MOLYNEUX, Edmund (d.1605), of Thorpe nr. Newark, Notts. and Ludlow, Salop.

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

Yr. s. of Sir Edmund Molyneux of Thorpe by Jane, da. of John Cheyney of Chesham Bois, Bucks.; bro. of John I. unm.

Offices Held

Sec. to Sir Henry Sidney; clerk to council in Ireland by 1569-71; clerk in signet office, council in the marches of Wales 1581.


A ‘gentleman of worshipful patronage’, ‘honest, diligent, and circumspect’, Molyneux was brought into Parliament for Bridgnorth by his master at a by-election (13 Feb. 1579) to replace Thomas Seckford II. He left no trace upon the known surviving records of the House of Commons, indeed most of what is known about him concerns the Sidneys. In 1574 he neglected to send a promised message to Lady Mary Sidney. On another occasion Philip Sidney accused him of opening his letters to his father, and Molyneux admitted having taken ‘great delight and profit in reading some of them’. Under threat of a dagger-thrust, he promised to desist. As a general factotum he found accommodation for various members of the Sidney family at Hampton Court, transacted their private business in London, and drew up petitions. In the account of the family which he furnished for Holinshed’s Chronicles, Molyneux complained that his master failed to obtain him a comfortable office or reward. An explanation might be that he was the ‘one Mollineux’ who was employed by Cecil and ‘misused’ him, before seeking employment as secretary to Sir Henry Norris in 1567. Perhaps, too, he was ‘Mollineux ... an inventor of odd devices’, who was offering his services in The Hague in 1598, for it was Sir Robert Sidney who was asked to supply information about him.

Molyneux died in September or October 1605. As he lay ‘very sick and weak in body’, on 29 Sept., his brother Thomas Molyneux, having promised to bestow ‘some portion’ on the poor on his behalf, asked him in the presence of the parson if he wished to give his goods to his nephew, Edward Molyneux. He could only answer ‘yea, yea’, and must have died shortly after, as the nuncupative will was proved on 23 Oct.

DNB; G. Molineux, Memoir Molyneux Fam.30-1; A. Collins, Letters and Memorials, 256, 296; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 443, 462; 1574-85, p. 142; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 211; HMC De Lisle and Dudley, i. 355; ii. 20, 87, 99, 310-11; Scrinia Ceciliana (1663), 116; PCC 70 Hayes.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.J.C.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.