ENGEHAM (INGEHAM), Vincent (by 1490-1547), of Goodnestone and Sandwich, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1490. m. (1) by 1516, Edith, da. and coh. of William de Goodnestone, 2s. 1da.; (2) settlement 10 Jan. 1546, Elizabeth, da. of one Searles, wid. of one Everyng of Alkham, Kent.2

Offices Held

Treasurer, Sandwich 1520-1, common councilman (St. Mary’s parish) 1523-5, jurat 1526-d., auditor 1526, mayor 1528-9, 1529-30, 1540-1, clerk of the market 1532-3; burgess to the Shepway 1534; bailiff to Yarmouth 1537, 1539; commr. sewers, Kent 1543.3


Vincent Engeham probably belonged to the Kentish family of that name which claimed centuries-long residence at Woodchurch near Tenterden, but he is not easily fitted into its pedigree. Kinship with the John Engeham who sat on the Kent commission of the peace early in Henry VIII’s reign or with the Robert Engeham named as a subsidy commissioner in 1523-4 would have given Vincent Engeham a social background appropriate to his career, but if it is true that, as a sign of consanguinity, he would later augment his coat armour with a chief similar to that of Ralph Hengham, the eminent judge of Edward I’s day, the gesture implies an attachment to Norfolk rather than to Kent. Of any professional acquaintance with the law which might also have prompted it there seems to be no sign.4

Engeham’s residence at Goodnestone he owed to his first marriage, and its nearness to Sandwich clearly had a bearing on his installation there, although whether as cause or effect is not clear. Later he was to add considerably to his stake in the area, his largest acquisition being the twin manors of Goldstone and Lees, to the north of Goodnestone. For this estate Engeham agreed in June 1539 to pay £1,200 to Cromwell, who had bought it two years before, and he had delivered half this sum before the minister’s fall carried the property by escheat into the hands of the crown: it was to the treasurer of the chamber, therefore, that he paid the balance of the price, whereupon the manors were granted to him in April 1542.5

Engeham had already been associated with Sandwich before he became a freeman by redemption on 8 Dec. 1519: nearly eight years earlier he had been a witness there to a charter and in 1517 the port paid him 2s.8d. for carrying a pipe of wine to the lord warden. His purchase of the freedom followed a fracas in which he had drawn a knife on a jurat, John Somer; this cost him the forfeiture of the knife and a fine of 20s.which he was still refusing to pay a week before his admission. His municipal career also began badly, for in July 1521 he was discharged from the treasurership, his first office, for refusing, with his co-treasurer, to continue in it or to pay out anything to the mayor and others for their expenses at the Brotherhood. This episode must have been quickly forgiven him, the next seven years witnessing his progress as common councilman, jurat and auditor to the mayoralty. He was doubtless too considerable a man to rebuff: in December 1524 he was one of a partnership negotiating to buy vacant land in the town, in 1526 he and another took a 20-year lease of its watermill at 10s. a year, and when in 1530 the town was seeking to redeem the bailiwick of Sandwich from the obstreperous Sir Edward Ryngeley, Engeham offered £40 of the £100 required.6

By that time he had entered the Commons, where Ryngeley was one of his fellow-Members. In electing Engeham and John Boys to the Parliament of 1529 Sandwich, while adhering to its rule of limiting the choice to townsmen, had significantly chosen two of gentle status and wide connexion. They were also men of means who, although not above accepting parliamentary wages, could afford to bear the cost until the town found money to pay them. Thus Engeham received nothing until 1534, when he and Thomas Wingfield (who had replaced Boys) had £12 between them for the sixth session held early in that year: as the bill for that session, if both had been present throughout, would have been nearer £16, either they had not done so or they had accepted a reduced figure. For the much larger sum due to him for the first five sessions Engeham was still waiting in the following February, when with an addition for the seventh session it amounted to £27 8s.: the sessions concerned had consumed 333 days, so that his attendance had, on average, attained the respectable proportion of four-fifths. (A tiny clue to one of his absences is his witnessing of John Boys’s will, which almost certainly took place in Kent, five days before the end of the fourth session.) He was paid £7 8s. in March 1535, and a further £6 a year later, both sums being taken from the ‘bonne pens’ box; the town thereupon declared itself ‘clear’ with him, but whether he remitted the balance, and what if anything he was paid either for the last session of that Parliament or for the single session of the following one, the records do not reveal. These indications of his attendance there apart, there is but one clue to Engeham’s role in the Commons. His name, in the form ‘Ingeam of Sandwich’, appears on a list which Cromwell wrote on the back of a letter of December 1534 and which is thought to be of Members connected, perhaps as a committee, with the treasons bill then on its passage through Parliament. Engeham’s re-election with Wingfield to the Parliament of 1536 was in accordance with the King’s request for the return of the previous Members, but after that he did not sit again.7

Among a lengthy series of depositions made in 1543 about unorthodoxy in Kent is one against Vincent ‘Ingeam’. There were two counts: first, that on Easter Monday 1542 he had ordered the parishioners of St. Peter, Sandwich, on pain of imprisonment, not to read the Bible or hear it read and had gaoled one man who protested and another who showed him the royal injunctions in the matter; the second, that he had ‘repugned’ against the act of the commissary in having the image of St. John taken down ‘by the King’s commandment’. To the first accusation the whole parish bore witness, to the second four men subscribed, among them John Master, a wealthy merchant, and Daniel Cranmer, of Bilsington, near Ashford. Engeham had evidently lined up with the conservatives under Stephen Gardiner who were attacking the policy of the ‘open Bible’ and the suppression of idolatry which they identified with Archbishop Cranmer. Whether he had to answer for himself, and if so with what result, does not transpire, but he must have welcomed the Act of 1543 (34 and 35 Hen. VIII, c.1) which forbade the reading of the scriptures except by socially superior persons like himself.8

Although Engeham described himself as ‘of Sandwich, gentleman’, when he made his will on 17 May 1547, he was then living just outside the town on his manor of Marshborough in Woodnesborough, one of several properties, including Goldstone and Nonington, mentioned in the will and in the subsequent inquisition post mortem. He asked to be buried in Woodnesborough church next to his first wife. To her successor Elizabeth, whom he had married less than a year-and-a-half before, he bequeathed his house in Sandwich and one-half of all his goods; to his elder son Thomas (who was rising 30) two of the manors with their household goods and sheep, and an inn at Sandwich called The Sign of the Bull; to the younger son Christopher, on his reaching 21, the residue of his goods and two other manors with a windmill and sheep; and to his daughter Jane, wife of Robert St. Nicholas, a sum of £20, an annuity of £3 6s.8d. and 100 sheep. He named as executors his wife and younger son, and the overseers included his step-son Thomas Everyng and his brother-in-law George Hilles. Engeham died on 30 May and the will was proved on 13 June 1547.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Sandwich old red bk. f. 80.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference, Sandwich white bk. f. 238v. C142/84/84; Hasted, Kent, ix. 242; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 50.
  • 3. Sandwich white bk. ff. 272v, 276v, 285, 336, 356, 361v, 367; old red bk. ff. 11, 19, 41, 45v, 56v, 90v, 112v, 127, 189; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 222, 223; LP Hen. VIII, xx.
  • 4. Vis. Kent (lxxiv), 10, 47-48; Hasted, ii. 460; vii. 234-5; viii. 356, 371; xi. 215n; LP Hen. VIII, i-iii; Arch. Cant. xxviii. 26.
  • 5. Hasted, vii. 499, 502; ix. 242; CCR, 1500-9, p. 319; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvii.
  • 6. Sandwich white bk. ff. 238v, 270, 270v, 272v, 285, 337v, 367; treasurers’ accts. Sa/FA t. 22; old red bk. f. 26v.
  • 7. Sandwich treasurers’ accts. Sa/FA t. 30; old red bk. ff. 64, 64v, 77v; PCC 2 Hogen; LP Hen. VIII, vii 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v.
  • 8. VCH Kent, ii. 69 seq.; LP Hen. VIII, xv, xviii; Arch. Cant. viii. 108.
  • 9. Canterbury probate reg. A26, f. 136; C142/84/84.