SWIFT, Sir Edward (-d.1614), of Rotherham, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

1st s. of Sir Robert Swift (d.1625) of Rotherham and his 1st w. Bridget, da. and coh. of Sir Francis Hastings of Hatfield, Yorks. m. 1 Apr. 1598, Elizabeth, da. of Edmund, 3rd Bar. Sheffield of Mulgrave Castle, Yorks., ld. pres. of the Council in the North 1603-19, s.p.1 kntd. 17 Apr. 1603.2 d. 1614.3 sig. Ed[ward] Swift.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1605-d.4


The Swift family’s fortune was founded by a Rotherham mercer, who died in 1561; his son secured a grant of arms in the following year. Swift’s father, ‘a great swordsman and an elegant speaker’ known as ‘Cavalier Swift’ at the Elizabethan Court, inherited a substantial estate in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, and served as sheriff of Yorkshire in 1599. He and his eldest son were both knighted by James on his progress south in 1603, ‘with many others ... of much less worth’. Swift had no connection with Thirsk, where his father-in-law, lord president Sheffield, doubtless interceded to secure his return. The only evidence of his participation in any of the sessions was a nomination to the committee for (Sir) John Hotham’s* jointure bill (25 Jan. 1606).5

By 1614 Swift had deserted his wife and was living in hiding at Great Yarmouth, allegedly as the result of harsh financial treatment by his father, who had remarried: his identity was only discovered upon his suicide in 1614. Administration was granted to one of his creditors in the following year. His half-brother, Barnham Swift, married a daughter of a Scottish courtier and was granted an Irish peerage in 1628; the male line of the family ended with his death in 1635.6

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 576; St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxv), 83.
  • 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 101.
  • 3. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 547.
  • 4. C181/1, f. 209; 181/2, f. 145
  • 5. J. Hunter, S. Yorks. i. 204-6; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 247; J. Hunter, Hallamshire, 365-6; Gawdy Letters ed. I.H. Jeayes, 128; C142/429/138.
  • 6. Chamberlain Letters, i. 547; PROB 6/8, f. 154; C142/531/182.