PITT, Edward (c.1592-1643), of Steepleton Iwerne, Dorset; later of Stratfield Saye, Hants.

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.1592, 1st s. of William Pitt* and Edith, da. and coh. of Nicholas Cadbury of Arne, nr. Wareham, Dorset.1 educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1608, aged 16, BA 1611; M. Temple 1609.2 m. 23 Apr. 1620 (with £500), Rachel (d.1643), da. of Sir George Morton of Winterbourne Clenston, Dorset, 10s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.).3 suc. fa. 1636.4 d. by 9 Dec. 1643.5

Offices Held

Freeman, Poole 1623;6 commr. sewers, Westminster 1634,7 j.p. Hants 1636-7,8 commr. assessment 1641-2.9

Teller of the Exch. 1625-d.10


Pitt was granted a tellership of the Exchequer in reversion in 1618. His father, (Sir) William, wished him to settle near his own childhood home, Blandford Forum in Dorset. However, the mansion that Sir William purchased for that purpose, at Steepleton Iwerne, proved to be in poor repair.11 Pitt was staying with his brother-in-law, Sir George Morton*, when he wrote to his father on 11 Jan. 1624:

I met at Blandford with a letter from you, signifying your willingness and desire to have me become a Parliament man, ... for the furtherance whereof you had I perceive beforehand prepared the way by your letters to uncle [Richard] Swayne†, as also to the mayor of Wareham, where they have not found that success as I hoped they would. ... But how I may speed in some other place, as namely in Poole, it is yet somewhat uncertain, for thither hath my uncle Swayne written on my behalf, but as yet received no answer; but I perceive by a letter from my uncle Bremble in answer of one sent unto him to that purpose immediately upon my coming home, that there is a good inclination in five or six of the chief [men] of the town (whereof the mayor is one) to join me with Sir Walter Earle*.... I am advised by letter this day to ride thither speedily, which I purpose, God willing, tomorrow morning early.12

Pitt was duly returned with Earle for Poole, but made far less impression on the final Jacobean Parliament than did his colleague. Named on 15 Mar. to the committee for the bill on American fishing rights, he attended one of its seven meetings. On 9 Apr. he delivered a copy of the lord treasurer’s warrant to the Poole customs officials for a levy of 4d. per fardel of merchandise, and was promptly appointed to the committee to find out who advised the king to introduce the new imposition on wine, sugar, and groceries. He also exercised his right as a Dorset burgess to attend the legislative committee concerned with the manorial customs of Beaminster Secunda.13

Pitt took up his Exchequer tellership in 1625, and soon turned his back on Dorset, purchasing the more convenient seat of Stratfield Saye for £4,800 in 1629. It was as a Hampshire resident that he compounded for knighthood at £15. However, this relocation effectively ended his parliamentary career. By the late 1620s there was mounting local hostility to his father at Wareham, and Pitt’s own attempts to revive his family’s interest there in 1640 were rebuffed.14 Misfortunes befell him thick and fast after the outbreak of the Civil War. Ostensibly neutral, in December 1642 he tried to contact his ‘noble and worthy friend’, the parliamentarian commander Denzil Holles*, presumably in the hope of securing his protection. However, about the same time his eldest son ran off to join the king’s forces, leaving Pitt open to charges of royalism. In January 1643 he was arrested and imprisoned in Windsor Castle. Shortly afterwards, Stratfield Saye was pillaged by parliamentarian forces, and he lost goods worth £500.15 His headstrong heir died of disease in the following June, while Pitt’s wife succumbed to a fever in August. Although no formal charges were brought against him, he remained in confinement until at least mid-November, possibly because of suspicions that he was a papist. He himself died less than a week after his release, and was buried at Stratfieldsaye.16 He made his will on 19 Sept. 1643, leaving £2,000 portions for each of his surviving daughters, and requesting his wife’s kinsman, Sir Ralph Hopton*, to undertake the guardianship of his eldest surviving son George. The latter re-established the family’s ties with Dorset, and sat for Wareham from 1660 to 1678.17

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, i. 98; iv. 90-1.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. Add. 29974, ff. 51, 54, 332-3.
  • 4. Hutchins, iv. 91.
  • 5. Exchequer Officeholders comp. J.C. Sainty (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. vii), 236.
  • 6. Ibid. i. 32.
  • 7. C181/4, f. 191.
  • 8. C231/5, p. 213.
  • 9. SR, v. 65, 88, 155.
  • 10. Exchequer Officeholders, 236.
  • 11. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 551; PROB 11/171, f. 248v.
  • 12. Add. 29974, f. 74.
  • 13. CJ, i. 737a, 759b, 760b; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 201, 221.
  • 14. VCH Hants, iv. 59; Add. 21922, f. 182v; 29974, ff. 154, 319; D. Hirst, Representative of the People?, 120.
  • 15. Add. 29974, ff. 361, 364A, 368, 370, 396; B. Donagan, ‘Family and Misfortune in the Eng. Civil War’, HLQ, lxi. 226-8.
  • 16. Add. 29974, ff. 366, 375, 381, 389, 391v-2, 401, 409; Donagan, 229-33; VCH Hants, iv. 61-2.
  • 17. PROB 11/200, ff. 429-31.