Filmer, Edward

Male 1566 - 1629  (63 years)

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  • Name Filmer, Edward 
    Born 17 Jan 1566  East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Sir 
    Died 2 Nov 1629  East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Shortly after Elizabeth Argall married Edward Filmer in 1585, Edward's father, Robert, died. Edward then found himself, at the age of nineteen, the owner of the manor of Little Charlton, at least three other manors and much property besides.

      Responsibilities came quickly. As early as 1593 he was appointed a justice of the Peace at Maidstone, a position he took very seriously. He recorded his activities in a notebook, now at the Kent Archives Office (U120/09 - both he and William Lewyn of Otterden Place were Justices together in 1596 - Miles T viii p.11.10 Feodera - Gregg. 1628).

      This notebook is of much local interest containing as it does many copies of petitions, orders, etc. from Kent Quarter Sessions including directions to High Constables for making their presentments.

      With Thomas Argall he contributed to the Levy of Arms called by Sir William Twysden in 1595.

      He was knighted by King James I at Whitehall on 23/7/1603, on the eve of the coronation.

      He acquired the manor of East Sutton from John Argall in 1610 and that thereafter this became the family home. (K.A.O. U120/C1).

      Much of his activity seems to have been concerned with the upbringing of his prodigious family and with local affairs. (C.W. Chalkin p.250)

      As a Maidstone Justice in 1613 he was much concerned in diligently applying the Statute of Artificers in the hundred of Eyhorne, where the burden of the poor was then much increasing, and in 1614/5 he was appointed High Sheriff of Kent and was knighted.

      He, was also a Captain of the Light Horse for the Lathe of Aylesford. (Re muster at Coxheath - K.A.O. U120/C2).

      In 1614, as inevitably seemed to happen, he had an action in the Court of Requests over land at Boughton Munchelsea. (C. of R. James I 391/9; 403/35).

      He also had to contend with the increasing problems in the parish of East Sutton. The Church at East Sutton formed part of the Benefice of Sutton Valence. It was not uncommon, around this time, for there to be considerable laxness and neglect by clergymen of their parishes and it seems probable that East Sutton was one of the ones to suffer. Certainly Sir Edward started to keep a Register in 1615 containing copies of deeds of lands belonging to the church and parish. A note therein says that it was compiled because deeds of conveyance are:

      'daylie exposite to diverse casualties as well by negligence of the keepers, as by fire, by myce, mouldings, ymbeseling and purloynings'

      Sir Edward, himself, however took his religion seriously enough to get a dispensation to eat meat in Lent in 1619 K. A. O. U120 /F2 1)

      Sir Edward died in 1629 and a detailed account of his family is given on his gravestone. The following inscription was recorded by the Vicar of Dettling, the Rev. Cave-Brown in 1898 (East Sutton Churchyard p. 46):

      "Under this rest, in the certain hope of the Resurrection, the bodies of Sir EDWARD FILMER, Knight, and Dame ELIZABETH his wife, the daughter of Richard Argall, Esq. They lived together fortie four years, and had issue eighteen children, viz.: nine sonnes and nine daughters, Robert, Edward, John, Thomas, Reginald, Thomas, Richard, Henry, Augustin, and Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, Judith, Katherine, Anne, Jane, Susannah, Sarah. He departed this life ye 2nd November, Ao. Di. 1629; she ye 9th August, Ao. Di. 1638."

      Sir Edward's Will is a mine of information about the status of the family and interrelationships with others. It is reproduced below.

      WILL of ROBERT FILMER, of East Sutton, gentleman

      Dated 11/4/1629 Proved 4/5/1629

      Robert Filmer died in 1629, shortly before his elder brother, Edward.

      'I, Robert FILMER of East Sutton, county Kent, gentleman, being in sound memory God be praised, do make this my last will, in manner following:
      I wish my body to be buried in upper chancel of Parish Church of East Sutton. I will and bequeath to the poor of East Sutton, 40s. to be paid to them quarterly by my executors.
      I give to Lady FILMER, my sister the sum of £7. To my brother HENRY FILMER my gold ring, with the death's head, and three suites of apparel two of cloth and one of pink sattin. I give to HENRY, my brother, two hats and two pairs of silk stockings. I give to my niece, Mrs. MARY KNATCHBULL and to Sir ROBERT FILMER, and to Mr. EDWARD FILMER, and to Mr. JOHN FILMER, and to REYNOLD FILMER, and to HENRY FILMER, gent, my nephews, 40s. apeece. To my niece Mrs. ELIZABETH FALKNER, and to Mrs. KATHERINE BARRAM my niece, and to my niece Mrs. SARAH FILMER, gentlewoman, 40s. each to buy them rings. To EDWARD FILMER my brother ANTHONY's son, my nephew, £20 to be paid to him at the age of 22 years. I give to his brother HENRY, my nephew, the sum of œ4 to be paid to him at the age of 23. I give to his sister Mistress FRANCES FILMER, my niece, the sum of œ7 to be paid to her within one year of my decease.. I give to my daughter in law PENELOPE BELLINGER, a ring of gold which was her mother's wedding ring. I give to Mrs. ELIZABETH FALKNER, my niece, a black taffeta gown. I give to the Lady FILMER, my sister, a pair of gloves wrought with pearls. The residue of moveable goods to my brother, Sir EDWARD FILMER Knight, whom I make my sole executor of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written before. ROBERTUM FILMER, in presence of THOMAS LLOYD, LAURENCE FOXE, THOS. GATELEY.

      Proved by EDWARD FILMER, brother.
      Filmer Family Manuscripts. U. 120. T. 200/9.
      PCC Will 49 Ridley

      WILL of Sir EDWARD FILMER, of East Sutton

      Dated. 20/10/1629 Proved. 5/12/1629

      SIR EDWARD FILMER of East Sutton, county Kent, Knight. Aged 63 years on 17th January, last past. Revokes all previous wills. Will 20 October Vth Chas. I; proved 5 December 1629.

      To daughter ELIZABETH wife of WILLIAM FAULKNER, Citizen and Draper of London, if she survive her husband, £500 to be paid within 6 months after his decease. And if the said WILLIAM survive his wife I will that my executors pay to the issue of her body £300, equally to be divided amongst them at their several ages of 18 years. If she die without issue, £20 to her husband WILLIAM, to be paid within 6 months after my daughter's decease. For her present maintenance, I will that my executors shall find meat drink and apparel to the value of £40 yearly at the least during the life of her husband.

      To sons EDWARD, JOHN and HENRY, to each of them, £10 to be paid immediately after my decease. And because my son REYNALD's estate consists in trading beyond the seas, therefore I give and forgive him all debts and money which he owes me by bills, bonds or otherwise at the time of my death, namely one bond bearing date the 1st November, 1623 for £200, another dated 29th October, 1622 also for £200, another dated 23rd May 1620 for £50 and one other dated 21st February, 22 James, for £100 as bound to my daughter, Sara. All which bonds amounting to £550 shall be cancelled by my executors immediately after my decease and delivered to my son REYNOLD, and my daughter SARA shall challenge no interest in the said bond. Moreover, I give to the said REYNOLD, £50.

      To son HENRY if he come in a Master of Arts at the University of Cambridge, £40. Also I give him for his better preferment in the University of Cambridge, £100 to be paid to him at the age of 25.

      To daughters Mrs. MARY KNATCHBULL and Mrs. CATHERINE BARHAM, £20 a year.

      To EDWARD KNATCHBULL my godson œ5 and to his sister MARY, £20, and to his brother JOHN APOSTHUMUS, £2.

      To EDWARD BARHAM my godson, £5 and to his sister ELIZABETH, my wive's goddaughter £5.

      To other my several grandchildren namely ROBERT BARHAM, THYOMAS, CHARLES, and RICHARD BARHAM, sons of my daughter BARHAM, each of them 40s.

      To Dame ANN, wife of my son Sir ROBERT FILMER, £20 to buy her a ring.

      To daughter SARA, £1000 whereof such sums of money as are put in her name for her benefit by bonds or otherwise shall be part thereof; to be paid within 6 months after my decease. To the said SARA, £500 to be paid within one year after her marriage.

      I will that my executors shall pay yearly to my brother, HENRY FILMER, £10 during his natural life, over and above his annuity.

      To DOROTHY FILMER, daughter of my brother ANTHONY FILMER, £10 at the age of 18 years.

      To Dame ELIZABETH, my wife, £120 and the old gold that is in her possession amounting to £20 and upwards and all the chains and jewels which are in her custody of gold, pearl and precious stones and all my household stuff and utensils of the household remaining in the Colledge house of Maidstone where I late dwelt except the tapestry hanging in the great chamber. Also I give her a full third part in three equal parts to be divided of all my linen and silver. My lease of Rectory of East Sutton towards payment of my debts. The other two parts of linen and of all my silver and gilt plate and silver plate and vessels of silver whatsoever except the two great gilt (?) bowls with their cover which I give to EDWARD FILMER, my godson after my wife's decease.

      I give my lease of the rectory of the parsonage of East Sutton and the term of years I have therein of all the glebe lands, tithes and hopgrounds and other profits whatsoever to my executors towards the payment of my debts, legacies and children's portions.

      To son Sir ROBERT FILMER, the two other parts of all my silver plate and silver vessels whatsoever together with all my household stuff and utensils of household in my house of East Sutton with all my moneys, corn, cattle and chattle and other goods and debts whatsoever. Provided always that Dame ELIZABETH, my wife shall have the lease and term of years I have in certain houses in Knightrider Street in London, which was lately given me by my brother ROBERT FILMER, esq.,

      Appoints wife, Dame ELIZABETH and son Sir ROBERT FILMER, executors.


      LANDS AND TENEMENTS in the County of Kent or elsewhere, I will that an indenture dated the 20th August, 1626 and made between me, Sir EDWARD FILMER, and EDWARD FILMER, my second son, for the assuring of a messuage and divers lands and woodlands called Nicholls in the parish of Chartham shall stand good according to the contents thereof and that 2 other indentures dated 10th April in the 3rd year of his majesty's reign between me, Sir EDWARD FILMER, and REYNOLD FILMER and HENRY FILMER for the assuring of 2 several annuities of £30 p.a. issuing out of my lands in Otterden, Chart-iuxta-Sutton Valence, Sutton Valence, Headcorn, Ulcombe and my lands in Romney Marsh at Newchurch for term of their several lives shall stand good according to the several contents of the same indentures.

      To son JOHN FILMER, an annuity of £15 p.a. issuing out of my houses, lands and woodlands lying in the parish of Darenth for and during the term of his natural life half yearly to be paid by equal portions, the first payment to begin from and immediately after one of the 2 usual feasts of the Annunciation of St. Mary the Virgin or the feast of St. Michael whichever shall first happen after my wife's decease or within 10 days after. And for non-payment of the said annuity or part of it, it shall be lawful for JOHN to distrain on the several lands out of which the said annuity is granted. To son JOHN, all my houses and lands in the parish of Yalding and to the male heirs of his body and in default of such issue to eldest son, Sir ROBERT FILMER and male heirs of his body and for default of such issue to second son EDWARD FILMER and male heirs of his body and in default of such issue to fourth son REYNOLD FILMER and male heirs of his body and in default of such issue to fifth son HENRY and male heirs.

      To son EDWARD and male heirs of his body, after my wife's decease, all my houses, lands and woodlands in the parish of Darenth near Dartford and in default of such issue to eldest son Sir ROBERT and male heirs of his body (and so on in order or birth).

      To son HENRY and male heirs after my wife's decease, one messuage or tenement with all lands thereto belonging at Warren Street, Lenham parish also one tenement in Charing parish and in default of such issue to eldest son Sir ROBERT and male heirs (etc. as before).

      To wife Dame ELIZABETH, during her natural life, all my houses and lands and woodlands in the said parish of Darenth and my houses and lands in Lenham, Charing and Sutton Valence lately purchased of THOMAS BILLS, and one piece of woodland called Horwash lying in the parishes of Boxley and Dettling and one tenement lying in the parish of Borden, some time JAMES FILMER's. And after my wife's death I will that the said wood called Horwash and the lands bought of THOMAS HILLS in Sutton Valence shall be sold by my son Sir ROBERT if need shall require for payment of my debts and legacies.

      If it shall not so need then I give the said lands to my son Sir ROBERT and heirs.

      And my will further is that all such legacies are given by me, the particulars whereof are written on a piece of paper bearing date the day of this my will and superscribed with my name shall be paid to such person and persons immediately after my decease according to the contents thereof.


      Reference. Filmer Family MSS. U.120. T.200/10. Prerogative Court of Canterbury 110 Ridley.

      A comprehensive copy of this will is held at Kent County Archives - T 200/10.

      The indentures mentioned were: one dated 20th August 1626 between Sir Edward Filmer and Edward Filmer, his second son, for the assuring of a messuage, lands and woodland called Nicholls in the parish of Chartham; another two dated 10th April 3 James I between Sir Edward Filmer, Reynold Filmer and Henry Filmer for the assuring of two several annuities of £30 per annum issuing out of lands in Otterden, Chart-iuxta-Sutton Valence, Sutton Valence, Headcorn, Ulcombe and lands at Romey Marsh at Newchurch.

      The tenement mentioned as being at Borden was one owned originally by his grandfather, James Filmer.

      VENN - To 1751

      FILMER, EDWARD, Adm. Fell.-Com. (age 18) at CAIUS, Apr. 30, 1584. S. of Robert, Esq. B. at East Sutton, Kent. School, East Sutton. Knighted, July 23, 1603. Of East Sutton. Sherriff of Kent, 1614. Died 1629. Father of the next and of Robert (1604) and probably of Henry (1624), and Richard (1620), brother of Robert (1586). (Vis. Of Kent; Venn, I. 119.)

      It seems that John Argall, his brother-in-law, got heavily into debt around 1610. After a long period of negotiation he sold East Sutton manor to Edward. Thereafter it became the Filmer family home.

      A brass depicting himself and his family is in East Sutton church. (See Research notes).

      Sir Edward and Elizabeth had the remarkable number of eighteen children born between 1586 and 1608. In order of their birth, they are: Robert, Mary, Margaret, Edward, John, Elizabeth, Judith, Katherine, Reginald (Rainold), Thomas, Anna, Jane, Thomas, Susanna, Richard, Sara, Henry, and Augstin.

      An EDWARD FILMER of East Sutton, probably him, was paid £7 for farme due and owing to him, under the administration of JAMES FILMER of Otterden (the son of REGINALD FILMER and ANNIS ALLEN) dated 22/5/1597

      After her death a magnificent brass was placed upon the floor of the North aisle of East Sutton Church by Sir Edward's son, Sir Robert Filmer. It forms one continuous plate, thus indicating foreign rather than English workmanship, 6 ft 8ins long by 3 ft. 6 ins wide. The knight and his lady are shown full length, ruffed and frilled, he in rich plated armour, booted, spurred and gartered, she in the graceful. folds of a Jacobean Court dress, and at their feet in double rows their eighteen children individually named, and a running scroll on the margin recording the deaths of Sir Edward and Dame Elizabeth. In the left corner appears the Filmer arms and in the opposite corner that of the Argalls (per fesse, argent and vert , a pale counterchanged, three lions' heads erased, gules), while in the centre between the two figures appear the arms of Filmer and Argall per pale.

      Although all the children are etched as fully grown it is thought only about ten actually came of age.

      The engraving was probably executed by Edward Marshall, the King's Mason.

      It seems likely that it was to her that Richard Lovelace wrote his epitaph beginning:

      "You that shall live awhile before
      Old Time tyr's, and is no more"

      (From Filmer Family Notes Part I, B. J. Filmer)

      Sir Edward Filmer and Lady Elizabeth Argall

      A.D. 1638

      "This Brass.... the latest example of any importance in the seventeenth century, was executed between the years 1629 and 1638, and consists of a large sheet of metal upon which are engraven the figures of Sir Edward Filmer of East Sutton, knight, his wife, and their children. The workmanship in general, and the ornamentation in particular, is remarkably similar to the Brass of Archbishop Harsnett 1631, and, like that, is probably of foreign manufacture.

      The Filmer family was originally seated at Herst, in the parish of Otterden, Kent, where Robert Filmer lived in the reign of Edward II. Sir Edward Filmer was eldest son of Robert Filmour, prothonotary of the court of Common Pleas in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who removed to the estate of Little Charleton, in East Sutton, which he had purchased, and died in 1585. Sir Edward increased this estate by purchasing from his brother-in-law John Argall, Esq., the manor of East Sutton; he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and served the office of sheriff of Kent 13 James I.

      He is represented in a handsome suit of body armor, a large frill round his neck, trunk-breeches, and jack-boots. His wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Argall, esq., wears a cap, hood, ruff and short mantle; her dress opens in front and discovers a petticoat worked and fringed at the edge. Upon the death of this lady, Lovelace penned an elegant "Elegiacal epitaph," which concludes with these lines:-

      "Thus, although this marble must,
      as all things, must crumble into dust;
      and though you find this fair-built tomb
      Ashes as what lies in its womb;
      Yet her saint-like name shall shine
      A living glory in this shrine,
      And her eternal fame be read,
      When all but very virtue is dead."

      Robert, their oldest son, the first of the group below, employed his pen in defense of the crown, was knighted by Charles I., and suffered heavily in purse and person during the civil wars. The inscription round the verge of the plate shows that the monument was prepared in the life-time of the widow, the date of her death having been scratched upon the metal, subsequently to its being placed in the church: -

      "Under this rest in certain hope of the resurrection, the bodies of Sir Edward Filmer, Knight, and dame Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Richard Argall, Esquire. They lived together forty-four years and had issue eighteen children, Viz: nine sons and nine daughters. He departed this life on the second of November 1629 A. D. She the [9th of August] 16[38] A. D."

      Taken from Monumental Brasses from the 13th to the 16th century by John Green Waller & Lionel A. B. Waller, 1864. Reprinted 1975 by Cambridge University.
    Person ID I15961  Hougham
    Last Modified 11 Aug 2004 

    Father Filmer, Robert
              b. 1525
              d. 31 Aug 1585, East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years) 
    Mother Chester, Frances
              b. Abt 1526 
    Married (5 Mar 1564/1565)  London. St Dunstans in the East Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F5908  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Argall, Elizabeth
              b. 1570, East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 9 Aug 1638, East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Married 1585  East Sutton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F5926  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart