FOXE, Samuel (1560-1630), of Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxon. and Warlies, Essex.

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. 31 Dec. 1560 at Norwich, 1st s. of John Foxe, the martyrologist, by his w. Agnes Randell of Coventry, Warws. educ. Merchant Taylors’; Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1575, fellow 1580, expelled 1581, rest. 1585-90. m. 15 Aug. 1589, Anne Leveson, prob. da. of Thomas Leveson of Halling, Kent, 4 or 5s. at least 3da. suc. fa. 1587.

Offices Held

Servant of (Sir) Thomas Heneage c.1587.

Steward of manors of Havering-atte-Bower and Copthall, Essex; bailiff of the High Peak, Derbys. 1591-2; clerk of Epping market c.1591


At the age of three Foxe was taken to London, where his father lived in the Duke of Norfolk’s house in Duke’s Place. There he was instructed first by a Mr. Ruddock, then by one Gisborn, next by a Mr. Heron and finally by Richard Mulcaster. At the age of 14 he went to Oxford under Lawrence Humphrey

that he might become an academic, and make merchandise in that most celebrated mart, Oxford, not that he might increase in riches, but that he might store his mind with the sciences and cultivate his talents.

When he suddenly left Oxford for France in November or December 1577, his father wrote to Sir Amias Paulet, English ambassador in Paris, imploring his help. ‘The stripling’s name’, he wrote of his son, ‘is Samuel Foxe, nearly 17 years old, in stature pretty big for his years’. Foxe also wrote to Dr. Humphrey: ‘I know he has shamefully offended against the statutes of your college, but his offence is not beyond the clemency of the president’. In fact there may have been two visits to France, one in 1576 without permission and one in 1577 when 15 days’ absence from College was allowed, and Foxe returned within that space. In any event we do not hear of his being punished. Shortly after receiving his fellowship he was expelled from Oxford, accused of favouring Catholicism, subsequently being restored through the influence of his father. On Easter day 1583 he left to study on the Continent, spending a year at Leipzig, six months at Basle and eighteen months in Italy, where he studied at Padua.

Foxe returned home through France at the end of June 1586. He then tried unsuccessfully to obtain the ‘lawyer’s place’ at Magdalen, although Cecil had recommended him ‘upon good liking of the man, and for the love I bear his father’. He obtained, however, the ‘physician’s place’. It was about this time that his father gave him the lease of Shipton in Oxfordshire, where he sometimes lived. Shortly after his father’s death in 1587 Foxe entered the service of Sir Thomas Heneage, vice-chamberlain to the Queen, who thenceforward became his master and patron, though it was not until 1590 that he resigned his Oxford fellowship, receiving in return £73, and a manor which he sold for £125. It was presumably Heneage who sent Foxe to Hamburg on unknown business in 1588. The following year Foxe married a kinswoman of his master, at Eastwell in Kent. While he was serving Heneage, Foxe seems to have divided his time between Havering and Copthall, the two Essex houses of which Heneage made him steward.

It must have been through the influence of Anthony Browne, Viscount Montagu, that Heneage procured Foxe a parliamentary seat at Midhurst in 1589. Late in his life Heneage married Montagu’s daughter Mary, and he doubtless knew the family well. Foxe’s return for Knaresborough in 1593 is explained by Heneage’s being chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, which had influence at Knaresborough. Foxe is not mentioned by name in the records of the House. He may have attended committees to which the Members for Knaresborough were appointed in 1593, concerning cloth (23 Mar.) and the maintenance of weirs (28 Mar.).

In 1592 Foxe went twice to Lancashire on business concerning the manor of Halton, travelling through Cumberland, Westmorland and the middle marches into Scotland. He sold his receivership of the High Peak for £90 and bought Beacon House in London from Richard Copland for £50. He was given the leases of Shaply and Burton in Northumberland, which belonged to the duchy of Lancaster. After Heneage’s death Foxe complained that this was a place ‘far off and so near bad neighbours’ that he received no profit from it.

Foxe outlived Heneage by more than 30 years, settling at Warlies, near Waltham Abbey, where he died. He was buried at Waltham 16 Jan. 1630. His will was made at Warlies 29 June 1622, making bequests to his wife and sons Thomas and Robert, and to the poor of Waltham and Shipton. Executors were his wife and son Thomas, and the overseer was his brother Simeon Foxe, ‘Dr. and Professor of Physic’.

Trans. R. Hist. Soc. (ser. i), v. 54-6; Somerville, Duchy, i. 554; Strype, Annals, iii(2), p. 515; J. R. Bloxam, Magdalen Demies Reg. i. 191-2, 198; Magdalen Coll. Reg. iii. 71; iv. 192; J. F. Mozley, John Foxe and his Book, 109-10, 113; HMC Buccleuch, i. 25; HMC Hatfield, vii. 491; D’Ewes, 507, 512; Lansd. 819, f. 32; DNB.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.