STURE, Edmund (1509/10-60), of Bradley in North Huish, Devon and the Middle Temple, London.
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Family and Education
b. 1509/10, 1st s. of Henry Sture of Bradley by Elizabeth, da. of Edmund Fortescue. educ. M. Temple. m. Elizabeth, s.p. suc. fa. 3 Mar. 1534.2
Bencher, M. Temple 1549-d., Autumn reader 1549, Lent reader 1557, assistant to Autumn reader 1558.3
J.p.q. Devon 1547-d.; commr. relief 1550; counsel to Exeter Apr. 1554.4
Edmund Sture came of a minor landowning family, inheriting from his father a number of messuages and other property in the villages to the west of the river Dart. He became a lawyer, and it is clear from his will and inquisition that he added appreciably to the family estates, although there is no indication that he bought land from the crown.5
Sture’s practice probably lay mainly in the west country. On 2 Apr. 1554 the Exeter city council appointed him standing counsel to the city, with a fee of £20 a year, on condition that he took up residence there and performed his duties whenever required: he was at the same time granted the reversion of the office of recorder. Although the city elected him as one of its Members in the Parliament of 1555, he does not seem to have carried out his legal duties, perhaps owing to illness, and after 1556 his fee was not paid. In October 1558 he was ‘sick and impotent’, and his duties were undertaken by John Charles. Sture had probably owed his return for Plympton Erle in 1545 and Totnes in 1547 to Sir Richard Edgecombe, who was influential in both boroughs: the fact that on the first occasion his name was written over an erasure on the county return suggests that he had not been the electors’ choice, but in 1554 he was in receipt of fees from Totnes. His return for Dartmouth to the Parliament of April 1554 may reflect a similar situation.6
Sture was probably a Catholic. He was a friend of James Courtenay, whom he had made an overseer of his will, and in 1557 was appointed a feoffee for the lands of Arthur, nephew of James Bassett: his fellows on this occasion included (Sir) Anthony Browne I, Viscount Montagu, (Sir) William Cordell, William Rogers, Sir Edward Waldegrave and Bishop White, all Catholics. It is thus not surprising that he took no part in the parliamentary opposition to the Marian Restoration. In May 1557 he was a feoffee for Griffith Ameredith. By his will, dated 12 Feb. 1560, Sture left most of his goods and an annuity to his wife Elizabeth, together with a life interest in Ermington park; he made bequests to the poor and to servants, and gave various leases to his nephew Henry Luscombe. The bulk of his landed property passed to his brother and heir Philip. Sture died at Bradley on 22 Feb. 1560.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Roger Virgoe
- 1. C219/282/2; Hatfield 207.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/56/7. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 725; PCC 19 Mellershe.
- 3. Dugdale, Origines Juridiciales, 217.
- 4. CPR, 1547-8, p. 83; 1553, p. 352; 1553-4, p. 18; Exeter act bk. 2 f. 139v.
- 5. C142/56/73, 125/36; PCC 19 Mellershe.
- 6. Exeter act bk. 2 f. 139v; receivers accts. 1555-6, 1556-7, 1557-8; C219/18C/32, 33; Trans. Dev. Assoc. xii. 328.
- 7. CPR 1555-7, p. 404; 1558-60, p. 448; NRA 11978 (Devon RO, 484 M/F4(1)); PCC 19 Mellershe; C142/125/36.