CROFT, Edward (d.1601), of Croft Castle, Herefs.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Sir James Croft of Croft Castle by his 1st w. Alice, da. and h. of Richard Warnecombe† of Ivington in Leominster, Lugwardine and Hereford, wid. of William Wigmore (half-bro. of Thomas Wigmore) of Shobdon; bro. of James. educ. M. Temple 1561. m. (1) Anne (d.1575), da. and h. of Thomas Browne of Attleborough, Norf., 5s. inc. Herbert 5da.; (2) Mareen.1
J.p. Herefs. from c.1573; dep. steward, Leominster 1577.2
Croft thrice sat for his local borough of Leominster, where his father was steward. His fellow-Member in 1584 and 1586 was his half-brother Thomas Wigmore. When his father was arrested in August 1588 for questionable conduct in negotiations with the Duke of Parma in the Netherlands, Croft, who blamed the Earl of Leicester, applied to a London conjuror, John Smith, to compass Leicester’s death, which took place 4 Sept. Croft was charged with contriving his death but nothing is known of any trial.3
Croft never succeeded to the family estates in Herefordshire, which were granted in 1583 to Sir William Herbert and Thomas Wigmore as feoffees who in turn granted them to Croft’s eldest son Herbert in 1594. This arrangement was probably due to Croft’s unstable character. After his father’s death he was imprisoned for debt. On 18 Jan. 1591 the Privy Council ordered that he should not be released until he had answered the charges of a creditor, one Sallamon Prough. On his release he fled to the Netherlands where he spent the remainder of his life. When writing to Lord Burghley seeking employment in 1596, he claimed that he had been banished by his father’s debts. He settled at Stranehage in South Holland where he made his will before a Dutch public notary 22 June 1600, leaving his seal to his son, Herbert, a sword to another son and rings to two of his daughters. An annuity of £40 and the residue of his property went to his second wife ‘married to me by a lawful minister in church’. His religious beliefs have not been ascertained. He was named in a list of Catholic sympathizers drawn up in 1574, but his will was protestant in tone. He died 29 July 1601, and administration of his estate was granted to his wife 16 Nov. 1607.4