Dering, Sir Edward (1625–84), 2nd baronet, politician and commissioner for the settlement of Ireland, was born 12 November 1625 at Surrenden Dering, Kent, the only son of Sir Edward Dering (1598–1644), 1st baronet, antiquary and royalist, of Surrenden House, Kent, and his second wife, Anne (1604/5–1628), daughter of Sir John Ashburnham. After attending schools in Kent and London, he entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1639, moving to Emmanuel College a year later. His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of civil war in England and he went with his father to fight for the king, being present at the raising of the royal standard at Nottingham in August 1642. He returned to Cambridge and graduated BA in 1643, but left England at the end of 1643 to continue his studies in Leiden. He returned to England in the summer of 1644, after the death of his father, and succeeded in securing the lifting of parliament's sequestration of his estates; he did not stay at home, however, but spent the next two years travelling in France and the Netherlands. During the interregnum he refused all offers of public appointments, but after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 he was returned by the shire of Kent to the convention parliament. His connections with Sir Heneage Finch, newly appointed solicitor general and his brother-in-law, helped to facilitate his entry into public office.
In July 1662 Dering was appointed one of seven commissioners to execute the Act of Settlement for Ireland; he arrived in Dublin on 28 July 1662. By autumn 1662 many of the new commissioners were so daunted by the complexity of their task that the government decided to increase their stipends to prevent them from resigning. The first court of claims, as the commissioners would come to be called, sat in Dublin from 13 January 1663 to 21 August 1663. The court's purpose was to pass judgment on suits between the dispossessed claimants to land, mainly catholic, and the occupants, invariably protestant. Generally if the claimant could prove himself innocent of rebellion against the crown he would be restored, provided he could also prove his original title to the lands. The first court of claims passed decisions on more than 1,000 claimants before it ceased to hear claims in August 1663. Dering was reappointed as a commissioner in 1665 and was a member of the second court of claims which sat from January 1666 to January 1669 to implement the 1665 Act of Explanation.
It was impossible for the commissioners to please everyone in Ireland, and their work drew criticism from both catholics and protestants. Their judgments were carried out in the shadow of much politicking at court, but the king, in general, backed them. On balance their decisions favoured the protestant interest, but the commissioners themselves were usually divided – Dering was regarded as being supportive of the protestants. The commissioners had considerable influence and were not slow to use it to advance their own interests; Dering seems to have been more successful than any of his colleagues in this regard. He performed favours that earned him the friendship of powerful figures such as the earl of Arlington, secretary of state for the southern department, the duke of Ormond (qv), 3rd Viscount Conway (qv), and the earl of Orrery (qv). In return Dering received a grant of the profits from land concealed from the king in January 1666, was sworn a member of the Irish privy council in April 1667, and was granted a reversion of the office of auditor general of Ireland on 28 November 1667; he also attempted, though unsuccessfully, to be made vice-treasurer of Ireland in April 1668.
On returning to England he served as commissioner of the privy seal from 1670 to 1673, and sat in parliament for the borough of East Retford in 1670. He was commissioner of the customs from December 1675 to 1679 and commissioner of the treasury from March 1679 until his death. He died, probably in London, on 24 June 1684 and was buried in the family vault at Pluckley church in Kent on 28 June. In 1648 he had married Mary, daughter of Daniel Harvey of Coombe in Croydon, a prominent merchant. They had seventeen children, of whom five sons and five daughters survived infancy.