POLEY, Edmund (1544-1613), of Badley, Suff.

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. 1544, s. of John Poley of Badley by Anne, da. of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Lord Wentworth of Nettlestead. educ. G. Inn 1563, called 1574. m. (1) Catherine, da. of Francis Seckford and sis. of Charles Seckford of Great Bealings, 1da.; (2) Alice, da. of Philip Cockran of Hampstead, Mdx., wid. of Richard Kemp, s.p. suc. fa. 1590.

Offices Held

J.p.q. Suff. from 1584; recorder, Thetford from 1586; Lent reader, G. Inn from 1586, treasurer 1591, dean of chapel 1595, double reader 1595.


Of a family seated at Badley since the time of Henry VII, Poley was a country gentleman and a lawyer, active in the county even before succeeding his father. The Suffolk manors of Badley, Barking, Stoke Ash and Woodhall were settled on him at the time of his first marriage, a fortunate match that brought him into the circle of such prominent Suffolk families as the Seckfords and the Wingfields. However, it was through his maternal relations’ influence with Lord Burghley that Poley came to sit for three boroughs outside Suffolk. At Bodmin Burghley’s influence must have been direct; in the other two cases it would have been exerted through the duchy of Lancaster. Poley’s parliamentary career was not spectacular, even if all the following references are to him, rather than to Thomas Poole I. The variant spellings of the names and unknown identity of the latter make confusion all too likely. The only recorded speech (Pooley) was a brief intervention on a matter of privilege, 11 June 1572. The committees were on fines and recoveries, 13 Feb. 1576 (Pooley); grants by the dean and chapter of Norwich, 2 Mar. 576 (Pooley); questionable returns, 24 Feb. 1581 (Powle, Poole); and Ledbury (Herefordshire) hospital, 4 Mar. 1581 (Pooley, Powley).1

Poley died in 1613, leaving a daughter. The estates were to be managed by trustees for 15 years to pay off debts, but the widow had a life interest in Badley. There were legacies to nephews and nieces, to the servants and to the poor, and the eventual heir was a nephew Edmund whose wardship Poley had bought, and which he bequeathed to the boy himself.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


OR gives the first name of the Bodmin MP as Edward, but the Crown Office lists C193/32/8-10 have Edmund. For Knaresborough in 1584. Add. 38823 has William Poley of Gray’s Inn. No real life William Poley of Gray’s Inn has been found, and the William is assumed to be an error for Edmund, Clitheroe in 1586 has Edmund Poley of Gray’s Inn.

  • 1. Vis. Suff. 1561, ed. Metcalfe, 58; Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, i. 30; E163/14/8; C142/225/108; G. Inn Pens. Bk. i. 74, 89, 101, 112, 128; Thetford hall bk. 1568-1622, p. 129; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 21, 74; HMC Hatfield, xii. 577; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. f. 63; CJ, i. 105, 110, 129, 131; D’Ewes, 300, 302.
  • 2. PCC 107 Capell.