EDMONDS, John (d.1606), of Cambridge.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of John Edmonds (d.1544), master of Peterhouse. m. (bef. 1560), Katherine, da. of Roger Walsh of Thaxted, Essex, 5s. 2da.

Offices Held

Alderman, Cambridge, mayor 1586-7, 1605-d.


The son by a secret marriage of a scholar in holy orders, at a time when clerical marriage was still illegal, Edmonds was brought up by his uncle John Mere, esquire bedell to the university. It was not until the reign of Elizabeth, when Mere was dead and he himself an adult and married, that he took his father’s name. Together with Mere, Edmonds’s father had appointed as his executor Matthew Parker, later archbishop of Canterbury, and it was in Parker’s household that Edmonds was first employed at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign. Dismissed for ‘ingratitude and stubbornness’, he, the son of a master of Peterhouse, was taken on as butler by another master, Dr. Perne, dean of Ely. Here Edmonds remained for six years, becoming praiser and vintner to the university, and eventually leaving Perne’s service to set up as a merchant in the town. In 1586 Edmonds was elected both mayor and MP. But he was ‘so lusty in his sudden office of his mayoralty’ that the always smouldering relations between town and university flared up, and lawsuits and appeals to Burghley and the Privy Council were the order of the day. Finally there was a formal ‘discommoning’ of the mayor by the vice-chancellor on 27 May 1587, and the university senate forbade the scholars to trade with him. Perne wrote to Burghley about Edmonds’s ingratitude, but he remained an alderman, and early in James I’s reign he was again mayor, dying near the end of his term of office in September 1606. He was buried at St. Botolph’s.

Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 72; C. H. Cooper, Cambridge Annals, ii. 426-46; F. Blomefield, Coll. Cant. 225; Lansd. 54, ff. 12-38; 84, f. 225; 116, f. 25 seq. Strype, Annals, ii(1), pp. 711-12; ii(2), p. 496; Downing Coll. Camb. Bowtell mss; APC, xvi. 48; PCC 71 Stafford.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe