TAVERNER, Edmund (c.1595-1637), of Soundess, Nettlebed, Oxon. and Westminster.

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.1595, 4th s. of Edmund Taverner (d.1615), of G. Inn and Soundess, and Lucy, da. of Christopher Hales of Snitterfield, Warws.1 educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 1610, aged 15.2 unm. ?1s. illegit with Elizabeth West.3 d. 22 Sept. 1637.4

Offices Held

Under-sec. of embassy, Paris 1619-24;5 sec. to 1st earl of Montgomery (Sir Philip Herbert*) 1625-d.6


This Member’s grandfather, Richard Taverner†, who probably represented Liverpool under Edward VI, was clerk of the signet and acquired an estate in Oxfordshire. As the younger son of a wealthy lawyer, Taverner was recommended to Sir Edward Herbert* for employment in the Paris embassy by Sir John Danvers*, for whom Taverner’s eldest brother Richard was to have acted as second in a duel against Sir John Wentworth*.7 Taverner went on to serve another member of the Herbert family, the 1st earl of Montgomery, who went to France in 1625 to provide an escort to Henrietta Maria. As the high steward of Woodstock, Montgomery secured Taverner’s return for the borough in 1626, and when Montgomery became lord chamberlain later that year he brought Taverner to Court as his secretary.8 Taverner was re-elected in 1628, but although described as ‘proud and a great talker’, he again made no mark in the House, and was not much beloved at Court, according to George Garrard*, especially after expressing his disapproval of Ship Money.9

Taverner may have intended to marry, though he wrote in 1630 to an unnamed correspondent that he would wait until able ‘to maintain a wife properly’.10 However, he remained unwed when he died ‘of a burning fever’ at Hampton Court on 22 Sept. 1637. Rumours greatly exaggerated his wealth. Garrard reported that he was ‘thought to be rich, at least worth ... £15,000’,11 but he actually left no more than £2,500, of which £1,000 went to his mistress Elizabeth West and £100 ‘to my kinsman that I keep at school at Henley’.12 His executors, who included Samuel Turner*, buried him according to his wishes at Nettlebed, where a brass epitaph mentioned his 12 years of ‘painful service at Court ... used in affairs of greatest trust’.13 No later member of the family entered Parliament, though his great-nephew Taverner Harris, who inherited Soundess, sat for Wallingford as a Whig in 1681.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 95-7; Wood’s Life and Times ed. A. Clark (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xix), 239.
  • 2. Al. Ox.
  • 3. PROB 11/175, f. 207.
  • 4. Parochial Collections ed. F.N. David (Oxon. Rec. Soc. iv), 223.
  • 5. Life of Lord Herbert ed. J.M. Shuttleworth, 95.
  • 6. Sloane 1044, f. 261; Parochial Collections, 223.
  • 7. Winwood’s Memorials ed. E. Sawyer, iii. 95.
  • 8. V.A. Rowe, ‘Influence of the Earl of Pembroke in Parl. Elections 1625-41’, EHR, l. 250.
  • 9. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, ii. 115; CSP Dom. 1635, p. 396.
  • 10. CCSP, i. 34.
  • 11. Strafforde Letters, ii. 115.
  • 12. PROB 11/175, f. 207.
  • 13. Parochial Collections, 223.