VERNEY, Sir Edmund (1590-1642), of Drury Lane, Westminster and Hillesden, Bucks.; later of Middle Claydon, Bucks. and the Piazza, Covent Garden, Westminster.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Jan. 1590, 2nd s. of Sir Edmund Verney (d.1600) of Pendley, Herts., being his 1st s. by his 3rd w. Mary, da. of John Blakney of Sparham, Norf. and wid. of Geoffrey Turville, of All Hallows, Barking, London, and William St. Barbe, of All Hallows, Barking, London; half bro. of Sir Ambrose Turvile*.1 educ. St. Alban Hall, Oxf. 1604; travelled abroad 1606.2 m. 14 Dec. 1612 (with £2,300), Margaret (d. 5 Apr. 1641), da. of Sir Thomas Denton* of Hillesden, Bucks. 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da. kntd. 7 Jan. 1611; suc. half-bro. Sir Francis Verney 1615. d. 23 Oct. 1641.3 sig. Ed[mund] Verney.
Sewer, Prince Henry’s Household 1610-12;4 gentleman of the privy chamber, Prince Charles’s Household 1613-25,5 Charles I 1625-d.;6 knight marshal, 1626-d.;7 commr. oyer and terminer, Verge 1629-39;8 judge, Palace Ct. 1630-at least 1641; commr. Exch. fines, 1640.9
Lt., Whaddon Chase, Bucks. 1622;10 freeman, New Romney, Kent 1625;11 dep. lt. Bucks. by 1626-at least 1640;12 commr. Forced Loan, Bucks. 1626-7, Buckingham, Bucks. 1627;13 j.p. Bucks., Mdx. and Westminster 1627-at least 1641;14 commr. martial law, Mdx. and Westminster 1627,15 oyer and terminer, Mdx. 1627, Norf. circ. 1635-42, Bucks. 1640, swans, Midlands 1627, sewers, Westminster 1634,16 subsidy, Bucks. and Westminster 1641-2,17 array, Bucks. 1642.18
The Verneys can be traced back to the reign of King John, but the founder of the family’s fortune was Sir Ralph Verney (d.1478), who became lord mayor of London, which city he represented in Parliament three times. Sir Ralph purchased lands in both Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, including the Buckinghamshire manor of Middle Claydon.19
Verney was a younger son and therefore the bulk of the family property was settled on his elder half-brother Francis, who fell into debt and was forced to sell his lands between 1606 and 1608. Verney’s mother salvaged little more than Middle Claydon for her son,20 who consequently embarked on a career at Court. In 1610 he secured a post in the Household of Henry, Prince of Wales, possibly with the help of his half-brother, Ambrose Turvile, cupbearer to Anne of Denmark. Verney’s embryonic Court career appeared to be threatened by Henry’s death in November 1612, but the following year he was appointed gentleman of the privy chamber to Prince Charles.
In 1623 Verney was sent out to join his master in Spain, where he came to blows with an English Catholic priest, who tried to convert another of Charles’s servants while the latter was on his death bed.21 Returning to England, Verney was nominated for Boroughbridge by the Prince’s Council, but was disregarded when the borough held its election on 16 Jan. 1624.22 Nevertheless, Verney secured a seat at Buckingham a fortnight later, almost certainly at the nomination of his father-in-law Sir Thomas Denton, who had represented the town in the previous three Parliaments.
Verney received four committee appointments in the 1624 Parliament, two for bills which concerned Prince Charles, namely the measures to enable the duchy of Cornwall to make leases (7 Mar.) and to confirm the prince’s purchase of Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire (23 March).23 He was also among those appointed to consider the bill to naturalize two Scottish courtiers and one of the prince’s physicians.24 In addition, Verney is known to have attended an undated meeting of the committee for the bill concerning the sale of the lands of Anthony Aucher*, to which the knights and burgesses of Buckinghamshire had been added on 12 April.25
The following year Verney was elected for New Romney at the nomination of the duke of Buckingham, the lord warden of the Cinque Ports. He is mentioned only once in the surviving parliamentary records, on 28 June, when he was named to consider the bill to drain Erith and Plumstead marshes, in north Kent.26 Verney was not elected to the 1626 Parliament, but in February of that year was appointed knight marshal, in which capacity he was custodian of the Marshalsea prison in Southwark and responsible for maintaining order in the royal Household.27
Verney was returned for Aylesbury, about ten miles from Middle Claydon, to the 1628 Parliament, in which assembly he received two committee appointments. On 21 Apr. he was instructed to consider the 2nd earl of Devonshire’s (Sir William Cavendish I*) estate bill and on 21 June he formed part of the delegation sent with the Speaker to the king concerning the recess. In addition, on 30 May, following Sir Edward Coke’s report that the committee for grievances had been unable to agree on whether all the provisions in Sir Thomas Monson’s* patent for drafting bills and processes for the Council in the North were legal, Verney acted as teller for a motion to vote on the parts of the patent individually, but was defeated. Verney also appeared before the House in his official capacity on 5 May, when he delivered up (Sir) Henry Stanhope*, who had been committed to the Marshalsea by the Privy Council to prevent a duel. 28
During the course of the 1629 session Verney again received two committee appointments. On 27 Jan. he was named to the joint committee of the Lords and Commons to deliver a petition for a fast to the king, and on 23 Feb. he was instructed to consider the bill to prevent corrupt ecclesiastical appointments.29
In the 1630s Verney dabbled in a variety of patents, including projects concerning the enrolling of apprentices and the licensing of Hackney cabs.30 Elected for Chipping Wycombe to both the Short and Long Parliaments, he was appointed the king’s standard-bearer at the start of the Civil War, but died at Edgehill.31 His will, dated 26 Mar. 1639, contains little more than minor bequests as he had already made over the bulk of his estate to his eldest son Ralph, who served as his executor and sat for Aylesbury in the Long Parliament.32
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Ben Coates
- 1. C142/262/126; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. lviii), 123; PROB 6/3, f. 99; St. Olave, Hart Street (Harl. Soc. Reg. xlvi), 121.
- 2. Al. Ox.; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 4.
- 3. Letters and Pprs. of Verney Fam. 101, 104-5; L. Stone, ‘Verney Tomb at Middle Claydon’, in Bucks. Recs. xvi. 81; M. Slater, Fam. Life in Seventeenth Cent. 202-3.
- 4. Coll. of Ordinances and Regulations for Government of Royal Household (Soc. of Antiqs., 1790), p. 323; LC2/4/6, f. 38v.
- 5. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 252; LC2/6, f. 69v.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 159; LC3/1, unfol.
- 7. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 561; Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion ed. W.D. Macray, ii. 366.
- 8. C181/4, f. 5v; 181/5, f. 154v.
- 9. CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 281; 1640, p. 135; PALA 6/9, rot. 103.
- 10. Letters and Pprs. of Verney Fam. 105.
- 11. E. Kent Archives Cent., NR/AC/2, p. 41.
- 12. SP16/24/25; CSP Dom. 1640, p. 537.
- 13. T. Rymer, Feodera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144; C193/12/2, ff. 3v, 82v.
- 14. C231/4, ff. 197v. 200; C66/2859.
- 15. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv-vii), 31.
- 16. C181/3, ff. 219, 227; 181/4, ff. 191, 196v; 181/5, ff. 176v, 218.
- 17. SR, v. 60, 64, 149, 153.
- 18. Northants RO, FH133.
- 19. Letters and Pprs. of Verney Fam. 3, 22, 24; A.B. Beavan, Aldermen of London, i. 17, 272-3; J. Broad, Transforming English Rural Society, 15-16.
- 20. C2/Jas.I/U4/2; VCH Bucks. iv. 33.
- 21. J. Howell, Epistolae Ho-Elianae, 172.
- 22. DCO, Prince Charles in Spain, f. 34.
- 23. CJ, i. 680a, 747a; C. Kyle, ‘Prince Chas. in the Parls. of 1621 and 1624’, HJ, xli. 616-17.
- 24. CJ, i. 761a.
- 25. C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 199.
- 26. Procs. 1625, p. 257.
- 27. Broad, 18.
- 28. CD 1628, iii. 3, 255; iv. 22-23, 404.
- 29. CJ, i. 923a, 932b.
- 30. Broad, 18, 22-3.
- 31. Clarendon, ii. 290, 369.
- 32. PROB 11/190, ff. 349v-50v; Broad, 22.