WINGFIELD, Edward (c.1562-1603), of Kimbolton, Hunts.

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.1562, o.s. of Thomas Wingfield of Kimbolton by his 2nd w. Honora, da. of Sir Anthony Denny, of Cheshunt, Herts. and Waltham Abbey, Essex. m. Mary, da. of Sir James Harington of Exton, Rutland, 5s. 3da.1 ?Kntd. 1587;2 suc. fa. 1592.

Offices Held

With Leicester in the Netherlands 1587; col. against the Armada 1588; capt. Portugal expedition 1589, at Cadiz 1596; col. in Ireland in 1599, capt. 1602.

J.p. Hunts. from c.1584, temp. rein. 1587, rest. by 1590.3 Gent. pens. 1591/3-1603.


The Wingfields were one of the three leading families in a county that had no resident peer. Wingfield himself sat as senior knight of the shire for Huntingdonshire in three successive Parliaments, two of them while his father was alive. The county Members as such were appointed to subsidy committees on 22 Feb. 1587, 11 Feb. 1589 and 26 Feb. 1593, and to a legal committee on 9 Mar. 1593.4

After the death of his first wife Mary, daughter of Sir Francis Knollys, Wingfield’s father ‘entered into a wasteful course of life’, which was ‘likely to have consumed all his living in a very short time’. Control of the family lands was therefore taken out of his hands in February 1574 and vested in trustees: lord Burghley, the Earl of Sussex, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Christopher Hatton, Sir Henry Neville, Henry Knollys and Sir Walter Mildmay. Wingfield himself was soon in trouble with them for contriving the sale of timber from the estate for ready money, without their consent. He was called before the Privy Council and reprimanded.

On his father’s death the trustees gave him possession, but he remained always in debt. A loan from Stephen Riddlesden of £1,000 in 1588 was still unpaid in 1599, when Riddleston told the Privy Council. Wingfield agreed that his lands should be extended to pay the debt, but there were other creditors who had prior claims, including one ‘Abbycock Perrye’, a seaman on the Garland in the Islands voyage on which Wingfield had served. His position declined further over the collection of the 1593 subsidy and over his opposition in 1596 to the tax levied to provide the militia captains’ monthly allowance. Three years later he was thought to be using a company he had raised for service in Ireland to pursue a personal vendetta. Failing to obtain the command of Brill in 1598, he went to Ireland, where he was wounded in the following year. At this point he ruined his prospects irretrievably by offending the Queen, though all that is known about the incident is his complaint to Cecil that he had been greatly wronged in false reports to her. He remained in Ireland through the 160l summer campaign and was wounded at the crossing of the Blackwater, but Cecil, though ‘far from wishing him ill’ could or would do nothing for him, and Wingfield returned to England in the spring of 1602, his wound making it impossible for him to ride more than ten miles at a stretch. After visiting Kimbolton, and being refused permission to go to court, he went to Bristol to arrange and accompany supplies and reinforcements for Ireland. Towards the end of 1602 the lord deputy put him in command of a company of 200 men. In the meantime Wingfield’s wife continued to solicit for preferment until Cecil made it clear that further efforts would ‘do him harm rather than good’5

Finally returning from Ireland in 1603 Wingfield was imprisoned in the Fleet for debt. ‘Dear lord,’ he pleaded with Cecil after three weeks’ imprisonment, ‘as ever you did love me, now stick unto me, one kind word from your mouth will make me for ever.’ He may or may not have been released before his death intestate on 20 Nov. that year. The wardship of his heir was granted to Lady Wingfield but Kimbolton was sold in 1606.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. C142/284/35; 310/75; Vis. Hunts. (Cam. Soc. xliii), 131.
  • 2. Shaw, Knights, ii. 84, gives Edward Wingfield of Kimbolton as knighted in 1586, but in the parliamentary return of that year he is described as esquire, and again in November 1587, Lansd. 53, f. 181. He was probably the Edward Wingfield knighted by the Earl of Leicester at Flushing 7 Dec. 1587, Shaw, Knights, ii. 86.
  • 3. C142/310/75; E163/14/8; Lansd. 53, f. 189; Hatfield ms 278.
  • 4. D’Ewes, 409, 431, 474, 496.
  • 5. C2 Eliz./R8/59; VCH Hunts. iii. 80; CSP Ire. 1586-8, p. 407; 1600-1, pp. 250-1, 403-4, 432; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 663-4, 667; 1581-90, pp. 519, 522; 1595-7, pp. 127, 272; 1598-1601, p. 78; 1601-3, p. 175; Hakluyt, Voyages, vi. 495; Visct. Powerscourt, Wingfield Muns. 26; Lansd. 78, f. 68; APC, xii. 93; xxv. 191-2; xxix. 658, 694-5, 713; xxxi. 404; HMC Hatfield, ix. 147, 365; x. 292; xi. 569-70; xii. 97, 104-5, 166, 168-9, 171, 191, 209, 372, 565; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 62; Cal. Carew Pprs. 1601-3, pp. 157, 251, 266, 314, 345, 364; Letters of Sir Robert Cecil (Cam. Soc. lxxxviii), 101-2.
  • 6. HMC Hatfield, xv. 105, 110, 143; xvi. 296; C142/284/35; VCH Hunts. iii. 80.