ROGERS, Sir Edward (1498/1502-68), of Cannington, Som.
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Family and Education
?Servant of the Courtenay fam. c.1525; esquire of the body by Dec. 1534; bailiff, Hammes and Sangatte 17 Dec. 1534-Oct. 1540; j.p. Dorset 1538-40, Som. 1538-53 or later, q. 1558/59-d.; sewer, the chamber by 1540, carver by 1544, one of the four principal gent. 15 Oct. 1549-Jan. 1550; v.-chamberlain, the Household Nov. 1558-Jan. 1559, comptroller 21 Jan. 1559-d.; PC Nov. 1558-d.; commr. ordnance 1568.4
Edward Rogers was given livery by the Marquess of Exeter in 1525 and may have been in the service of the Courtenays, to whom he was distantly related, for some time previously. A year later he was in serious trouble, and with George Carew and Andrew Flamank he took refuge in France, but in April 1527, as ‘Edward Rogers of Martock and Langport, Somerset, alias of London, alias of Powderham, Devon’, he secured a pardon.5
Within the next few years Rogers obtained a position in the royal household, and thenceforward his career lay largely in that sphere. If he discharged the office of bailiff of Hammes in person, his absence did not check his career in the Household and by 1540 he was a sewer to the King. In that year he quarrelled with Sir Thomas Seymour II and had to enter into recognizances of £1,000 to keep the peace. Already he seems to have become associated with the Protestant group at court and in April 1543 he was one of those reprimanded for eating meat in Lent. These episodes did not tell against him, and in 1544 he went to France as captain of the men-at-arms in the King’s personal troop.6
Rogers’s growing power and prestige in the west country mirrored his rise at court. His landed inheritance was quite small but he took full advantage of the opportunities presented by the Dissolution. In March 1537 he obtained a lease of Cannington priory, which a year later he converted into a grant, and in 1541-2 he leased a considerable amount of other Somerset property, including Buckland abbey, of which within a few years he likewise purchased the reversion in fee or tail male.7
Rogers was knighted at Edward VI’s coronation. It was with the Russells, rather than the Seymours, that he seems to have been most closely connected, and his first parliamentary seat, for Tavistock in 1547, he probably owed as much to Sir John Russell, Baron Russell, as to his own Devon connexions. It was presumably he as a member of the Household, and not his namesake, one of the knights for Dorset, who was the ‘Mr. Rogers’ to whom the redrafted bill prohibiting the sale of pensions was committed after its second reading on 7 Feb. 1549. Not until the Protector’s fall in October 1549 did he receive further promotion in the Household, but he held his new post, as one of the King’s principal gentlemen, for only a few months before being dismissed and put under house arrest in January 1550. The reason for this temporary disgrace, which coincided with the dismissal of the Earls of Arundel and Southampton from the Council, remains unknown. Rogers soon returned to favour and on 29 June 1550 he was granted a pension of £50, presumably to replace that attached to his lost post.8
Having sat for his shire in the Parliament of March 1553, Rogers signed the device settling the crown upon Jane Grey, but nothing has come to light about his part in the succession crisis. He was, however, a strong Protestant, and his re-election, with his earlier colleague Sir Ralph Hopton, to Mary’s first Parliament suggests that many of the Somerset freeholders shared his views. In this Parliament he was one of those who ‘stood for the true religion’ by opposing one of the measures for the restoration of Catholicism. His Protestantism and his old tie with the Courtenays soon involved him in plots against the Spanish marriage. Late in November 1553 he and others were accused of conspiring to seize the Tower, and on their return from Westminster he and Hopton planned an insurrection in Devon to coincide with Wyatt’s rebellion.9
On the premature outbreak of the rising in Kent Rogers’s complicity in the movement was taken for granted, and on 24 Feb. 1554 he was sent to the Tower. Wyatt accused him of bringing messages from the Earl of Devon, and on 7 Apr. 1554 he and others were indicted before a special commission of oyer and terminer. He does not seem to have been brought to trial and he shared in the Queen’s clemency. Although his property was formally confiscated, he was held prisoner in the Tower for less than a year, being released in January 1555 with Sir Gawain Carew and Sir Edward Warner after entering into recognizances of £1,000 ‘for good order and fine at pleasure’. At his appearance before the Privy Council in April he compounded for the £709 worth of his goods already seized and was released of all his bonds and other penalties. In July 1555 he was granted a full pardon. He is then said to have gone into exile for a time but he had returned by the beginning of 1558 when Somerset again showed its Protestant leaning by returning him as senior knight of the shire. In February he was bold enough to petition the Privy Council for recompense for his losses during the time of his imprisonment. An amendment proposed by Rogers and two others on the morning of the prorogation of the first session saved the bill for musters by limiting the raising of aids to pay troops to the current invasion scare.