Available from Cambridge University Press
Number of voters:
nearly 5,000 in 1624
|6 Feb. 1604||SIR JOHN SCOTT|
|SIR JOHN LEVESON|
|?21 Mar. 1614||SIR PETER MANWOOD|
|SIR THOMAS WALSINGHAM I|
|?Sir John Scott|
|18 Dec. 1620||SIR ROBERT SIDNEY, (LORD L'ISLE)|
|SIR GEORGE FANE|
|12 Jan. 1624||SIR NICHOLAS TUFTON|
|SIR EDWIN SANDYS|
|Sir Dudley Digges|
|2 May 1625||MILDMAY FANE, (LORD BURGHERSH)|
|SIR ALBERTUS MORTON|
|Sir Edwin Sandys|
|9 Jan. 1626||SIR EDWARD HALES , (bt.)|
|Sir Edwin Sandys|
|3 Mar. 1628||SIR THOMAS FINCH , bt.|
|SIR DUDLEY DIGGES|
A county of striking geographical diversity, Kent is bisected from west to east by the chalk ridge known as the North Downs, which provided the best agricultural land in the shire, and was used mainly to grow wheat, the county’s chief crop.1 Running parallel with the chalk ridge, sloping southwards and slightly lower, is a narrower sandstone ridge that in the early seventeenth century mainly lay wild as heath or woodland. The relatively barren soil made it ideal for hop growing, which began here on a small scale under Elizabeth and soon became widely established.2 South of the sandstone ridge lies the Weald, a low-lying area of clay liable to winter flooding bordered by the hills and valleys of the High Weald. Unsuited to most crops, the Weald was important for cattle rearing and was the centre of the county’s iron and cloth industries.3 The area around Cranbrook was famed for its distinctive dyed broadcloths, manufactured mainly for export, while the northern parishes of the Weald produced the narrower kerseys, which were sold locally. Following the return of peace in 1604, Kent’s clothiers recovered their continental markets and enjoyed a long period of prosperity, although as late as March 1610 they complained to Parliament about low sales caused, among other factors, by high wool prices and abuses in dyeing.4 Their difficulties were exacerbated by acute competition for timber between the iron and cloth industries, and in 1607 a bill to protect the clothiers of Tenterden, one of the Weald’s principal clothing towns, was considered by a Commons committee. However, it was dropped because of ‘some mischief’ in its wording.5 The boom in the Kent clothing industry was interrupted by the depression of 1614-16 and the slump of the early 1620s caused by the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War and the demand for lighter cloths. Spokesmen for the Kent clothiers in February 1621 complained to the Commons, among other things, of the ‘want of vent beyond sea’, the increase in customs duties and the ‘engrossing, mixture and falsification’ of wool by the Staplers.6 During the debate on the Merchant Adventurers’ monopoly on 5 May 1624, Sir Nicholas Tufton, the senior knight of the shire, ‘tendereth several petitions from the Kentish clothiers for freedom for other merchants, besides the Merchant Adventurers, to buy coloured cloths’.7
Around ten per cent of the county was marshland. The greatest tract lay in the south and provided the largest grazing district in the county. Here sheep were pastured to provide wool for the clothworkers of the nearby Weald. In north Kent, along the Thames estuary, lay a second area of marshland, much of it recently recovered from the sea.8 Highly fertile, it was used mainly for growing malt and wheat, much of which was transported by water to London. By Elizabeth’s reign Kent was the capital’s leading supplier of wheat by sea.9 This lucrative business was evidently open to abuse: in 1624 the Kent carriers preferred a bill ‘for suppressing extortion in meal porters’, which may have been the measure misleadingly described in the Commons Journal as the London and Westminster brewhouses’ bill. The bill, which did not receive a third reading, attracted the attention of two London livery companies, the Bakers and the Brewers, who employed the lawyer Thomas Malet* ‘to speak before the committees of the Parliament House about the same business’.10 During the early seventeenth century the drainage of Erith and Plumstead marshes was incomplete, and in 1607 Parliament granted statutory permission to finish the task in the hope that this would ‘afford much benefit to the commonwealth and especially to the City of London being ten miles thereof’.11 Further legislation was sought in 1624, 1625 and 1626, but none of the bills submitted progressed beyond the report stage.12 Like the wheat grown in the reclaimed marshland of north Kent, fruit grown in the apple and cherry orchards that sprang up around Teynham after 1533 was also destined for London. The main buyers were members of the London Fruiterers’ Company, who in 1624 turned to Kent’s knights of the shire to petition the Commons on their behalf against Dutch imports.13 London was probably also the main market for the paper mills that sprang up at Dartford in the 1580s. Their founder, the German-born John Spielman, was granted a royal monopoly in 1589, and royal patronage continued under James, who knighted Spielman in 1605 after visiting his mills.14
Kent had an estimated population of around 130,000 at the beginning of the seveneteenth century. Around 15 per cent lived in the towns, a higher proportion than in most other counties. Kent was also remarkable for its number of independent towns. Canterbury was technically a county in its own right, even though it was one of the meeting places of the Kent justices, while Dover, Sandwich, Hythe, New Romney, Faversham and Tenterden all lay within the Cinque Ports. Another distinctive feature of the shire was the prevailing form of land tenure. Elsewhere in England the majority of the landowning population were copyholders, but in Kent freeholders predominated, with the result that the parliamentary electorate was abnormally large. In the spring of 1640 (Sir) Edward Dering* claimed that 10,000 freeholders turned out to vote, around eight per cent of the county’s population.15 In 1624 almost 5,000 freeholders appeared.
By the early seventeenth century Maidstone, the county town of Kent, was rivalled in administrative importance by Canterbury, the largest town in the shire. The area between Canterbury, Dover and Thanet was traditionally referred to as ‘East Kent’, where woodland was sparse and most of the fields were unenclosed. Ancient rivalry between east and west Kent surfaced during the economic crisis of the 1590s.16 Easterners had further to travel to county elections, which were held on a Monday at Penenden Heath, just outside Maidstone. Consequently those living nearest to Maidstone tended to dominate parliamentary elections, particularly if the time between the announcement of the writ and the election was brief. Writing to Sir Edward Dering* at the end of January 1628, Lord Tufton (Sir Nicholas Tufton) noted that ‘the time of election is so short that Maidstone will rule much’.17 Under Elizabeth and for much of the early Stuart period, the knights of the shire were largely drawn from the western side of the county. However, in 1624 the voters of east Kent turned out in considerable numbers to capture the junior seat for Sir Edwin Sandys, who lived at Northbourne, just outside Deal. Sandys was a skilled political operator, and his description of east Kent in a letter written on election day as ‘this neglected part of the shire’ suggests that he exploited his neighbours’ sense of grievance to the full.18
No single family or faction dominated Kent in this period. During the 1590s the Brookes of Cobham Hall had controlled both the lieutenancy and the wardenship of the Cinque Ports, but the fall in 1603 of Henry Brooke II alias Cobham†, 11th Lord Cobham, signalled the end of their dominance. His removal might have resulted in his replacement by his principal rival, Sir Robert Sidney†, but instead James I split his offices, bestowing the lieutenancy on Edward, Lord Wotton and the wardenship on Henry Howard, earl of Northampton. Neither man was capable of wielding great independent power in the county, as Wotton was a middle-ranking Kent landowner while Northampton was an outsider. Sidney, meanwhile, was placated by being raised to the peerage and appointed chamberlain to the new queen, Anne of Denmark. Sidney’s neighbour at Knole, Thomas Sackville†, Lord Buckhurst, was also overlooked, but his local influence lay mainly in Sussex and in 1604 he was elevated to the earldom of Dorset. Wotton’s successors as lord lieutenant were the duke of Lennox (1620-24) and Sir Philip Herbert*, earl of Montgomery (1624-42), neither of whom possessed large Kent estates. Northampton was succeeded in turn by Lord Zouche (1615-24), the duke of Buckingham (1624-28) and Theophilus Howard*, 2nd earl of Suffolk, none of whom had significant landed power in the county.19
The last two Elizabethan elections in Kent were dominated by faction fighting between the 11th Lord Cobham and his enemies. In 1597 Cobham’s main rival, Sir Robert Sidney, took the senior seat while the junior place went to Cobham’s younger brother, Sir William Brooke. Four years later the positions were reversed: Cobham’s candidate, Francis Fane, was awarded the senior place, while the junior knighthood went to Sidney’s friend Sir Henry Neville II. By 1604 Cobham had fallen from office, but so recently that the factional alignments remained unchanged. It was now the turn of opponents of the Cobham interest for the senior seat, which was filled by Sidney’s friend, Sir John Scott. The remaining seat went to one of the Brooke family’s closest allies, Sir John Leveson. Scott’s claim on the senior seat may have been particularly strong, for in 1601 he had sought election with the backing of his kinsman Lord Buckhurst, who so hated Cobham that he wanted to deny him both seats. Scott had eventually agreed to withdraw, but perhaps only after being promised that he would be returned the next time round.20
Traces of the factional rivalry between the supporters of Lord Cobham and their enemies may have persisted well into James’s reign. At the general election of 1614, Sir Peter Manwood, one of Cobham’s erstwhile supporters, was returned for the first place. According to one hostile observer, Manwood was ‘not ashamed to allege for himself that this is his turn’, and that of Sir Thomas Walsingham I, who took the junior seat.21 There is no evidence that Walsingham was aligned with the anti-Cobham interest under Elizabeth; indeed, shortly before the 1601 election Cobham’s candidate, Sir Francis Fane, wrote asking him for his support. However, in 1608 he followed his wife into Queen Anne’s Household, whose chamberlain was Sidney, now Lord L’Isle. Yet if Cobham/Sidney rivalry continued to help shape the outcome of Kent’s parliamentary elections, not everyone was content to see Manwood and Walsingham returned. In September 1613 Thomas Scott* of Canterbury, anticipating that a Parliament would soon be summoned, urged his kinsman Sir John Scott to stand again, alongside Sir Edwin Sandys.22 Sandys and Sir John Scott were natural allies as both supported free trade. By 3 Mar. 1614 it was reported that Sandys was indeed intending to contest the second seat with Walsingham,23 and by the middle of the month Scott had also thrown his hat into the ring, thereby pitting himself as a former member of the anti-Cobham faction against the pro-Cobham Manwood. Sandys was supported by his cousin Sir Dudley Digges*, a fellow Kentish landowner, and also by the treasurer of the Navy, Sir Robert Mansell*. Digges campaigned for Sandys in the county at large while Mansell concentrated on winning the naval bases at Chatham, Deptford and Woolwich. However, Sandys was a relative newcomer to Kent with only modest property holdings in the county, and was not a local magistrate. His presumption in seeking a county seat was clearly resented, as one of his supporters was allegedly told that ‘labouring as he does for Sir Edwin Sandys he is too busy in state matters and will hear of it’.24 On 17 Mar. Chamberlain reported that Sandys had resolved to abandon his pursuit of the county seat for lack of support.25 Scott remained undaunted, however, coming as he did from a family long settled in the county. That same day he wrote optimistically from London to his brother-in-law and neighbour, Sir Norton Knatchbull*, to whom he had entrusted the task of mobilizing his supporters. While admitting that he had not yet achieved ‘an absolute security’, he claimed that ‘the opposite party’ had declined so much that they would cease campaigning in the area south of Ashford, where he owned his principal estate and was strongest. Indeed, Scott seems to have thought that his chief difficulty would be to maximize his advantage rather than gather votes, as he wished to call out his own supporters without alerting those of his rivals. He therefore issued detailed instructions to Knatchbull about how to manage the business secretly:
The warning generally must be deferred to the last moment of time as with regard that the remotest parts which are those towards the sea be first sent to and Ashford which is the nearest to Rochester, but the last to whose knowledge I wish it should not come before Saturday at 6 of the clock in the evening at the soonest, and for that Saturday is market day there, you must be careful to make your dispatches elsewhere with such silence and secrecy that it be not carried thither before the appointed hour.26
He added that some of his supporters had already set out for Maidstone, which suggests that the election was to be held on the following Monday, 21 March. Scott’s confidence ultimately proved misplaced, however, but it is uncertain whether, like Sandys, he conceded defeat before the vote.
By the next general election, in December 1620, Scott was dead and Sandys preferred to represent Sandwich. This left the way open for candidates drawn from the old Sidney and Cobham factions to divide the seats peacefully between themselves. As convention dictated, the senior knighthood went to the Sidney representative, Lord L’Isle, who was heir to the Sidney estates and whose father, the Elizabethan Sir Robert Sidney, was now earl of Leicester. The junior place went to Sir George Fane, whose brother Sir Francis had been the pro-Cobham candidate at the county election of 1601.
In 1624 it was the turn of the Sidney candidate to occupy the junior seat. Perhaps unwilling to hold an inferior position, L’Isle turned to his brother-in-law the earl of Pembroke to secure him the sole knighthood of the shire for Monmouthshire. In his place the junior knighthood for Kent was solicited by Sir Dudley Digges, whose godfather had been Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, brother to L’Isle’s grandmother, and whose father and uncle had both shared L’Isle’s enthusiam for the mathematical sciences, in which Digges himself was well versed. The sole candidate for the senior knighthood was Sir Nicholas Tufton. There is no direct evidence that Tufton was associated with the old Cobham interest, and since he was probably the wealthiest man in the county he had a good claim to the first seat in his own right. However, his father had been a close friend of Robert Cecil†, the principal ally at Court of Cobham Hall in the final years of Elizabeth’s reign. Tufton himself had cemented his family’s ties with the Cecils in 1601, when he married the daughter of Thomas Cecil*, 1st earl of Exeter. Both Tufton and Digges expected their election to go unchallenged, but four days before the county court assembled some of Sir Edwin Sandys’s friends urged him to stand again. Though still a relatively minor figure in local administration, Sandys was now well known on the national stage and could be expected to attract significant support among his East Kent neighbours, many of whom may have resented the dominance of the county seats by West Kent. However, the king was anxious that he should not obtain a seat, and in December 1623 he had appointed him a commissioner for reforming the administration in Ireland in the expectation that this would keep him from Westminster.27 Sandys had no intention of being prevented from sitting, and over the coming few weeks feigned serious illness to avoid travelling to Ireland.28 However, this charade meant that he could not attend the hustings. The day before the election more than 600 of his supporters rode without him to Maidstone, swelling the total number of voters present to almost 5,000. Alarmed, Tufton and Digges united their forces to appear stronger, ‘and wheeling in very good order about, they presented themselves at their return to the sheriff’. The rest of the gathering, which reportedly outnumbered them ‘by many hundreds’, regarded both Tufton and Digges as unacceptable. Tufton, whose father was widely suspected of being a Catholic, was denounced as ‘a papist’, while Digges, who was desperate for Court office, was vilified as ‘a royalist’.29 How far Sandys himself encouraged these smear tactics is unclear, but it would not have been out of character, as in 1621 he had successfully disparaged his rival for the Sandwich seat, Sir Thomas Smythe*.30 Sandys was returned for the junior seat, but his supporters could not prevent the election of Tufton. Lacking a leader and not all knowing one another, they were unable to agree on an alternative candidate.
Following the election, the first at county level in Kent in which religion appeared as a political issue, Digges protested that Sandys’s appointment as a commissioner for Ireland made him ineligible to sit. He also claimed that Sandys had benefited from the partiality of the sheriff, Sir John Hayward*.31 This may have been true, for in 1626 Digges counted Hayward among Sandys’s chief supporters in Kent,32 and Hayward’s mother’s second husband had been Sir John Scott, Sandys’s ally in 1614. However, Digges did not complain to the privileges committee but instead came in for his former seat at Tewkesbury.
The 1624 election was the last in which the factional divide between the Sidneys and Brookes played a significant part. In 1625 the county seats were once again contested, but for the first time aristocratic pressure was exerted to force the return of non-residents, albeit men with a Kentish background. The royal favourite, the duke of Buckingham, wanted one seat for the newly appointed secretary of state, Sir Albertus Morton, whose family lived near Canterbury, and in mid-April he wrote to the Chatham landowner (Sir) Robert Jackson* and two senior naval officials to procure the votes of all their ‘friends and tenants being freeholders, and particularly all such freeholders at or about Rochester or Chatham as have any relation to me or my office of admiral’. The other seat was coveted by Sir Francis Fane, recently ennobled as earl of Westmorland, on behalf of his 23-year old son and heir, Mildmay, Lord Burghersh, who, even before the writs of election were issued, sent letters to the Kent gentry asking for their support. Westmorland was seated at Mereworth Castle, a few miles west of Maidstone, but from at least 1617 he and his family lived increasingly on his wife’s estate of Apethorpe, in Northamptonshire. In a letter addressed to the Derings on 13 Apr., Westmorland claimed that he had been ‘earnestly importuned by my friends and divers of the principal gentlemen of this country’ to allow Burghersh to stand. As Westmorland had entered into an alliance with Buckingham, the Derings were urged to support Morton as well as Burghersh.33 Morton and Burghersh also received the support of another aristocratic figure, the county’s newly appointed lord lieutenant, (Sir) Philip Herbert*, earl of Montgomery. On 20 Apr. he wrote to Rochester’s mayor recommending Morton for the first seat and Burghersh for the second.34
The aristocratic-backed candidates were not the only men with their eyes on the county seats. Before the election writs were issued, Edward Scott of Scot’s Hall, brother of the late Sir John Scott, resolved to stand. Although not yet knighted, Scott had served as sheriff and was a landowner of considerable importance in south Kent, which like the eastern end of the county had reason to feel neglected. While Burghersh was sending out letters to the gentry, Scott’s estate steward, Thomas Nebb, sounded out the local clergy, many of whom promised Scott their support. Nebb also contacted Lieutenant Lee of the militia, in which Scott served as a Captain, who reported that he had spoken ‘to many of the band’ on Scott’s behalf. Moreover, Scott, through his kinsman, Edward Boys of Betteshanger, offered Sir Edwin Sandys an electoral alliance. Sandys was delighted at this overture, and through Boys replied that ‘he would rather have you to be his partner in this business than any man in the county’ and promised ‘that all that he can prevail with shall be for you’. Boys added encouragingly that Scott already had a ‘great many voices in the East part’, where Sandys lived, and that he himself intended to ‘tax all I can for you’.35
The election took place on 2 May and was attended by Sandys and ‘divers thousands of freeholders’ as well as those who had come to Maidstone’s spring fair.36 Unable to determine either by ‘voice or view’ which side had the larger vote, the sheriff, Sir Thomas Hammon*, appointed eight clerks to take a poll, ‘assisted with indifferent persons to see that right were done’. Furthermore, at the voters’ request, he ordered that anyone suspected of not being a freeholder should be examined upon oath ‘according to the statute in that case provided’. These sensible arrangements encouraged many of those present to hope for ‘a quiet and speedy election’, but Hammon suddenly halted the proceedings and declared Burghersh and Morton elected, although the poll allegedly indicated that Scott and Sandys were ahead. When challenged, Hammon claimed that ‘by his view’ Burghersh and Morton had three times as many votes as Scott and Sandys. This was plainly absurd, for as the supporters of Sandys and Scott later pointed out,
in that party which he said was threefold the greater there were some thousands who, giving their first vote to one of those honourable persons [Burghersh and Morton] gave their second to one or other of the other two gentlemen aforesaid, which was the cause that no exact view could be taken, and notwithstanding also that there were divers hundreds of serving-men attending their masters, and others not freeholders, and mixed in that party, besides a great multitude of the townsmen of the town of Maidstone, being near adjoining, and other strangers assembled at the fair there held who, coming to see the said election, stood near unto the said party which was the cause the said party seemed greater than the other …37
Sandys was furious at Hammon’s partisan behaviour, although he had benefited from a sympathetic sheriff himself the previous year. According to one report he ‘made an oration or speech none of the wisest’.38 Hammon remained unmoved, however, and Sandys therefore turned to Sir Robert Killigrew* for a Cornish seat, leaving Scott, who enjoyed no such connections, empty-handed. When the Commons assembled in June copies of a petition were circulated in Kent on Scott’s behalf, which gathered 30 signatures in one instance and 52 in another. In addition, at least two supporting certificates were drawn up.39 However, the Commons may never have considered Scott’s complaint. Fourteen other petitions relating to different election disputes had been received before Scott’s and the House resolved to deal with them in the order they had come in. Scott’s agent was unable even to obtain a date for a hearing.40
Sandys’s performance in the 1625 Parliament disappointed many of his supporters, perhaps because he was now a client of the duke of Buckingham’s, who was widely perceived as an enemy of the godly. The puritan Thomas Scott, no friend of the duke, claimed that Sandys had ‘deserted and even betrayed us and our freehold contrary to his own engagement and handwriting’, an attitude shared by his kinsman Edward Scott. When Scott resolved to stand again early in 1626, he rebuffed Sandys’s offer of an electoral pact in favour of an alliance with Sir Edward Hales, one of the richest landowners in the county. Edward Scott’s supporters included his kinsman Sir Dudley Digges, who was eager to be revenged on Sandys for the humiliating defeat he had suffered in 1624. In a letter addressed (but not sent) to one of Sandys’s chief supporters, the lieutenant of Dover Castle, Sir John Hippisley*, Digges revealed the extent of his animosity towards Sandys:
Believe me, Sir John, both my cousin Scott and I know Sir Edwin S[andys], and my cousin Scott found what it was to join with him when his reputation was better than it is, and I am sorry my lord duke’s name, or your favour, gives him any countenance now … since there is no end of his malicious business I will everywhere now protest him to be the poor man I can prove him.
Thomas Scott, who now also detested Sandys, thought that Digges’s letter was written ‘more in passion than in discretion’, and refused to forward it as directed. He was particularly concerned at the implied slander of Edward Scott, as the letter suggested that Edward Scott believed that Sandys had behaved dishonourably when the two men had been allied the previous year. In fact, Edward would have been prepared to ally himself with Sandys again had not Sandys deserted his constituents during the 1625 Parliament. Digges was offended at Thomas Scott’s refusal to pass on his letter, creating a quarrel that threatened to undermine the unity of Edward Scott’s supporters, many of whom were ‘sensible of the wrong’ done to Scott on the hustings the previous year.41
Edward Scott’s refusal to join him left Sandys without a partner. Sir Albertus Morton, who had been returned with Buckingham’s backing the previous year, now dead, and Lord Burghersh preferred to sit for Peterborough. The only other contender was Sir John Sedley, bt. of Aylesford, but by 7 Jan. he had given way to Scott and Hales. Sir Thomas Walsingham II also announced that he would contest the election and so mobilize west Kent, which had no candidates in the field, but his intentions seem not to have been serious. He had his eyes instead on the senior seat at Rochester, which he had occupied continuously since 1614, and was irritated that Buckingham was trying to install his nominee Sir John Smythe III* there at his expense. By declaring his intention to stand for the county, Walsingham hoped to threaten Sandys and so cause Buckingham to withdraw his support for Smythe. In fact, as Digges realized, there was a danger that his tactic would have the opposite effect by splitting the forces opposed to Sandys.
Although without a partner, Sandys was backed by one of Kent’s wealthiest residents, Sir John Hayward of Hollingbourne, despite the fact that Hayward was related to Edward Scott. As sheriff at the time of the 1624 parliamentary election, Hayward had allegedly shown partiality towards Sandys. Other prominent Sandys supporters included the brothers-in-law Sir John Clerk of Ford and Sir John Howell of Wrotham. As Hayward and Howell both lived near Maidstone, it is clear that Sandys was not entirely reliant upon east Kent for support. Perhaps Sandys’s most important supporter was Hippisley, Buckingham’s representative in the county. At first Sandys was concerned that Hippisley was not doing enough for him, and therefore he led him to believe that Digges, the duke’s enemy, was planning to stand alongside Archbishop Abbot’s steward, Sir Robert Hatton*, whom Buckingham also had ‘some cause to distaste’. As Sandys’s hoped, Hippisley responded by sending out letters warning of the danger of a Digges/Hatton alliance. It was these same letters that so infuriated Digges and led to his quarrel with Thomas Scott. Hippisley, however, was a busy man and support for Sandys came low on his list of priorities. It was not until eight in the morning on the day before the election that he wrote from Dover warning Buckingham that Sandys might lose and urging him to send to ‘those of the Navy’ to turn out for Sandys. His missive did not arrive until 10 pm on the following day, by which time it was too late for Buckingham to respond.42
Despite the complex manoeuvrings which preceded it, the 1626 election was a relatively quiet affair. Writing to congratulate Edward Scott on his success, Thomas Brett* observed that the election had passed off with ‘little noise’ and only ‘small trouble to the freeholders’.43 The peacefulness of the proceedings undoubtedly owed much to Sandys who, in contrast with 1624, evidently accepted his defeat and again settled for a seat in Cornwall. The 1626 Parliament was the last in which Sandys was a Member, as he did not stand for re-election in 1628. Instead, he canvassed on behalf of Sir Thomas Finch and Sir Edward Dering for the county seats. Finch, who sought the senior position, owned the impressive Eastwell estate, just north of Ashford. His father had represented the county in 1593 and his mother was in the process of buying the earldom of Winchilsea, whereby he would enjoy the courtesy title Viscount Maidstone. Dering, whose father owned an estate at Pluckley, was Finch’s near neighbour and also Buckingham’s candidate, for his marriage to Anne Ashburnham linked him to the duke. In the circular he wrote on their behalf, Sandys commended Finch and Dering for ‘their soundness in religion, love of their country’ and their ‘good discretion and moderation’. Sandys had little time for the other candidate in the field, Sir Dudley Digges, who had again decided to try for a county seat. Digges now commanded considerable respect locally, both for his resistance to the Forced Loan and for having been dismissed from the bench in July 1626 at Buckingham’s behest. His popularity chiefly threatened Dering. Indeed, at the end of January Sir Nicholas, now Lord Tufton, informed Dering, his former son-in-law, that ‘there is no speech but of Sir Dudley Digges’. One week later, and still almost a month before the election, Thomas Scott recorded having heard that ‘our knights for Kent are, in effect, elected, Sir Thomas Finch and Sir Dudley Digges; and that Sir Edward Dering and other competitors are set down’.44 His prediction proved entirely accurate.
Author: Andrew Thrush
- 1. C.W. Chalklin, Seventeenth-Century Kent, 9; P. Clark, Eng. Prov. Soc. 6.
- 2. Chalklin, 9, 75, 92; J. Thirsk, ‘Agriculture in Kent, 1540-1640’, in Early Modern Kent ed. M. Zell, 84.
- 3. Chalklin, 10, 73; Thirsk, 89.
- 4. J. Andrewes, ‘Industries in Kent, c.1500-1640’, in Early Modern Kent, 110, 112, 115; Clark, 300; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 3v.
- 5. CJ, i. 345b, 352b-53a, 1031a; Add. 34218, f. 94r-v.
- 6. CD 1621, iv. 96-7; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 87. For Kent cloths lying unsold at Blackwell Hall in March 1622, see CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 363.
- 7. CJ, i. 698b.
- 8. Chalklin, 10, 99; Andrewes, 112; Clark, 4.
- 9. Chalklin, 75, 81-2. For wheat production at Erith, see CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 357.
- 10. GL, ms 5174/3, f. 354; CJ, i. 715b, 786b, 790a, 792a. The dates of payments in the Bakers’ accounts correspond precisely with the progress of the brewhouses bill. There were no other brewing bills in the House at the time.
- 11. LJ, ii. 490a-b, 493a, 494b; CJ, i. 356-7, 1033; SR, iv. 1146-7. For the medieval and 16th cent. background, see C.J. Smith, Erith, 63-4.
- 12. CJ, i. 752a, 762a, 77a, 785b, 820b, 825b, 838a; Procs. 1625, pp. 252, 257. For further evidence of continued drainage work, however, see C106/21, 27 Nov. 1624, indenture between Lambard Cooke of North Cray and others.
- 13. Chalklin, 90.
- 14. Andrewes, 131-2.
- 15. D. Hirst, Representatives of the People?, 117.
- 16. Chalklin, 9; Clark, 256-7.
- 17. Procs. 1628, vi. 152.
- 18. Magdalene Coll. Cambridge, Ferrar Pprs. 12 Jan. 1624, Sandys to John Ferrar.
- 19. J. Eales, ‘Rise of Ideological Pols. in Kent, 1558-1640’, in Early Mod. Kent, 288, 291. Wotton’s immediate successor as ld. lt. was Buckingham, but he surrendered his grant to Lennox after just eight days.
- 20. Clark, 264-5.
- 21. P. Clark, ‘Thomas Scott and the Growth of Urban Opposition’, HJ, xxi. 10.
- 22. Bodl., Ballard 61, f. 88v.
- 23. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 516.
- 24. T.K. Rabb, Jacobean Gent. 176.
- 25. Chamberlain Letters, i. 518.
- 26. Cent. Kent. Stud., U1115/011, printed, but mistranscribed, in J.R. Scott, Scott, of Scot’s-Hall, p. xx.
- 27. CSP Ven. 1623-5, pp. 182-3; T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 4, p. 90; APC, 1623-5, pp. 157-8.
- 28. CSP Ire. 1615-25, pp. 454, 456; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 146.
- 29. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 540.
- 30. Rabb, 211, 271-2.
- 31. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 540.
- 32. Dorothea Scott ed. G.D. Scull, 133.
- 33. Procs. 1625, pp. 686-7.
- 34. Gent. Mag. lxviii. pt. 1, pp. 116-17.
- 35. Scott, p. xxvii.
- 36. The annual fair was held from noon on 30 Apr. until noon on 2 May: W.E. James, Charters of Maidstone, 10.
- 37. Scott, p. xxvii.
- 38. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 615.
- 39. The petition is printed in Scott, p. xvii. but without the signatures. For the originals, see Cent. Kent. Stud., U1115/O15/1, 2, 4, 5, 6.
- 40. Cent. Kent. Stud., U1115/C24, printed but misdated in Scott, pp. xxvi.-xxvii.
- 41. Dorothea Scott, 132-3, 135-43.
- 42. Procs. 1626, iv. 242.
- 43. Cent. Kent. Stud., U1115/C17/2, printed (but misdated 1627) in Scott, p. xxix.
- 44. Procs. 1628, vi. 129, 152.