Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Baronet

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Charles Sedley

Birthplace: Shoe Lane, London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in London, Greater London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir John Sedley, 2nd Baronet and Elizabeth Sedley
Husband of Lady Katherine Savage
Partner of Anne Ayscough
Father of Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester and Sir Charles Sedley
Brother of Sir Henry Sedley, 3rd Baronet and Sir William Sedley, 4th Baronet

Occupation: Politician, poet, dramatist, wit
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Baronet

Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Baronet (March 1639 – 20 August 1701) was an English wit, dramatist and politician, ending his career as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Reputation of the young and dashing courtiers of Charles II's time

Sedley was reputed as a notorious rake and libertine, part of the "Merry Gang" gang of courtiers which included the Earl of Rochester and Charles Sackville, Lord Buckhurst. In 1663 an indecent frolic in Bow Street, for which he was fined 2000 marks, made Sedley notorious. From the balcony of Oxford Kate's Tavern he, Lord Buckhurst and Sir Thomas Ogle shocked and delighted a crowd of onlookers with their blasphemous and obscene antics. According to Samuel Pepys, Sedley (1)

showed his nakedness - acting all the postures of lust and buggery that could he imagined, and abusing of scripture ... preaching a Mountebank sermon from that pulpit ... that being done, he took a glass of wine and washed his prick in it and then drank it off; and then took another and drank the King's health'.

This behaviour provoked a riot amongst the onlookers and condemnation in the courts, where the Lord Chief Justice gave his opinion that it was because of wretches like him "that God's anger and judgement hang over us".[9]

Sedley was member of parliament for New Romney in Kent, and took an active and useful part in politics. A speech of his on the civil list after the Revolution is cited by Macaulay as a proof that his reputation as a man of wit and ability was deserved. His bon mot at the expense of James II is well known. The king had seduced his daughter and created her countess of Dorchester, whereupon Sedley said: "As the king has made my daughter a countess, the least I can do, in common gratitude, is to assist in making his Majesty's daughter (Mary) a queen". Sedley is also occasionally associated with a notorious gang of unbridled revellers who called themselves Ballers and who were active between 1660 and 1670. It was probably Sedley who wrote the Ballers' Oath on behalf of them.[10]


  • posthumous son of Sir John Sedley, Baronet d 1638 & Elizabeth Saville


  1. on 23 Feb 1657 in St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Holborn, Middlesex, England to Catherine Savage, 3rd daughter of John Savage, Earl Rivers & Catherine Parker.
  2. Bigamously to Catherine Ayscough, also known as Ann Aycough. They are said to have celebrated a marriage during the husband's 1st wife's lifetime: see 'Complete Baronetage', vol. 1 p. 74 fn. (c).

Children with Lady Savage

  1. Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester (1657 - 1717). Married David Colyear, Earl of Portmore after a long liason with King James ll. She was Sir Charles' heir and upon her death, in 1717, her Peerage became extinct.

Children with Ann Ayscough

  1. William, died young
  2. Sir Charles Sedley, Knight,   b. Abt 1668, of, Southfleet, Kent, England ,   d. Bef 30 Jun 1701. Married Frances Newdigate.


  1. The Diary of Samuel Pepys - Wednesday 1 July 1663
  2. cracrofts peerage: the Rivers Earls "Lady Catherine Savage, mar. as his first wife her sister's brother-in-law Sir Charles Sidley, 5th Bt., of Ailesford, co. Kent (b. 1639; d. 20 Aug 1701), and had issue"
  3. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 2673.
  4. Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 263
  5. The Baronetage of England: Containing a Genealogical and ..., Volume 3.  By Thomas Wotton, Edward Kimber, Richard A. Johnson. "SIDLEY, of Southfleet.". Page 2, page 3.


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Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Baronet's Timeline

March 30, 1639
London, Middlesex, England
March 30, 1639
Westminster, Middlesex, England
March 30, 1639
- March 30, 1639
Westminster, Middlesex, England

Source: Complete Baronetage, 1611-1880 (1900-1906), Cokayne, George Edward, (5 volumes. Exeter [England]: W. Pollard, 1900-1906), FHL book 942 D22cg., vol. 1 p. 74.

December 21, 1657
Age 18
London, England
Age 28
Southfleet, Kent, England
August 20, 1701
Age 62
London, Greater London, England