FERRERS, Henry (1549-1633), of Baddesley Clinton, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. 26 Jan. 1549, 1st s. of Edward Ferrers of Baddesley Clinton, by Bridget, da. of William Windsor†, 2nd Lord Windsor. educ. Hart Hall, Oxf.; M. Temple 1572, called bef. 1588. m. Oct. 1582, Jane (d.1586), da. and coh. of Henry White† of South Warnborough, Hants, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1564.1
Sheriff, Rutland 1597-8.
Son of a Henrician and Edwardian courtier, Ferrers succeeded to lands in Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Rutland, Kent and Buckinghamshire. His wardship was sold to his step-father, Andrew Ognell. There is no evidence that he practised law, and his comparatively small estates, even with his wife’s inheritance, were not sufficient to support him and his children and allow him to cultivate his antiquarian interests. Consequently, he constantly found himself in debt and was forced to mortgage and eventually to sell first his lands in Kent and Buckinghamshire, and then his other property. A number of Chancery cases show that these expedients added to, rather than solved, his difficulties.2
It was probably this man who was returned as Henry Ferrys for Cirencester in 1593, though no connexion has been found with the Danvers family, who were lords of the borough. He may as a burgess for Cirencester have attended a committee concerning cloth on 15 Mar. 1593. His return for Callington four years later was due to Richard Carew of Antony, then mayor of Callington, and, like Ferrers, an antiquary and former member of the Middle Temple. It is uncertain whether he in fact took his seat, as he was one of three ‘not certified into the House, having been outlawed after judgment’ (presumably for debt). This makes his appointment as sheriff surprising despite the shortage of suitable candidates in Rutland. He sold his property in the county in 1601. Described by an eighteenth century historian as ‘a Catholic gentleman’ he may have been involved in the Gunpowder Plot: it was his house, next to the Parliament House, that was acquired by Thomas Percy in 1604. But there is no evidence that proceedings were taken against him, and he seems to have spent the rest of his life peacefully in Warwickshire.3
According to Wood, Ferrers had ‘a good faculty in poetry’ in his earlier years, but he is better remembered as an antiquary (two volumes of the British Museum Lansdowne manuscripts, 860 A and B, contain his works), a friend of Camden and precursor of Dugdale, who made extensive use of the notes Ferrers had collected for a projected ‘Perambulation of Warwickshire’. He died 10 Oct. 1633 and was buried at Baddesley Clinton. According to Dugdale, his descendants were so poor that they could not afford to pay for an engraving of Baddesley Clinton to be included in his History of Warwickshire.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: Roger Virgoe
- 1. DNB; Burke, Landed Gentry (1906) 582; Dugdale Soc. Occasional Pprs. no. 11, p. 63; Dugdale, Warws. (1730), 971-3; Wood, Ath. Ox. ed. Bliss, ii. 572; Lansd. 860 B, f. 2.
- 2. Wards 9/38; C2 Eliz. F1/56, H10/54, H17/29; C142/753/14.
- 3. D’Ewes, 501; HMC Hatfield, xiv. 25; VCH Rutland, ii. 69; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 113, 243; C. Dodd, Church Hist. iii. 74.
- 4. Camden, Britannia, ed. Gibson, i. 504; Sir Wm. Dugdale, ed. Hamper, 265; Dugdale, Warws. 711, 973; C142/753/14.