ALFORD, Edward (c.1565-c.1631), of Offington, Suss. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b.c.1565, 1st surv. s. of Roger Alford of London and Hitcham, Bucks. by Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Ramsey of Hitcham. educ. Trinity, Oxf. 1581; L. Inn 1583. m. Judith, da. of Edmund Downing, 6s. 1da. suc. fa. 1580.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Sun. and Suss. 1625-6.


Towards the end of the sixteenth century there were Alfords in Yorkshire, Herefordshire and Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Sussex, all descended from Thomas Alford of Holt Castle, Denbighshire, whose four sons and their children had moved to these different parts of the country. Alford’s father was evidently ambitious for his son, in his will appointing several ‘curators’ for him, including Sir Thomas Cecil and William Lambarde. He expressed the wish that Edward should remain at Oxford until he was 17 or 18 and then go to Lincoln’s Inn. When he was 20, ‘he should seek my lord treasurer, my old master, who I trust will accept him, and notwithstanding permit him to continue his study at the law’. However, we do not know whether Alford ever entered Burghley’s service. In 1597 he was granted an annuity of £30 from the Exchequer, but the reason is not shown.

Alford has been assigned to the Beverley seat in 1593 in preference to his namesake and cousin of Yorkshire because of his assertion, made in the House on 23 Feb. 1621, that he had ‘been a Parliament man these thirty years’, but how he came to be returned is far from clear. Perhaps another Yorkshire cousin Lancelot Alford (who sat in 1589) exerted some local influence on his behalf. On the other hand he might have been helped by his Sussex neighbour, the Earl of Northumberland, who owned an estate—among other northern lands—just outside Beverley, as well as property in the town.

Alford is not mentioned by name in the 1593 journals but as burgess for Beverley he was appointed to committees concerning kerseys (23 Mar.) and weirs (28 Mar.). In his Stuart Parliaments he was an outspoken critic of the Crown. Alford finally retired to his mansion and estate at Offington, near Broadwater, which had been purchased from the Wests and which remained in the Alford family until 1726. In his will, dated 11 Feb. 1631, he left to his only daughter Elizabeth all his property in Offington, Hamsey, Broadwater, Bramber and Goring, as well as other property in London and Cornwall. To his son William he left the rectory and vicarage of Tytherington, Gloucestershire. The executrices were the widow and the daughter Elizabeth. Alford died in 1631, or possibly January 1632, and was buried, according to his wishes, in Hamsey church, near Lewes.

J. G. Alford, Alford Fam. Notes; Read, Cecil, 87, 130; Lansd. 83, f. 215; 109, f. 216; Commons Debates 1621, ii. 120; De Fonblanque, Annals House of Percy, i. 539; D’Ewes, 507, 512; PCC 2 Audley.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.