Sir Edwin SANDYS, Knight

Born: 9 Dec 1561, Worcestershire, England

Died: Oct 1629

Buried: Northbourne Church, England

Father: Edwin SANDYS (Archbishop of York)

Mother: Cecily WILFORD

Married 1: Margaret EVELEIGH (d. Jul 1588) (dau. of John Eveleigh of Devonshire)


1. Margaret SANDYS

Married 2: Anne SOUTHCOTT (d. 1593) (dau. of Thomas Southcott) ABT 1592

Married 3: Elizabeth NEVINSON (dau. of Thomas Nevinson of Eastrey) ABT 1601


2. Anne SANDYS

Married 4: Catherine BULKELEY (b. 1583 - d. AFT 1629) (dau. of Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris, Knight and Mary Borough) BEF Jun 1605


3. Henry SANDYS (b. 1605 - d. 1640) (m. Margaret Hammond)

4. William SANDYS

5. Edwin SANDYS (m. Catherine Champneys)

6. Elizabeth SANDYS

7. Mary SANDYS (b. 12 Sep 1607 - d. 26 Oct 1675) (m. 1 William Reade - m.2 Richard Spencer)

8. Francis SANDYS

9. Robert SANDYS

10. Richard SANDYS of Downe Hall (b. 1608 - d. 1669)  (m. Hester Aucher)

11. Penelope SANDYS

12. Thomas SANDYS (d. AFT 1629)

13. Catherine SANDYS (m. Gerard Scrimshire of Aquelate)

14. Frances SANDYS

15. Son SANDYS (Sep 1620, a harrowing miscarriage)

Second son of Archbishop Edwin Sandys and his second wife, Cecily Wildford. Treasurer of the Virginia Company and was instrumental in obtaining the charter that the Pilgrims needed to be granted passage to the Americas. 1571 entered at Merchant Taylor's School and thence was elected scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating in Sep 1577. He was graduated B.A. on 16 Oct 1579, M.A. on 5 Jul 1583, and B.C.L. on 23 Apr 1589. He was elected fellow of Corpus early in 1580 and on 17 Mar 1581/82 his father presented him the prebend of Wetwang in York Cathedral. In 1589 he was admitted to Middle Temple as a student.

On 13 Oct 1586 Edwin Sandys entered Parliament as Member from Andover. Soon after the dissolution of Parliament in 1593 Sandys accompanied his friend George Cranmer on a three-year tour of the Continent, visiting France, Italy, and Germany. He remained abroad after Cranmer's return and was at Paris in 1599 when he commenced the writing of Europae Speculum. The book, remarkably tolerant for the time, was well received and eventually was translated into Italian, French, and Dutch.

Sandys returned to England in 1599 and in 1602 he resigned his prebend at Wetwamg. Next year he made his way to James VI of Scotland and accompanied him to England, where the latter subsequently ruled as James I. Sandys was knighted by the King at Charterhouse on 11 May 1603; on 12 Mar 1603 he was returned to James' first Parliament as Member for Stockbridge, Hampshire. Despite his other activities and interests in this period, Sir Edwin's main energies were devoted to the Virginia Company. He had been appointed a member of His Majesty's Council for Virginia on 9 Mar 1607. In 1617 he was chosen to assist Sir Thomas Smythe, the treasurer, in the management of the company. In this activity he warmly supported the request of the Leyden exiles to be allowed to settle in the company's dominion. It was largely owing to his influence that a patent was granted them. (A patent was an instrument making a conveyance or grant of public lands; also, the land so conveyed.)

On 28 Apr 1619 a combination of parties resulted in the almost unanimous election of Sandys to the treasurership, thereby making 1619 'a date to be remembered in the history of English colonisation'. In May he procured the appointment of a committee to codify the regulations of the company, to select a form of government for the Colony, to appoint magistrates and officers, and to define their functions and duties. Acting on the company's instructions, Gov. George Yeardley of Virginia summoned an assembly of burgesses, which met in Bruton Parish church at James Towne on 30 Jul 1619. It was the first representative assembly to meet in America.

On 6 Jun 1619 Sandys obtained the company's sanction for the establishment of a missionary college at Henrico. Ten thousand acres were allotted for its maintenance, but the project subsequently was abandoned. During the years 1619, 1629, and 1621 the Virginia Company under Sandys provided and sent to Virginia 42 ships and 3,570 men and women, with provisions, cattle, and the like. It despatched the Mayflower from Plymouth, England, on 6 Sep 1620 with a load of 102 passengers; the vessel landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 11 Dec. The company also sent to Bermuda nine ships and some 900 persons to settle there.

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