DREW, Edward (c.1542-98), of Sharpham and Killerton, Devon.

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

b. c.1542, 1st s. of Thomas Drew of Sharpham and Killerton by Eleanor, da. and cob. coh. of William Hockmore; bro. of Richard. educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1557; I. Temple 1560, called 1574. m. Bridget, da. of George Fitzwilliam of Mablethorpe, Lincs., 4s. 3da.

Offices Held

Clerk of assizes, western circuit c.1577; j.p. Devon from c.1579; bencher, I. Temple 1581; feodary, Devon, Cornw. 1583-90; Lent reader, I. Temple 1584; serjeant-at-law serjeant-at-law 1589; recorder, Exeter May-June 1592, of London June 1592-4; May-June 1592, of London June 1592-4; justice of assize, Essex, Kent 1594, of northern circuit from 1596; Queen’s serjeant 1596.


Drew was a lawyer connected with the 2nd Earl of Bedford, of whose will he was an overseer, and who no doubt obtained for him his parliamentary seat at Lyme Regis in 1584. He was retained by Exeter long before he became its recorder and was twice returned for the city, which paid him £6 for attending the 1589 Parliament. He was probably the ‘Mr. Crew’ who served on a committee concerning libellets libellers (19 Feb. 1585) and he was named to the Commons committee considering the Norfolk election, 9 Nov. 1586, and to legal committees 24 Feb. 1587 and 25 Feb. 1589. In December 1588 he was one of a number of lawyers asked to suggest statutes that might be repealed or reformed in the following Parliament, and for ideas for ideas on new legislation or the reform of justice.

Drew was recorder of London in 1593 and as such was appointed to a considerable number of committees. On 26 Feb. he was appointed to the main privileges and returns committee and on 1 Mar. to that on the subsidy. His other committee work included bills concerning private cases (5, 8, 20 Mar.), alien merchants (6 Mar.), cloth (9 Mar.), jurors (10 Mar.), Lincoln charter (10 Mar.) and executions of process (15 Mar.). He reported the progress of committees on a private bill (9 Mar.) and alien merchants (20 Mar.). He spoke in the debate on foreign merchants 21 Mar.:

There is no reason we should be without respect to strangers, yet our charity must be done with a feeling of our countrymen’s grief. And although I think it not fit that the law should look back, to have old men long inhabiting here now to become apprentices, yet that all things should be at liberty to all strangers, as it is, that were not convenient. Wherefore I could wish there might be a law for those that should come hereafter only, and the strangers that be now might be restrained to their retailing of some wares especially.

As Member for London in 1593 he was eligible to attend the following committees: maimed soldiers (2 Apr.), brewers (3 Apr.), and building in London (6 Apr.). There are no less than 46 references to his activities in the 1597 Parliament when he served as an assistant in the House of Lords after becoming a judge.

Drew died soon after 25 Apr. and certainly before 16 May 1598 of gaol fever, caught while on circuit in the north.

DNB; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 357; Roberts thesis; HMC Exeter, 318; pat. rolls 36, 38 Eliz.; SP12/145; HMC Hatfield, xiii. 266; Exeter act bk. 3, f. 20; 4, ff. 123, 474; APC, xvi. 416, 417; D’Ewes, 353, 410, 439, 471, 481, 489, 495, 496, 501, 504, 507, 513, 519.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: M.A.P. / P. W. Hasler