CHAMBERLAIN, Edward II (by 1509-57), of Fulwell, Oxon. and Astley, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. by 1509, 2nd s. of Sir Edward Chamberlain†; bro. of Sir Leonard and Sir Ralph. m. by 1548, Elizabeth, da. of one Lawrence of Fulwell, Oxon., wid. of (Sir) John Welsborne (d. Apr. 1548) of Fulwell and London, 1s.1
Commr. chantries Northants., Oxon., Rutland and Oxford 1548, relief, Bucks., Oxon. and Oxford 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Oxford 1553; j.p. Oxon 1554; steward, Buckingham 17 Jan. 1554-d.2
In 1530 Edward Chamberlain was appointed to a commission to inquire into Wolsey’s possessions in Oxfordshire. Nothing is known of him during the next 16 years. The absence of his name from commissions, even after his father’s death in 1543, suggests that he held a post in a private household, and his return for Heytesbury in 1545 may have resulted from such a connexion with the Seymours: Francis Newdigate†, a kinsman by marriage, was a servant of the Seymours and later married the Duke of Somerset’s widow. It may have been Chamberlain’s fellow-Member William Sharington, lessee of the demesne lands of the lordship or manor of Heytesbury and a close friend of Sir Thomas Seymour II, who was directly responsible for his return. Apart from any possible Seymour connexion, Sharington had been, like Thomas Seymour, a servant of Sir Francis Bryan, who presumably knew the Chamberlains: Shirburn was for a while leased to Bryan’s kinsman Sir Adrian Fortescue. Chamberlain appears to have been put in after some interference or change in the election since his name is written over an erasure on the indenture.3
He may well have been the Master Chamberlain admitted to the Inner Temple on 2 Nov. 1547 with discharge from all offices except that of steward, for in the following year he began to sit more frequently on commissions in the midland counties. His inn of court was the one to which his distant kinsman by marriage John Seymour I, under clerk of the Parliaments, had also been admitted in 1547. Chamberlain married in 1548 the widow of Sir John Welsborne and for the next few years he resided at his wife’s home at Fulwell. He had already performed some military service in 1547 as a ‘harbinger of the field’ in Somerset’s expedition to Scotland: in 1549 he took part in the relief of Boulogne as master of the ordnance.4
In 1550 Chamberlain obtained the wardship of Welsborne’s heir with custody of manors and lands in Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire. In the same year he paid £541 for Barton’s manor in Thornborough near Buckingham and for ex-chantry lands in Bentley, Derbyshire. Since Fulwell on the northern border of Oxfordshire was only a few miles west of Buckingham, Chamberlain was doubtless already associated with that borough when he was returned as one of its Members to the Parliament of March 1553. His brother-in-law Ralph Gifford had sat for the borough in 1545 and Ralph’s brother George had sat in 1536. Chamberlain’s fellow-Member, Francis Verney, was also a kinsman.5
In the following Parliament Chamberlain secured a place for the Cornish borough of Mitchell, perhaps with the help of Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, who as a friend of Sir Francis Bryan may have influenced his return in 1545. It is possible that he shared the beliefs of his fellow-Member Francis Goldsmith since the names of both were marked on the list of Members for the Parliament with crosses denoting opposition to the restoration of Catholicism, although the one beside his name was then deleted. Whatever the significance of this, Chamberlain seems to have been accepted as trustworthy by Mary’s government: he was appointed, perhaps through his elder brother’s influence, the first steward of Buckingham under its charter of incorporation granted on 17 Jan. 1554. At the end of the same year he bought from the crown for £1,580 the manor of Astley with Bentley park in the counties of Warwick and Leicester. Chamberlain died on 29 Oct. 1557 leaving a son and heir, Richard, aged nine years and several weeks. His will has not been found, but a probate act book at Lichfield records the grant of potestas colligendi bona to his widow on 20 Dec. 1557: she later married Richard Hussey.