Sir Edmund PECKHAM of Denham

Born: BEF 1495

Died: 29 Mar 1564

Father: Peter PECKHAM of London and Denham

Mother: Elizabeth EBURTON

Married: Anne CHENEY

Children:

1. Amphillis PECKHAM

2. Robert PECKHAM (MP) (See his Biography)

3. Dorothy PECKHAM (d. 23 May 1547) (m. Edmund Verney)

4. Henry PECKHAM (MP) (See his Biography)

5. George PECKHAM of Denham (Sir) (See his Biography)

6. Son PECKHAM


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Second son of Peter Peckham of London and Denham (d.1501) by his second wife, Elizabeth, dau. of Henry Eburton of London. Married by 1516, Anne, dau. of John Cheney of Chesham Bois, Bucks., 4s. inc. HenrySir Robert and Sir George 2da.

Kntd. 18 May 1542.Clerk, counting house by 1520; treasurer, the chamber 1 May 1522-1 Jan. 1524; cofferer, the Household Jan 1524-31 Mar 1547; j.p. Bucks. 1525-43, Mdx. 1537-43, q. Bucks., Mdx. 1554-58/59; constable, Scarborough castle, Yorks. 1529-37; high treasurer, all the mints 25 Mar. 1544-d.; PC 6-30 Oct. 1549, 29 Jul 1553-Nov 1558; commr. relief, Bucks., Mdx. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, subsidy, Bucks. 1558; receiver-gen. of the Exchequer 1 Dec 1553.

In his will, his father, Peter Peckham, mentions two sons and three daughters. By his first marriage to Agnes, widow of John Browne, Peter Peckham had a son and a daughter: George Peckham (d. 1505), cleric, and Joan Peckham (d. BEF 1501) who married Robert Drayton.

A younger son of a Londoner who acquired land in Buckinghamshire, Edmund Peckham was a clerk in the counting house when he attended Henry VIII at Gravelines in 1520. He rose by way of financial office in posts of the Household to become in 1544 high treasurer of all the mints in England and Ireland; this office, and the residence at Blackfriars which went with it, he was to hold until his death. Appointed at the beginning of the Great Debasement, he saw that process carried to its conclusion and then reversed by the reforms under Mary and Elizabeth. Through it all he was sustained in office by a combination of integrity in business and neutralism in politics.

After the Dissolution Abbess Agnes Jordan, of Syon, rented her relative Sir Edmund Peckham a farm house, Southlands, near Denham, Buckinghamshire; and with her went nine sisters of the community.

Henry VIII, whom he accompanied to France in 1544, named him one of the assistant executors of his will and bequeathed him 200. Brought on to the Council at the political crisis of Oct 1549 but speedily removed from it, he took no other part in the politics of Edward VIs reign, when as a Catholic and a friend and relation by marriage of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, he was estranged from the wielders of power.

Peckhams only positive intervention was designed to frustrate the exclusion of Mary: he was one of the men of Buckinghamshire who planned to move by way of William, Lord Pagets house at Drayton to seize the armoury at Westminster. For his service at Framlingham he was given an annuity of 60. By Aug he had become a Privy Councillor and before the end of 1553 his eldest son Robert Peckham had also joined Marys Council. When, late in that year, the revenue courts were re-organized, it was Peckham who became sole receiver of the Queens revenue. A contemporary chronicle extolled his devotion to duty and his loyalty to the Queen: if, as is conjectured, that chronicle was written by an officer of the mint, such praise could be expected, but when in Jul 1554 Mary forwarded to the treasurer his request for a grant of land it was with the comment that he had deserved it and had received no recompense.

Peckham had little to complain of. Since 1527, when he was assessed in the Household on lands at 126 a year, he had consolidated his position at Denham and bought Biddlesden abbey in north Buckinghamshire from Wriothesley as well as leasing manors in Cheshire; he had also been granted the keepership of Scarborough castle. His stake in Buckinghamshire and his ascendancy at court together qualified him for the knighthood of the shire in Marys first Parliament. Unlike his dissentient son Henry, Peckham did not oppose the first steps towards the restoration of Catholicism, and he carried two of the bills passed in the Commons to the Lords. In the Parliament of Apr 1554 Peckhams place was taken by his son Robert, but six months later the father again shared the representation of the shire: this time he is predictably missing from the ranks of those who quitted the Parliament early without leave. Protestant influence appears to have prevailed in all the Buckinghamshire elections for the Parliaments of 1555 and 1558, but Peckhams disappearance from the House may also have reflected Henry Peckhams complicity in the Dudley conspiracy.

Under Elizabeth, Peckham lost his seat on the Privy Council but was retained at the mint. His name appears on the pardon roll of the Queens first year. He made his will on 12 May 1563, asking for his vile carcase to be buried without pomp. The only property he mentioned was the manor of Denham, left to his wife for life with remainder to his sons Robert and George, and lands in Halse, Northamptonshire, and Croydon, Surrey, left to his sons as executors. Peckham died on 29 Mar 1564 and was buried in Denham church where a monument was erected to his memory.

Sources:

Dale, M. K.: PECKHAM, Sir Edmund (by 1495-1564), of the Blackfriars, London and Denham, Bucks.

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