LEWKNOR, Sir Edward II (1587-1618), of Denham, nr. Bury St. Edmunds, 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. 4 Jan. 1587,1 1st s. of Sir Edward Lewknor I* and Susan, da. and coh. of Thomas Heigham of Higham Hall, Suff. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1599, BA 1604/5. m. ?6 Aug. 1607, Mary (bur. 28 Oct. 1642), da. of Sir Henry Neville I* of Billingbear, Berks., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3 or 4da. (?1 d.v.p.).2 suc. fa. 1605; kntd. 19 Oct. 1606.3 d. 1 May 1618.

Offices Held

J.p. Suff. by 1604-at least 1615,4 sheriff 1617-d.5


Godly like his father, Lewknor encouraged the growth of a learned ministry in his native Suffolk by purchasing church livings and bestowing them freely upon ‘such pastors as would be careful of the flock committed to their charge’. Among those who benefited from this largesse was Bezaleel Carter, whom Lewknor presented to the living of Cavenham at ‘great cost and expenses’. According to Carter, Lewknor regularly attended church and always found time for private prayer, even when busy. His family’s twice daily devotions were often led by ‘some minister of the Gospel (whom like another Obadiah he fed at his own table)’, but sometimes they were led by Lewknor himself, who prayed freely ‘according to the motion of God’s spirit’ rather than with the aid of the Book of Common Prayer. Lewknor’s reputation for godliness was reinforced by his chaplain, Timothy Oldmayne, who remarked upon his distribution of clothes to the poor and his relief of prisoners.6

Lewknor was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, an institution renowned for its puritan leanings. Oldmayne claimed that he was an able pupil, and recounted that he once gave a speech as an undergraduate which was greeted ‘with great applause’.7 Following the sudden deaths of his father and mother from smallpox in October 1605, Lewknor became a royal ward, but his interests were safeguarded by his brother-in-law (Sir) Robert Quarles*, who helped purchase his wardship for £300.8 In October 1606 Lewknor was knighted along with Quarles at Newmarket, whereupon he automatically achieved his majority. It was probably in the following spring that Lewknor married a younger daughter of Sir Henry Neville I, although the settlement was not drawn up until May 1610.9 Lewknor’s marriage connected him to the Killigrews of Cornwall, as his mother-in-law, Lady Anne Neville, was the daughter of Sir Henry Killigrew† of Truro. It was undoubtedly through this connection that Lewknor came to represent the Cornish constituency of West Looe in 1614, as Lady Anne’s sister, Elizabeth, had married into the Trelawny family, which owned extensive properties around West Looe. Certainly there is no evidence that Lewknor was returned at the request of the still moribund duchy of Cornwall, as has sometimes been supposed.10

Lewknor left almost no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament, although he was named to consider a bill on clerical pluralism and non-residence, issues which undoubtedly concerned him closely (12 May). On 28 May he was also appointed to accompany the Speaker to Whitehall for an audience with the king concerning the House’s decision to suspend its business until it had received satisfaction from the Lords regarding some offensive words spoken by the bishop of Lincoln.11

Lewknor was living beyond his means by the time he was appointed sheriff of Suffolk in November 1617. The costs associated with this office allegedly increased his indebtedness by £500.12 Half-way through his shrieval year he was struck down by an illness from which he initially appeared to recover. However, his condition deteriorated rapidly on the evening of 1 May 1618, and he died at around nine or ten o’clock attended by Oldmayne.13 His will, drawn up on 23 July 1617 and proved four days after his death, allowed the revenues arising from a third of his estate to be used to maintain his young son Edward during his minority. Plate worth £20 in total was set aside for Lewknor’s brother, Sir Robert, and for his father-in-law Sir Henry Neville and two other men, who were charged jointly with the ordering of Lewknor’s estate and educating his children.14 No bequests to ministers or household servants - who numbered almost 60 at the time of his death15 - were mentioned, and no monument was erected in the family’s chapel at Denham, where Lewknor was buried. Edward’s wardship was subsequently sold to his mother for £1,000,16 and with his own premature demise in 1635 the family died out in the male line.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. C142/288/113.
  • 2. E. Anglian, n.s. iv. 230; Suss. Arch. Colls. iii. 102; Denham Par. Regs. ed. S.H.A. Hervey (Suff. Green Bks. viii), 226; Al. Cant.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 140.
  • 4. C66/1620; Add. 39245, f. 19v.
  • 5. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 132.
  • 6. B. Carter, The Wise King and the Learned Judge (1618), pp. 52-4, 56; T. Oldmayne, God’s rebuke in taking from us that worthy and honourable Gentleman Sir Edward Lewkenor knight ... (1619), pp. 13, 29; P. Collinson, Godly People, 463-4.
  • 7. Oldmayne, 14.
  • 8. WARD 9/159, f. 203.
  • 9. C142/371/117.
  • 10. J.J. Gruenfelder, Influence in Early Stuart Elections, 87.
  • 11. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 218, 377.
  • 12. Oldmayne, 33.
  • 13. Ibid. 42, 44-5.
  • 14. Denham Par. Regs. 101-3.
  • 15. Carter, 60.
  • 16. WARD 9/162, f. 294v.