TRAFFORD, Edmund I (1526-90), of Trafford, Lancs.

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. 23 June 1526, 1st s. of Sir Edmund Trafford by Anne, da. of Sir Alexander Ratcliffe of Ordsall, m. (1) Mary, da. of Lord Edmund Howard, sis. of Queen Catherine Howard, s.p.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Sir Ralph Leycester of Toft, Cheshire, wid. of Sir Randle Mainwairing of Peover, 2s. inc. Edmund II 2da. Kntd. 1578.

Offices Held

J.p. Lancs. from c.1561; sheriff 1570-1, 1579-80, 1583-4; eccles. commr. province of York 1574; steward of the lands of the collegiate church of Manchester 1575.


The Traffords were related to the Queen through the Howards, and also to many of the leading Lancashire families. Trafford himself was, in the words of Father Campion, ‘a most bitter enemy of the Catholics’, complaining in May 1580 to the Earl of Leicester that the state of Lancashire was ‘lamentable to behold’ with masses said in several places. He was commissioned by the Privy Council to question those who had lately harboured Campion, and ordered to search their houses for books and other ‘superstitious stuff’. In 1582 Trafford and Robert Worsley informed the Council that the recusants in their custody at the Fleet prison, Salford, continued obstinate for want of instruction, and requested that preachers might be appointed for them. This plea was repeated in April, May and October. That same year Trafford arrested a priest, John Baxter, and in the following year two others, Williamson and Hatton. It was also Trafford who, at the instigation of the bishop of Chester, descended upon Blainscough to arrest a Mr. Worthington. Finding him gone, he went on to Rossall, a house inhabited by Cardinal Allen’s widowed sister-in-law. There he is said to have seized £500 on the pretext that it was intended for Allen. These activities did not endear him to the Catholics, and references are found to ‘the furious hate of this inhuman wretch ... prepared for any nefarious deed’; ‘that ferocious man’; ‘that utterly barbarous man’, and ‘the unrighteous sheriff’.

Trafford disputed with Richard Molyneux the stewardship of Blackburn, Tottington and Clitheroe. He possessed lands in a large number of parishes in Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, but his inquisition post mortem reveals a decrease in the Lancashire property. Trafford contributed £100 to the Armada fund in 1588. He is said to have maintained a retinue at Trafford, including huntsmen, a schoolmaster and musicians. He died intestate on 14 May 1590, and was buried in the collegiate church of Manchester on the 21st. The inventory of his property, made on 27 May, shows no great wealth.

S. J. Leatherbarrow, Lancs. Eliz. Recusants (Chetham Soc. n.s. cx); Foster, Lancs. Peds.; VCH Lancs. iv. 332-3; Croston, Lancs. and Cheshire Fams. 196; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 656; 1581-90, pp. 46, 50, 54, 73; APC, xiii. 148-9; Gillow, Haydock Pprs.18; Chetham Soc. n.s. li. 125, 127, 128, 130; Derby Household Bk. (Chetham Soc. xxxi), 63, 99; DL1/122/M.10; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills (Chetham Soc. li), 72-4.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.