SEXTON, Edmund (d.c.1589), of Westminster and Uxbridge, Mdx.
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Family and Education
Prob. 3rd s. of Thomas Sexton of Lavenham, Suff. (d. c.1529), by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Mountney, of Mountnessing, Essex. m., ?1da.1
Described in a sixteenth century pedigree as ‘dwelling in Westminster near unto the Parliament house’,2 Sexton presumably held at some time a minor office, for his will refers to a debt to the Queen which he was responsible for collecting. The will also makes apparent that he was on fairly intimate terms with Sir Walter Mildmay, who, early in Elizabeth’s reign, had some influence in Cornwall, and may have secured his nomination for St. Mawes. It may have been Mildmay who obtained for him, in 1567, a lease of tin tolls from the manor of Treveryn.3
Sexton owned land at Ringshall, Suffolk, valued at £3 in the 1566-8 subsidy. Little is known of his early career; in fact almost all the information found about him concerns the period some twenty years after his return for St. Mawes, at which time he was a recusant. He was sent to the Marshalsea in March 1582, and remained there until July 1586, when his transfer to Wisbech was recommended. He was described as a ‘gentleman, and of wealth ... brought before the bishop of London, by him examined and so committed, and since his imprisonment unexamined’.4
He made his will in October 1586. The preamble is Catholic:
I do most humbly beseech our blessed Lady, the mother of God, that it may please her to be intercessor to her son Jesus Christ for me. And also all the holy company of saints in heaven I beseech to pray for me, that it may please Almighty God the Father to forgive and forget my sins committed.
His ‘daughter’ Mary Hayers was to have ‘all her mother’s apparel’, but whether this refers to Sexton’s own daughter or to a step-daughter is not clear. The printed Visitation states that Sexton died s.p. There were legacies to the children of his brother Thomas, ‘because they be clean left without all manner of furniture’, and to a young cousin named Calwell, ‘now prisoner in Bridewell in London’. The will mentions Sexton’s lease in the palace of Westminster. John Emers and his wife, probably Sexton’s servants, were to keep their lodgings at the old rent, and to have their debts cancelled, since they had ‘been at great charges’ ever since Sexton went to prison. The sole executor, his step-brother Martin Sidley, was asked to try to collect a debt owed to the Queen by a certain Mr. Bayley, now dead. Sexton hoped ‘one way or another to have sufficient’ for the expenses involved, and trusted that Sir Walter Mildmay would prove helpful. His conscience was troubling him about a debt of 40s. to ‘Foskewe: he limpeth. I never saw the man since Queen Mary’s time’. Sexton died before 28 Apr. 1589, when the will was proved.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 273-4; PCC 15 Jankyn, 40 Leicester.
- 2. Add. 19148, f. 290v. In the absence of a precise date the possibility of this being another Edmund Sexton cannot be excluded.
- 3. PCC 40 Leicester; CPR, 1566-9, p. 140.
- 4. Suff. Green Bks. xii. 83; Cath. Rec. Soc. ii. 233, 235, 240, 242, 244, 251, 254.
- 5. PCC 40 Leicester.