DANVERS, Charles (by 1580-1626), of Baynton, Edington, Wilts. and the Middle Temple, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. by 1580,1 3rd s. of Henry Danvers (d.1579) of Baynton and Joan, da. of Anselm Lambe of Coulston, Wilts.2 educ. M. Temple 1597, called 1605.3 m. c.1 Apr. 1605, one Mary of Steeple Ashton, Wilts., 5s., 9da. suc. bro. John 1626. d. 21 Oct. 1626.4 sig. Charles Danvers.

Offices Held

Steward, Chitterne, manor, Wilts., for Lord Henry Paulet*, c.1615;5 j.p. Wilts. 1616-d.6

Cupboardman, M. Temple 1621, 1623, reader 1623, bencher 1623-d., reader’s asst. 1624.7


Danvers was descended from one of the most ancient and extensive families of England, which could trace its lineage to pre-Conquest Normandy.8 His cousins included Sir Charles Danvers†, executed in 1601 for his part in Essex’s rebellion, Sir Henry Danvers, created earl of Danby in 1626, and Sir John Danvers*, the regicide. He himself was from the junior branch of the family, which had been settled at Dauntsey, Wiltshire, for several generations. His father, Henry, moved to nearby Baynton, an estate secured on him as part of his wife’s dowry.9

Danvers may have been born after his father’s death in October 1579 as he was described as aged 17 and above in the inquisition into his elder brother’s lunacy in 1597. In the same year he was admitted to the Middle Temple, being charged an entry fine of only 40s. ‘for reasons moving the treasurer’, Matthew Dale†. He had apparently already spent some time at university, as a ‘college cup’ is mentioned in his will, although it is not known which institution he attended.10 Called to bar in 1605, he subsequently shared chambers with John Bailiffe*, a fellow Wiltshireman and relative by marriage, and became bound with a number of his countrymen, including (Sir) Edward Hungerford* and the son of Alexander Tutt*.11

Danvers probably owed his election at Ludgershall in 1614 to Sir George Browne, lord of the manor, to whom he was connected via William Paulet, 4th marquess of Winchester, whose eldest son married Browne’s sister in February 1614. Shortly after the Parliament, Danvers served as steward of the manor of Chitterne in Wiltshire, which Winchester had settled on his son Lord Henry.12 He is not known to have contributed to the work of the House, playing no recorded part in the passage of the bill to confirm a grant of land in Gloucestershire to Sir John Danvers.

By 1620 Danvers was managing his elder brother’s estate in conjunction with his mother. He was, in addition, by this date able to purchase a number of properties in several villages near his family’s base in the parish of Edington.13 Appointed reader of his Inn in 1623, his performance was initially marred by what (Sir) Simonds D’Ewes†, a student at the Middle Temple, called ‘an infirmity of bashfulness’. However, the same source adds that ‘his case was very excellent’ and ‘towards the latter end [the reading] had been well performed’.14

In early 1626 Danvers and his cousin Sir John Danvers became involved in a protracted dispute over the settlement of properties belonging to the latter’s sister, Lucy Bayntun, who died in 1621. Sir Edward Bayntun*, Lucy’s only son, claimed that Danvers had conspired to defraud her of an estate worth £6,000 p.a., had installed his son-in-law to replace her estate steward, and had illegally leased out her property to himself and his elder sons. Danvers denied that he had acted out of self-interest and retorted that, as both a relative and a lawyer, he had been asked by Lucy to manage her estates and manorial courts for her. He therefore considered that any remuneration he received was legitimate.15

Danvers inherited his elder brother’s estate in March 1626, but did not have long to live. He made his will on 14 Oct. following, in which he asked his cousin, Henry Danvers, 1st earl of Danby, to purchase the wardship of his eldest son, a minor. He left £300 to a married daughter, presumably in settlement of her portion, and £200 each to two others, but his seven youngest children received only annuities of £15 or £10 each. Danvers died at his house in Baynton on 21 Oct., and was buried next to his mother in Edington church. Henry, who immediately took over his father’s chambers at the Middle Temple, sat for Devizes in the Short Parliament, while one of Danvers’s daughters, Jane, was notable for marrying the Wiltshire poet and divine, George Herbert*.16

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. C142/254/94.
  • 2. F.N. Macnamara, Mems. of Danvers Fam. 533.
  • 3. MTR, 378, 456.
  • 4. C2/Chas.I/J29/57; Macnamara, 535-6; PROB 11/152, ff. 114-15; Wilts. IPM. ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 48-51.
  • 5. C2/Chas.I/B126/60; C142/448/102.
  • 6. C231/4, f. 14v; E163/18/12, f. 88v.
  • 7. MTR, 664, 676, 684, 688, 691.
  • 8. Harl. 4031, f. 171.
  • 9. VCH Wilts. viii. 242.
  • 10. PROB 11/152, f. 115.
  • 11. MTR, 423, 468, 474, 562; Macnamara, 534.
  • 12. C2/Chas.I/B126/60; J. Burke, Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 88-9; CP, xii, pt. 2, p. 766.
  • 13. VCH Wilts. viii. 242; Wilts. RO, 12/3.
  • 14. D’Ewes Diary, 1622-4 ed. E. Bourcier, 151-2.
  • 15. Reg. of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 166; C2/Chas.I/B126/60; 2/Chas.I/B53/50; 2/Chas.I/B11/59.
  • 16. Wilts. IPM. 49-51; PROB 11/152, f. 114; J. Aubrey, Wilts. ed. J.E. Jackson, 225.