The Anderson family originated in Scotland and then came to Northumberland. They settled in Lincolnshire in the 14th century and became a prominent family there.
Sir Edmund Anderson (1530 – 1 August 1605), Chief Justice of the Common Pleas under Elizabeth I, sat as judge at the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots
Sir Edmund 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 Sergeant-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 unexpected conviction.
On the back of that success, Anderson was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 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, Queen of Scots, 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, Queen of Scots.
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' victories”.
Anderson wrote two books, Reports of Many Principal Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Time of Queen Elizabeth, in the Common Bench 1644 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.
About 1566 Anderson married Magdalen (c.1542–1622), daughter of Christopher Smythe, of Annables in Hertfordshire, and his wife, Margaret. The couple had four sons and three daughters; one son was the MP Edward Anderson (b. 1573, d. in or before 1605), who trained as a lawyer and was advanced by his uncle Sir John Fortescue (1533–1607). In Michaelmas term 1577 Anderson was created sergeant-at-law, and on 3 February 1578 he was appointed queen's sergeant. By this time he had earned a reputation both for great learning and for religious conservatism, and in 1581 he was appointed justice of assize on the Norfolk circuit. His even-handed belligerence towards both Catholic and puritan nonconformists endeared him to Elizabeth I and her privy councillors. He tried Edmund Campion and others on 20 November 1581 and, despite the weakness of the case against the accused and their stout defence, secured an unexpected conviction..
WikiTree profile Anderson-4550 created through the import of Watson Family Tree Large.ged on Oct 21, 2011 by Jonathan Watson.
Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members. Ancestry.com Address: http://www.Ancestry.com
The Baronetage of England by William Betham (1801)
National Portrait Gallery (London) NPG.org
Sir Edward Coke and the Elizabethen Age By Allen D. Boyer
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