Open main menu

Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche

Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche of Harringworth, Northamptonshire, 12th Baron St Maur (6 June 1556 – 18 August 1625) was an English diplomat. He is remembered chiefly for his lone vote against the condemnation of Mary, Queen of Scots, and for organising the ill-fated stag-hunt where his guest, the Archbishop of Canterbury, accidentally killed a man.

Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche
Born6 June 1556
Died18 August 1625(1625-08-18) (aged 69)
Spouse(s)Eleanor Zouche
Sarah Harrington
Parent(s)George la Zouche, 10th Baron Zouche

Early lifeEdit

Zouche was the son of George la Zouche, 10th Baron Zouche and his wife Margaret, née Welby. He was a royal ward from 1570, under the care of William Cecil. In a letter to Cecil written in 1596, Zouche confessed that he spent his patrimony as a youth, having indulged in "little searching for knowledge".[1]


In or around 1578, Zouche married his cousin Eleanor Zouche, daughter of Sir John Zouche and Eleanor, née Whalley. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, but, shortly after Mary's birth in 1582, Zouche abandoned his wife and they lived apart until her death in 1611. Eleanor wrote to Lord Burghley, from her lodging in the Strand on 19 May 1593, following her father's death, still hoping to be reconciled with Zouche.[2] Sir John Holles wrote to Sir Edward Phillips describing her treatment;

"My Lord Souche (sic) put away this his lady twenty-nine years ago and refusing her all allowance was by law sentenced there-unto, which he not performing was excomunicate; from which he went beyond sea and returning was ordered to pay her 50s the week, from which poor allowance with a small addition from her friends hath this Baron's wife...ever since lived. She was oft dangerously sick that physic was chargeable. He never disbursed a penny, and now dead she might have rotted in her chamber ere he would have buried her".[3]

Within a year of Eleanor's death, Zouche married again, to Sarah Harington (1565-1629), daughter of Sir James Harington. Sarah Harrington had been twice widowed, having been the former wife of Francis Hastings, and of Sir George Kingsmill. There were no children of this marriage.[4] With the death of Zouche, Sarah married Sir Thomas Edmondes. Her portrait was painted by Isaac Oliver and by Cornelius Johnson.[5] The portraits by Johnson show her aged 63 wearing a large miniature case referring to Frederick V of the Palatinate with the greek letter "phi". An similar miniature case was described in an inventory of a Scottish soldier.[6]


Portrait etching of Lord Zouche published 29 May 1777

Zouche matriculated from Trinity College, Cambridge in Easter 1570, M.A. 1571;[7] and was admitted to Gray's Inn, 1575, though he was not admitted to the bar.

Zouche was appointed a Commissioner for the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Fotheringhay. Here he demonstrated courage and independence, in that he was the only Commissioner to offer any dissent against the judgement and subsequent sentence of death.[8]

In later years he served as Ambassador to Scotland, Lord President of the Council of Wales and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He was a Privy Counsellor from 1603.[4]

Zouche showed a strong interest in the New World, and was a Commissioner of the Virginia Company from 1608. He was also interested in horticulture; his house in Hackney included a physic garden and he employed Matthias L'Obel as his gardener.

The house in Hackney lay on the north side of Homerton High Street, probably on the site of the present Dean Close. The herbalist, John Gerard, visited Hackney and was given foreign seeds from Zouche's garden. Zouche ceased to be a Hackney resident before his death in 1625 and it is likely his house was sold in 1620, to Sir Julius Caesar, Master of the Rolls.

In 1605, Zouche purchased the manor of Bramshill in Hampshire and almost immediately began to build the mansion that currently stands on the site. James I stayed at Bramshill in 1620 and the next year George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, went down to Bramshill to consecrate a chapel for Lord Zouche.[9] The visit had disastrous consequences for the Archbishop when he accepted Zouche's invitation to a stag-hunt, where Abbot unintentionally killed a gamekeeper who strayed into his line of fire. Although all the witnesses, including Zouche, agreed that the gamekeeper's death was a tragic accident, Abbot's reputation never recovered from the incident. He remains the only Archbishop of Canterbury ever to kill a man.[10]

Bramshill was used as the UK Police Staff College from 1960 to 2015.

Connection with More children on the MayflowerEdit

In 1620, Lord Zouche provided counsel and other help in an incident involving him and his longtime secretary Samuel More, who was in his employ at the time of Zouche's death in 1625.[11][12] Samuel More was the eldest son of a respected parliamentarian from Shropshire, Richard More. He had married in 1610/11 to a cousin Katherine More,[13] and by 1616 was charging that she had committed adultery with a longtime lover, conceiving four children by him, Elinor, Jasper, Richard and Mary.[14] There followed four rancorous years and twelve court appearances which culminated in the four children being sent, without their mother's knowledge,[15] as indentured servants in 1620 bound for the Colony of Virginia on the ship Mayflower.[15] This was done on the counsel of Lord Zouche, who was a Virginia Company commissioner,[16][17] acting on the request of Samuel More and his father Richard, who were searching for a location far away to which the children could be sent.[18]


Lord Zouche's manor, Bramshill House

Zouche died in 1625, after suffering illness for some time. His resting place is unknown. He was not buried in the parish church at Hackney, despite the verses penned by Ben Jonson.

Wherever I die, oh, here may I lie
Along by my good Lord Zouche,
That when I am dry, to the tap I may hie,
And so back again to my couch.

On Zouche's death, the Barony of Zouche fell into abeyance between his daughter Mary (who married in 1610 Thomas Leighton, son of Sir Thomas Leighton the Governor of Guernsey)[19] and the heirs of his daughter Elizabeth (died 1617, wife of Sir William Tate).[20] The abeyance was terminated in 1815 in favour of Cecil Bisshopp, 12th Baron Zouche.


  • Ambassador to Scotland, January–April 1594
  • Ambassador to Denmark, June–July 1598
  • Deputy Governor of Guernsey 1600–01
  • Lord President of the Council of Wales, 14 June 1602 – 1607
  • Privy Counsellor 11 May 1603
  • Commissioner of Claims for the Coronation of James I, 7 July 1603
  • Commissioner for compounding for knighthoods, 17 July 1603
  • Commissioner to banish Jesuits, 5 September 1604
  • Commissioner to inquire into injuries done by pirates, 16 July 1609
  • Councillor for the Virginia Company, beginning on 23 May 1609
  • Councillor for New England, 3 Nov 1602
  • Commissioner to treat with France 4 July 1610
  • Commissioner for the Treasury 16 June 1612 – 1614
  • Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle for life, 13 July 1615,
  • Commissioner for the rendition of Flushing and Brill, 21 May 1616
  • Privy Councillor (Scotland) 29 June 1617
  • Commissioner to inquire into abuses in the Treasury, 10 July 1618
  • Commissioner of Ecclesiastical Causes, 29 April 1620 and 21 January 1624/5
  • Commissioner for defective titles of lands, 4 July 1622 and 26 July 1623.


  1. ^ Cecil archive – the National Archives. 1596, 24 May.
  2. ^ 'Original Letters of the Zouch family', The Gentleman's Magazine, Or Monthly Intelligencer, vol. 25 (London, 1828), pp. 303-4, printed from British Library Lansdown MSS.
  3. ^ HMC Report on the Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, Preserved at Welbeck Abbey, vol. 9 (London, 1923), pp. 83-4.
  4. ^ a b Donald F. Harris, PhD. The Mayflower Descendant (July 1994) vol. 44 no. 2 p. 110
  5. ^ Portrait of Lady Edmondes, by Cornelius Johnson, NT Hatchlands, and Portrait of Lady Edmondes, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas.
  6. ^ Athol Murray, 'Jewels Associated with the Queen of Bohemia', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 131 (2001), pp. 328, 343.
  7. ^ "Zouche, Edward La (ZC570EL)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  8. ^ Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser – Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1969 p. 563
  9. ^ Victorian County History – Hampshire 'Parishes: Eversley', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 32–41
  10. ^ Trevor-Roper, Hugh Archbishop Laud Phoenix Press reissue 2000 p. 58
  11. ^ Anthony R. Wagner. "The Children in the Mayflower" The London Times 30 June 1959 p. 11
  12. ^ Donald F. Harris, PhD. The Mayflower Descendant vol. 44 no. 2 p. 1
  13. ^ Shipton Parish Register Shropshire archive
  14. ^ Donald F. Harris, PhD. The Mayflower Descendant (Pub. Jan. 1994) vol. 44 no. 2 pp. 14, 18
  15. ^ a b Anthony R. Wagner "The Origin of the Mayflower Children: Jasper, Richard and Ellen More". The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (July 1960) vol. 114 pp. 164–168
  16. ^ Donald F. Harris, PhD. The Mayflower Descendant (Pub. July 1994) vol. 44 no. 2 p. 112
  17. ^ The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles: With the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governours from Their First Beginning, Ano: 1584. To This Present 1624. With the Proceedings of Those Severall Colonies and the Accidents That Befell Them in All Their Journyes and Discoveries. Also the Maps and Descriptions of All Those Countryes, Their Commodities, People, Government, Customes, and Religion Yet Knowne. Divided into Sixe Bookes. By Captaine Iohn Smith, Sometymes Governour in Those Countryes & Admirall of New England: p. 128 – electronic version at:
  18. ^ Donald F. Harris, PhD. The Mayflower Descendant (Pub. Jul. 1994) vol. 44 no. 2 pp. 110, 111
  19. ^ The Present Peerage of the United Kingdom Part 1 (1821), p. 67; Google Books.
  20. ^, Tate, William (1559–1617), of Delapré, Northants.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Pembroke
Lord President of Wales
Lord Lieutenant of Wales
(less Glamorgan and Monmouthshire),
Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire

Succeeded by
The Lord Eure
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Robert Carr
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Succeeded by
The Duke of Buckingham
Peerage of England
Preceded by
George la Zouche
Baron Zouche
Succeeded by
Cecil Bisshopp