SCOTT, Edward (c.1578-1645/6), of Scot's Hall, Smeeth, Kent
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Family and Education
b. c.1578, 9th but 5th surv. s. of Sir Thomas Scott† (d.1594/5) of Scot’s Hall and 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Baker† of Sissinghurst, Kent; bro. of Sir John* and Thomas†. educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1589, aged 11.1 m. (1) lic. 30 Dec. 1600, Alice, da. and coh. of William Stringer of Bishopsbourne, Kent, 1s. 1da.; (2) lic. 26 Aug. 1616, Catherine, da. of John Honeywood of Elmsted, Kent, s.p.; (3) lic. 25 July 1639, Mary, da. and coh. of John Aldersey, Haberdasher, of London, wid. of Thomas Westrowe, Grocer, of London and Sir Norton Knatchbull* of Mersham Hatch, Kent, s.p.2 suc. bro. 1616; KB 1 Feb. 1626.3 d. by 12 Jan. 1646.
Commr. sewers, Kent and Suss. borders 1604, Dengemarsh, Kent 1604, Suss. 1617, Kent 1620, 1645, Sheerness 1622;4 capt. milita ft., lathe of Shepway, Kent 1605-at least 1625;5 sheriff, Kent 1619-20;6 j.p. Kent by 1613-27, 1628-36, 1644-d.;7 commr. subsidy, Kent 1621-2, 1624, 1641,8 piracy, Cinque Ports 1625-at least 1638,9 Forced Loan, Kent 1626;10 freeman, Hythe 1628;11 commr. repair of highways, Kent 1631,12 Poll Tax 1641, assessment 1643-d., sequestration 1643, levying money 1643, defence, S.E. Association 1643-4, gaol delivery 1644-d., New Model Ordinance 1645.13
Steward to Abp. Abbot by 1631.14
Scott lived in the shadow of his childless elder brothers until his mid-thirties, when he unexpectedly inherited the Smeeth and Nettlestead estates. He entered adulthood with few prospects, as his father left him an annuity of just £30, but at the beginning of 1601 he married a local heiress, with whose guardian he fell out over money.15 The marriage made him a man of substance: a Mr. Scott of Kent was listed by lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) as being worth around £70 p.a., and in 1613 he was admitted to the county bench.16 In 1614 he contributed £5 to the benevolence, by which time he was probably already living at Postling, a few miles north of Hythe.17 However, it was the death in 1616 of his brother Sir John Scott which transformed his fortunes, making him the squire of Scot’s Hall.
Scott served as sheriff of Kent in 1619-20. In 1622 he was summoned before the Privy Council for failing to contribute to the benevolence for the defence of the Palatinate, along with his near neighbours Sir Norton Knatchbull* and Sir Peter Heyman*, and was consequently persuaded to donate £40.18 He stood for the county in 1625 with Sir Edwin Sandys against the Court-backed candidates, Sir Albertus Morton and Lord Burghersh, but was unsuccessful. A petition alleging partiality by the sheriff (Sir Thomas Hammon*) was prepared, and Scott considered retaining William Hakewill* as counsel, but his complaint never reached the floor of the House, there being too many others ahead of it.19 The public nature of his defeat was humiliating, and in November 1625 it was proposed that he should apply to be made a knight of the Bath at the forthcoming coronation to restore himself ‘unto his place, from which he is now by so many degrees fallen’. Scott eagerly took up the suggestion, and was informed that for the sum of £250 he could have the honour, which was duly bestowed at the beginning of February.20 By this time, however, he had already avenged his earlier defeat by getting himself elected for the county. Many voters clearly felt that he had been poorly treated in 1625 and wanted to ensure this was not repeated. Writing on the eve of the election, his close supporter Sir Dudley Digges* commented on the ‘good freeholders’ who, ‘sensible of the wrong done my cousin Scott will without contradiction make him a knight of the shire’. Scott’s partner on the hustings was Sir Edward Hales rather than Sir Edwin Sandys, whose offer of an electoral alliance he turned down. Like his cousin Thomas Scott*, he considered that Sandys had behaved badly in the 1625 Parliament, when he had represented a Cornish borough.21
Scott played little recorded part in the 1626 Parliament, never speaking and being named to just nine committees. Four of his appointments reflected the anxieties of a member of the godly about the state of religion. As well as the general committee on religion (10 Feb.), he was named to consider bills for the removal of scandalous and unworthy ministers (15 Feb.), for easing the terms of subscription required for holders of livings (6 May) and for the genuine conformity of former recusants (8 May). He was also instructed to attend the conference with the Lords (4 Mar.) about the message sent to the duke of Buckingham demanding to know why the latter had detained the St. Peter of Le Havre after it had been discharged. His other committees included one to draft an arms bill (13 Mar.), which as a longstanding captain in the militia he was well qualified to consider, and another concerning a Kentish estate bill promoted by Sir Henry Neville II* (17 March).22
Scott was appointed a commissioner for the Forced Loan in November 1626. He presumably refused to serve as he was shortly afterwards displaced from the bench and his name was omitted from the new Loan commission issued in February 1627.23 In the spring of 1627 he was informed of plans to make the Medway navigable, a matter which concerned him as the river ran through his Nettlestead estate. Like Sir John Scott before him, he regarded the Medway between Maidstone and Tonbridge as a private stream and was unwilling to remove obstacles such as his footbridge.24 His opposition, and that of other riverside landowners, forced the advocates of the navigation scheme to introduce a bill to Parliament in 1628. It may have been with the intention of thwarting this legislation that Scott re-entered the Commons, where he represented Hythe. Certainly he was kept informed of developments regarding the sewer commissioners’ plans while he was at Westminster.25 On 17 May he was appointed to the bill committee as a representative of one of the Cinque Ports. He evidently found several allies on the committee, whose members were so divided that by the time the session was prorogued the matter remained unresolved.26
The navigation bill was probably Scott’s main preoccupation of the Parliament, as he was personally named to only four committees. As in 1626, most of these concerned religious matters: to prevent Catholics from sending their children overseas for their education (21 Mar.), to strengthen the recusancy laws (23 Apr.) and to improve the maintenance of the ministry (7 May). His last appointment concerned the patent of the Muscovy Company (17 May).27 During the recess Scott continued to resist the Medway navigation scheme. Indeed, in August 1628 he was fined £20 by the local sewer commissioners for failing to remove his footbridge.28 Scott played no recorded part in the 1629 session of Parliament.
Buckingham’s assassination paved the way for Scott’s restoration to the county bench, to which he was readmitted in December 1628. However, sometime between late February and mid-July 1636 he was again struck off, perhaps having refused to pay Ship Money. By 1631 he was serving as steward in the archbishop of Canterbury’s household. He did not seek re-election to either the Short or Long Parliament, although he was kept informed of events at Westminster by his daughter-in-law. In January 1642 she wrote that a Member of the Commons had proposed to appoint him lord lieutenant of Kent, but in the event Parliament nominated the 2nd earl of Leicester (Sir Robert Sidney*). Four months later Scott’s name headed the signatories to the petition submitted by Kent’s radicals calling for rapid godly reformation.29 On the outbreak of war Scott placed his services at Parliament’s disposal, serving on the county committee and running the lathe of Shepway almost as a personal fiefdom.30 His last recorded mention was on 21 Aug. 1645, when he was appointed to the Kent sewer commission. He was dead by 12 Jan. 1646, when his will of 3 Oct. 1641 was proved. In this he asked to be buried at either Smeeth or Nettlestead, ‘there to remain until the resurrection of all flesh’, and he left cash bequests amounting to more than £630.31 The residue of his estate descended to his son, Edward. None of his descendants sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush
- 1. Al. Ox.
- 2. Canterbury Mar. Lics. 1568-1618 ed. J.M. Cowper, 368; Canterbury Mar. Lics. 1619-60, p. 872; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 129.
- 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 162.
- 4. C181/1, ff. 90v, 92; 181/2, f. 300; 181/3, ff. 4, 42; 181/5, p. 519.
- 5. J.J.N. McGurk, ‘Letter Bk. regarding the Ltcy. of Kent, 1604-28’, Al. Cant. lxxxii. 131; J.R. Scott, Scott, of Scot’s-Hall, pp. xxii, xxviii.
- 6. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 69.
- 7. Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 121; C231/4, f. 261; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Chas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 263, 280, 451, 467.
- 8. C212/22, 20-1, 23; SR, v. 63, 85.
- 9. C181/3, f. 175v; 181/4, f. 48; 181.5, f. 131v.
- 10. Harl. 6846, f. 37.
- 11. E. Kent Archives Cent. H1210, f. 73r-v.
- 12. C181/4, f. 88.
- 13. A. and O. i. 92, 113, 148, 231, 336, 451, 541, 620, 640; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Chas. I, 451, 467.
- 14. LPL, TG1, p. 28.
- 15. PROB 11/85, ff. 1-2; HMC Hatfield, xiv. 282.
- 16. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 14, 558.
- 17. E351/1950. On his Postling address, see Canterbury Mar. Lics. 1568-1618, p. 368.
- 18. SP14/127/82; 14/156/15.
- 19. Cent. Kent. Stud. U1115/C24, printed but mis-dated in Scott, pp. xxvvi-xxvii.
- 20. Cent. Kent. Stud. U1115/C26; U1115/C17/2, printed but mis-dated in Scott, pp. xxviii-xxix.
- 21. Dorothea Scott ed. G.D. Scull, 132, 135, 142.
- 22. CJ, i. 817b, 819b, 830a, 830a, 836a, 837a, 856a, 857a.
- 23. For the 1627 commn. see T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144.
- 24. Scott, p. xxx; APC, 1629-30, pp. 308-9 (name mis-spelt ‘Stot’).
- 25. Scott, p. xxxii.
- 26. CD 1628, iv. 345; v. 367.
- 27. CJ, i. 874a, 887b, 893a, 900a.
- 28. Scott, p. xxxiii.
- 29. P. Clark, Eng. Prov. Soc. 387-8.
- 30. A. Everitt, Community of Kent and Gt. Rebellion, 130, 156; HMC Pepys, 203.
- 31. PROB 11/195, ff. 149-50v.