Edward CROFT of Croft Castle
Died: 29 Jul 1601, Stranehage, South Holland
Father: James CROFT of Croft Castle (Sir Knight) (See his Biography)
Mother: Alice WARNECOMBE
Married 1: Anne BROWNE
1. Herbert CROFT of Croft Castle (Sir Knight) (See his Biography)
2. James CROFT
3. Richard CROFT
4. William CROFT
5. Son CROFT
6. Mary CROFT
7. Alice CROFT
8. Margaret CROFT (m. Robert Acton)
9. Amy CROFT (m. Fulke Conway)
10. Joyce CROFT
Married 2: Mareen ?
The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.
First son of Sir James Croft of Croft Castle by his first wife, Alice, dau. and h. of Richard Warnecombe of Ivington in Leominster, Lugwardine and Hereford, wid. of William Wigmore of Shobdon; half-brother of Thomas Wigmore; brother of James. Educ. M. Temple 1561. Married first Anne (d. 1575), dau. and h. of Thomas Browne of Attleborough, Norf.; and second Mareen. J.p. Herefs. from c.1573; dep. steward, Leominster 1577.
Croft thrice sat for his local borough of Leominster, where his father was steward. His fellow-Member in 1584 and 1586 was his half-brother Thomas Wigmore. When his father was arrested in Aug 1588 for questionable conduct in negotiations with the Duke of Parma in the Netherlands, Croft, who blamed the Earl of Leicester, applied to a London conjuror, John Smith, to compass Leicester's death, which took place 4 Sep. Croft was charged with contriving his death but nothing is known of any trial.
Croft never succeeded to the family estates in Herefordshire, which were granted in 1583 to Sir William Herbert and Thomas Wigmore as feoffees who in turn granted them to Croft's eldest son Herbert in 1594. This arrangement was probably due to Croft's unstable character. After his father's death he was imprisoned for debt. On 18 Jan 1591 the Privy Council ordered that he should not be released until he had answered the charges of a creditor, one Sallamon Prough. On his release he fled to the Netherlands where he spent the remainder of his life. When writing to Lord Burghley seeking employment in 1596, he claimed that he had been banished by his father's debts. He settled at Stranehage in South Holland where he made his will before a Dutch public notary 22 Jun 1600, leaving his seal to his son, Herbert, a sword to another son and rings to two of his daughters. An annuity of £40 and the residue of his property went to his second wife ‘married to me by a lawful minister in church’. His religious beliefs have not been ascertained. He was named in a list of Catholic sympathizers drawn up in 1574, but his will was protestant in tone. He died 29 Jul 1601, and administration of his estate was granted to his wife 16 Nov 1607.
C.S. Croft, House of Croft, 81-2
Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 21-2
Vis. Suff ed. Metcalfe, 11
G. F. Townsend, Leominster, 301.
P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 236-7
Strype, Annals, iii(2), 615 seq.
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