EDWARDS, Sir Francis, 1st Bt. (1643-90), of St. Chad's College, Shrewsbury, Salop.
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Family and Education
bap. 13 May 1643, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Edwards of Greet by Cicely, da. of Edward Brooke of Church Stretton. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1660. m. bef. 1665, Eleanor, da. of Sir George Warburton, 1st Bt., of Arley, Cheshire, 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1660; cr. Bt. 22 Apr. 1678.1
J.p. Salop 1665-June 1688, Nov. 1688-d., commr. for assessment 1665-80, 1689-d., recusants 1675; alderman, Shrewsbury 1685-d., mayor 1685-6; freeman, Portsmouth 1686.2
Edwards was descended from a London mercer, who acquired St. Chad’s College in Shrewsbury at the Reformation and helped to found the school. His grandfather was bailiff of Shrewsbury and sheriff of Shropshire 1620-1. His father was a Royalist during the first Civil War, acted as a commissioner of array, and compounded in September 1646 on a fine of £2,060 at one-sixth. On the other hand, his uncle Humphrey Edwards, who came in for Shrewsbury as a recruiter in 1646, was a regicide. His father had been given a baronetcy by Charles I on 21 Mar. 1645, but as the grant never passed the great seal, Edwards was created a baronet de novo 33 years later, though with the precedency of the former creation.3
Edwards lived principally in Shrewsbury, where his younger brother was town clerk. He was himself appointed to the corporation under the new charter of 1685 and elected to James II’s Parliament, in which he was appointed to no committees. He became an army officer on Monmouth’s invasion, but was cashiered in May 1687 for opposing the introduction of Roman Catholic officers. In the following year he gave negative replies to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. He intended to stand for Shrewsbury at the election to be held in September 1688, and was returned to the Convention. He left no trace on its records apart from voting to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Nevertheless, he was given command of a regiment of foot on the Dutch establishment, and was sent to Ireland in May 1689. In February 1690 he was recruiting in Chester, but he is said to have fought at the battle of the Boyne. He died intestate in Ireland later in the year, letters of administration being granted to his brother on 23 Dec. on behalf of his only son, then a minor. But no later member of the family entered Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Salop. Par. Reg. Lichfield, xiv. 153; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), i. 328; (ser. 4), xii. 219.
- 2. Owen and Blakeway, Shrewsbury, i. 493-4, 535; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 368.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), i. 321-72; (ser. 4), xi. 173-4; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1456.
- 4. Owen and Blakeway, i. 493-4; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 540; 1686-7, p. 403; 1689-90, pp. 109, 129, 442; HMC Downshire, i. 242; Ellis Corresp. i. 302; PRO 30/53/8, f. 69; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 219.