Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walker, Edward
WALKER, Sir EDWARD (1612–1677), Garter king-of-arms, born on 24 Jan. 1611–12, was the second son of Edward Walker of Roobers in the parish of Nether Stowey, Somerset, by Barbara, daughter of Edward Salkeld of Corby Castle in Cumberland (Wood, Fasti, ii. 28; Catalogue of the Ashmolean MSS. p. 130). Walker entered the service of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, at the time of the king's visit to Scotland in 1633, and accompanied Arundel on his embassy to the emperor in 1636 (Historical Discourses, p. 214; Cal. Clarendon Papers, i. 115). Arundel's influence as earl marshal opened the college of arms to Walker, and he was successively created Blanch Lion pursuivant-at-arms extraordinary (August 1635), Rouge Croix pursuivant (5 June 1637), and Chester Herald (8 Feb. 1638) (Noble, College of Arms, pp. 242, 249, 253; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1635, p. 355). Arundel was general of the royal army during the first Scottish war, and was pleased, says Walker, ‘by his own election to make me his secretary-at-war for this expedition, in which I served him and the public with the best of my faculties’ (Discourse, pp. 217, 263). Walker took part officially in the negotiations with the Scottish commissioners at Berwick, of which he has left some notes (ib. p. 264; Hist. MSS. Comm. 15th Rep. ii. 295). On 23 April 1640 he was appointed paymaster of the garrison of Carlisle (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1640 pp. 14, 63, 1641–3 p. 123).
When the civil war broke out Walker followed the king to York and Oxford, and accompanied him in his campaigns. On 24 April 1642 Charles sent Walker and another herald to demand the surrender of Hull, and to proclaim Sir John Hotham traitor in case of refusal (Hist. MSS. Comm. 15th Rep. ii. 95). About the end of September 1642 the king constituted Walker his secretary-at-war, and on 13 April 1644 he was sworn in as secretary-extraordinary to the privy council. He accompanied Charles during the campaign of 1644, and was employed to deliver the king's offer of pardon to Waller's army after the battle of Cropredy Bridge, and to the army of the Earl of Essex before its defeat in Cornwall (Discourses, pp. 34, 63; Hist. MSS. Comm. 15th Rep. ii. 99–106). Walker was with the king at Naseby and through his wanderings after that battle, and at Oxford during the siege and surrender (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645–7, p. 147; Hamper, Life of Sir W. Dugdale, p. 90). In 1644 Walker was created Norroy king-of-arms, though the patent did not pass the signet till April 1644, nor the great seal till 24 June (ib. p. 21; Noble, p. 239; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, p. 140). When Sir Henry St. George [q. v.] died, Walker was appointed to succeed him as Garter king-of-arms (24 Feb. 1645), and was sworn into the chapter of the order on 2 March 1645 (ib. 1644–5, p. 328; Noble, p. 235; Hamper, p. 78). The king knighted him on 2 Feb. 1645.
After the fall of Oxford Walker went to France, returning to England in the autumn of 1648, by permission of parliament (2 Sept.), to act as the king's chief secretary in the negotiations at Newport. In 1649 he was at The Hague with Charles II, by whom in February 1649 he was appointed clerk of the council in ordinary, and in September made receiver of the king's moneys (Hist. MSS. Comm. 15th Rep. ii. 112). In June 1650 he accompanied Charles II to Scotland, but immediately after landing his name was included in the list of English royalists whom the Scottish parliament ordered to be banished from the country. Money was ordered for Walker's transportation, but as he got none he lingered on, and his stay was connived at. On 4 Oct. 1650 he was ordered to leave the court at once, and embarked for Holland at the end of the month (Discourses, p. 205; Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 69; Sir James Balfour, Works, iv. 83).
During the early part of this exile Walker was engaged in a constant struggle for the maintenance of his rights and privileges as Garter. Disputes arose over the method of admitting persons to the order of the Garter (as, for instance, in 1650 over the investiture of the Marquis of Ormonde), in consequence of which Walker obtained a royal declaration (28 May 1650) affirming that it was his right always to be sent with the insignia on the election of foreign princes and others. Accordingly on 4 May 1653 Walker was employed to deliver the garter to the future William III, then only two years and a half old, and in 1654 he journeyed to Berlin to invest the great elector (23 March 1654). Speeches at the investiture of the Duke of Gloucester and the Prince of Tarentum, with letters to many other knights, are among his papers (Carte, Original Letters, ii. 369; Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 175, 200, 207, 339; Ashmolean MS. 1112).
Walker received none of the annual fees due to him from the knights of the Garter, and it is evident that his office brought him very little profit. His constant grumbling about this and about the invasion of his rights gave great annoyance to Hyde and Nicholas, both of whom held the meanest opinion of his character and capacity. ‘Sir Edward Walker,’ wrote Nicholas in 1653, ‘is a very importunate, ambitious, and foolish man, that studies nothing but his own ends, and every day hath a project for his particular good; and if you do him one kindness and fail him in another, you will lose him as much or more than if you had never done anything for him’ (Nicholas Papers, ii. 11). Hyde replied that Walker was a correspondent not to be endured, always writing impertinent letters either of expostulation or request. ‘Why should you wonder,’ he observes, ‘that a herald, who is naturally made up of embroidery, should adorn all his own services and make them as important as he can? I would you saw some letters he hath heretofore writ to me in discontent, by which a stranger would guess he had merited as much as any general could do, and was not enough rewarded’ (Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 222, 346).
In November 1655 Walker joined Charles II at Cologne, and became once more secretary of the council (Nicholas Papers, iii. 116, 138). In the autumn of 1656 Charles got together a small army in the Netherlands, and Walker was again charged with the functions of secretary-at-war, a business which the want of money to pay the soldiers made particularly troublesome (Cal. Clarendon Papers, iii. 186, 208, 226). His salary for the office consisted of four rations a day out of the pay allowed for reformados (Hist. MSS. Comm. 15th Rep. ii. 109).
At the Restoration Walker was made one of the clerks of the council, with John Nicholas and Sir George Lane as his colleagues. His remuneration, at first 50l. per annum, was raised in 1665 to 250l. (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1 p. 139, 1664–5, p. 318). The Long parliament had made Edward Bysshe [q. v.] Garter king-of-arms (20 Oct. 1646), who was now obliged to quit that office in favour of Walker; but Walker could not prevent his being made Clarenceux (Addit. MS. 22883; Wood, Athenæ, iii. 1218). Walker had the arrangement of the ceremonies of the coronation of Charles II, and acted as censor of the accounts published of the proceedings (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1600-1 pp. 323, 553, 606, 1661-2 p. 350; Ashmolean MS. 857). As head of the heralds' college he had schemes for the re-organisation of that body, the increase of his own authority, and the better regulation of the method of granting arms (ib. 1133; Historical Discourses, p. 312). These involved him in a long-continued quarrel with Clarenceux and Norroy, which ended in the temporary suspension of provincial visitations (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663–4, pp. 201, 212; Ashmolean MS. 840, ff. 777, 797). From 1673 to 1676 he was engaged in a similar quarrel with the earl marshal, who, he complained, ‘was prevailed upon to gratify the covetousness of Andrew Hay, his secretary, and the implacable and revengeful humour of Thomas Lee, Chester herald, and others,’ by depriving Garter of several rights never questioned before (Ashmolean MS. 1133, f. 55).
Walker died on 19 Feb. 1676–7, and was buried in the church of Stratford-on-Avon. His epitaph was written by Dugdale (Hamper, Life of Dugdale, p. 402). He married, about Easter 1644, Agneta, daughter of John Reeve, D.D., of ‘Bookern’ (? Bookham) in Surrey. By her he had only one daughter, Barbara, who married Sir John Clopton of Clopton House, near Stratford-on-Avon (Le Neve, Pedigrees of Knights, p. 159).
It was for the benefit of her eldest son, Edward Clopton, that Walker in 1664 collected his ‘Historical Discourses,’ which were finally published by her second son, Hugh Clopton, in 1705 (a later edition was published in 1707 with the title of ‘Historical Collections’). This contains a portrait of Charles I on horseback, and a picture of the king dictating his orders to Walker, who is represented as writing on the head of a drum. The most important of these is a narrative of the campaign of 1644, entitled ‘His Majesty's Happy Progress and Success from the 30 March to the 23 November 1644.’ It was written at the king's request, based on notes taken by Walker officially during the campaign and corrected by the king, to whom it was presented in April 1645. The original was captured by the parliamentarians at Naseby, restored to the king at Hampton Court in 1647, and finally returned to Walker. It was then sent to Clarendon, who made great use of it in the eighth book of his ‘History of the Rebellion.’ A manuscript of it is in the library of Christ Church, Oxford, and another is Harleian MS. 4229 (Discourses, p. 228; Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, p. 50; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 317, 382; Rebellion, x. 120; Ranke, History of England, vi. 16).
The briefer narrative called ‘Brief Memorials of the Unfortunate Success of His Majesty's Army and Affairs in the Year 1645’ was written at Paris, at the request of Lord Colepeper, about January 1647 (ib. p. 153 and table of contents). It was intended for the use of Clarendon (see Lister, Life of Clarendon, iii. 39).
The third paper is ‘A Journal of several Actions performed in the Kingdom of Scotland, etc., from 24 June 1650 to the end of October following’ (cf. Clarendon State Papers, ii. 85, and Nicholas Papers, i. 200). The others are (4) a life of Walker's patron, Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, written in 1651; (5) an answer to William Lilley's pamphlet against Charles I (‘Monarchy or No Monarchy in England’); (6) ‘Observations upon the Inconveniencies that have attended the frequent promotions to Titles of Honour since King James came to the Crown of England’ (see Rawlinson MS. C. 557); (7) ‘Observations on Hammond L'Estrange's “Annals of the Reign of Charles I,”’ 1655; (8) ‘Copies of the Letters, Proposals, etc., that passed in the Treaty at Newport’ (see Rawlinson MS. A. 114). This simply contains the official papers exchanged and the votes of parliament; a fuller and more detailed account of the proceedings is contained in the notes of Walker's secretary, Nicholas Oudart, which are printed in Peck's ‘Desiderata Curiosa.’
Walker was also the author of (9) ‘A Circumstantial Account of the Preparations for the Coronation of Charles II, with a minute detail of that splendid ceremony,’ 1820, 8vo; (10) ‘The Order of the Ceremonies used at the Celebration of St. George's Feast at Windsor, when the Sovereign of the most noble Order of the Garter is present,’ 1671 and 1674, 4to.
A number of Walker's unpublished manuscripts on different ceremonial and heraldic questions are in different collections: ‘On the Necessaries for the Installation of a Knight of the Garter,’ Rawlinson MS. B. 110, 3; ‘Remarks on the Arms borne by Younger Sons of the Kings of England,’ Cal. Clarendon MSS. ii. 85; ‘The Acts of the Knights of the Garter during the Civil War,’ Ashmolean MS. 1110, f. 155 (see Ashmole's Institution of the Order of the Garter, p. 200); ‘A New Model of Statutes for the Order of the Garter,’ Ashmolean MS. 1112, f. 204. A large number of papers concerning the history of the order of the Garter and different heraldic questions are among Ashmole's manuscripts in the Bodleian Library.
[Lives of Walker are contained in Wood's Fasti Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, ii. 28, and Noble's History of the College of Arms. Ashmolean MS. 423, ff. 85–8, consists of Walker's ‘Nativity and Accidents,’ with Ashmole's astrological calculations and comments thereon; it supplies many facts about Walker's career. The manuscripts of Mr. J. Eliot Hodgkin, calendared in Hist. MSS. Comm. 15th Rep. pt. ii., include papers relating to Walker.]