PECKHAM, Sir Robert (by 1516-69), of London, Biddlesden and Denham, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. by 1516, 1st s. of Sir Edmund Peckham of Denham by Anne, da. of John Cheyne of Chesham Bois, Bucks.; bro. of Henry. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1533. m. c.1537, Mary, da. of Edmund, 1st Lord Bray, d.v.p. Kntd. 2 Oct. 1553; suc. fa. 29 Mar. 1564.1
Clerk comptroller, counting house by 1540-3; j.p. Bucks. 1542-7, q. 1558/59; commr. subsidy 1543, relief 1550; escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 1545-6; sheriff 1556-7; PC Aug. 1553-Nov. 1558.2
Robert Peckham began his career, as his father had done, in the King’s counting house but rose no higher in the central administration. Perhaps married by 22 June 1537, when his father settled property in Denham on him and Mary Bray, to be followed in July 1542 by the manor of Weedon Pinkney, Northamptonshire, Peckham left the counting house in 1543 and withdrew, possibly to his father’s recent acquisition, Biddlesden abbey, to pursue the studies which were later said to have impaired his health.3
Peckham probably joined his father’s Buckinghamshire contingent in support of Mary in July 1553, for he was given an annuity of £60 for service ‘at Framlingham’. On 5 Aug. he was appointed with two others to take an inventory of all plate and goods in the Earl of Hertford’s house in Aldgate Street. His appearance as a Privy Councillor on 22 Aug. was followed by a knighthood conferred at the coronation; he attended council meetings with fair regularity throughout the reign. He sat in only one Parliament, as a knight for Buckinghamshire, seemingly in place of his father. When his brother Henry was condemned for his part in the Dudley conspiracy Peckham made a long statement on his behalf.4
In the general pardon which he obtained in 1559 Peckham was described as of Biddlesden alias of London. Removed from the Council and the bench, and adjudged by his bishop in 1564 as ‘not fit to be trusted’, he went abroad after his father’s death for the sake of his health and his religion. After several years’ journeying he reached Rome, only to die there on 10 Sept. 1569. He was buried in the church of San Gregorio Magno, but at his own request his heart was buried at Denham; there, too, an epitaph commemorates him both as a good neighbour and as ‘a man studious in learning ... having more than a mean judgment in most of the arts ... not ignorant of the laws of this realm, but specially addicted to the study of divinity’. It was to Peckham that Sion Dafydd Rhys of Brecon dedicated his De Italica Pronunciatione Libellus published at Padua in 1569. Peckham’s own library at Biddlesden was left to the sons of his brother George, to whom in default of heirs his landed property passed.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: M. K. Dale
- 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., E150/54/3. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 163; LP Hen. VIII, xvii.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, xvi-xviii, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1553, p. 351; 1553-4, p. 29; E179/78/125; APC, iv-vi passim.
- 3. E150/54/3; Wards 7/12/114; LP Hen. VIII, xvii; VCH Bucks. iv. 154-5.
- 4. Lansd. 156(28), ff. 90, 92; APC, iv-vi passim; HMC Laing, i. 13; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 82; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 217, 224.
- 5. CPR, 1558-60, p. 234; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 32; CSP For. 1564-5, pp. 238, 431; N. and Q. (ser. 3), i. 259; VCH Bucks. iii. 261; Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 451; Recs. Bucks. xix. 353-4; PCC 25 Sheffelde; Wards 7/12/114.