LUDLOW, Edmund (bef.1548-1624), of Hill Deverill; later of Maiden Bradley, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1548, 1st s. of George Ludlow of Hill Deverill by Edith, da. of Andrew†, 1st Lord Windsor of Stanwell, Mdx. m. (1) Bridget (d.1587), da. of Henry Coker of Mappowder, Dorset, 3s. inc. Henry 7da.; (2) Margaret, da. of Sir Henry Manning, knight marshal of the Household, wid. of Thomas Howard, 1st Visct. Bindon, at least 4s. 2da. suc. fa. June 1580. Kntd 14 Sept, 1601.1
J.p. Wilts. from 1580, sheriff 1586-7.
A William Ludlow of Hill Deverill, south of Warminster, sat in several Parliaments as Member for Ludgershall between 1432 and 1455, but none of his successors is known to have done so until Edmund Ludlow in the reign of Elizabeth. Edmund’s father George, a considerable proprietor, had served as a Wiltshire j.p. since the reign of Edward VI and was pricked sheriff of the county in 1559 and again in 1568. Of his son and heir nothing is known until 1574, when Edmund received part of his father’s property, including Hill Deverill. This transaction was probably connected with Edmund’s marriage, of which the first son was born in 1577. For the subsidy of 1576 Edmund Ludlow was assessed at £10 and paid 26s.8d.2
Ludlow’s Membership of the Parliament of 1571 (which, in the absence of returns to that Parliament, rests upon the inclusion of his name in the de Tabley list) seems an unexpected and premature opening to a parliamentary career which was not to be resumed for a quarter of a century. As the young and probably unmarried son of a local gentleman who had not himself sat in the Commons, Edmund Ludlow would have required powerful patronage to secure his election. Old Sarum was then controlled by the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, but the only known connexion between Pembroke and the Ludlows is that George Ludlow held some land of the Earl in Wylye.3
With his marriage and settlement at Hill Deverill, Ludlow began to make his way in the county, and on his father’s death he attained independent status. That year sees his first recorded appearance as a justice at the Wiltshire sessions. But he was involved in numerous lawsuits, and even in that litigious age he stood out for intractability in matters of money and property. In January 1579 he had complained to the Earl of Pembroke about his powerful neighbour Sir John Thynne, who thereupon sued him for £5,000. During Ludlow’s year as sheriff he had to meet a complaint addressed to Walsingham by the commission for poor prisoners in London that he was obstructing the settlement of his suit against a prisoner in the Fleet: he excused himself as sheriff from repairing to London and undertook to do so in the following term. His conduct as sheriff itself gave rise to another complaint which in June 1589 the Privy Council ordered him to answer at the assizes. In the following April his refusal to accept a debt-settlement made by Pembroke and (Sir) James Marvyn cost him two spells of waiting daily on the Council. He was also involved in a dispute with his father-in-law over his first wife’s dowry.4
Ludlow probably owed his return to the Parliament of 1597 for Ludgershall to his own standing in the county. The sole indication of his part in its proceedings is his inclusion in one committee, on a bill to reform brokerage and pawning (7 Feb. 1598) to which his keen business sense must have well suited him. He did not sit in the Parliament of 1601, to which, however, his son and heir Henry Ludlow was returned for Andover; his Membership of later Parliaments lies outside our period.5
Ludlow’s later life exhibits the same progression in material prosperity and public status, punctuated by disputes and setbacks, as had marked his earlier career. In 1598 he was described by his opponent in a lawsuit, Walter Goddard, as ‘a man of great wealth and of £2,000 lands per year’. In the following year he purchased the neighbouring manor of Kingston Deverill, and later he became a tenant of assart land belonging to the Crown in the New Forest. He enclosed some of the common fields at Hill Deverill. The scale of his fortune is illustrated by the terms of the contract of 1589—a contract which provoked yet another lawsuit—for the marriage of his son and heir Henry to Lord De La Warr’s daughter: the bride was to have a jointure of £1,500, and Ludlow was to settle lands worth £200 a year, and to devise lands worth £1,000 a year upon the bridegroom. Such affluence may have sharpened the Privy Council’s displeasure when Ludlow, and his kinsman Mompesson, refused to contribute to local military charges in the winter of 1598-9. No lasting prejudice resulted, however, and, with other notables, Ludlow was knighted by the Queen at Basing during her autumn progress in 1601.6
In 1595 Ludlow was living in London. In his closing years he lived at Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire. On his death in 1624 letters of administration were issued to his widow. His son and heir Henry occupied Hill Deverill until his own death in 1639, when it passed to his brother, Sir Henry Ludlow, whose son was the noted republican and regicide.7