CONQUEST, Edmund (by 1502-49), of Houghton Conquest, Beds.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1502, yr. s. of Richard Conquest (d.c.1505) of Houghton Conquest by Elizabeth, da. of one Jellybronde (?Gellibrand). m. by 1536, Joan, da. of William Button of Ampthill, at least 4s. 6da. suc. bro. Richard 1541.1

Offices Held

J.p. Beds. 1543-d.; escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 1547-8.2


The Conquest family had been settled in Bedfordshire from the 13th century or earlier, most of its property lying near Ampthill. Since Edmund and Richard were popular christian names in the family it is easy to confuse the generations. The Member’s grandfather and father, who both died between 1499 and 1506, and his elder brother all bore the name Richard; he had an uncle Edmund; and he named his two eldest sons Edmund and Richard. Edmund Conquest is first certainly glimpsed in the early 1530s in the service of the royal favourite Sir Francis Bryan, who made Woburn his home at the Dissolution. Before Conquest became head of the family, his brother Richard had spent over four years in the Fleet (1533-7) following disputes over compensation for property at Ampthill, presumably as a result of the King’s making a royal park there. While his brother was in prison Conquest managed the family estates, but not to his brother’s satisfaction. In 1539 or 1540 he received an augmentations grant of pasture land in Houghton, and about the same time he acquired by mortgage the reversion of part of the manor of Silsoe from Humphrey Warren.3

His patrimony was not sufficient to account for Conquest’s election as one of the knights for Bedfordshire, which is attributable to his connexions. His brother Richard had probably been the ward of John Mordaunt, whose executors William Mordaunt and Sir William Gascoigne received a grant of the wardship in December 1506. The Mordaunts and Gascoignes were by 1545 two of the leading families in Bedfordshire, and one or other of them may have promoted Conquest’s election. Alternatively, or in addition, he could have relied on the support of Sir Francis Bryan, who was himself returned for the adjoining county of Buckingham.4

Apart from his Membership and role in local government little else has come to light about Conquest save that he took advantage of the Edwardian legislation to remove a number of articles, including chalices and vestments, from his parish church. The Marian government forced his widow to restore these, or to provide similar furnishings to the value of £32 6s.8d.; she also contributed over £4 towards the repair of the church. Conquest died on 9 June 1549. In his will, made on 1 May and proved on 5 Nov. of that year, he asked to be buried in the chancel of Houghton Conquest church. He bequeathed £66 13s.4d. to each of his six daughters at their marriage, and to a younger son, George, £200 towards ‘the advancement of his living’. His widow was named sole executrix and no supervisors were appointed. The residuary legatee, after the death of the executrix, was the eldest son and heir, Edmund, aged 13, whose wardship was to be granted in 1551 to (Sir) Francis Russell.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at brother’s i.p.m. C142/64/104. CIPM Hen. VII, iii. 892; C142/88/6; Beds. RO, CRT 190/95; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 19-20; F. A. Blaydes, Gen. Beds. 143; LP Hen. VIII, xvii; VCH Beds. iii. 291.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1553, p. 315.
  • 3. CPR, 1548-9, p. 340; Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. vi. 67; CIPM Hen. VII, iii. 892; C142/88/6; Beds. N. and Q. iii. 25-26; LP Hen. VIII, vi-viii, xii, xv; VCH Beds. ii. 328-9.
  • 4. CPR, 1494-1509, p. 516.
  • 5. Edwardian Inventories for Beds. (Alcuin Club Colls. vi), 24-25, 28; C142/88/6; PCC 41 Populwell; CPR, 1550-3, p. 110.