Henry Sandys, MP

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Henry Sandys, MP

Birthplace: Northbourn Manor, Northbourne, Kent, England
Death: July 1640 (28-37)
Northbourne, Kent, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Edwin Sandys, Kt., MP and Catherine Sandys
Husband of Catherine Sutliff and Margaret Sandys
Father of Henry Miles Sandys
Brother of Mary Spencer; Richard Sandys, of Downe Hall; Col. Robert Sandys; Edwin Sandys; Frances Sandys and 8 others
Half brother of Anne Sandys and Elizabeth Wilsford

Managed by: John J. Michaels
Last Updated:

About Henry Sandys, MP

Family and Education

  • b. c.1607, 1st son of Sir Edwin Sandys* of Northbourne and his 4th wife Katherine, daughter of Sir Richard Bulkeley* of Anglesey.
  • educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1621, aged 14, BA 1624; G. Inn 1627.
  • m. Margaret, daughter of Sir William Hammond of St. Albans, Nonington, Kent, 1 son d.v.p.[1]
  • Succeeded father 1629;[2]
  • admon. 28 July 1640.[3]

Offices Held

  • Member, Virginia Company 1623-4,
  • Member, Somers Island Companhy 1629-d.[4]
  • Commissioner of sewers, Kent 1639-d.[5]


Sandys was still a minor, barely out of university, when he was elected to Parliament at Mitchell in 1625 after failing to secure a seat at Sandwich, the borough closest to Northbourne. On 8 Apr. the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, the duke of Buckingham, wrote on his behalf to the electors of Sandwich at the behest of Sandys’s father, Sir Edwin, who was then one of the duke’s clients.[6]

However, although Sir Edwin had himself sat for Sandwich in 1621, Buckingham by custom exercised patronage over only one of the borough’s seats, which he had already filled.[7] This may explain why Sandys did not await the outcome of the Sandwich election on 5 May before seeking an alternative seat at Mitchell, where he was returned on 25 April. As that borough’s other MP, Sir John Smythe II, had been elected five days earlier, it seems that a place was kept open for Sandys, perhaps at the duke’s request. Buckingham is thought to have intervened in several Cornish elections in 1625, although firm evidence is lacking at Mitchell itself.[8]

In view of his extreme youthfulness, it is scarcely surprising that Sandys does not feature in the records of the 1625 Parliament. Although he set out for the Oxford sitting, he turned back after hearing a false report of its adjournment.[9] He seems never to have stood for election again.

The course of Sandys’s adult life was largely dictated by his disastrous inheritance. Although Sir Edwin provided his heir with shares in the Virginia Company, he did so only shortly before its collapse. Sandys was also left stock in the Somers Island Company, but any profits were more than offset by his father’s debts, which by 1629 ran to many thousands of pounds. Sir Edwin specified in his will that the bulk of the profits from his estate should be used to pay off his debts until 1633.[10]

However, this forced Sandys to borrow to survive, placing an additional drain on the estate’s resources. When he finally gained full control over his inheritance, following his mother’s death in 1634, many of Sir Edwin’s debts remained unsettled.[11] Sandys consequently invoked a clause in his father’s will which permitted him to delay the release of minor portions of the estate to his younger brothers and sisters. This decision precipitated a family rift, and in 1638 his brother Edwin resorted to litigation. However, as Sir Edwin’s debts still stood at £1,800, Chancery largely upheld the existing arrangements.[12]

When he drew up his own will in 1637 Sandys, like his father, made provision for his executors to retain certain profits while his debts were cleared. He evidently did not trust Edwin, the next male heir, to abide by his wishes, for the executorship went to a younger brother, Richard, while Northbourne and other major properties were left to Sandys’s widow for life rather than directly to Edwin, in partial contravention of Sir Edwin’s will.[13]

By the time he died in London in July 1640, Sandys owed his creditors more than £8,000, over and above the debts inherited from his father. More than half of this amount consisted of bonds incurred through defaulting on loans, but Sandys had also failed to meet routine household expenses including an apothecary’s bill presented shortly before his death. Edwin subsequently went to law again to defend his interests, but he also took matters into his own hands. In a manner foreshadowing his raids on Kent’s royalists at the start of the Civil War, he descended on Northbourne in the autumn of 1640 with an armed gang, and Richard found himself evicted at gunpoint. Despite never regaining possession of Northbourne, Richard claimed to have settled Sandys’s debts by 1647, though it is unclear how many of his legacies, such as the £40 left for ‘beautifying’ Northbourne church, were finally paid.[14] No other member of this branch of the Sandys family subsequently sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Paul Hunneyball


  • PROB 11/183, f. 347.
  • 1.Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 47, 148; Al Ox.; GI Admiss.
  • 2. PROB 11/156, f. 199.
  • 3. PROB 11/183, f. 348.
  • 4.Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, iii. 66; PROB 11/156, f. 198; 11/183, f. 347v.
  • 5. C181/5, f. 199.
  • 6. Add. 37819, f. 11v. Buckingham’s letter does not specify his candidate’s first name, but given Sandys’s extreme youth it can scarcely have been his yr. bro. Edwin, as Gruenfelder claims: J.K. Gruenfelder, ‘Lord Wardens and Elections’, JBS, xvi. 23.
  • 7. Gruenfelder, JBS, xvi. 11, 15.
  • 8. C219/39/43, 65; J.K. Gruenfelder, Influence in Early Stuart Elections, 147. Procs. 1625, p. 693 states incorrectly that Buckingham’s letter was sent to the electors of Mitchell. The ms does not specify the addressees, but the identification with Sandwich is clear from internal evidence.
  • 9. Magdalene Coll. Camb. Ferrar pprs. Sir Edwin Sandys to Nicholas Ferrar, 23 Dec. 1625.
  • 10. PROB 11/156, ff. 196-8v.
  • 11. C2/Chas.I/S125/29; PROB 11/183, f. 347v.
  • 12. PROB 11/156, f. 197v; C2/Chas.I/S125/29; 2/Chas.I/S35/56.
  • 13. PROB 11/183, ff. 347-8; C2/Chas.I/S64/28.
  • 14. C2/Chas.I/S35/56; S8/27; 2/Chas.I/S42/48; 2/Chas.I/S68/49; H.F. Abell, Kent and Gt. Civil War, 69-87; PROB 11/183, f. 347.


From Ancestry tree story

There has been controversy over the life of Sir Edwin’s oldest son Henry and his possible connection to the families in America. The following are some of the conflicting stories….

Henry is said to have died in 1640, yet he’s been named as a descendent that came to America in 1640. (Henry would have only been 32 years old in 1640 and I've found no information on how or why he would have died so young)

Henry was to have married Margaret Hammond, but he is also said to have married Catherine Sutliff. Some say Catherine was his second wife. (I can find no documentation or background information for either wife)

H enry was to have died without issue, yet it has been said he had a son and two daughters while living in America.

Much of the controversy stems from a 1962 book written by Charles H Sandy. Charles lived in Virginia and had easy access to their historical records. He worked closely with reference librarians and with relatives who provided oral history. However, in the pedigree part of his book, he left no citations for the information.

Charles said that Henry Sandys, first son of Sir Edwin, had a son named Henry Miles Sandys, who was born in Virginia in 1642. And that Henry Miles received a land grant from his Great Uncle, George Sandys. (George died in 1944, and had no children, so it’s possible his estates and lands could have been willed to other relatives)

Charles further states that Henry Miles had improved the land by instituting glassmaking and reconstructing an iron foundry. There is documentation that George Sandys owned several sets of acreages of land in Virginia and on his initial 200 acres had set up ironworking and glassmaking industries.  (http://apva.org/rediscovery/pdf/sandys.pdf).

However, if Henry Sandys died in England in 1640 and never came to America, then the Henry Miles Sandys spoken of by Charles could not have been his son, but it's highly probably he was a relative. And if the story of the land grant is true, then he must have been a "close" relative.

In 1639, Henry Sandys, Sir Edwin's oldest son, renewed a lease on the Aldersgate house, proving he was still alive and doing business at that time. (Jacobean Gentleman by Theodore K Rabb; 1998; page 389)

In my own research I found an American record of a Will that mentioned a Henry Sandys in 1649 (see citation below). But there is no way to know his relationship to the family in England.

The New England historical and genealogical register 1853 Volume 7;  Chapter:  Abstracts of Early Wills;  Page 176 – speaking about an inventory it mentions “Henry Sandys” in a record dated 1649.

A Henry Sandys is also mentioned as having arrived in New England, apparently Massachusettes, in 1640 and had a son named John  born in 1646. This record is listed in a book by John Farmer called Genealogical Records of the First Settlers of New England on page 253. Along with this record a Henry Sands is listed as being in the Rowley area in 1643.

To have a Henry Sandys who came to America in 1640, the very year that Henry, son of Sir Edwin, was to have died, is quite remarkable. Could Henry have found a way to fake his death and flee to America to escape his financial crisis? I've read that he was deeply in debt. It's just a thought and it does seem far fetched, but with the "friends in high places" that his family had, is it really impossible?

According to the next citation, Sir Edwin sent “relatives” to the Jamestown settlement in Virginia.

History and Genealogy of the Mayflower Planters by Leon Clark Hills 2009;  Page 77 -- Several of the Sandys family were early in New England, among them Captain James Sandys of Portsmouth, RI; Page 242 -- Sandys sent into the final fight at Jamestown for a popular government his closet friends and relatives. Tradition and personal preferment impelled him to do this.

In conclusion, the probability of the families in America being related to the families in England is too high to dismiss.  Finding the relative through whom the connection is made is the difficulty. Whether the Archbishop and Sir Edwin turn out to be in the direct line of my family or whether they end up being cousins is not what I care most about. What interests me most is knowing they are related.

  • Civil War Veterans of Perry County, Indiana by Frank D Sandage 2011, page 61
    • "Henry Miles Sandys was born at Falling Creek, Virginia in 1642. When his parents returned to England, he stayed behind with his Aunt Carolyn, who married Henry Northrup. Henry married Carolyn Southwaite."
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Henry Sandys, MP's Timeline

Northbourn Manor, Northbourne, Kent, England
July 1640
Age 33
Northbourne, Kent, England
Bermuda Hundred, America