BOUGHTON, Edward (c.1545-89), of Cawston, Warws.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1545, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Boughton of Cawston and Lawford by Margaret, da. and coh. of Edward Cave of Stanford, Northants. m. Susanna, da. of Sir John Brocket of Brocket Hall, Herts., at least 3s. 5da. suc. e. bro. Thomas 1560.1

Offices Held

J.p. Warws. from 1573, q. by 1584, sheriff 1579-80, commr. musters and disarming recusants from c.1585.

Bailiff of Wedgenock park (for Earl of Leicester); steward of the Earl of Warwick’s lands c.1585.


Boughton was the heir of a cadet branch of an old Warwickshire family. His father, Thomas, had been granted his estate at Cawston, near Rugby, forming part of the lands of Pipewell abbey, in 1546, and was succeeded by his elder son Thomas, a minor, whose wardship was granted to Baron Hastings of Loughborough. Thomas died 30 Apr. 1560. After his appointment to the Warwickshire commission of the peace, Boughton became involved in the usual round of an Elizabethan country gentleman, settling local disputes and examining suspected papists. In September 1586 he was called on to assist in the removal of Mary Queen of Scots through Warwickshire on her way to Fotheringay.2

Boughton served both the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Leicester. In June Leicester chose him to attempt to resolve a quarrel between a group of Warwick townsmen and the bailiff and principal burgesses, who were thought to have misappropriated some charitable funds. Boughton’s sympathies were with the popular side: for example, he insisted that an inquiry (July 1583) was held at the shire hall and not in camera; he produced the documents relating to the disputed charitable bequests, and, as for the conduct of civic elections, ‘Mr. Boughton, he thought no election could be made without consent of the whole multitude, and urged Mr. Bailiff and his brethren to yield to such election’. The meeting did little more than allow the airing of grievances, and at Michaelmas 1583, Boughton, who planned a visit to London in the near future, stopping on his way for two or three days at Kenilworth, suggested that outstanding differences between the parties should be committed to paper so that when he reached the capital he could ‘move my Lords in it’. It was arranged that a number of burgesses should go to London at the beginning of November to be at hand when the Earls of Leicester and Warwick were approached. At the last moment, Boughton wrote to say that Leicester had suddenly sent him to Denbigh, so the journey to London would have to be deferred until the 20th. Little satisfaction was obtained: Boughton, ‘who lay at Leicester house’, had to wait a week before he could broach the matter to the Earl and his brother, and then they asked that a lawyer of their choice be appointed to arbitrate between the parties. The unfortunate burgesses meanwhile stayed in London at their own expense from 12 Nov. to Christmas. The matter rested for two years. When it was revived, Boughton was again suggested as an intermediary and as a supervisor of a new civic election. The slackness of the borough authorities over this earned them a reprimand from the Earl of Warwick in July 1585. The end of the story is unrecorded.3

Boughton was presumably returned to Parliament for Coventry in 1584 at Leicester’s request. That autumn, the Privy Council asked him to take part in reviewing the city’s musters, which he did on 2 Oct., in company with Sir Fulke Greville, Henry Breres the mayor, and others. Dugdale records that it was with materials taken from the church of White Friars in Coventry that Boughton built at Cawston ‘the most beautiful fabric that then was in all these parts’.4

Boughton’s service to the Earl of Warwick is demonstrated in December 1588 when he was party to a legal settlement concerning Warwick’s heirs.5

Boughton made his will 30 June 1589, leaving his moveables and livestock at Cawston to his wife. In a codicil he stipulated that, after her death, the household goods at Cawston and the manor itself should pass to his eldest son Henry. Henry was also to have all his household stuff at the manor house of Withybrook—a manor purchased by Boughton—and the lease of some property at Willoughby, a few miles south of Rugby. Withybrook was placed in trust with various ‘loving friends’, including Sir John Harington, Humphrey Davenport, George Croke and John Croke the younger, for the benefit of his four unmarried daughters. His two younger sons and his brother Edward were each to have £10 a year. As executors, he appointed his son-in-law Richard Wortley, and Humphrey Davenport. Sir John Harington, the Crokes, and one Charles Hales were asked to be overseers. Any ambiguities in the will were to be clarified by Sir Thomas Lucy and Thomas Andrews of Charwelton, Northamptonshire.6

Boughton died 12 Sept. 1589, when his son Henry was about 22. The executors were involved in litigation started by Sir Christopher Blount, who claimed an annuity of £40 out of Wedgenock park, and asserted that Boughton had received all the rents as bailiff. Blount supported his claim with reference to Leicester’s debts to the Queen and others, but the executors replied that Boughton had had warrant from Leicester to ‘withstand’ Blount, while Wortley specifically mentioned seeing an acquittance of all rents and profits. Later, a scandal arose about the private life of Boughton’s daughter Mary, whose irregularities were apparently encouraged by her brother Henry. Mary’s husband, Richard Fowler, brought a suit against her in Star Chamber: ‘a most notable cause ... which held from eight of the clock till five’, and the unfortunate woman was sentenced to ‘be carried to Bridewell and then to be often well whipped, and afterwards to perpetual imprisonment’.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.


  • 1. C142/128/93, 143/5; PCC 30 Noodes, 90 Leicester; Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. xii), 83.
  • 2. Dugdale, Warws. i. loo; VCH Warws. vi. 81 seq.; CPR, 1558-60, p. 17; C142/128/93; APC, viii. 249; xi. 395; xiii. 163; xiv. 80, 131; Harl. 474, ff 8iv, 91; Lansd. 37, f. 46; 49, ff. 171 seq.; 65, f. 14; 103, ff. 62 seq.
  • 3. C2.Eliz. B17/39; Black Bk. of Warwick, ed. Kemp, 328, 352.
  • 4. Coventry Leet Bk. ii. 830-2; Dugdale, 287.
  • 5. Black Bk. of Warwick, 354-5.
  • 6. PCC 90 Leicester; C2.Eliz. W8/53.
  • 7. C142/227/205; C2. Eliz. B17/39; HMC 7th Rep. 525; Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. lxii), 163.