Robert PECKHAM (MP)

Born: 1516

Died: 13 Sep 1569

Father: Edmund PECKHAM of Denham (Sir)

Mother: Anne CHENEY

Married: Mary BRAY


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

First son of Sir Edmund Peckham by Anne, dau. of John Cheney of Chesham Bois, Bucks.; bro. of Henry and Sir George. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1533. Married c.1537, Mary, da. of Edmund, 1st Lord Bray, d.v.p. Kntd. 2 Oct 1553; suc. fa. 29 Mar. 1564.

Clerk comptroller, counting house by 1540-3; j.p. Bucks. 1542-7, q. 1558/59; commr. subsidy 1543, relief 1550; escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 1545-6; sheriff 1556-7; PC Aug. 1553-Nov. 1558.

Robert Peckham began his career, as his father had done, in Henry VIIIís counting house but rose no higher in the central administration. Perhaps married by 22 Jun 1537, when his father settled property in Denham on him and Mary Bray, to be followed in Jul 1542 by the manor of Weedon Pinkney, Northamptonshire, Peckham left the counting house in 1543 and withdrew, possibly to his fatherís recent acquisition, Biddlesden abbey, to pursue the studies which were later said to have impaired his health.

Peckham probably joined his fatherís Buckinghamshire contingent in support of Mary in Jul 1553, for he was given an annuity of £60 for service Ďat Framlinghamí. On 5 Aug he was appointed with two others to take an inventory of all plate and goods in the Earl of Hertfordís house in Aldgate Street. His appearance as a Privy Councillor on 22 Aug was followed by a knighthood conferred at the coronation; he attended council meetings with fair regularity throughout the reign. He sat in only one Parliament, as a knight for Buckinghamshire, seemingly in place of his father. When his brother Henry was condemned for his part in the Dudley conspiracy Peckham made a long statement on his behalf.

In the general pardon which he obtained in 1559 Peckham was described as of Biddlesden alias of London. Removed from the Council and the bench, and adjudged by his bishop in 1564 as Ďnot fit to be trustedí, he went abroad after his fatherís death for the sake of his health and his religion. After several yearsí journeying he reached Rome, only to die there on 10 Sep 1569. He was buried in the church of San Gregorio Magno, but at his own request his heart was buried at Denham; there, too, an epitaph commemorates him both as a good neighbour and as Ďa man studious in learning ... having more than a mean judgment in most of the arts ... not ignorant of the laws of this realm, but specially addicted to the study of divinityí. It was to Peckham that Sion Dafydd Rhys of Brecon dedicated his De Italica Pronunciatione Libellus published at Padua in 1569. Peckhamís own library at Biddlesden was left to the sons of his brother George, to whom in default of heirs his landed property passed.

Sources:

Dale, M. K.: PECKHAM, Sir Robert (by 1516-69), of London, Biddlesden and Denham, Bucks.

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