DARRELL, Edward (by 1523-73), of Newtimber, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by, 1523 yr. s. of Thomas Darrell (d.1557/58) of Gray’s Inn and Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst, Kent by Elizabeth, da. of James Horne of Bethersden, Kent; bro. of George. m. by 1552, Mary, da. and h. of Marmaduke Darrell of Pagham, Suss., 7s. 5da.2

Offices Held

Household officer by 1544, clerk of pantry, larder, bakehouse and poultry successively 1549-53, second clerk of kitchen by 1558, clerk of acatery in reversion 1558-d.; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, Pevensey honor, Suss. 6 July 1553-d.3



The second Member for Plympton Erle in the Parliament of 1547 has not proved easy to identify. His name is known from the list of Members as it was revised for the fourth session of January 1552, but enough of it remains on the damaged county indenture to show that he had been returned in 1547 and not at a subsequent by-election. Both he and his fellow-Member Thomas Dynham might be expected to have had at least an indirect connexion with the Protector Somerset, who at this time held the borough, and it is natural to look for Darrell in the well-known family settled at Littlecote in Wiltshire. There is, however, no trace in the Darrell pedigree of a contemporary Edward Darrell other than the head of the family, who is himself ruled out of consideration both because he was knighted in 1544 and because he died in 1549.4

Among Sir Edward Darrell’s namesakes the only one of appropriate standing and connexions is a younger son of the lawyer Thomas Darrell of Scotney Castle. Thomas Darrell’s brother Stephen followed their father into the royal household and after he had obtained a clerkship of the kitchen through the patronage of the family’s Sussex neighbour Sir John Gage (for whom his brother acted as legal adviser) he was able to secure a post for his nephew. Edward Darrell’s career followed the established household pattern until 1558 when he made a successful suit to be joined in reversion with his dying uncle in the clerkship of the acatery. This clerkship was inferior to and carried a far lower salary than that of the kitchen which Edward had by then acquired but its opportunities for exploitation were unrivalled. Gage may also have been instrumental in Darrell’s appointment in the duchy of Lancaster where he succeeded Thomas Horden, a friend of Stephen Darrell and his predecessor as clerk of the acatery. Edward Darrell’s father was under steward at Pevensey to Gage’s son-in-law Sir Anthony Browne, and Browne’s influence with Somerset may have secured young Darrell his seat in the Parliament of 1547. If the Marmaduke Darrell who was apparently in the Protector’s service by 1544 was Edward’s kinsman and father-in-law, this would doubtless have enhanced his suitability in Somerset’s eyes, as would the possible association in the Sussex iron industry between Admiral Seymour and Edward Darrell’s brother George, himself by-elected to the Parliament of 1547 for East Grinstead.5

Little has been discovered about Darrell beyond the bare facts of his official career. His experience was utilized on several occasions by the Elizabethan government when the Council referred victualling matters to him for advice. He appears to have been involved in several of his brother George’s transactions with the Pelham family and was like the other members of his family a Catholic. By his will of 9 Feb. 1567 he bequeathed all his possessions, with specific instructions concerning the manor of Newtimber which he had bought from the crown on 8 Apr. 1560 for £380, to his wife and sole executrix. He died at Bowley, Sussex on 25 June 1573 and was buried in the parish church of Pagham where an inscription was erected in his memory. One of his younger sons, Marmaduke, continued the family tradition of household service and rose to be cofferer in the reign of James I.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. C219/282/2; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 90-91; PCC 34, 43 Noodes.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xix; R. C. Braddock, ‘R. household c.1540-60’ (Northwestern Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1971), 132, 137-8; Somerville, Duchy, i. 618.
  • 4. Wilts. Arch. Mag. iv. ped. facing p. 226.
  • 5. Braddock, 131-2, 137-8; Somerville, i. 617-18; HMC Bath, iv. 118.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 210, 224, 225, 351; APC, vii. 137; CPR, 1558-60, pp. 463-4; 1569-72, p. 424; Suss. N. and Q. ix. 166; PCC 32 Peter; C142/167/93; Braddock, 133.