Wotton, Edward (1489-1551) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 63
Wotton, Edward (1489-1551)

by Albert Frederick Pollard
Contains subarticle Thomas Wotton (1521–1587).

WOTTON, Sir EDWARD (1489–1551), treasurer of Calais, born in 1489, was the eldest son of Sir Robert Wotton, by his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Belkman. Sir Robert was grandson of Nicholas Wotton (1372-1448), member of the Drapers' Company of London, who was sheriff in 1400 and lord mayor in 1415, and again in 1430, and represented the city in parliament continuously from 1406 to 1429 (Off. Ret. i. 269-316). He acquired the manor of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, by his marriage with Joan, only daughter and heir of Robert Corbie of that place, and was succeeded by his son Nicholas, who died on 9 April 1481 (Col. Inq. post mortem, Henry VII. i. 694); the latter's son. Sir Robert, born in 1465, was knighted by Edward IV, served as sheriff of Kent in 1498-9, was made lieutenant of Guianes, and from 1510 to 1519 was knight-porter of Calais. He left issue two sons, Edward and Dr. Nicholas Wotton [q.v.], and three daughters, of whom Margaret (d. 1541) was the second wife of Thomas Grey, second marquis of Dorset [q. v.]

Edward first appears in the commission of the peace for Kent on 2 June 1524; subsequently his name was generally included in the commissions of the peace, of gaol delivery, and oyer and terminer for the county. He was knighted before 22 April 1528, and on 9 Nov. 1529 was appointed sheriff of Kent. He accompanied Henry VIII to Calais in 1532, landing on 11 Oct. (Chron. of Calais, p. 42), officiated at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1534, and at the christening of Edward VI in 1537. He was again sheriff of Kent in 1535-6, and in December 1539 was one of the knights sent to Calais to receive Anne of Cleves. He seems to have eagerly adopted the principles of the Reformation, and in September 1538 a correspondent told Bullinger that Wotton had received one of the reformer's books 'with the greatest satisfaction, and is diligently engaged upon it' (Orig. letters, Parker Soc. ii. 612). In July 1540 Henry VIII intimated his intention of reviving the office of treasurer of Calais, and appointing to it his trusty 'councillor' Sir Edward Wotton, whose patent was dated 24 Nov. following. The phrase does not necessarily imply that Wotton was a member of the English privy council, and he is not recorded as attending any of its meetings during Henry's reign. After the conclusion of the war with France he served on the various commissions appointed in 1546 for delimiting Henry's conquest, the Boulonnais (State Papers, Henry VIII, xi. 181 sqq.; Corr. Pol de Odet de Selve, passim.) Acccording to Holinshed, Henry VIII made Wotton lord chancellor; the offer, improbable in any case, is more likely to have been made to Sir Edward's brother Nicholas (Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, ed. 1685).

Henry VIII nominated Wotton one of his executors and a privy councillor to his son Edward, though Wotton's official superior at Calais, Lord Cobham, was neither. Wotton remained a privy councillor when Somerset reconstructed the council in March 1546-7, but his duties at Calais prevented his frequent attendance at the council board. In April he was again made a commissioner to settle the disputes as to the frontier of the Boulonnais, and the growing hostility of France kept him busy with preparations for defence. On 13 March 1547-8, however, he signed the council's letter ordering the administration of the sacrament in one kind only, and on 17 Jan. 1548-9 joined in proceedings against Thomas Seymour, baron Seymour of Sudeley [q. v.] In September following he again came over to take part in Warwick's scheme for overthrowing Somerset. He was lodging in Warwick Lane, Holborn, on the 18th, he signed the council's manifesto against the Protector on 6 Oct., and accompanied the other councillors to Windsor six days later, when Somerset was arrested. In November he appears to have returned to Calais, but a year later he was again in attendance at the council. Hasted states that he died on 8 Nov. 1550, but he attended the council on the 22nd of that month, and in January 1550-1 was suppressing disorder in Kent. In the same year also he was included in various commissions among which the young king proposed to divide the work of the privy council. Apparently it was on 8 Nov. 1551 that he died (Inquisitio post mortem, Edward VI, vol. xciii, No. 113); he was buried in Boughton Malherbe church.

Wotton married, first, Dorothy, fourth daughter of Sir Robert Rede [q. v.] (she died on 8 Sept. 1529); and he married, secondly, Ursula, daughter of Sir Robert Dymoke and widow of Sir John Rudaton, lord mayor of London (Metcalfe, Visit. of Lincolnshire, p. 42). By her Wotton had no issue, but by his first wife he was father of

Thomas Wotton (1521–1587), who was in December 1547 employed in conveying treasure to his father at Calais, and in 1551 succeeded to his estates, his father having procured two acts of parliament ‘disgavelling’ his lands in Kent. Edward VI had intended making him K.B., but after Mary's accession the council on 19 Sept. 1553 wrote him a letter ‘discharging him from being knight of the Bath, whereunto he was once appointed and written unto’ (Acts P. C. 1552–4, p. 351). On 16 Jan. 1553–4 he was summoned before the council, and on 21 Jan. ‘for obstinate standing against matters of religion was committed to the Fleet, to remain there a close prisoner’ (ib. pp. 385, 389). Walton in his ‘Life of Sir Henry Wotton’ (Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, 1685, sig. b4) declares that the council's action was due to Nicholas Wotton, who had twice dreamt that his nephew was in danger of participating in some dangerous enterprise, apparently Wyatt's rebellion, and secured his temporary imprisonment to save him from worse perils. The date of his release has not been ascertained; but on 23 Nov. 1558, six days after Elizabeth's accession, he was made sheriff of Kent. For nearly thirty years he was regularly included in the various commissions for the county, such as those for the peace, for taking musters, gaol delivery, examining into cases of piracy, and fortifying Dover. In July 1573 he entertained Queen Elizabeth at Boughton Malherbe, when he declined an offer of knighthood, and in 1578–9 again served as sheriff. He was a person of ‘great learning, religion, and wealth,’ and a patron of learning and protestantism in others. Thomas Becon [q. v.] dedicated to him his ‘Book of Matrimony,’ and Edward Dering his ‘Sparing Restraint.’ William Lambarde [q. v.] also dedicated to Wotton in 1570 his ‘Perambulation of Kent,’ which was published in 1576 with a prefatory letter by Wotton. He died on 11 Jan. 1586–7, and was buried at Boughton Malherbe (Inquisitio post mortem, Elizabeth, vol. ccxv. No. 263). He married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Rudston, by whom he had issue Edward, first baron Wotton [q. v.]; Robert; Sir John, who travelled widely, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and died young after giving some promise as a poet (cf. his two contributions to England's Helicon of 1600, ed. A. H. Bullen, 1899, pp. xviii, 65, 82); James (d. 1628), who served in Spain and was knighted on the field in 1596 near Cadiz; and Thomas. By his second wife, Eleanor, daughter of Sir William Finch and widow of Robert Morton, Wotton was father of Sir Henry Wotton [q. v.], the diplomatist and poet.

[Brewer and Gairdner's Letters and Papers of Henry VIII; State Papers, Henry VIII; Acts of the Privy Council, ed. Dasent, vols. i–xii.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–90, For. 1547–53; Stowe MS. 150 ff. 31, 42, 44, 51, 180 f. 168; Harl. MSS. 283 and 284; Cal. Inq. post mortem, Henry VII, i. 694; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. passim; Chron. of Calais and Troubles connected with the Prayer-book (Camden Soc.); Lit. Remains of Edw. VI (Roxburghe Club); Corresp. Pol. de Odet de Selve, 1546–8; Original Letters (Parker Soc.), ii. 612; Parker Corresp. pp. 304, 370, 441; Cranmer's Works, ii. 54; Strype's Works (general index); Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, ed. 1685; Lists of Sheriffs, 1898; Burnet's Hist. of the Reformation, ed. Pocock; Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth; Hasted's Kent, passim, esp. iv. 176; Archæologia Cantiana (general index); Todd's Deans of Canterbury, pp. 11–12; Burke's Extinct Peerage.]

A. F. P.