2. Sir Edwin Sandys - Marriages

Sir Edwin Sandys portrait

Edwin Sandys married four times:

1st Wife - Margaret Eveleigh - Daughter of John Eveleigh from Devon, Edwin married sometime in the mid-1580s. They had one child - Elizabeth[1], born about 1585, she later married her own second cousin, Sir Thomas Wilford of Kent, who was executed as a royalist in 1648. Edwin's first wife, died in childbirth in July 1588; Edwin's father died the same month. Margaret's brother, Nicholas Eveleigh, who had been at Corpus Christi College with Richard Hooker and Edwin, became one of Sir Edwin's stewards.

2nd Wife - Anne Southcote - Daughter of Thomas Southcote/Southcott of Devon, a cousin of his first wife, he married sometime during the early 1590s and she died in 1593.

3rd Wife - Elizabeth Nevinson - Daughter of Thomas and Ann Nevinson, a well-established family from Eastry (near to Northbourne) - he married Elizabeth about 1601. The Nevinson family held the Canterbury Chapter manorial estate at Eastry from about 1550 to 1630. There are a number of Nevinson memorials in Eastry Church, including a large brass of Elizabeth's father, Thomas 'Nevynson' who died in July 1590. It seems they were only married for a few years before Elizabeth died. Hasted records they had a daughter - Anne - who married Thomas Engeham from the nearby parish of Goodnestone.[2]

4th Wife - Katherine Bulkeley[3] - born 1583, daughter of Sir Richard and Mary Bulkeley of Anglesey. She married Edwin in 1605 when he was approaching his mid-forties she was about 22; in the next two decades they had twelve children. Their youngest son, Francis was born when Edwin was well into his fifties and a miscarriage occurred in 1620 when Edwin was 58. Although there is an effigy of Lady Sandys in Northbourne church, the later plaque makes no mention of her; she outlived her husband and died in 1634.

Sandys Monument in Northbourne Church
Effigies in Northbourne Church of Sir Edwin
Sandys and fourth wife Lady Katherine

Sir Edwin's and Lady Katherine Sandys Children:

(NB. Some of the children below may not be in the correct order.)

1 - Henry (Eldest son b. 1605 - d. 1640) married Margaret daughter of Sir William Hammond of St. Albans, at nearby Nonington. The Northbourne parish register records: 'Captain Henry Sandys Esq. died at London', buried 7th August 1640. An earlier entry records: 'Edwin the son of Captain Henry Sandys, died in London', buried 19th June 1633.

2 - Edwin - 2nd son, Wadham College Oxford 1621. He married Catherine, daughter of Richard Champneys of Hall Place, Bexley, Kent. The Champneys were an ancient Norman family, Catherine's great grandfather - Sir John Champneys - was lord mayor of London in 1534 and began building Hall Place around 1537. Her grandfather - Justinian Champneys - was sheriff of Kent in 1582. Her father sold Hall Place and moved to Woolwich. Edwin was a Colonel in the Parliamentary army and wounded at the first significant engagement of the Civil War - the Battle of Powick Bridge, Worcester on 23rd September 1642, but died later in October and is buried at Worcester Cathedral. He was grandfather of Sir Richard Sandys, who was created a baronet in 1684, but died without issue in 1726.

3 - Mary - (b. 12 Sep 1607 - d. 26 Oct 1675). Around 1627 she married Richard Spencer of Orpington, second son of Robert Lord Spencer of Wormleighton, 1st baron (1570-1627). Mary's father-in-law became Lord Spencer in 1603 at the same time as Sir Edwin Sandys, when James VI was making his progress from Scotland to London to become James I of England. Lord Robert Spencer is an ancestor of Princess Diana (1961-1997). Mary died aged 69, leaving one daughter who was married to William Gee of Bishop Burlip, county York.

4 - Richard - of Downe Hall (b. 1608 - d. 1669) (married Hester Aucher). A colonel in the Parliamentary army. In 1647 he was governor of the Bermuda Company. Subsequently he purchased Down Hall, Kent. He was executor of his brother Henry and administrator of his father's estate when his mother died. He is buried in St Mary's church, Downe, just as you enter the church and the inscription states:

Here lyeth the body of Richard Sandys, Esqre., 3rd son of Sir Edwin Sandys, in Norborough [Northbourne], in Kent, likewise the body of Hester Sandys his wife, daughter of Edwin Aucher, of Hilkborough [Willesborough], in the same County, gentleman. They had issue six sons and four daughters. Here also lyeth the body of Mary daughter of the above-named Richard and Hester Sandys, and relict of Mr. R. Sandford Vicar of Motham, who died October the first, 1733, in the 90th year of her age.[4]

5 - Catherine - (married Gerard (or Robert according to Hasted) Scrimshire/Scrimshaw of Aquelate)

6 - Robert - who lost an arm fighting as a Royalist, fighting both Scots and Irish, he claims to have been in Charles's Privy Chamber. Charles II paid him £1,000 for his services, and eventually Robert settled in County Roscommon, on an estate named Sandifled, as the respectable son-in-law of an Irish Viscount.

7 - William - The Northbourne parish register records: 'William, son of Edwin Sandys Knight', buried July 21 1628.

8 - Elizabeth

9 - Thomas (d. after 1629)

10 - Penelope (1617–90) married Sir Nicholas Lechmere (1613–1701) a judge and politician. Sir Nicholas writes: '12. Nov. 1642. I (being then full 29 yeares of age) tooke to wife Penelope one of the daughters of Sir Edwin Sandys of Northborne in the County of Kent.' He goes on to say he was married a hundred years after his great grandfather. These were turbulent times as the English Civil War was formally declared on 22 August 1642.

They lived at Severn End in the village of Hanley Castle in Worcestershire, situated between the towns of Great Malvern and Tewkesbury; a short distance from the River Severn. Lechmere and Sandys coat of arms The Lechmere shield shows two gold pelicans and a gold band on a red background (Gules, a fess and in chief two pelicans or). The Sandys shield shows three red pointed crosses and a red zigzag on a gold background (Or a fess dancetty between three cross crosslets fitchy gules).

Sir Nicholas supported parliament although Worcestershire fell to the royalists so he spent much of his time in London. The Worcestershire branch of the Sandys family tended to be royalist, Richard Sandys, a cousin of Penelope, fought on the royalist side and was killed on 11 October 1642 at the Battle at Edgehill. The royalist garrison at Worcester surrendered to parliament in July 1646 after which Sir Nicholas spent his time travelling between London and this home. Sir Nicholas Lechmere's diary were published in Hanley and the House of Lechmere (1883) by Evelyn Philip Shirley. On 25 August 1651 General Edward Massey, a former friend of Sir Nicholas, arrived at Severn End with:

'about 130 Scottish horse quarter'd in my House at Hanley, he treated my people civilly, but threatned ... me and my posterity because I was joyn'd to the army of ye parliament.'

General Massey, a presbyterian, had spent the previous years fighting on the parliamentarian side but, during the phase known as the Third Civil War (1649–51), he changed over to the royalists. Massey’s mission here being to destroy the bridge at nearby Upton and prevent the parliamentarian forces crossing the river. However, they did break through on 29 August and the general was badly wounded. Therefore, he was not able to fight in the Battle of Worcester where Cromwell’s army drove the Scottish army back and defeated the royalists.

Nicholas Lechmere was present at the Battle of Worcester and he writes on, ‘Sept. 3 1651, it pleased God to give a total overthrow to this Scottish army by his blessing on the army of the parliament of England commanded by the Lord General Cromwell, the battle began on the west side the city (in those very fields where my brother-in-law Colonel Edwyn Sandys, the 23 of Sept. 1642 fought with Prince Rupert and received the wounds whereof afterwards (1 Dec. 1642) he died).’ Therefore, at the time of Penelope's wedding in November he still lay a prisoner at Worcester (only 12km north of Hanley Castle) dying from his infected wounds.

Meanwhile, Sir Nicholas writes ‘while I was embroiled in these turmoils here my wife was on Saturday (23 Aug. 1651) about twelve at noon safely delivered of a son who she named Sandys, she was then at the Lady Pagets house in Deanes Yard Westminster.’ In fact Sandys Lechmere was the sixth of ten children.

When Charles II was restored in 1660, Nicholas managed to obtain a pardon for the comparatively modest sum of £200, keeping most of the land he had bought during the good years of the 1650s and continued to rebuild his mansion.

Penelope died in 1690 and he records ‘Tuesday 3 June 1690 my dear wife died at her lodgings in Devonshire Square London, being then of ye age of 73 years. She was buried in ye church of St Anne Aldersgate according to her own desire, it being the place of her birth, & in which Church she was baptized.

Penelope and Nicholas Lechmere makes an appearance in William Samuel Symonds’ historical novel Hanley Castle (1883) which is set during the English Civil War and draws on the people and events of the time.

11 - Francis - boy buried at Northbourne, 5 July 1620.

12 - Frances - youngest born c.1618–1619. The Northbourne parish register records: 'Frances the daughter of Sir Edwin Sandys, Knight,' buried 11 January 1630.

13 - Boy - stillborn on 10 September 1620.

[1] - National Biography, The Kent Visitation of 1619 and Theodore K. Rabb in Jacobean Gentleman, Sir Edwin Sandys, 1561-1629 states her name was Elizabeth, although other sources recording the Wilford side of the family name her as Margaret. Did she later adopt her mother's christian name?
[2] - Edward Hasted records the marriage of Anne Sandys and Thomas Engeham in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, 1799 (1st edn) Vol IV, 146 note (b). However this detail was trimmed from his 2nd edition (1800). The Kent Visitation of 1619 has a Thomas Engham [sic] son of Edward and Elizabeth who was aged 21 at the time of the visitation.
[3] - The Kent Visitation of 1619 and National Biography records her as Catherine. However The Kent Visitation of 1663 uses Katherine. Professor Theodore K. Rabb, who has studied letters written by Edwin and his wife, records her as Katherine.
[4] - Thomas Myles Sandys, (1907), History of the Sandys Family. 193. It is often stated elsewhere that Hester Aucher was the daughter of Anthony Aucher. However, going on the evidence of Hasted (1799 1st edn, Vol IV, p146 footnote b), and the ledger stone in Down church, the father was Edwin Aucher. This would also make sense on the grounds of age as she was a cousin to Margaret Hammond who married Richard's brother (Henry Sandys 1605–1640).
Portrait of Sir Edwin Sandys courtesy of M. Sandys.