Sir William DRURY

(Governor of Ireland)

Born: 2 Oct 1527, Hawstead, Suffolk, England

Died: 13 Oct 1579, Dublin, Ireland

Buried: St. Patrick's Cathedral

Father: Robert DRURY of Edgerley (Sir Knight)

Mother: Elizabeth BRUDENEL

Married: Margaret WENTWORTH 10 Oct 1560


1. Jane DRURY

2. Anne DRURY

3. Elizabeth DRURY

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

Born 2 Oct 1527, he was the third but second surviving son of Sir Robert Drury of Edgerley. Educ. Gonville, Camb. Married Margaret, dau. of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Lord Wentworth, widow of Sir John Williams, Lord Williams of Thame, Oxon.; by whom he had three dau. Kntd. 11 May 1570. J.p. Cumb. 1569, Yorks. 1569-71; marshal and dep. gov. Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumb. Feb 1564-76; pres. Munster 1576-8; 1d. justice, Ireland 26 Apr 1578-d.

As a younger son, William Drury had to make his own way in the world. Leaving Cambridge without a degree, he chose soldiering and at the age of 17, accompanied Sir John Russell, Baron Russell into France in 1544 during invasions by Carlos V and Henry VIII and took part in the sieges of Boulogne and Montreuil. He was probably attached to Lord Russell, under whom he was to serve in the western rebellion of 1549. Russell was a neighbour of Drury's father in Buckinghamshire and his niece Agnes Bourman married Drury's eldest brother Robert.

Except for Drury's own late marriage, nothing is known of his private life. He was probably the William Drury who served in the Scottish campaign of 1547 and perhaps the Mr. Drury who took a leading share in a tournament held before Edward VI 17 Jan 1551/2. His father supported Mary during the succession crisis of 1553 but what part, if any, Drury played has not come to light. Late in 1553 he was in Brussels reporting political news to Lord William Howard at Calais. At about the same time the Count of Egmont, the imperial envoy in England, needing the services of English gentlemen, asked that Drury should join him, mindful of his creditors, Drury was loth to do so unless he could have the Council's protection as one 'going as her majesty's servant'. Early in 1554 he was sent to Spain and although he may have returned for the royal marriage in Jul he seems to have been abroad again within the next few months; Nicholas Wotton, the English Ambassador to France, reporting to the Council on 24 Dec, hoped that Captain Drury would have brought them more detailed news before his letter arrived.

Drury may have been nominated for Chipping Wycombe during his absence, perhaps as a protection against his creditors, although his family ties and official connexions were well suited to prevailing requirements. The family's close friendship with Sir Edmund Peckham, who exercised patronage at Chipping Wycombe, had resulted in the return of Drury's brother Robert with Henry Peckham in Oct 1553 and was to do so again in 1555, but both were missing in Nov 1554, Peckham at least perhaps because of his Protestantism.


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After a commission in 1556 to raise forces in Yorkshire, Drury was in France again in the following year. He commanded a band of 100 light horse at Guisnes and was recommended by the Queen for a military post at Calais. He also acted as a courier, bearing newsletters between Mary and Felipe. Under Elizabeth, his career was to embrace posts of greater responsibility in Scotland and Ireland. Trusted by Sir Ralph Sadler as being 'honest, wise and secret', and also, subsequently, by Burghley, he played an active and at times hazardous part in the military and political affairs of both countries. His knighthood was bestowed by Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex at Berwick during the expedition of 1570. In 1574 he was appointed Lord Justice of the Council and Governor of Ireland. He was engaged in resisting the rebellion of the Earl of Desmond in the summer of 1579 when he died of illness at Waterford in Oct. He was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin: a monument bearing his effigy was erected some time later, but no longer exists. His widow married James Croft and died in 1588.
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