Edward Fiennes de Clinton , 1st Earl of Lincoln

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Lord Admiral Edward Fiennes de Clinton , 1st Earl of Lincoln
Edward Fiennes de Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln by unknown artist in 1584. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery London.
Manor of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, England
Died16 January 1585
London, England
AllegianceFlag Kingdom of England.gif Kingdom of England
Service/branchTudor Ensign 1485-1603.svg Navy Royal
Years of service1532–1585
RankLord Admiral
Commands heldHMS Swallow
HMS Pauncy
HMS Golden Lion
HMS Elizabeth Jonas
Narrow Seas Squadron
Navy Royal
Battles/warsSiege of Boulogne (1544)
Battle of Spithead (1545)
Siege of St Andrews Castle (1547)
Battle of Pinkie (1547)
Battle of St. Quentin (1557)

Edward Fiennes de Clinton , 1st Earl of Lincoln KG (1512 – 16 January 1585) was an English landowner, peer, diplomat and government minister who twice served as Lord Admiral of England from (Oct 1549 to May 1550, Feb 1558 to Jul 1585) as Minister for the Marine of the Admiralty and Marine Affairs Office and naval commander in chief of the Navy Royal under four of the Tudor monarchs.


Clinton joined the retinue of King Henry VIII at Boulogne and Calais in 1532. He sat in the House of Lords in 1536 and later served in the Navy Royal against French and Scottish naval forces from 1544 to 1547. He was knighted in Edinburgh by Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, for his part in the capture of that city in 1544. He also took part in the Siege of Boulogne in September 1544. Under John Dudley, Viscount Lisle, he saw action against the French at the Battle of Spithead in 1545 and was sent as one of the peace commissioners to France the following year.

In August 1547, Clinton was sent to Scotland with a fleet of twelve ships to support the Siege of St Andrews Castle and prevent a French intervention, but he arrived too late. He captured Broughty Castle on 24 September, refortified it with the aid of an Italian military engineer, and installed Andrew Dudley as its captain, leaving him three ships, the Mary Hamborough, the Barque Eger, and the Phoenix.[1]

Clinton commanded the English fleet during the invasion of Scotland by Edward Seymour and provided naval artillery support at the Battle of Pinkie on 15 September 1547. In August 1548 he sailed into the Firth of Forth and scattered French and Scottish ships near Leith. He then landed 500 men to burn the ships in the harbour of Burntisland and contemplated fortifying the harbour for English use. He was aboard the Great Barque.[2]

Appointed as Governor of Boulogne in 1547, Clinton successfully defended the city against a French siege from 1549 to 1550. That same year, with Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and of Nottinghamshire and served as Lord Admiral of England under King Edward VI from 1550 to 1553, and again in the reign of Elizabeth I of England|Queen Elizabeth]] from 1559 to his death in 1585. He was a Privy Counsellor from 1550 to 1553 and briefly served as an envoy to France in 1551. After appointment as Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire in 1552, Clinton took part in the defeat of Wyatt's Rebellion in Kent in 1554.

He was a commander of the expedition of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke to support the Spanish forces at the Battle of Saint Quentin in northern France on 10 August 1557, but arrived after the battle was largely won. Upon his return to England, Clinton took command of the English fleet, raided the French coast and in 1558 burnt the town of Le Conquet and the surrounding area.

With Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Clinton was in joint command of a large army during the Northern Rebellion; however the army was still being assembled when the rebellion was defeated in January 1570. He was created Earl of Lincoln in 1572, and served as ambassador to France, during which time he undertook several commissions from Queen Elizabeth I until his death in London on 16 January 1585.

In 1541-42 following the dissolution of the monasteries, Clinton and his wife, Ursula, were granted the lands of the earlier Aslackby Preceptory of the Knights Templar—later belonging to the Knights Hospitaller—at Aslackby in Lincolnshire.[3] He died in London on 16 January 1585.


  1. Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1547-1563, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), pp. 13-14, 21.
  2. Joseph Bain, Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1547-1563, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1898), p. 159.
  3. Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire 1933, p.42