ELRINGTON (ELDERTON), Edward (1496/97-1559), of London and Birch Hall, Theydon Bois, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1496/97, 1st s. of Edward Elrington of London and Udimore, Suss., by Beatrix, da. of Ralph Shirley of Wiston, Suss. m. by 1527, Grace, illegit. da. of Sir Thomas Seymour I of London, Saffron Walden, Essex and Hoxton, Mdx., at least 5s. inc. Edward 3da. suc. fa. 7 July 1515.1

Offices Held

Ranger, Waltham forest, Essex 1541-d.; dep. to Sir William Fitzwilliam I , Earl of Southampton, in office of ld. privy seal ?1540-2; commr. sewers, Essex 1543; chief butler of England (with Sir Francis Bryan) 23 June 1544-d.; gent. pens. by 1544-d.; keeper, Thorney Chase, Cambs., and King’s swans in Cambs. and Hunts. 1545-d.; esquire of the body by 1551-d.; treasurer of the navy.2


A place at court was probably found for Edward Elrington, a grandson of Sir John Elrington, treasurer of the Household to Edward IV, shortly after the death of his father, himself a gentleman usher, by kinsmen most of whom were in the service of the crown. Elrington attracted the attention of Henry VIII’s favourite Sir Francis Bryan, who was later to help him to preferment at court and to office with the navy.3

Although at his coming of age Elrington received only 100 marks in ready money and the few lands and leases which his father, a younger son, had held in Sussex and London, he appears to have done well for himself. His marriage to the illegitimate daughter of a lord mayor of London may have assisted his progress, as doubtless did the royal patronage reflected in his lending of £22 10s. to the King at dice on New Year’s Day 1538. In the following year Elrington made his first purchases of land, including two manors in Cambridgeshire, which he resold to the King in 1544, and was fined for not having obtained a licence for the purpose. Acting at first in partnership with Humphrey Metcalfe and later with his kinsman Thomas Elrington, he made regular and increasingly large purchases, chiefly of former monastic and chantry property, in London, East Anglia, and the midlands. Most of these lands he sold, retaining only a number in Essex, where his family already had an interest, as did his patron Bryan. When, in 1543, he and Metcalfe were entrusted with a manor in Compton, Surrey, which had been held by the Earl of Southampton, they were described as having been the earl’s deputies in the office of lord privy seal which he had held from 1540 until his death in 1542: nothing further has come to light about their service.4

Elrington’s name is included in the lists of those who were to accompany the treasurer to Flanders in 1543 and who took part in the Boulogne campaign of 1544. Under Bryan’s direction he probably assisted (Sir) Michael Stanhope in his efforts to improve the fortifications of Hull and Berwick: he and Stanhope were associates at court and he sold Stanhope land in Nottinghamshire. It was undoubtedly to Stanhope that he owed his election in 1547 for Hedon. The borough was returning Members for the first time, and Stanhope, a brother-in-law of the Protector Somerset, had probably been instrumental in obtaining its enfranchisement: Elrington’s fellow-Member Robert Googe was a neighbour and colleague of Stanhope’s.5

Elrington’s Membership must have been overshadowed, and may have been interrupted, by the fate of his patron, whose nearness to Somerset brought him a spell of imprisonment in 1549-50 and a traitor’s death early in 1552. Elrington himself was beholden to Somerset, to whom he wrote in June 1549 about property transactions, adding that only a ‘fever quartan’ had prevented him from waiting upon the Protector, but he seems to have weathered the storms of these years without serious damage, retaining his offices and his possessions, including the lands which his wife had received under her father’s will and which had been the subject of litigation with Sir Thomas Seymour’s heir. Under Mary his connexion with such suspects as (Sir) Ralph Sadler, one of whose daughters married his eldest son, may have kept him in the background, but beyond reprimands from the Privy Council for neglect of his duties, including those of ranger of Waltham forest, he came through the reign unscathed. He survived it by only a few months, dying on 6 Feb. 1559: he was buried in St. Peter’s, Cornhill. He is not known to have left a will but his heir was his son Edward, then aged 31.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/30/37. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 49, 392; PCC 12 Holder, 31 Hogen, 11 Bakon; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; C1/7/21, 783/7-13.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xix, xx; Manning and Bray, Surr. ii. 3; CPR, 1549-50, p. 302; Vis. Essex, 392.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, i, xx.
  • 4. PCC 12 Holder; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvi; CPR, 1549-50, pp. 212, 247; DKR, ix. 205-6.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xix.
  • 6. HMC Bath, iv. 110-11; C1/7/21, 783/7-13; 142/118/52; CPR, 1557-8, p. 426; APC, vi. 351, 355; Stow’s Survey of London, i. 195.