Sir Edmund Anderson
Sir Edmund Anderson.
(1530–August 1 1605), Chief
Justice of the Common Pleas under Elizabeth I
, sat as judge at the
trial of Mary I of
Anderson family originated in Scotland and then came to Northumberland. They settled in Lincolnshire in the 14th century and became a prominent family
Anderson, son of Edward Anderson, was born in Flixborough in Lincolnshire c.
1530. He received the first
part of his education in the country and then spent a brief period
at Lincoln College,
Oxford, before entering the Inner Temple in June 1550.
In 1577, Anderson was created Serjeant-at-Law
and in 1578 he was appointed
Queen's Sergeant. In 1581 he was appointed Justice of Assize
on the Norfolk circuit
and tried Edmund Campion and others in November 1581, securing an
On the back of that success, Anderson was made Chief Justice of the Common
in 1582 and was knighted. He was reappointed by James I
and held office until his
death. Throughout his career he played a prominent role in some
of the most important political trials of Elizabeth’s reign
including that of Mary 1 of Scotland and Sir Walter Ralegh
. At one point Sir
Edmund presided over the trial of Davison, the Queen’s secretary
who was accused of erroneously issuing the warrant for the
execution of Mary I of Scotland.
married Magdalen Smyth from Hertfordshire and had 9 children, 3 sons and 6 daughters.
He had a number of distinguished decendants, including a Chief
Justice of Colonial Maryland .
Anderson was often described as a strict lawyer who was “completely
governed by the law”. He even stated at an important trial that, “I
sit here to judge of law, not logic” . In Sir Edward Coke
and the Elizabeth Age
by Allen D. Boyer, Sir Edmund is
described as “the monster: an angry man in the courtroom and a
resentful man afterward, an advocate who begrudged other lawyers’
became lord of the parish of Eyeworth in Bedfordshire and his family remained the local
gentry for many generations.
All Saints Church in Eyeworth
contains a number of impressive brasses and monuments to Anderson
and his wife. The most revered of these monuments is one that is in
the south wall of the chancel of the Church of All Saints. It is an
ornate monument of Sir Edmund Anderson and his wife, Magdalen
Smyth. The monument has two statues, one of Sir Edmund dressed in
his judicial robes and the other is of his wife in a fine gown from
that period. Both of these figures are set on a marble alter tomb.
The canopy of this monument is semi-circular and the projecting
piece is supported by two seven foot pillars and the whole is
topped by the family coat of arms. Besides this great monument,
there are two other monuments, though somewhat more modest, that
honor members of the Anderson family .
Anderson wrote two books, Reports of Many Principal Cases
Argued and Adjudged in the Time of Queen Elizabeth, in the Common
and Resolutions and Judgments on the Cases and
Matters Agitated in All the Courts of Westminster, in the latter
end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1653
, which are still
today very influential legal references .
1. The Barontage of England
By William Betham (1801)
2. Uk National Portrait Gallery
3. Collective Geneological Research http://www.ancestry.com
4. The Barontage of England
5. Sir Edward Coke and the Elizabethen Age
By Allen D
7. The Barontage of England