POYNINGS, Adrian (c.1515-71), of Wherwell, Hants.

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.1515, illegit. s. of Sir Edward Poynings, treasurer of the household to Henry VIII, of Westenhanger, Kent. educ. G. Inn 1533. m. Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Owen West of Wherwell, 1s. d.v.p. 3da. Kntd. by Aug. 1562.

Offices Held

In household of Thomas Cromwell by 1538; lt. Boulogne citadel Feb. 1546; capt. June 1546-Apr. 1547; lt. Boulogne base town Mar. 1546; lt. Calais castle 1552; capt. Portsmouth from 1559; second in command expedition to France under Ambrose Dudley 1562; marshal, Le Havre Oct.-Nov. 1562.


J.p. Hants from c.1559, Dorset 1561; duchy of Lancaster steward, Dorset 1566; commr. musters, Hants 1569; v.-adm. Hants by 1570.1


Poynings was born in Ghent when his father was in the Netherlands as ambassador to the Emperor. He became a soldier, succeeding Thomas Wyatt to commands at Boulogne, and gaining large sums from the ransoms of prisoners. On several occasions in 1551 and 1552 he is referred to as a knight, but thereafter until 1562 as ‘esquire’ or ‘gentleman’, perhaps because a first knighthood was foreign and he thought it inexpedient to use the title in view of his alien status after he returned from Calais. Poynings was not employed during Mary’s reign. He was present at the battle of St. Quentin in 1557, with 48 foot soldiers, and returned to England soon afterwards. In June 1558 he was appointed lieutenant to Lord Talbot in the army which was being sent northwards, but a month later the commission was cancelled because he was unwilling to serve. He was still an alien when he was returned to Elizabeth’s first Parliament for Tregony, no doubt through a court connexion, perhaps the 2nd Earl of Bedford, who would have approved of his puritanism and of his service at St. Quentin. Other possible patrons are his nephew Lord Clinton, later 1st Earl of Lincoln, and his ‘cousin’ the Marquess of Winchester. His name is not to be found in the records of the 1559 Parliament, such as they are.2

After further military service, on the expedition to France in 1562, Poynings received a patent of denization, and his title to his Dorset manors was confirmed. His last years were spent at Portsmouth, quarrelling with the mayor and burgesses, who accused him of high-handedness and violence as captain of the town. In 1567 he unsuccessfully claimed the barony of la Warr in right of his wife. He died intestate at Portsmouth on 15 Feb. 1571, administration being granted to the widow 22 Feb. Poynings’s heirs were his three daughters, one of whom married George More of Loseley and another Edward More of Sussex. His widow married Richard Rogers.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. DNB (Poynings, Sir Edward); Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 173; LP Hen. VIII, xxi(1), pp. 118, 200-1, 541; CPR, 1550-3, p. 396; 1558-60, p. 415; 1560-3, p. 253; 1569-72, p. 168; CSP For. 1562, pp. 321, 349, 351, 417, 425; Lansd. 1218, ff. 27, 63; Somerville, Duchy, i. 628, 630; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 345, 385.
  • 2. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 177, 218, 396; 1563-6, p. 113; LP Hen. VIII, xiii(2), p. 497; xx(2), p. 466; xxi(2), p. 89; APC, i. 351; ii. 155-6; iv. 103; vi. 346, 349, 351; CSP For. 1547-53, pp. 294, 299, 325; CP, iv. 157; Hutchins, Dorset, i. 369-90; HMC Foljambe, 6; SP12/19/36.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 142, 163, 206, 207, 208, 212, 221, 226, 227, 272, 413; Add. 1547-65, p. 540; CSP For. 1562, pp. 323, 336, 337, 342-3, 347, 349, 351, 359, 365, 409, 411, 417, 425; HMC Hatfield, i. 277-82; Portsmouth Recs. 422-8; APC, vii. 115, 139-40, 168, 176, 190, 207, 234, 238; CPR, 1569-72, p. 267; C142/156/29; PCC admon. act bk. 1571, f. 176.