a plot to assist the escape of the Duke of York (the later James II) but was not convicted and took no part in the Second English Civil War and lived abroad, 1649 to 1652.

Upon the Restoration, he was made Governor and Captain of Tynemouth Castle garrison, and Keeper of the Park at Richmond; in 1666 he was made Deputy Governor of Newcastle (the Governor was Henry Cavendish, Earl of Ogle, then seven years old) and Lieutenant-Governor there in 1672. In 1667, for the Second Anglo-Dutch War he was commissioned as Lieutenant-Colonel in the same Earl of Ogle's ephemeral Regiment, disbanded without any action, and again in 1673 in command of the same Earl's (now fourteen years old) equally ephemeral Regiment for the Third Anglo-Dutch War. In 1670 (while still Captain of Tynemouth Castle and Deputy Governor of Newcastle) he had been commissioned Captain in the King's Own Troop of Horse Guards, of which the Colonel was the Duke of Monmouth. He served briefly in Flanders in 1678 as Major-General in the Duke of York's Regiment of Horse (but there was no action).[1][2] In 1681, he was made Knight Marshal of the Royal Household.

After the death of Charles II, and on Monmouth's rebellion, Villiers and a detachment of the Horse Guards accompanied Feversham and Churchill to Somerset and the Battle of Sedgemoor.[3]

The date of his death is not certain, but he was buried in Westminster Abbey on 2 July 1689.[4]

Marriage and Family[edit]

He married Frances Howard, herself the youngest daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk and Elizabeth Hume. She was appointed governess to the Princesses Mary and Anne, daughters of James II, who were raised at Richmond. Frances died of smallpox in 1677. They had the following children:

(Ann, Elizabeth, Edward and (possibly) Katherine, accompanied Queen Mary to the Hague after her marriage in 1677 to William of Orange.[5])

In 1684, Sir Edward Villiers married Martha Love, in Westminster Abbey, but had no further children.[6]


  1. ^ Dalton, Charles (1892). English Army Lists and Commission Registers. 1. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 
  2. ^ "British History Online, History of the County of Surrey, Parish of Richmond". 
  3. ^ Arthur, Sir George (1909). The Story of the Household Cavalry. 1. Archibald Constable & Co. p. 180. 
  4. ^ "Westminster Abbey, Villiers Family". 
  5. ^  Seccombe, Thomas (1885–1900). "Villiers, Elizabeth". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  6. ^ "Westminster Abbey, Villiers Family". 
  • Royalist Conspiracy in England 1649-1660, David Underdown, Yale University Press, 1960, pages 81 to 82.