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Edmund's father, William must have been born bef. 1495. He was of St. Bees, co: Cumberland. How could a farmer have so much money that he could have afforded to pay for a collegiate education for his son? Paying for a collegiate education today costs a lot of money! Did William gain access to money during Henry VIII's disolution of a local monastery, did his father secure a loan, was one of William's relatives in a donating mood? Again, I can't imagine how Edmund could have become Archbishop of Canterbury when his father was a farmer?
John and Evelyn Reedy, a retired American couple, spent many years researching this, and in 2005, self-published a book: 'Reformation Legacy - a Memorial to Archbishop Edmund Grindal of St. Bees and the Family Histories of his Nephew and Nieces in England plus the Related Grindal Lines in Western Cumbria'.
They were kind enough to send me a copy (currently in storage) and also, I believe, deposited one at Whitehaven RO. I imagine that they will also had deposited copies in US libraries. Although the book has a number of inaccuracies and, in my opiinion, makes the wrong interpretation of Woodhall ancestry, I think that you should try to get access to it:
I have touched on this on my site:
So far as the house is concerned, I haven't researched this; but I would point out that Cumberland was a long way behind the south in house-building. The upper yeomanry, as a whole, in West Cumberland didn't rebuild until the second half of the seventeenth century. This, I think, is because of coal exploitation.
That William Grindal was able to build such a substantial house, with such a small property, would suggest to me that the property (or some other property that he owned) contained a coal mine; or, if not that, he had some other major source of income other than farming.
"At first the coal was worked from the outcrops where the seam was exposed. One of the earliest records of coal mining in West Cumberland dates to 1560 when Sir Thomas Chaloner, lord of the manor of St Bees,in granting certain leases within the manor, reserved for himself the right to dig for coals while at the same time granting his lessees liberty to take coals from his pits for their own use, on the condition that they paid and laboured from time to time therein, according to the custom of the manor."
The very odd thing about Edmund Grindal is that he didn't go to Queen's College, Oxford, which was devoted to the education of Cumbrians; but to Cambridge. This might suggest, if he had a sponsor, that the sponsor has a Cambridge background; but, perhaps more likely, may merely be that Oxford still had the Lollard cloud hanging over it - not a good thing for an ambitious churchman.
Finally, in reply to your remark: "I can't imagine how Edmund could have become Archbishop of Canterbury when his father was a farmer". Edmund's sister married John Woodhall, a member of a 'minor gentry family' a long time before Edmund's church career escalated. I think that John was a clerk in the King's service with the escheator. When Edmund became Archbishop, the Woodhalls sold up all their freeholds and hot-footed it down to Essex, and got lucrative church appointments. Perhaps Edmund owed them a favour or two?