LUDLOW, Sir Edmund (c.1542-1624), of Hill Deverill and Maiden Bradley, Wilts.

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.1542,1 1st s. of George Ludlow of Hill Deverill, and Edith, da. of Andrew Windsor†, 1st Lord Windsor of Stanwell, Mdx.2 m. (1) by c.1574, Bridget (d. Sept. 1587),3 da. of Henry Coker† of Mappowder, Dorset,4 3s. 6da.;5 (2) by 1592, Margaret (bur. 14 Dec. 1633),6 da. of Sir Henry Manning of Greenwich and Down, Kent, marshal of the Household, wid. of Thomas Howard, 1st Visct. Howard of Bindon,7 4s. 2da. suc. fa. 1580.8 kntd. 14 Sept. 1601.9 d. 9 Nov. 1624.10 sig. Ed[mund] Ludlowe.11

Offices Held

J.p. Wilts. 1584-96,12 1602-6,13 1607-d.,14 sheriff 1586-7,15 capt. militia horse, by 1597.16


The Ludlows were an ancient Shropshire family that had settled in Wiltshire in the mid-fifteenth century and represented Ludgershall in several parliaments.17 George Ludlow, Sir Edmund’s father, was a substantial landed gentleman whose advancement in the county was due largely to his service in the household of Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford. His property interests were a result of purchases of individual manors and leases of Seymour lands.18 Sir Edmund was licensed to enter upon his father’s estates in February 1581, although Hill Deverill tithing, comprised of 16 messuages and 1,000 acres, was already settled on him by 1576, when he was assessed for tax.19 In about 1574 he married Bridget, eldest daughter of Henry Coker, a Dorset gentleman of similar means. It is not known what property she brought with her to the marriage, but in 1593 Coker bequeathed £100 to each of Ludlow’s six children.20 Ludlow was among the wealthier gentlemen of Wiltshire. In 1611 he paid £2 towards the subsidy, having been rated at £30 in lands, and in the same year his loan to the Crown was assessed at 100 marks.21

Ludlow was a ruthless landlord. His adversaries included tenants whom he treated harshly for falling behind with their rent, as well as those who suffered from his land enclosures.22 His intimidation of his tenants was remarked upon in 1599 by attorney-general Coke (Sir Edward Coke*), who took issue with Ludlow, ‘a gentlemen of good account and great substance’, for converting arable land to pasture and destroying tenants’ houses.23 Ludlow was similarly heavy-handed in his disputes with fellow Wiltshire landowners, notably Sir Walter Long†, who took his case to the Commons in 1604 after Ludlow refused to relinquish possession of a manor.24 As well as being ruthless in his property dealings, Ludlow was a dangerous man to cross. In 1607 he was implicated in the savage assault of a servant named Joel King, who had secretly married his daughter. He had also had King arrested after the latter identified his assailants, an action described as ‘barbarous’ by Star Chamber, which tried the case. Although Ludlow avoided direct censure, many on the jury wished that he had been more closely involved so that he, like his servants, could have been sentenced.25

Ludlow was twice removed from the commission of the peace for abusing his authority. The second occasion, in 1606, was precipitated by his conduct regarding the Gawens, a Catholic family whose house had been forfeited to the Crown for recusancy. In August 1603 the Gawens and 14 of their servants forcibly reoccupied their former property while the new tenants, the Kennells, were at divine service. A riot ensued, but Ludlow turned a blind eye, claiming that the widow Gawen had with her only three unarmed servants. He also threatened to drag Kennell to gaol by the tail of his horse. Ludlow ‘continued very partial and affectionate to the rioters, not removing the force nor taking the weapons, nor committing the rioters, but rather, together with the tithingmen, encouraging the rioters, and most partially and affectionately favouring them’. The matter came before Star Chamber in May 1606, which fined him £300 and removed him from the bench.26

Ludlow initially stood for a county seat in 1604, assisted by Sir Robert Stapleton*, who promised to organize support from ‘those of the hill country that any ways are towards myself.27 His supporters included his former enemy, Sir John Thynne*, the most important landowner in south-west Wiltshire, who also wished to be returned as a shire knight. However, the decision by Sir Francis Popham* to stand forced him to lower his sights, and the day before the county election he was returned for Hindon, which borough lay about six miles from his seat at Hill Deverill. He probably owed his seat, at least in part, to the intervention of Sir John Thynne’s son Thomas, who was returned as the other burgess. Thomas had married the granddaughter of Sir James Mervyn [Marvyn]†, whose seat at Fonthill Gifford lay just outside Hindon.

Ludlow was named to 17 committees during the course of the Parliament. Their subjects included the abuses committed by purveyors and the Marshalsea prison (26 Apr. 1604; 13 Mar. 1606); the statutes against vagabonds (2 Apr. 1604); reform of the system of writing English legal copies in courts of record (12 May 1607); divided tenements, and confirmation of letters patent (15 May 1607).28 Having several advowsons in Wiltshire and Hampshire under his control,29 it is not surprising that Ludlow was nominated to committees for avoiding suits against incumbents (1 June 1604), and for endowing poor churches (15 May 1607).30 Ludlow twice fell foul of his colleagues in 1610. On the first occasion he was fined for missing the call of the House held on 17 March.31 Three months later he incurred opprobrium after he attempted to protect one of his former servants named Chandler, who had been arrested at the suit of Michael Oldisworth*. Ludlow claimed that Chandler was still in his employ, but this flagrant abuse of parliamentary privilege was condemned by the House.32

Ludlow was re-elected for Hindon in 1614, but played almost no recorded part in the Parliament, being nominated to just one committee, for the bill to confirm the sale of lands to Bevis Molesworth.33 Following the dissolution Ludlow repeatedly found himself in trouble. In 1617 he was criticized for over-zealousness in seizing the goods of a convicted Catholic.34 Two years later he was not only accused of perjury at the Taunton sessions for hindering a plaintiff who was suing him in the Exchequer but also brought before the Privy Council for failing to contribute to musters in Hampshire, where he owned property.35 In December 1620 Ludlow, now in his late seventies, stood once more for Hindon. However, the new owner of Fonthill Gifford, James Tuchet*, 2nd earl of Castlehaven, ensured the return of his servant John Anketill and his brother-in-law Sir John Davies. Ludlow was not about to give up his former seat without a fight, though, and gathering together several freemen, as well as a number of women and boys, he had himself returned on a separate indenture. His behaviour was so clearly outrageous that, following an inquiry by the committee for privileges, it was not surprisingly resolved that his return was invalid.36

Ludlow’s last years were spent at his house in Maiden Bradley, where he died intestate in late 1624. He had previously conveyed his Hampshire manors to his eldest son Henry Ludlow I*, and had made provision for his widow to occupy Hill Deverill during her natural life.37 Two of his sons also served Wiltshire constituencies. A third son, named Edmund, was elected for Hindon in December 1645, but the return was disputed and Edmund’s status was unresolved as late as December 1646.38

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. C142/191/122.
  • 2. CP.
  • 3. Anon. Ped. Ludlow (1897).
  • 4. Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 723.
  • 5. The Gen. n.s. xii. 164-5.
  • 6. Wilts. Arch Mag. xxvi. ped. bet. pp. 172-3.
  • 7. Top. and Gen. ii. 283; Hutchins, i. 138; ii. 401.
  • 8. PROB 6/2, f. 99; C66/1206/419.
  • 9. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 99.
  • 10. C142/457/86; J. Burke, Landed Gentry, 224.
  • 11. Wilts. RO, A1/110, f. 81.
  • 12. A.D. Wall, ‘Wilts. Commission of Peace, 1590-1620’ (Univ. Melbourne MA thesis, 1966), p. 13; Lansd. 737, f. 57.
  • 13. C231/1, f. 130.
  • 14. Wilts. RO, A1/150/3, ff. 450, 789; A1/150/4, unfol.
  • 15. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 154.
  • 16. Longleat, Bath mss Thynne Pprs. (IHR microfilm) vii. f. 102.
  • 17. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 342-3.
  • 18. HMC Bath, iv. 185, 194, 198; Cal. of Antrobus Deeds ed. R.B. Pugh (Wilts. Rec. Soc. iii), 58.
  • 19. C66/1206/419; Two Sixteenth Cent. Taxation Lists ed. G.D. Ramsay (Wilts. Rec. Soc. x), 144; C142/191/122.
  • 20. PROB 11/86, f. 96.
  • 21. E179/198/330; 179/199/367, rot. 5; Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. ed. W.P.D. Murphy (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 184.
  • 22. VCH Wilts. iv. 46, 49, 61; STAC 8/11/8; 8/139/13.
  • 23. J. Hawarde, Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata ed. W.P. Baildon, 104-5.
  • 24. CJ, i. 972a; SP14/193, f. 1.
  • 25. Hawarde, 316-18.
  • 26. HMC Var. i. 73; Hawarde, 264-8.
  • 27. Longleat, Thynne Pprs. vii. f. 310.
  • 28. CJ, i. 185b, 284a, 199b, 373a, 374a.
  • 29. VCH Wilts. xiii. 63; R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Warminster Hundred’, 107.
  • 30. CJ, i. 241b, 374a.
  • 31. Ibid. 437a.
  • 32. Lansd. 486, ff. 150-1; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 380; CJ, i. 371b, 441b.
  • 33. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 294.
  • 34. APC, 1616-17, p. 112.
  • 35. STAC 8/195, f. 22; APC, 1617-19, pp. 467-8.
  • 36. C219/37/289; CJ, i. 576a, 580a.
  • 37. Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 94-5, 97.
  • 38. Ludlow’s Mems. ed. C.H. Firth, i. 132-3; CJ, v. 30b.