LITTLETON, Edward I (c.1556-1622), of Henley, Salop

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.1556, 2nd surv. s. of John Littleton (d.1560), clerk, rect. of Mounslow, Salop and Alice, da. of Richard Thornes of Condover, Salop.1 educ. Clement’s Inn; I. Temple 1574, called 1584.2 m. 9 Apr. 1588, Mary (bur. 16 Oct. 1633), da. of Edmund Walter of Ludlow, c.j. Brecon circ. 1581-94, 7s., 7da. (1 d.v.p.).3 kntd. 22 Aug. 1621.4 d. by 2 Nov. 1622.5

Offices Held

J.p. Salop by 1608-d., N. Wales circ. 1621-d.;6 commr., oyer and terminer, Oxf. circ. 1621-d., subsidy, Ludlow, Salop and Card. 1621-2.7

Justice, Council in the Marches and c.j. N. Wales circ. 1621-d.8


This MP left no trace on the surviving records of the Addled Parliament, and in the absence of an indenture he cannot be certainly identified from among several namesakes resident in the Marches. Sir Edward Littleton II*, knighted in 1603, can be discounted; and while (Sir) Thomas Littleton (1st bt.)* of Frankley, Worcestershire had a younger brother of this name, he was aged only 14 at the time of the election, and died later the same year. Bishop’s Castle usually allowed its recorder to choose one of its MPs: Sir Henry Townshend*, one of the justices at Ludlow, held the borough’s recordership in 1614, and his nominee was probably either Edward Littleton II*, then a student at the Inner Temple, or more likely Edward’s father, a senior lawyer in the Marches court, whose career is outlined below.9

A great-grandson of the fifteenth-century judge and legal writer Sir Thomas Littleton, Edward Littleton acquired a modest estate at Henley, eight miles east of Bishop’s Castle. He trained at the Inner Temple but made his career at the bar of the Council in the Marches, being described late in life as ‘a man (by repute) that never pleaded in Westminster Hall’. Early in 1617 he was tipped to succeed Lewis Prowde* as one of the justices at Ludlow, but following the death of two lords president in quick succession a rival was appointed. In March 1621 he was one of the Ludlow lawyers consulted about the parliamentary bill to revoke the prerogative clause of the 1536 Welsh Act of Union, advising the insertion of a proviso confirming the king’s right to issue instructions for the Marches court on his own authority. He secured a judgeship at Ludlow upon the death of Sir Francis Eure* shortly thereafter, and was knighted in the following August. He was dead by 2 Nov. 1622, when it was (correctly) reported that his eldest son, the future lord keeper, was to succeed him as justice of North Wales. Administration was granted to his wife, and upon her death in 1634, to one of his daughters.10

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 64; Trans. Salop Arch Soc. (ser. 4), iii. 302-3, 306-7.
  • 2. I. Temple database of admiss.; CITR, i. 329.
  • 3. Vis. Worcs., 64; Trans. Salop Arch Soc. (ser. 4), iii. 306-7.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 177.
  • 5. PROB 6/10, f. 182.
  • 6. SP14/33, f. 52; JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 8, 26, 45.
  • 7. C181/3, f. 64; C212/22/20-1.
  • 8. NLW, Add. 339F, pp. 130, 147.
  • 9. Shaw, ii. 103; Vis. Worcs. 64-8; Soc. Gen., Hagley (Worcs.) par. reg.; J.M.J. Tonks, ‘Lytteltons of Frankley and their estates’ (Oxf. B.Litt. thesis 1978), p. 146.
  • 10. NLW, 9056E/780, 9057E/954, 9058E/1046; NLW, Add. 339F, pp. 120, 130; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 495; PROB 6/15, f. 11.