James Nedham, Nedeham or Needham
James Nedham was an architect and master-carpenter whose father, Christopher was from Needham Grange in Derbyshire - see Family Tree; he was born in 1489 and for the first part of his life he lived in Chesilhurst in Kent.
In 1523 he accompanied the Duke of Suffolk's army to France and his name appears among the pioneers and artificers in Sir William Skevington's retinue as a master carpenter being paid 12p a day. In Sept 1525 he was appointed, by grant, a gunner in the Tower of London .
After 1530 James's name frequently occurs in State Papers in connection with the building operations of the king and Cromwell. He was appointed clerk of the king's works on 30 April 1530. By the end of 1532 he was engaged in devising and then supervising the building alterations which were carried out at Esher, York Palace and Westminster Palace . In Sept1532 he was engaged in the ‘re-edifying' of St Thomas 's tower within the Tower of London and was occupied on this and other works in the Tower in the next 3 years. In April 1533 he was appointed by grant clerk and overseer of the king's work in England .
James was master of the Carpenters Company in 1536. From 1537 to 1541 he managed the alterations and work on the kings manors of Otford, Knole, Petworth and More. Around this time he signs himself as ‘accountant, surveyor-general and clerk of the king's works.
James settled in Hertfordshire in 1536 and on the dissolution of the monasteries the priory of Wymondley in Hertfordshire was granted to James in 1537 on a 20 years lease. Subsequently an absolute grant of the property was made to his son. It remained in the family until 1731.
James died at the Siege of Boulogne, which took place from 19 July to 18 September 1544, during Henry VIII's invasion of France . He nominated Edmund Harman of Henry VIII's privy chamber to act as overseer of his will made at Boulogne .
- Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 14