Edward Denny (soldier)

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The monument to Sir Edward Denny and his wife Lady Margaret, with "weepers" depicting their seven sons and three daughters. Denny Monument - geograph.org.uk - 1032693.jpg
The monument to Sir Edward Denny and his wife Lady Margaret, with "weepers" depicting their seven sons and three daughters.

Sir Edward Denny (1547 – 12 February 1600), Knight Banneret of Bishop's Stortford, was a soldier, privateer and adventurer in the reign of Elizabeth I.

Bishops Stortford town in Hertfordshire, England

Bishop's Stortford is a historic English market town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, just west of the M11 motorway on the county boundary with Essex. It is the closest sizeable town to London Stansted Airport, 27 miles (43 km) north-east of Charing Cross in central London, and 35 miles (56 km) by rail from Liverpool Street station, the London terminus of the line to Cambridge that runs through the town. Bishop's Stortford had a population of 38,202 in 2001, easing to 37,838 at the 2011 Census.

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.


Early life

Denny was born in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in 1547, the second surviving son of Sir Anthony Denny who was a Privy Councillor to Henry VIII and one of the Guardians of Edward VI. Orphaned in childhood, he inherited lands in Hertfordshire. After some minor appointments at court, in 1573 Edward Denny went to Ulster on a military expedition led by Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. Denny then took up privateering, capturing a Spanish ship in 1577 and a Flemish one in 1578. The same year saw him join a colonizing expedition led by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Walter Raleigh; however, their ships were forced to turn for home by bad weather.

Anthony Denny English politician

Sir Anthony Denny was a confidant of King Henry VIII of England. Denny was the most prominent member of the Privy chamber in King Henry's last years, having together with his brother-in-law, John Gates, charge of the "dry stamp" of the King's signature, and attended the King on his deathbed. He also served as Groom of the Stool. He was a member of the Reformist circle that offset the conservative religious influence of Bishop Gardiner. He was a wealthy man, having acquired manors and former religious sites through the Court of augmentations. By 1548, he was keeper of Westminster Palace.

Ulster province in Ireland

Ulster is a province in the north of the island of Ireland. It is made up of nine counties, six of which are in Northern Ireland and three of which are in the Republic of Ireland. It is the second largest and second most populous of Ireland's four provinces, with Belfast being its biggest city. Unlike the other provinces, Ulster has a high percentage of Protestants, making up almost half of its population. English is the main language and Ulster English the main dialect. A minority also speak Irish, and there are Gaeltacht in southern Londonderry, the Gaeltacht Quarter of Belfast and in Donegal, where 25% of the total Gaeltacht population of Ireland is located. Lough Neagh, in the east, is the largest lake in the British Isles, while Lough Erne in the west is one of its largest lake networks. The main mountain ranges are the Mournes, Sperrins, Croaghgorms and Derryveagh Mountains.

Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex English noble and general

Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, KG, was an English nobleman and general. From 1573 until his death he fought in Ireland in connection with the Plantation of Ulster, where he ordered the Rathlin Island massacre. He was the father of Elizabeth I's favourite of her later years, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.


Denny and his cousin Raleigh were then sent to Ireland to help put down the Second Desmond Rebellion. Denny led a company at the infamous Siege of Smerwick, when 400 Spanish and Italian troops were beheaded by the English after surrendering. In 1581, he commanded another expedition to Ireland and returned with the head of Garret O’Toole, leader of one of the Irish clans. At court that year, he met Lady Margaret Edgcumbe, one of the queen’s maids of honour, and married her in 1583. They had seven sons and three daughters.

The Second Desmond Rebellion (1579–1583) was the more widespread and bloody of the two Desmond Rebellions launched by the FitzGerald dynasty of Desmond in Munster, Ireland, against English rule in Ireland. The second rebellion began in July 1579 when James FitzMaurice FitzGerald landed in Ireland with a force of Papal troops, triggering an insurrection across the south of Ireland on the part of the Desmond dynasty, their allies and others who were dissatisfied for various reasons with English government of the country. The rebellion ended with the 1583 death of Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond, and the defeat of the rebels.

Siege of Smerwick

The Siege of Smerwick took place at Ard na Caithne in 1580, during the Second Desmond Rebellion in Ireland. A 400–500 strong force of Papal soldiers captured the village but were forced to retreat to nearby Dún an Óir, where they were besieged by the English Army. The defenders eventually surrendered and most of them were then massacred on the orders of the English commander, The 14th Baron Grey de Wilton, the Lord Deputy of Ireland.

Mount Edgcumbe House

Mount Edgcumbe House is a stately home in south-east Cornwall and is a Grade II listed building, whilst its gardens and parkland are listed as Grade I in the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England.

Children of Edward and Margaret Denny:

The elaborate monument to Sir Edward Denny is at Waltham Abbey Church in Essex Waltham Abbey -21Oct2007 (2).jpg
The elaborate monument to Sir Edward Denny is at Waltham Abbey Church in Essex

High Sheriff, Knight and M.P.

Denny first became Member of Parliament for Liskeard in Cornwall for the 1584 to 1585 parliament. He was granted lands at Tralee, confiscated from the Earl of Desmond; he both became High Sheriff of Kerry and was knighted in 1588. His estates in Ireland were a financial failure and in 1591 he returned to England to command a naval expedition to the Azores. It has not been established whether it was this Sir Edward Denny or his nephew and namesake who was elected Knight of the Shire for Westmorland in 1593, however it is certain that in 1597 he was returned to Parliament for the "rotten borough" of Tregony in Cornwall. [1]

Liskeard was a parliamentary borough in Cornwall, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, and then one member from 1832 until 1885. The constituency was abolished by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.

Cornwall County of England

Cornwall is a county in South West England in the United Kingdom. The county is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar which forms most of the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The furthest southwestern point of Great Britain is Land's End; the southernmost point is Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 563,600 and covers an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. The administrative centre of Cornwall, and its only city, is Truro.

Earl of Desmond

The title of Earl of Desmond has been held historically by lords in Ireland, first as a title outside of the peerage system and later as part of the Peerage of Ireland.

The following year he returned to Ireland during the Nine Years' War, to find that the confiscated land he had been granted had been ransacked. Disgruntled by the lack of rewards for his service to the Crown, Denny allied himself to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. Late in 1599 or early in 1600, Denny "took a deadly sickness in his country’s service". [1] He died on 12 February 1600 at the age of 52; his tomb and monument are in Waltham Abbey Church in Essex. The monument is beside the high altar and depicts Denny lying on his side in a suit of armour, next to his wife; on a separate frieze below are depicted their ten children kneeling. [2] It carries the inscription;

The Nine Years' War, sometimes called Tyrone's Rebellion, took place in Ireland from 1593 to 1603. It was fought between an Irish alliance—led mainly by Hugh O'Neill of Tyrone and Hugh Roe O'Donnell of Tyrconnell—against English rule in Ireland, and was a response to the then-ongoing Tudor conquest of Ireland. The war was fought in all parts of the country, but mainly in the northern province of Ulster. The Irish alliance won some important early victories, such as the Battle of Clontibret (1595) and the Battle of the Yellow Ford (1598), but the English won a decisive victory against the alliance and their Spanish allies in the Siege of Kinsale (1601-2). The war ended with the Treaty of Mellifont (1603). Many of the defeated northern lords left Ireland to seek support for a new uprising in the Flight of the Earls (1607), never to return. This marked the end of Gaelic Ireland and led to the Plantation of Ulster.

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex 16th-century English nobleman

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG, PC, was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599. In 1601, he led an abortive coup d'état against the government and was executed for treason.

Waltham Abbey Church Church in England

The Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross and St Lawrence is the parish church of the town of Waltham Abbey, Essex, England. It has been a place of worship since the 7th century. The present building dates mainly from the early 12th century and is an example of Norman architecture. To the east of the existing church are traces of an enormous eastward enlargement of the building, begun following the re-foundation of the abbey in 1177. In the Late Middle Ages, Waltham was one of the largest church buildings in England and a major site of pilgrimage; in 1540 it was the last religious community to be closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is still an active parish church for the town.

Learn, curious reader, ere you pass,
What Sir Edward Denny was:
A courtier in the chamber, a soldier in the field;
Whose tongue could never flatter,
Whose heart could never yield. [1]

Sir Edward is interred in the family vault in the churchyard, [2] Lady Margaret Denny lived on until 1648 and is buried in St Michael's Church, Bishop's Stortford.


  1. 1 2 N.M.S. "DENNY, Edward (c.1547-1600), of Bishop's Stortford, Herts. and Tralee, co. Kerry". www.historyofparliamentonline.org. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  2. 1 2 Hagger, Nicholas (2012), A View of Epping Forest O-Books, John Hunt Publishing Ltd, ISBN   978-1-84694-587-8 (p. 179)

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