WYNDHAM, Edmund (by 1496-1569), of Felbrigg, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1496, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Wyndham of Felbrigg by 1st w. Eleanor, da. of Richard Scrope of Upsall, Yorks. m. by Oct. 1521, Susan, da. of Sir Roger Townshend of Raynham, Norf., 3s. inc. Francis 3da.; 1da. illegit. suc. fa. 29 Apr. 1522. Kntd. Feb./ May 1543.2

Offices Held

Commr. subsidy, Norf. 1523, tenths of spiritualities 1535, benevolence 1544/45, relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, to enforce Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity 1559, eccles. causes 1569; servant, household of Cardinal Wolsey by 1525; j.p. Norf. 1532-54, q. 1558/59-d.; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1537-8, 1545-6, 1549-50; dep. lt. Norf. 1559, jt. (with Sir Christopher Heydon) ld. lt. 1560.3


Edmund Wyndham was the son of a member of the Council related to the Howard dukes of Norfolk. It was doubtless his father’s closeness to Wolsey which accounts for Wyndham’s entry into the cardinal’s household, although no trace of him has been found there until three years after his father’s death. His extensive inheritance in East Anglia was burdened with the provision made by his father for his stepmother and half-brothers and sisters, so that during the 1520s he had an income of barely £100 a year. He was not compromised by Wolsey’s fall, and the subsequent winding-up of trusts for relatives enabled him to resume the place in Norfolk enjoyed by his forbears since the mid 15th century.4

In 1532 Wyndham went in the 3rd Duke of Norfolk’s suite to Calais for Henry VIII’s meeting with Francis I and later moved on to Paris with the duke’s son and the King’s illegitimate son Richmond, presumably staying with them at the French court until their return to England a year later. Although ordered to join the King at Ampthill during the northern rebellion in 1536, he is not known to have served in its suppression. His standing as a ‘cousin’ of the duke and his association with Cromwell since their service with Wolsey are sufficient to account for his nomination, with his step-sister’s husband Richard Southwell, for the knighthood of the shire in 1539, but he was also doubtless supported by his father-in-law Sir Roger Townshend; unlike Southwell, he did not have to meet the challenge of Sir Edmund Knyvet (q.v.), one of his father’s ex-wards. Nothing has come to light about Wyndham’s part in this Parliament, but during the prorogation of 1539 he attended the duke at the reception of Anne of Cleves and after the dissolution he and Southwell were instructed about the collection of the subsidy they had helped to grant.5

In 1542 Wyndham served under Norfolk on the Scottish border and two years later at the siege of Boulogne; during 1545 he saw action at sea. With the fall of the Howards he seems to have confined himself to his own and his county’s affairs. In 1549 he tried to dissuade Ket and his supporters from rebellion, but ‘had not ... his horsemanship been better than his rhetoric, himself had not departed the place’; as sheriff after Ket’s overthrow he had the task of restoring order in the shire. During the succession crisis of 1553 he attempted, at least momentarily, to rally support for Jane Grey. On 18 July Mary’s Council ordered the mobilization of parts of Norfolk, notwithstanding directions by Sir Christopher Heydon and Wyndham to the contrary, and summoned the pair to her headquarters: a week later they were ordered to come to London and to stay there during the Council’s pleasure. Like Heydon, Wyndham evidently soon repented and was forgiven; he was named to the commission at Norwich to try those who had refused to submit to Mary, and clearly he stood well with the old duke.6

Although Wyndham remained active in local affairs under Mary it was only at the accession of Elizabeth that he reappeared in Parliament. He remained a client of the Howards and an important figure in Norfolk until his death on 23 July 1569.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. LP Hen. VIII, xiv(1), 808 citing SP1/150/160-1; E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/38/16. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 324; H. A. Wyndham, A Fam. Hist. 1410-1688; the Wyndhams of Norf. and Som. 28-44; PCC 3 Bodfelde; LP Hen. VIII, xx.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iii, v, xv, xx; CPR, 1550-3, p. 396; 1553, pp. 356, 416; 1563-6, p. 25; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 329; E179/69/9-10; Norwich chamberlains’ acct. bk. 1551-67, f. 176.
  • 4. Wyndham, 22-44; Blomefield, Norf. viii. 113; C142/38/14, 16; E179/69/9-10; PCC 3 Bodfelde; LP Hen. VIII, v.
  • 5. Wyndham, 90; Somerville, Duchy, i. 595; LP Hen. VIII, xi, xiii, xiv; E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xvii, xix, xxi, add; Wyndham, 92-94; Blomefield, iii. 224; F. W. Russell, Kett’s Rebellion, 30; APC, iv. 296, 416; v. 109.
  • 7. APC, vi. 109; A. Hassell Smith, County and Ct. 39, 127, 176, 355; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 58; E150/661/13.