DYMOKE, Sir Edward (c.1557-1624), of Scrivelsby, Lincs.

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.1557, s. and h. of Robert Dymoke of Scrivelsby by Bridget, da. of Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln. educ. G. Inn 1577. m. (1) Catherine, da. of James Harington I. of Exton, Rutland, ?1s. 1da.; (2) Anne, da. of Sir John Monson of South Carlton, ?2s. 1da.; (3) 1610, Mary, da. of Gabriel Pulteney of Misterton, Leics., sis. of John Pulteney, 1s. suc. fa. 1580. Kntd. 1584.1

Offices Held

Hereditary champion of England.

J.p. Lincs. (Kesteven, Lindsey) from c.1583, (Holland) from c.1592; sheriff, Lincs. 1584-5, dep. lt. 1585-95; commr. recusants 1582, 1586, sewers 1589, 1600, 1602, musters from c.1598.2


The Dymokes derived their name from the manor of Dimock in Gloucestershire, the original seat of the family. In the time of Edward III they acquired, with the manor of Scrivelsby, the hereditary dignity of champion of England. Sir Edward Dymoke performed this function at the coronation of James I.3

Dymoke was of sufficient standing to secure his own repeated elections to Parliament as knight of the shire. He was first elected during his year as sheriff of Lincolnshire. Nevertheless, he ‘continued in the service’ of the House ‘without interruption or question a great part of this Parliament, and now [23 Feb. 1585] upon the licence of this House departed into the country about some necessary occasions concerning his said office’. Though his father had died in prison for his Catholicism, and his uncle Charles was listed as a Catholic in 1577, Dymoke was evidently of another persuasion, for, on 14 Dec. 1584, he brought in a petition from Lincolnshire ‘touching the liberty of godly preachers’. There were repercussions to this, for the anonymous diarist of this Parliament reported (as usual without a date or explanation of the context) that ‘Sir Edward Dymoke found himself aggrieved by certain speeches spoken of him at a table of good credit, concerning his speech in the parliament house for the want of ministers in Lincolnshire’. Dymoke took charge of a fish bill in this Parliament, serving on the committee (7 Dec.) and reporting the bill’s progress twice (15 Dec. 1584 and 18 Feb. 1585). He also served on committees concerning vicious and idle living (10 Dec.), the liberty of certain ministers (16 Dec.) and a protest from the Lords about the Commons’ handling of the fraudulent conveyances bill (15 Feb. 1585). He was presumably the Sir William Dymock who is noted as serving on a committee concerned with the sea defence works of Norfolk (9 Feb. 1585). In 1586 he was appointed to the committee on Mary Queen of Scots (11 Nov.), and urged her speedy execution (18 Nov.). In 1589 he was appointed to committees on the following: returns (8 Feb.), a privilege case (12 Feb.), forestallers and regrators (12 Feb.), Tonbridge School (22 Feb.), the Queen’s dislike of the purveyors bill (27 Feb.) and declaring war with Spain (29 Mar.). He spoke and served on committees concerning purveyors (15 Feb.), the reform of the Exchequer (18 Feb.), and captains and soldiers (26 Feb.), and received two bills concerning Tonbridge School on 25 Feb. and the city of Lincoln on 11 Mar. On 21 Mar. 1593 he spoke in the debate on the bill against aliens selling foreign commodities retail:

The beggary of our home retailers comes not by the strangers retailing, but by our own home ingrossers; so that if our retailers might be at the first hand, they might sell as good cheap as the strangers. But this bill is thrust into the House by our home ingrossers of policy that their beggaring of our retailers might be imputed to the strangers’ retailing.

This was evidently a subject in which he had a personal interest, as he wrote to Burghley on 20 July that year about his ‘suit’ for registering aliens. On 12 Mar. he was in charge of the bills for the city of Lincoln (he reported this on 15 Mar.); and for depriving Bonner, former bishop of London. He was appointed to committees on recusancy (28 Feb. and 4 Apr.), speaking on the subject on 4 Apr. He was named also to the following committees: the subsidy (1 Mar.), fines and recoveries (12 Mar.), a legal committee and a private committee (15 Mar.), weir works (28 Mar.), and brewers (3 Apr.). He spoke on 3 Mar. asking for a conference on the subsidy bill, and he raised a point of procedure on 24 Mar. As knight for Lincolnshire he was eligible to attend the subsidy committees, 11 Feb. 1589 and 26 Feb. 1593, and a legal committee, 9 Mar. 1593.4

Dymoke was one of 12 knights of ‘great possessions’ listed in 1588 as able to support a peerage. In the following year he was appointed to attend his uncle the 2nd Earl of Lincoln when that nobleman was sent to represent the Queen at the wedding of James VI of Scotland but in the event did not go, on the ground that he could not be spared as deputy lieutenant. But it was at this time that he became involved in a desperate quarrel with the Earl, the origins of which have not been ascertained, but which, at another level, must have been due to Lincoln’s known mental derangement. The feud reached the proportions of a private war, giving rise to armed affrays in Lincolnshire, cases in the Star Chamber and complaints from both sides addressed to Burghley and to Sir Robert Cecil. After a period of calm the quarrel broke out anew in 1602, over the possession of the manor of Horncastle, which Dymoke held from the bishop of Carlisle. Lincoln complained that Dymoke

spoils and wastes my land, and enters into my meadows at midnight with fifty to sixty persons on horseback armed, and carries my hay ... and frights my poor wife, children and servants with threats and injuries.

It was stated in Dymoke’s defence that Lincoln had built a watch house close to the disputed land, in which to keep ‘divers loose fellows’ to disturb Dymoke’s possessions and drive off his cattle. Dymoke destroying the building, Lincoln had him tried, himself sat upon the bench ‘outfacing and appalling the jury’, gave Dymoke the lie, declared that he was mad, and used other ‘most foul and opprobrious words not befitting that place’. Next, in 1610, Dymoke’s brother performed, on a Sunday, on the village green a play lampooning Lincoln, after which one of the company, dressed as a minister, mounted a pulpit attached to the maypole and ‘did most profanely ... pronounce vain and scurrilous matter’, and attached to the maypole a scandalous libel against Lincoln. Dymoke’s brother died soon afterwards but the episode cost Sir Edward a period in the Fleet and a fine of £1,000. There is little more to say about him. In 1601, when asked to provide a second light horse for Ireland, he complained of the expenses laid upon him and others whose names, he supposed, were in the Council’s ‘calendar’. There were gentlemen in the county equally and better able to pay, including fourteen named as ‘of great estate of grounded wealth’. He asked to be excused from furnishing another light horse ‘in respect of my pitiful loss lately sustained from casualty of fire ... I am enforced to disperse my family and break up my housekeeping’. Dymoke died 1 Aug. 1624 in London and was buried at Scrivelsby.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lv), 1206; S. Lodge, Scrivelsby, 83. Authorities conflict as to the children.
  • 2. Harl. 474; HMC Foljambe, 25; HMC Hatfield, viii. 289; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 324; 1601-3, p. 163; APC, xxix. 490.
  • 3. J. Gillow, Bibliog. Dict. Eng. Caths. ii. 150-1; W. Jones, Crowns and Coronations, 129, 135; Lodge, 43.
  • 4. D’Ewes, 337, 338, 339, 340, 346, 349, 351, 355, 399, 403, 430, 432, 433, 434, 437, 439, 440, 445, 454, 477, 481, 487, 497, 499, 501, 506, 509, 512, 514, 517; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 165; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 16, 21, 25, 69, 70, 76; Gillow, ii. 151; Lansd. 75, f. 107.
  • 5. Lansd. 104, ff. 51 seq.; HMC Hatfield, v. 515 seq.; vi. 40-1; xi. 440; xii. 410 seq.; xiii. 556-7; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 143; CP, vii. 694; HMC 3rd Rep. 57; O’Conor, Godes Peace and the Queenes, pt. vi; APC, xviii. 90, 106.