DUNCH, Edmund (c.1551-1623), of Little Wittenham, Berks.

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.1551, 1st s. of William Dunch, by Mary, da. of William Barnes of London; bro. of Walter. educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 1564. m. Anne, da. and h. of Nicholas Fetiplace of Kentwood, 3s. 2da. suc. fa. 1597.1

Offices Held

J.p.q. Berks. by 1579, sheriff 1587-8, 1592-3, 1603-4.


Dunch’s return at Wallingford, which his father had represented in the previous Parliament, was no doubt due to his family’s local standing. His seat for Wootton Bassett is more difficult to explain. He owned land in Wiltshire, at Highworth and Eastrop, some 12 miles from Wootton Bassett, but this alone would probably have been insufficient. More important could have been his family’s associations with Protector Somerset and Sir John Thynne. Probably it is in this latter connexion that the explanation lies. After inheriting the family estates in Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, he lived the usual life of a country gentleman.

He died 12 Nov. 1623. The preamble to his will, made 21 Jan. 1622 and proved 2 Dec. 1623, considered

the uncertainty of this life which passeth away as a shadow and consumeth as the grass of the field.

He believed in the general resurrection, that his sins were forgiven and ‘election made sure’, and asked to be buried in Wittenham church. Provision was made for the children of his deceased son William, who had married Mary, daughter of Henry Cromwell alias Williams* and aunt of Oliver Cromwell and John Hampden. As executors he appointed another son, Samuel, and John Hampden, who were instructed, if necessary, to buy the wardship of his grandson and heir Edmund. Hampden and Edmund Clark, a son-in-law, were appointed trustees for young Edmund’s brother and sister. The will was unsuccessfully contested by Samuel, the two daughters and the widow.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.N.


  • 1. C142/249/84; E. Ashmole, Berks. i. 63; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 87.
  • 2. PRO Index 17082, D.7; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 457; 1611-18, p. 268; Lansd. 58, f. 78; St. Ch. 5/8E/14; Keeler, Long Parliament, 161; PCC 130 Swann, 34 Byrde.