Peckham, Edmund (DNB00)

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PECKHAM, Sir EDMUND (1495?–1564), treasurer or master of the mint, was son of Peter Peckham, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Eburton. His family was connected with Buckinghamshire, and he acquired a house and estate at Denham in that county. At an early age he entered the king's counting-house as a clerk, and attended Henry VIII on his visit to Gravelines in July 1520 (Rutland Papers, p. 5). Henry VIII appointed him in 1524 cofferer of the royal household, and in 1526 clerk of the green cloth. From 1525 he was a justice of the peace for Buckinghamshire. A like honour in regard to Middlesex was conferred on him in 1537. In 1527, on the attainder of Francis, viscount Lovel, he was granted the manors of Alford, Eccles, Alderley, Chester, and Flint. He was knighted on 18 May 1542 (Wriothesley, Chronicle, i. 135). In 1546 he added to his other offices that of treasurer or master of the mint, to which was attached a residence at Blackfriars. He retained the post till his death, although during 1552–4 his place was filled temporarily by Martin Pirri, master of the Dublin mint. In 1547 he was nominated an assistant executor of Henry VIII's will, under which he received 200l. In 1549—during Edward VI's reign—he was directed with others to restore the old standard of gold. In 1551 he coined the pound weight of silver—three-quarters alloy and one fine—into seventy-two shillings worth twelve pence a piece. On Edward VI's death Peckham maintained with much energy the cause of Queen Mary, in opposition to Lady Jane Grey. He proclaimed Queen Mary in Buckinghamshire (Chronicle, pp. 8, 12), and subsequently kept a careful watch on the movements of the Duke of Northumberland in the eastern counties. He was rewarded by becoming a privy councillor, and was elected M.P. for Buckinghamshire in the first and third parliaments of the new queen's reign (October 1553 and November 1554). He and his son Henry took a prominent part in repressing Wyatt's rebellion. Reputed to be a staunch catholic, he exerted much influence at Mary's court. In 1557 he attended the funeral of Anne of Cleves, and acted as her executor (Nicolas, Testamenta Vetusta, pp. 42, 44). With Queen Mary's death his political life ceased, but he remained treasurer of the mint, and helped to carry into effect Queen Elizabeth's measures for the restoration of the coinage. He was buried in Denham church on 18 April 1564. An elaborate monument was erected to his memory there, but only damaged fragments survive.

Peckham married Ann, daughter of John Cheyne of Chesham-Bois, Buckinghamshire. She was buried at Denham on 27 May 1570. By her he had four sons—Robert, Henry, George [q. v.], and Edward—and at least two daughters. The eldest son, Robert (1515–1569), stood high in Queen Mary's favour as a zealous catholic, was made a privy councillor by her, and was knighted in 1555. He was M.P. for Buckinghamshire in April 1554. According to his long epitaph at Denham, he sought to improve his health (which he had injured by excess of study) by a foreign tour, on which he set out in 1564. But his epitaph at Rome states that he voluntarily exiled himself from his native country on account of the final triumph of protestantism under Elizabeth. He died at Rome on 10 Sept. 1569, and was buried in the church of San Gregorio there, where a mural monument is still standing (cf. Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 259). His heart was subsequently interred in Denham church, where he is commemorated in a tablet bearing a long inscription. He married Mary, daughter and coheiress of Edmund, lord Bray, whose sister was wife of Sir Ralph Verney.

Sir Edmund's son Henry was four times elected M.P. for Chipping Wycombe between March 1552–3 and October 1555. He was involved in 1556, with Henry Dudley and Job Throgmorton, in a conspiracy to rob the exchequer. He was arrested on 18 March, and sought to save his life by betraying his companions. He was hanged, along with John Daniel, on Tower Hill, on 7 May 1556. Both were buried in All Hallows Barking Church (Machyn, pp. 102, 109, 348, 351; Strype, Memorials, iii. i. 489).

[Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, iv. 449 et seq.; Harl. MSS. 1533 f. 75, 1110 f. 67; Strype's Memorials; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, 1522–1539; Froude's History; Chronicle of Queen Mary and Queen Jane (Camden Soc.); Verney Papers (Camden Soc.), pp. 57 seq.; Hawkins's Silver Coins of England, p. 485; Rogers Ruding's Annals of the Coinage, ed. 1840, i. 29 n, 34, 54, 318 et seq.]

S. L.