North, Edward (DNB00)

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NORTH, EDWARD, first Baron North (1496?–1564), chancellor of the court of augmentations, born about 1496, was the only son of Roger North, a citizen of London, by Christian, daughter of Richard Warcup of Sinnington, Yorkshire, and widow of Ralph Warren. He was brought up at St. Paul's School under William Lily [q. v.] His father died in 1509, when the boy was in his fourteenth year, and he was entered some time afterwards at Peterhouse, Cambridge; but he seems never to have proceeded to any degree, though he retained till the end of his life an affectionate regard for his old college. He entered early at one of the inns of court, and appears to have enjoyed some considerable practice on being called to the bar, and became counsel for the city of London, probably through the influence of Alderman Wilkinson, who had married his sister Joan. About his thirty-third year he took to wife Alice, daughter of Oliver Squier of Southby, Hampshire, and widow of John Brockenden of Southampton, with whom he acquired a fortune large enough to enable him to purchase the estate of Kirtling, near Newmarket, which still remains in the possession of his descendants. In 1531 he was appointed clerk of the parliament, being associated in that office with Sir Brian Tuke. It is to be presumed that shortly after this he was raised to the degree of serjeant-at-law, for in 1536 he appears as one of the king's serjeants. In 1541 he resigned his office as clerk of the parliament, on being appointed treasurer of the court of augmentations, a court created by the king for dealing with the enormous estates which had been confiscated by the dissolution of the monasteries. In 1541 he was knighted, and became one of the representatives for the county of Cambridge in parliament. On the resignation of the chancellorship by Sir Thomas Audley in 1544, he was deputed, together with Sir Thomas Pope, to receive the great seal, and to deliver it into the hands of the king. In 1545 he was one of a commission of inquiry as to the distribution of the revenues of certain cathedrals and collegiate churches, and about the same time he was promoted, with Sir Richard Rich, chancellor of the court of augmentations, and on the resignation of his colleague he became sole chancellor of the court. In 1546 he was made a member of the privy council, received some extensive grants of abbey lands, and managed, by great prudence and wisdom, to retain the favour of his sovereign, though on one occasion towards the end of his reign Henry VIII was induced to distrust him, and even to accuse him of peculation, a charge of which he easily cleared himself. He was named as one of the executors of King Henry's will, and a legacy of 300l. was bequeathed to him. On the accession of Edward VI North was induced, under pressure, to resign his office as chancellor of augmentations. He continued of the privy council during the young king's reign, and was one of those who attested his will, though his name does not appear among the signatories of the deed of settlement disinheriting the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth. North was, however, among the supporters of ‘Queen Jane,’ but was not only pardoned by Mary, but again sworn of the privy council, and on 5 April 1554 he was summoned to parliament as a baron of the realm by the title of Lord North of Kirtling. He was chosen among other lords to receive Philip of Spain at Southampton on 19 July 1554, and was present at the marriage of the queen. In the following November he attended at the reception of Cardinal Pole at St. James's, and he was in the commission for the suppression of heresy in 1557. On the accession of Elizabeth she kept her court for six days (23 to 29 Nov. 1558) at Lord North's mansion in the Charterhouse, and some time afterwards he was appointed lord-lieutenant of the county of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely. He was not, however, admitted as a privy councillor, though his name appears as still taking part in public affairs. In the summer of 1560 he lost his wife, who died at the Charterhouse, but was carried with great pomp to Kirtling to be buried. Lord North entertained the queen a second time at the Charterhouse for four days, from 10 to 13 July 1561. Soon after this he retired from court, and spent most of his time at Kirtling in retirement. He died at the Charterhouse on 31 Dec. 1564, and was buried at Kirtling, beside his first wife, in the family vault. His monumental inscription may still be seen in the chancel of Kirtling Church.

Lord North was twice married. By his first wife he had issue two sons—Roger, second baron North [q. v.], and Sir Thomas North [q. v.], translator of Plutarch's ‘Lives,’ and two daughters: Christiana, wife of William, earl of Worcester, and Mary, wife of Henry, lord Scrope of Bolton. His second wife was Margaret, daughter of Richard Butler of London, and widow of, first, Sir David Brooke, chief baron of the exchequer; secondly, of Andrew Francis; and, thirdly, of Robert Charlsey, alderman of London. She survived till 2 June 1575. This lady, like his first wife, brought her husband a large fortune, which he left to her absolutely by his will, together with other tokens of his affection.

[For this article Lady Frances Bushby has kindly placed at the writer's disposal a valuable manuscript memoir drawn up by herself. The main source is the fragment of biography, written by his descendant Dudley, the fourth lord, in the University Library, Cambridge. Cf. Cal. of State Papers, Dom. Ser.; Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, vol. ii.; Strype's Annals and Memorials; Bearcroft's History of the Charterhouse, p. 201; Willet's Synopsis Papismi, 1600, p. 960; Collins's Peerage, iv. 454.]

A. J.