EDMONDES, Clement (c.1567-1622), of Westminster and Preston Deanery, Northants.

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. c.1567, s.of one Edmondes, yeoman, of Shrawardine, Salop.1 educ. All Souls, Oxf. 1586, aged 19, BA 1589, MA 1593.2 m. (lic. 15 Feb. 1598),3 Mary, da. of Robert Clerke of Grafton, Northants., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.4 kntd. 29 Sept. 1617.5 d. 12 Oct. 1622.6

Offices Held

Fell. All Souls, Oxf. 1590-8;7 dep. remembrancer, London 1601-5, remembrancer 1605-9;8 commr. annoyances, Surr. 1611, Mdx. 1613,9 musters, Mdx. 1614, 1616;10 j.p. Mdx. 1616-d., Westminster 1618-d., Northants. 1620-d.;11 commr. oyer and terminer, Mdx. and London 1616-d.,12 gaol delivery, Newgate, London 1617-d.,13 new buildings, London 1618,14 survey, L. Inn Fields 1618,15 sewers, Mdx. 1619, fenland 1621,16 drainage, fenland 1622.17

Clerk of PC 1609-d.;18 muster-master-gen. 1613-d.;19 commr. treating with Utd. Provinces 1615, 1619;20 commr. trade 1621-d.21


Edmondes came of Shropshire yeoman stock, although his parents’ identity is obscure. Their consent to his marriage in 1598 was attested by one of his brothers, a London draper. The bride was described as ‘attendant upon the Lady Stafford’, mistress of the robes.22 It was via his wife that Edmondes met Lady Stafford’s son-in-law, Sir John Scott*, a professional soldier who ‘first moved’ him to undertake his Observations upon Caesar’s Commentaries, published in 1600. In this and various subsequent writings Edmondes evinced great enthusiasm for military strategy, although he had no practical experience in the field.23 He dedicated the volume to the leading soldier of the day, Sir Francis Vere†, on whom he attended later in the year at the battle of Nieuwpoort, returning to England with Vere’s report to the Privy Council.24 Some copies of the Observations also carried an epistle to Scott’s stepson Sir Robert Drury*, and in 1601 Drury’s sister Elizabeth, wife of William Cecil† (later 2nd earl of Exeter) recommended Edmondes’ suit for the remembrancership of London to her husband’s uncle, Sir Robert Cecil†.25 In the event he served four years as nominal deputy to the disgraced and impoverished Giles Fletcher† before purchasing the office for £200.26 It was worth some £100 a year, but more importantly it brought him into contact with the Court; he dedicated later editions of his Observations to Prince Henry. As remembrancer he was appointed, on 24 Oct. 1605, to the committee appointed by London’s court of aldermen to determine what bills to lay before the Commons when Parliament resumed the following month.27

In 1608 Edmondes was paid £133 13s.4d. for drawing an assurance to be made by the king for a loan from the City.28 On 23 July 1609 he was sworn in as clerk of the Privy Council, and four months later he was returned to the first Jacobean Parliament at a by-election for Caernarvon Boroughs, presumably on the nomination of Sir John Wynn†.29 He was named to only one committee, to consider a private land bill promoted by Drury (27 Mar. 1610).30 The following July he reported to Sir Thomas Edmondes* that the Parliament was drawing to a close, but ‘the main body of our grievances are yet in suspense’.31 The two men had been friends for some years before becoming colleagues as clerks of the Council, though they were not related. Edmondes received a grant of arms about this time, and was awarded the benefit of the recusancy of four Catholics.32 He left no mark on the records of the fifth session of the Parliament.

A clerkship of the Council was not the most satisfying of posts, and early in 1611 Edmondes was said to be ‘almost weary with doing nothing’.33 He nonetheless found varied employment in the succeeding decade. As senior clerk, he became muster-master general in 1613.34 He is not known to have sought election to Parliament in 1614, and may at the time have been holding himself in readiness for a mission to The Hague upon which he did not actually embark until January 1615, being then charged with negotiating agreement over the East Indies trade and the Greenland fisheries.35 It was presumably as a result of this mission that he himself became an investor in the East India Company.36 In April 1616 he received £400 compensation for the loss of a reversionary interest in the comptrollership of the musters at Brill, and in October he and his fellow clerk, George Calvert*, were said to have each received £1,000 ‘for reward’.37 Edmondes wrote two accounts of the United Provinces, neither of which was published, and three years later he was again employed in negotiations with the Dutch, this time on home ground and in a subordinate capacity.38 He also produced a report on the drainage of the fens in 1618, and in 1620 he was sent into Sussex to inquire into exports of ordnance.39 By then he was sufficiently prosperous to purchase an estate at Preston in Northamptonshire.40

Elected for Oxford University, perhaps on the nomination of the university chancellor, the 3rd earl of Pembroke, Edmondes was named to four committees in the 1621 Parliament, namely to examine abuses in the Fleet prison (14 Feb. 1621), to consider a bill for Wadham College, Oxford (9 Mar.), to draft a bill against the export of ordnance (26 Mar.), and to settle final details concerning the Proclamation against bills of conformity (26 March).41 When Sir Edward Coke suggested on 3 Mar. that someone should search the papers of the notorious monopolist (Sir) Giles Mompesson*, the House seems to have ordered Edmondes to undertake the task, and on the same day he was sent up to the Lords ‘to take direction about the proclamation’ against Mompesson.42 In April and May he was mentioned in connection with the glass patent, out of which he had ‘a salary’; whatever the extent of his interest, he probably owed it to the connections between the patentee Sir Robert Mansell*, the ‘principal agent’ Robert Bacon*, and the Drury family.43

Edmondes drew up his will on 30 Apr. 1621, leaving instructions to his wife and executrix for the sale of his property in St. Martin-in-the-Fields to make up his two daughters’ dowries to £1,000 apiece.44 During the summer of 1622 he was a strong candidate to replace (Sir) Robert Naunton* as secretary of state; but before achieving that goal he died on 12 Oct. ‘of an apoplexy, whereof he was not sick above two days’.45 As requested in his will, he was buried at Preston.46 He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Charles.47 Edmondes’s portrait, by an unknown artist, is held by the British Museum. He was the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Ath. Ox. ii. 322-3.
  • 2. Al Ox.
  • 3. London Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv), 247.
  • 4. St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxv), 165; PROB 11/150, f. 243.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 166.
  • 6. C142/395/99; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 341.
  • 7. Al Ox.
  • 8. CLRO, Reps. 25, f. 228, Reps. 27, ff. 40v, 41; HMC Hatfield, xi. 159, 203; xxi. 150.
  • 9. C181/2, ff. 142v, 199v.
  • 10. APC, 1613-14, p. 565; 1615-16, p. 569.
  • 11. C231/4, ff. 26, 111; C181/2, f. 331v; 181/3, f. 15v; C193/13/1.
  • 12. C181/2, ff. 262v, 263v, 351v, 352v; 181/3, ff. 21, 22, 47, 77v.
  • 13. C181/2, ff. 279v, 351v; 181/3, f. 23.
  • 14. C66/2165.
  • 15. T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 3, p. 83.
  • 16. C181/2, f. 347; 181/3, f. 35v.
  • 17. C181/3, f. 49v.
  • 18. Add. 11402, f. 148; C66/1814; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 535.
  • 19. C66/1994; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 201.
  • 20. Handlist of British Diplomatic Representatives comp. G.M. Bell, 195; CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 362; BL, India Office Lib. H/39, f. 68; Carew Letters ed. J. Maclean, (Cam. Soc. lxxvi), 5; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 272; HMC Buccleuch, i. 130; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 254.
  • 21. APC, 1621-3, p. 80.
  • 22. London Mar. Lic. 247.
  • 23. STC 4788; T. Fuller, Worthies, iii. 61.
  • 24. Chamberlain Letters, i. 102-3; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, ii. 471.
  • 25. R.C. Bald, Donne and the Drurys, 41-2.
  • 26. CLRO, Reps. 25, f. 228, Reps. 27, ff. 40v, 41; HMC Hatfield, xi. 159, 203; xxi. 150.
  • 27. CLRO, Reps. 27, f. 104v.
  • 28. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 419.
  • 29. Add. 11402, f. 148.
  • 30. CJ, i. 415b.
  • 31. Birch, i. 57, 125.
  • 32. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 634; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 80.
  • 33. HMC Downshire, ii. 273.
  • 34. G.E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 133.
  • 35. Chamberlain Letters, i. 563, 569.
  • 36. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 285.
  • 37. APC, 1615-16, p. 515; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 25.
  • 38. Exeter Coll. Oxf., ms 103.
  • 39. HMC 3rd Rep. 294a; APC, 1619-21, p. 287.
  • 40. VCH Northants. iv. 280.
  • 41. CJ, i. 521b, 546b, 572b, 575a.
  • 42. Ibid. 537a; CD 1621, ii. 160.
  • 43. CD 1621, iii. 255; v. 123.
  • 44. PROB 11/150, f. 243.
  • 45. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 339, 455, 458; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 444; Birch, ii. 341.
  • 46. Bridges, Northants. i. 382-3.
  • 47. WARD 9/162, f. 414v; LJ, iii. 375b.