GLEMHAM, Charles (c.1577-1625), of Whitehall; formerly of Benhall, Suff.

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.1577, ?1st s. of Edward Glemham of Benhall and his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of George Bateman of South Elmham, Suff.1 educ. Exeter Coll., Oxf. 1593, aged 16.2 unm. suc. fa. 1595;3 kntd. bet. 6 and 15 May 1625.4 d. by 28 Sept. 1625.5

Offices Held

Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary to Prince Henry 1610,6 to Prince Charles by 1619-25;7 master of the Household by May 1625-d.8

Capt. of Sandown Castle, Kent by 1622-d.;9 commr. new buildings, London 1625.10


Glemham’s parentage is nowhere stated but, given the age, class and county recorded at his matriculation at Oxford in 1593, and even allowing for possible illegitimacy, no other father can be assigned to him than Edward Glemham, the head of a cadet branch of the same Suffolk gentry family as Sir Henry and Sir Thomas Glemham*. Edward Glemham, like his father before him, had been employed by the Howards in the administration of their estates at Benhall in east Suffolk, in which capacity he was called before the Privy Council in the late 1580s for wrongfully dispossessing a local inhabitant of his estate. With his employer, Philip Howard, earl of Arundel in the Tower for treason, and having sold his own estate, Edward became a not very successful privateer. Running short of victuals, he sold his crew into slavery in Algiers, and ‘died [of] little worth’ in 1595.11

Glemham was presumably the eldest of the six children of Edward Glemham on whose behalf Sir Henry Glemham’s wife lobbied Sir Julius Caesar* in early 1603.12 He had been left £30 under the will of his Protestant cousin Charles Glemham† in 1601,13 but, his mother having died in 1586, he was probably brought up, like his brother Peregrine, by her recusant kinsfolk, the Tasburghs.14 Following Lady Glemham’s intervention in 1603 he may have lived in Sir Henry’s household, as he witnessed the hasty second marriage of Sir Thomas Wingfield’s widow to a Catholic in a chamber at Glemham Hall in 1611.15 He seems also to have acted as a man of business for the Cornwallises, another East Anglian family with connections to the Howards. In 1614 Sir Charles Cornwallis* procured for him a pass to Florence ‘upon special occasion of business’, and in the following year he was nominated trustee for the Catholic 7th earl of Argyle, who had married Cornwallis’ niece.16 Another of Cornwallis’ nieces was the mother of Sir William Withypoll*, and her husband left £100 and ‘a couple of my best geldings ... to my most dear and best friend Charles Glemham’.17

By 1619 Glemham had acquired a position in Prince Charles’ Household, and the following year he was returned with his cousin, Sir Henry, for Aldeburgh, eight miles from Benhall, on the nomination of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, the son of his father’s employer. He played no known part in the third Jacobean Parliament.18 By 1622 he had succeeded John Heydon as captain of Sandown castle in Kent and on 14 Sept. he was licensed, together with his predecessor’s brother, Sir William, another servant of Prince Charles, to make a voyage to the court of the Great Mogul. The stated objective was ‘acquiring riches ... by recovery of wrecked treasure, pearl and other riches in the seas, and by divers other ingenious arts, inventions, works and manufactures’, although their real intention may have been more piratical.19 This scheme came to nothing, for in the following year Glemham was with Prince Charles in Spain. He seems to have returned as an adherent of Buckingham, warning the latter in September 1623 that he was in danger of losing the support of the 2nd marquess of Hamilton.20 In spite of Arundel’s recommendation, he was not re-elected at Aldeburgh the following year, but was instead returned at Newcastle-under-Lyme on 28 Apr., possibly on the recommendation of Arundel’s brother-in-law, William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke, steward of the borough. He was named to only two committees in the last Jacobean Parliament, both on 19 May, those to regulate breweries in London (a bill recommended by the prince) and to confirm the sale of York House to Buckingham.21 There is no evidence that he ever spoke in the Commons. A petition against his election was introduced on 26 May, but three days later Parliament was prorogued.22

In the new reign Glemham was knighted and made master of the Household. He was re-elected at Aldeburgh, but before Parliament met he was commanded by the king to require the Levant Company to present their exceptions against the recently nominated ambassador to Turkey, Sir Thomas Phelips*. He was also sent to France as part of Henrietta Maria’s escort.23 His only committee was on the bill for the drainage of Erith and Plumstead marshes (28 June 1625).24 It is unlikely that he attended at Oxford, for he was required to assist in the preparations for the attack on Cadiz, and on 28 Sept. he was reported dead at Plymouth of ‘a burning fever’.25 Administration of his estate was granted to a brother, Edward, six years later, while another brother, Peregrine, inherited a rich waistcoat, the gift of Lady Tasburgh, together with all his linen and household goods. No other members of this branch of the Glemham family entered Parliament.26

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. W.A. Copinger, Manors of Suff. v. 172.
  • 2. Al. Ox.
  • 3. Soc. Gen. Allhallows-the-Less, London par. reg.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 188.
  • 5. Sidney Letters ed. A. Collins, ii. 360.
  • 6. Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for Govt. of the Royal Household (1790), p. 324.
  • 7. LC2/5, f. 43v; LC2/6, f. 69.
  • 8. Shaw, ii. 188; Sidney Letters, ii. 360.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 456; 1625-6, p. 566.
  • 10. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 1, p. 70.
  • 11. APC, 1587-8, p. 161; 1599-1600, p. 157; Copinger, v. 103, 106, 165, 172; K.R. Andrews, ‘Econ. Aspects of Eliz. Privateering’, (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1951), p. 240.
  • 12. Add. 12506, f. 442.
  • 13. PROB 11/98, f. 305v.
  • 14. PROB 11/163, f. 125v; Suckling, Suff. i. 185; Add. 19100, f. 145v.
  • 15. C2/Jas.I/D8/32.
  • 16. APC, 1613-14, p. 458; CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 291, 306; CP, i. 202.
  • 17. G.C.M. Smith, Fam. of Withypoll (Walthamstow Antiq. Soc. xxxiv), 71, 74.
  • 18. SP14/135/42.
  • 19. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 190; Rymer, vii. pt. 4, p. 8.
  • 20. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 74; Cabala sive Scrinia Sacra, 230-1.
  • 21. CJ, i. 705b.
  • 22. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 207.
  • 23. CSP Dom. 1625-6, pp. 28, 37; CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 12.
  • 24. Procs. 1625, p. 257.
  • 25. Sidney Letters, ii. 360.
  • 26. Index to Admons. in the PCC 1631-48 ed. M. Fitch (Brit. Rec. Soc. c), 165; PROB 11/163, f. 125v.