VERNEY, Edmund (1528-58), of Pendley in Tring, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 25 July 1528, 1st s. of Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley by Elizabeth, da. of Edmund Bray, 1st Lord Bray, of Eaton Bray, Beds., bro. of Francis. m. (1) 1546, Dorothy, da. of Sir Edmund Peckham of Denham, Bucks.; (2) by 1555, Alice ?Knyvet. suc. fa. April 1546.1
The Verney family can be traced in Buckinghamshire from the 13th century, but its earliest property at Middle Claydon was acquired by the first Sir Ralph Verney about 1467 and the house at Pendley across the Hertfordshire border by his son Sir John. Thereafter the family continued to prosper although its successive heads were short-lived; the fourth Sir Ralph was 37 when he died in April 1546 leaving the 18 year-old Edmund as the eldest of his ten children. Of a landed estate valued at £330 a year Edmund Verney inherited one third, including the manors of Pendley and Claydon (leased by the Giffords), a flock of 900 ewes and the household goods at Pendley. His wardship, first acquired by the 2nd Earl of Rutland was bought in 1546 by Sir Edmund Peckham; the resulting marriage with Dorothy Peckham ended with her death in childbirth in May 1547 but her father retained custody of the property until November 1549. Verney’s second wife was almost certainly a Knyvet; in October 1551 he granted the site of Pendley manor to Anthony Knyvet, after whose execution for treason four years later a bond given him by Verney in 1553 was transferred to Richard Knyvet, and in a property settlement made by Richard Knyvet in 1556 Verney’s wife Alice was one of the remaindermen.2
From the outset of their careers Verney and his brother Francis moved in Protestant circles. It was probably their uncle the 2nd Lord Bray, who introduced them at court, and a more distant kinsman, John Dudley, the later Duke of Northumberland, passed most of the month of July 1548 at Pendley. In May 1551 the two Verneys were among the large entourage accompanying the Marquess of Northampton on his embassy to France; in the same year Northampton became lord lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. These connexions explain both their return to the Parliament of March 1553, in which Edmund Verney sat for Buckinghamshire and his brother (probably) for Buckingham, and Edmund’s support of Northumberland in the struggle for the succession later that year. For this misadventure he was at first ordered to remain at home and later, it appears, fined £100, before suing out a general pardon.3
For any pair of brothers to be elected together as knights of a shire was rare indeed. The Verneys, besides being young and untried in local administration, must have been unwelcome to authority by reason of their views and associations. Yet together they represented Buckinghamshire in 1555, voting with the opposition led by Sir Anthony Kingston, and after the dissolution becoming involved in the Dudley conspiracy. The date of Edmund Verney’s arrest is not known, but he was being interrogated in May 1556 and he was indicted of treason at Guildhall on 11 June. He remained in prison for almost a year and was not pardoned until 12 July 1557.4
Verney died on 13 Dec. 1558. His place of burial is unknown and he left no will, but his affairs were in order, for in February 1554 he had made an indenture with Reginald Bray of Pavenham, Bedfordshire, and Thomas Pigott of Quainton, Buckinghamshire, settling his property upon himself and his heirs in tail male. Dying childless, he was succeeded by his younger brother, another Edmund, then aged 22 and more, who received licence to enter his lands in May 1559, although letters of administration were not granted to John Simpson of Pendley until 17 June 1563.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: M. K. Dale
- 1. Date of birth given in fa.’s i.p.m., C142/74/2. Vis. Bucks. ed. Metcalfe, 10; Verney Pprs. (Cam. Soc. lvi), 57, 67; CPR, 1555-7, p. 88.
- 2. Verney Pprs. pp. xiv, 12-57, 79; VCH Bucks. iv. 33; CPR, 1547-8, p. 249; 1548-9, p. 339; 1550-3, p. 216; 1554-5, p. 287; 1555-7, p. 88; Browne Willis, Bucks. 154; Wards 9/149, f. 160; 9/153, Bucks. 38 Hen. VIII.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 9; HMC 2nd Rep. 101-2; HMC 3rd Rep. 239; CSP For. 1547-53, p. 123; APC, iii. 259; iv. 416; CPR, 1553-4, p. 444.
- 4. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; Verney Pprs. 72-73; CPR, 1555-7, p. 539; 1554-8, pp. 81-82; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 210-35 passim, 267.
- 5. CPR, 1558-60, p. 73; E150/51/10; Verney Pprs. 78.