BOYS, Sir Edward (1579-1646), of Fredville, Nonington, Kent

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



c. June 1625
21 Feb. 1626
1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 11 Aug. 1646

Family and Education

bap. 19 July 1579,2 1st s. of Sir Edward Boys of Fredville and 1st w. Mary, da. of Peter Wentworth† of Lillingstone Lovell, Oxon. educ. Corpus Christi, Camb. 1594, BA 1597; M. Temple 1599; ? travelled abroad 1604.3 m. 20 Mar. 1604, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Alexander Hammon of Acrise, Kent, 4 6s. 6da. (1 d.v.p.).5 kntd. 14 Mar. or 12 May 1604.6 suc. fa. 1635.7

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Kent 1620-at least 1639, Dengemarsh, Kent 1636;8 freeman, Sandwich 1626;9 j.p. Kent 1632-at least 1642;10 commr. piracy, Cinque Ports 1639;11 lt. Dover Castle 1640, constable 1642-6; 12 commr. subsidy, Kent 1641, Poll Tax 1641,13 dep. lt. 1642,14 commr. sequestration 1643, levying of money 1643, composition 1643, defence 1643, S.E. Assoc. 1643-4, oyer and terminer, Kent 1644, 15 gaol delivery 1644,16 assessment 1644-5, New Model ordinance 1645.17


Boys’s ancestors had held Fredville since 1484,18 and provided one of the Members for Sandwich, six miles away, in the Reformation Parliament. His father, also named Edward, was a Kent magistrate from 1597,19 and was a friend of the puritan divines Thomas Walkington and Richard Sedgwick; in the 1670s Samuel Clark referred to him as ‘a man eminent for piety’.20 Although the family was prosperous - sometime before 1612 the Crown calculated that the Boys estate was worth £1,000 p.a.21 - as a young man Boys was not wholly reliant on his father. In 1594 his childless great-uncle, the barrister (Sir) John Boys*, arranged for him to inherit some property, and in 1599 had him admitted to the Middle Temple at a reduced rate.22 In 1597 Boys’s paternal grandfather Edward, sheriff of Kent in 1577-8, also left him the income from the lease of a manor ‘for the learning of the Latin, Greek and French tongues, as all other languages’.23

Following James’s accession, Boys and his father were knighted. In August 1604 ‘Sir Edward Boys’ was licensed to travel abroad with a group of Kentish gentlemen, including Sir Peter Manwood* and Sir Norton Knatchbull*. By May 1605 Manwood had returned, and he and several other Kentish knights, among them either Boys or his father, accompanied Northampton to Windsor for the earl’s investiture as a knight of the Garter.24 On the death of his great-uncle in 1612, Boys inherited some woodland in Kent.25

In 1614 Boys or his father was returned for the Cornish constituency of Fowey, but left no trace on the parliamentary records. He is not known to have stood in either 1620/1 or 1624, but in 1625 ‘Sir Edward Boys the younger’ was recommended by Lord Arundell of Wardour at Christchurch after Sir Thomas Wilsford plumped for Canterbury.26 Though returned, Boys again made no impression on the parliamentary records. In 1626 ‘Sir Edward Boys the younger’ defeated Buckingham’s client Sir Henry Mildmay* at Sandwich. Boys held some property near the borough, but it was only on the hustings that he took ‘the oath of an advocate of this town’.27

Boys replaced his elderly father as a Kent magistrate in August 1632, and in 1635 became head of his family. He represented Dover in both the Short and Long Parliaments, and was entrusted with the command of the castle. He was still alive on 13 Apr. 1646, as he was then hoping to reduce his debts at the expense of a delinquent lawyer; but a new writ was issued four months later.28 His will, drafted on 27 Aug. 1639, was proved on 22 Oct. 1646.29 No further member of the Fredville branch entered Parliament, though a cousin sat for the county as a recruiter.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. New writ.
  • 2. Cent. Kent. Stud. TR 548/9, p. 11.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.; Add. 29759, f. 49v.
  • 4. Canterbury Cathedral Archives, U3/93/1/1. The month of the mar. is omitted from this reg. but cf. Canterbury Mar. Lics. 1568-1618 ed. J.M. Cowper, 58.
  • 5. Cent. Kent. Stud. TR 548/9; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 40.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 130, 132.
  • 7. Cent. Kent. Stud. TR 548/9, p. 98.
  • 8. C181/3, f. 3v; 181/4, f. 75; 181/5, pp. 80, 292.
  • 9. E. Kent Archives Cent. Sa/AC 7, f. 132a.
  • 10. C231/5, f. 90; PRO30/26/104, f. 23.
  • 11. C181/5, p. 262.
  • 12. CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 487; S.P.H. Statham, Hist. Dover, 417.
  • 13. SR, v. 63, 85, 107, 152.
  • 14. CJ, ii. 724a.
  • 15. A. and O. i. 113, 148, 231, 247-8, 336, 451, 541.
  • 16. C181/5, p. 472.
  • 17. A. and O. i. 620, 639.
  • 18. E. Hasted, Kent, ix. 247.
  • 19. C231/1, f. 28.
  • 20. S. Clark, Lives of Thirty-Two English Divines (1677), p. 157. We are grateful to Trevor Cliffe for this ref. and for information regarding Walkington: see STC 24966.
  • 21. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 13.
  • 22. Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC 32/41, f. 54v; MTR, 397.
  • 23. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 69; Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC 32/38, ff. 48v.
  • 24. Add. 34218, f. 87.
  • 25. Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC 32/41, f. 51v.
  • 26. Procs. 1625, pp. 679-80.
  • 27. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 114; E. Kent Archives Cent. Sa/AC7, f. 132a.
  • 28. CCAM, 693-4.
  • 29. Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC31/127, f. 425.