MOUNDEFORD, Edmund (c.1595-1643), of Dunton's Manor, Feltwell, Norf.

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



1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 5 May 1643

Family and Education

b. c.1595, o.s. of Sir Edmund Moundeford of Feltwell, and Frances, da. of Thomas Gawdy, of Claxton, Norf.1 educ. Wymondham g.s., Norf.; Caius, Camb. 1612.2 m. (1) 2 Sept. 1614, Penelope, da. of William Brews of Wenham, Suff., s.p.; (2) by 1632, da. of Sir John Heveningham* of Ketteringham, Suff., s.p.3 suc. fa. 1617;4 kntd. 9 Sept. 1629.5 d. 5 May 1643.6

Offices Held

Commr. Forced Loan, Norf. 1626;7 capt. militia ft. 1626-at least 1628;8 commr. sewers, King’s Lynn, Norf. 1630,9 Lincs. and Norf. 1630,10 Hunts. and Lincs. 1631, 1635,11 Lincs. Norf. and Northants. 1641,12 Lincs. Norf. and Hunts. 1641,13 swans, Norf. 1632;14 j.p. Norf. 1632-d.; commr. canal inquiry, Bury St. Edmunds, Suff. 1636,15 oyer and terminer, Norf. circ. 1640,16 assessment, Norf. 1641-d.,17 disarming recusants 1641;18 dep. lt. Norf. 1642,19 commr. sequestration 1643.20

Providence Is. Co. 1630-at least 1636.21


The Moundefords of Feltwell were a junior branch of the nearby Hockwold Moundefords, who traced their ancestry to the Conquest.22 They were closely connected with the Gawdys; indeed, Moundeford’s father appears to have regularly corresponded with Sir Bassingborne Gawdy*, while Moundeford himself wrote frequently to Framlingham Gawdy*.23 Moundeford’s letters to the latter show that from the late 1620s he spent most of his time in London. He regularly lodged at the Horse and Sun tavern, in the Strand, from where he sent Gawdy the news and rumours which circulated in the capital. On 16 Apr. 1627, for instance, he wrote that ‘the buzzing multitude talk of a Parliament’, and that it was widely thought that those imprisoned for refusing to pay the Forced Loan would soon be released.24

Despite the rumour, Parliament was not summoned for another nine months. When it met, in 1628, Moundeford was returned for Thetford. He probably owed his seat to Gawdy, the largest landowner in the vicinity and the town’s MP in the previous five Parliaments. Although he left no trace in the parliamentary sources, he certainly attended, as his letters to Gawdy illustrate. On 14 Apr. he wrote that four [sic] subsidies had been voted and that he helped present the Commons’ petition on billeted soldiers to the king, but ‘what answer we shall have is not known’. He added that ‘our House proceeds not with the calm it did; God grant a good end’.25 By 25 Apr. Moundeford’s pessimism had increased: ‘such is the stay of all our business in the Upper House that I can write you no proceedings. We have daily feared our period, such is the division in the Lords’.26 He considered that little had been achieved by 5 May, when he again told Gawdy: ‘I am sorry to be a messenger of sad tidings; the fears of an ill ending of this Parliament are now grown so great as they command belief. Our last day is appointed tomorrow sevennight and we are as far from ending our work as when we began’.27 However, Parliament was not prorogued until 28 June. It is not known whether he attended the 1629 session.

During the 1630s and early 1640s Moundeford kept up a steady correspondence with Gawdy, informing him of events in London and abroad. More than 100 such letters survive.28 In September 1631 Moundeford appeared before the principal officers of the navy, who wished to purchase timber from one of his Norfolk properties.29 Moundeford held strong Protestant convictions, as is apparent from his close friendship with John Winthrop, the godly leader of the 1630 expedition to Massachusetts. He was also a member of the Providence Island Company and attempted to interest Sir Simonds D’Ewes† in the project.30 The strength of his Protestantism is witnessed by his activities during the Short and Long Parliaments, to which he was returned as knight of the shire for Norfolk.

Moundeford was in Norfolk in the spring of 1643, preparing to fight on behalf of Parliament, when he died on 5 May. He was buried at Feltwell. He was childless, and bequeathed his estates to his sister, Elizabeth Smith. In his will he left 59 mourning rings, 12 of which he bestowed upon parliamentary colleagues, among them Framlingham Gawdy.31

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Chris Kyle


  • 1. F. Blomefield, Hist. Norf. ii. 191
  • 2. Al. Cant.
  • 3. Knyvett Letters ed. B. Scofield (Norf. Rec. Soc. xx), 52-3; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 202, 221; W. Rye, Norf. Fams. 580; PROB 11/192, ff. 360-3.
  • 4. C142/369/166.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 197.
  • 6. C142/710/33.
  • 7. W. Rye, Norf. State Pprs. 48.
  • 8. Ibid. 32, 78, 130.
  • 9. C181/4, f. 21v.
  • 10. Ibid. f. 31v.
  • 11. Ibid. f. 93v; 181/5, f. 10.
  • 12. C181/5, f. 196v.
  • 13. Ibid. f. 215.
  • 14. C181/4, f. 123.
  • 15. PC2/45, p. 435.
  • 16. C181/5, f. 341.
  • 17. SR, v. 153; A. and O. i. 93.
  • 18. LJ, iv. 385b.
  • 19. CJ, ii. 889a.
  • 20. A. and O. i. 115.
  • 21. CSP Col. 1574-1660, pp. 123, 166, 175.
  • 22. Blomefield, ii. 181-2, 193.
  • 23. Norf. Arch. v. 55-8.
  • 24. Eg. 2715, f. 327.
  • 25. Ibid. f. 437; Norf. Arch. v. 64.
  • 26. Eg. 2715, f. 362.
  • 27. Ibid. f. 439.
  • 28. Ibid. ff. 327, 341, 348, 350, 357-88, 437, 439, 446, 457, 459; 2716, ff. 4-197, 220, 245, 247, 265, 346.
  • 29. Ibid. 2716, f. 48.
  • 30. Harl. 287, f. 265; A.P. Newton, Colonising Activities of Eng. Puritans, 77, 80.
  • 31. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl.; PROB 11/192, ff. 360-3.