WYMARKE, Edward (-d.1634), of Aldersgate, London and North Luffenham, Rutland
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Family and Education
Commr. repair of St. Paul’s Cathedral 1620, 1631.4
Wymarke’s ancestors were seated at North Luffenham by 1483, though probably most of their land was held under lease from Fineshade priory.5 Wymarke himself resided mainly in London, where he made a living by usury and compounding for concealed lands. He compiled a much-dreaded register of concealed tenures, probably under the direction of the chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Walter Mildmay†, and used St Paul’s Cathedral as ‘his exchange to put out his money for 40 years together’.6 However, by 1599 his warrant to search out concealments, which had cost him some £132 to procure, was under attack. He wrote to the lord keeper Sir Thomas Egerton† that ‘I am now almost in despair because I hear of a general warrant likely to be granted which will frustrate my book for ever’; and it was probably with Egerton’s help that he sold his book to his partner Sir Edward Dyer† and the notorious William Tipper for £1,200 in 1601.7
In the general election of 1604 Sir Anthony Mildmay initially sponsored Wymarke at Chippenham, which Wymarke had represented in Elizabeth’s last two parliaments, but he was rejected ‘because the freemen would not admit of him’.8 Mildmay then used his influence on Wymarke’s behalf at Peterborough where, as Lord Cecil (Robert Cecil†) was informed by (Sir) Anthony Forest*, he was elected despite being ‘hardly known to the town of Peterborough, and a man [with] little skill in the state of Peterborough’.9 In the first session Wymarke was named to nine committees, including those for bills to confirm the charter of Bridewell hospital (27 Apr. 1604) and against usury (9 May and 9 June), in which he was probably suspected to have a professional interest.10 He was named to consider the revived usury bill (3 Apr. 1606) in the second session, and to another for a bill to prevent double payment of debts upon shop books, in which his name appears twice (18 April).11 Although reputed a wit, he made only one recorded speech in his entire parliamentary career, during a conference on the purveyance bill on 12 April. Henry Yelverton* had likened the bill to a baby, to which the Lords replied it were better it were killed at birth than grow into a monster, ‘whereupon Ned Wymarke, who seldom speaks at a conference, could not contain himself from expressing his sorrow in an audible voice to see their babe so betrayed in so good company’.12 On 26 May Wymarke was appointed to examine a sermon critical of Parliament preached at St. Paul’s by the precentor of Lincoln Cathedral.13 The appointment was appropriate since Wymarke was a noted ‘Paul’s walker’, one of the wits and gossips who gathered in the aisles of the cathedral, and indeed was described in the ‘Parliament Fart’ poem as ‘the pasquil of Paul’s’.14 He was a friend of John Chamberlain and Dudley Carleton*, whose London residence was in the same street as Wymarke’s, and figured in their correspondence as the source for various rumours and scandalous anecdotes.
In the third session Wymarke’s ten committee appointments included bills concerning bastardy (9 Dec. 1606), the London watermen (13 March 1607), and four private measures.15 After the prorogation he went to stay with Mildmay.16 On 23 Jan. 1610, shortly before the start of the fourth session, Chamberlain reported:
Ned Wymarke appears not in Paul’s, but ... now and then he steals out by owl-light to the Star and to the Windmill, which course of his is cause of much descanting, and the nearest and dearest friends he hath know not what to guess of this humour.17
He was nevertheless appointed to 16 various committees once Parliament had reassembled, including bills to avoid the double payment of debts (20 Feb.), bastardy (16 May), and six private bills, of which two concerned Mildmay’s kinsmen.18 He does not feature in the records of the fifth session.
Wymarke was re-elected for Peterborough in 1614, and also returned for two duchy of Lancaster boroughs, Liverpool and Newcastle-under-Lyme. In the latter he was described as ‘one Edward Wymarke’, which suggests that he was a stranger to the town; but he chose to sit for this constituency rather than Peterborough, which may indicate the beginnings of a rift with Mildmay or an attempt to establish his independence.19 He presumably had a hand in the choice of one of his debtors, Sir Hugh Beeston, in his replacement at Liverpool. He was named to two committees, for bills concerning Haberdashers’ school (16 May), and the ex officio oath (31 May).20 After the dissolution, a quarrel between Mildmay and Sir Edward Montagu*, which had been brought before the Privy Council and referred to Star Chamber, was exacerbated by Wymarke’s penchant for gossip. Either Wymarke or Sir Francis Fane* were allegedly responsible for relaying ‘contumelious speeches’ and slanders, though both denied it; Chamberlain commented on 9 Feb. 1615 that Wymarke ‘hath been in the briars now a good while, and is hardly got out without scratching’. Even after the matter had been settled, Mildmay never forgave Wymarke, and at his death in 1617 Chamberlain reported that ‘Ned Wymarke for all the ancient acquaintance between them hath not so much as a rush ring for remembrance’.21
After the execution of Sir Walter Ralegh† Wymarke was summoned before the Privy Council for remarking that Ralegh’s head would do well on the shoulders of (Sir) Robert Naunton*.22 According to Thomas Fuller, Wymarke explained that he meant no disparagement to Naunton, merely that two heads were better than one, and was dismissed.23 When he offered £100 for the repair of St. Paul’s, however, it is said that Naunton told him that two hundreds were better than one, and he was obliged to double his subscription.24 The story may be apocryphal, but Wymarke was certainly appointed to the repair commissions in 1620 and 1631, and donated a further £20 in 1632.25 He contributed £100 towards the recovery of the Palatinate in 1622.26 In 1627 he lent the duke of Buckingham £6,200 on the security of Oakham manor.27 On his death-bed he sent for his neighbour William Hakewill* to draw up a will, but found it difficult to proceed, since, as George Garrard* reported, ‘it went against his heart to give that away which he had kept so greedily’.28 He died on 30 Dec. 1634 and was buried in St. Botolph’s, Aldersgate.29 The unfinished will was set aside by the Prerogative Court, and administration of his estate, totalling nearly £20,000, was granted to his sister Frances, widow of John Green of Market Overton.30 No inquisition was held at his decease, though Viscount Falkland (Sir Henry Carey I*) had mortgaged Aldenham to him for £400.31 His nephew, a clergyman, later claimed that John Savage* owed him £3,120.32 Wymarke had intended to set aside £2,500 for charity, including £100 for the poor of North Luffenham, which was to be distributed with due regard for two children, Anne and Sarah Wortley, whom he had been maintaining.33 It is not clear whether these provisions were carried out. No other member of the family ever sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 26, 47.
- 2. HMC Hatfield, x. 231.
- 3. C115/106/8447.
- 4. Chamberlain Letters ed N.E. McClure, ii. 301; CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 7.
- 5. VCH Rutland, ii. 198-99; Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 46.
- 6. HMC Hatfield, vii. 330; C115/106/8447.
- 7. C66/1310; SO3/1, f. 623; HEHL, EL1556, 1570; HMC Hatfield, xii. 16.
- 8. ‘Earle 1624’, f. 110.
- 9. Peterborough Local Admin. ed. W.T. Mellows (Northants. Rec. Soc. xviii), 33.
- 10. CJ, i. 187b, 204b, 235b.
- 11. Ibid. 292b, 300a.
- 12. Bowyer Diary, 134n; P. Croft, ‘Parl., Purveyance and the City of London 1589-1608’, PH, iv. 30.
- 13. CJ, i. 312b.
- 14. Add. 34218, f. 21v.
- 15. CJ, i. 328b, 352b, 365a, 374a, 377a, 382b.
- 16. Carleton to Chamberlain ed. M. Lee, 97.
- 17. Chamberlain Letters, i. 296.
- 18. CJ, i. 397b, 417b, 429.
- 19. T. Pape, Newcastle-under-Lyme in Tudor and Stuart Times, 252.
- 20. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 257, 394.
- 21. Chamberlain Letters, i. 576; ii. 99.
- 22. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 601.
- 23. T. Fuller, Worthies of Eng. iii. 175-6.
- 24. Ibid.
- 25. GL, ms 25475/1, f. 7v.
- 26. SP14/156/15; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 421.
- 27. R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 413.
- 28. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 358.
- 29. C115/106/8447.
- 30. PROB 11/168, ff. 319-20; PROB 6/15, ff. 72v-73v; HMC 6th Rep. 104, 110.
- 31. SP16/346/78.
- 32. LJ, ix. 669b-670b.
- 33. SP16/346/78.