HORSEY, Edward (d.1583), of Great Haseley, in Arreton, Isle of Wight.

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

yr. s. of Jasper Horsey (d.1546) of Exton, Devon by Joan, da, and h. of William Welford; bro. of George. m. Kntd. 1576.

Offices Held

On embassy to France 1551; capt. I.o.W. Aug. 1565; keeper, Carisbrooke Park, steward of crown lands I.o.W., commr. piracy from 1565; ‘burgess’, Southampton 1570; j.p. Hants from c.1573.1


Horsey went into exile on Mary’s accession. He took part in the Throckmorton and Dudley plots of 1556 and was one of the conspirators granted an audience by Henri II at Amboise. From these years dates his friendship with Sir Robert Dudley, later Earl of Leicester, whose secret marriage ceremony to Lady Sheffield he attended in 1573. Horsey served under Leicester’s brother, Ambrose, Earl of Warwick, at Le Havre in 1562-3, but his 1556 treason was not pardoned at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign. Perhaps there was suspicion about his wife. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the English ambassador in France told Cecil on 13 July 1559 that Horsey wished

to be restored to his country. He has behaved well in France, and his wife, notwithstanding her living in France, favours religion, and would, if he were assured for his coming into England, sell all her living and come over.

Cecil employed Horsey on a mission to the French protestants in 1562, and it was in this year that he received a licence, thereafter renewed, to import French wine. In 1563 he was one of the hostages for the surrender of Le Havre. He received his pardon on 30 July 1565, and a month later was given his appointments in the Isle of Wight. He took a leading role in seizing the Spanish treasure in 1568 and the next year commanded a troop against the northern rebels. Until 1571, when he was forbidden to go by the Privy Council, he gave assistance to the Huguenot and Dutch sea beggar fleets in the Channel. Subsequently he was employed in France and in the Low Countries, where he negotiated on behalf of English merchants and pleaded for the protestant subjects of the King of Spain.2

Horsey took no part in the proceedings of the 1571 Parliament, to which he had been returned for Southampton, having been made a burgess of the city the year before. On 22 May 1572 he was named to a committee concerning firearms. As captain of the Isle of Wight in 1576 he was appointed to committees concerning ports (13 Feb.) and wines (21 Feb.). He was named to committees dealing with the subsidy (10 Feb. 1576), firearms (17 Feb.) and justices of the forests (8 Mar.). At his death Horsey had land in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. He sponsored the Hampshire saltpetre works of Cornelius Stephenson, who had been a member of Knox’s church at Geneva, supplied a ship for Hawkins’s fleet in the West Indies, and in May 1577 he was listed as a venturer ‘who promised but paid nothing’ for Frobisher’s voyage to Cathay. He survived one attack of plague in 1580, only to succumb to another in 1583, dying intestate 21 Mar. His estates then passed to his brother, George. A monument was erected to him in the church of St. Thomas of Canterbury at Carisbrooke.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: M.N. / P. W. Hasler


  • 1. DNB; Dorset Vis. Add. ed. Colby and Rylands, 2-3; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 191; Rylands Eng. ms 311; HMC 2nd Rep. 97; Strype, Annals, ii(2), 9, 10; iii(2), 559.
  • 2. CPR, 1563-6, pp. 252-3, 319; Cam. Misc. x(2), 66-7; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 81, 670 et passim; CSP For. 1553-8, p. 222; 1558-9, p. 380; 1562, pp. 90 seq.; 1563, pp. 480-1; 1572-4, pp. 376-8; HMC Hatfield, i. 493; Les Reportes des Cases in Camera Stellata 1593-1609, ed Hawarde, 198; Cal. Carew Pprs. i. 386; APC, vii, viii, ix, x, xi, xii; J. C. Corbett, Drake and the Tudor Navy, i. 121; J. A. Willamson, Age of Drake, 123; C. Read, Sir Francis Walsingham, i. 275-6, 343-5; ii. 285, 357.
  • 3. CJ, i. 96, 104, 105, 106, 107, 112, 129, 131; CPR, 1560-3, p. 487; 1563-6, p. 85; Lansd. 24, f. 162; APC, x. 142; xii. 246; HMC Hatfield, ii. 174; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 658, 670, 690; Corbett, 158, 161; Rylands Eng. ms 311; PCC admon. act bk. 1583, f. 63; VCH Hants, v. 262; C142/202/178.