Sir Anthony WINGFIELD of Letheringham, Knight

Born: ABT 1480, Letheringham, Suffolk, England

Died: BEF 18 Nov 1552/3

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: John WINGFIELD of Letheringham (Sir)

Mother: Anne TOUCHET

Married: Elizabeth De VERE BEF 1528

Children:

1. Robert WINGFIELD of Letheringham (Sir Knight)

2. Charles WINGFIELD

3. Anthony WINGFIELD

4. Henry WINGFIELD

5. Richard WINGFIELD (Esq.)

6. Elizabeth WINGFIELD

7. Mary WINGFIELD

8. Margaret WINGFIELD

9. Frances WINGFIELD

10. Jane WINGFIELD (d. AFT 2 May 1588)

11. George WINGFIELD

12. Anne WINGFIELD (d. 1592)

13. John WINGFIELD


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born by 1488, first son of Sir John Wingfield of Letheringham by Anne, dau. of John Tuchet, 6th Lord Audley. Married by 1528, Elizabeth, dau. of Sir George Vere, by whom he had seven sosn and three daughters. Suc. family Mar/Jul 1509. Kntd. 25 Sep 1513; KG nom. 23 Apr inst. 22 May 1541. Esquire of the body by 1509; j.p. Suff. 1510-d.; commr. subsidy 1512, 1514, 1515, 1523, 1524, dissolution of monasteries 1536, benevolence 1544/45, relief, Suff., London, royal household 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Suff. 1552; other commissions 1525-d.; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1515-16; PC 1539-d.; v.-chamberlain, the Household 1539-2 Feb. 1550, comptroller by 2 Feb 1550-d.; capt. the guard 1539; member, council of Boulogne 1544; constable Denbigh castle, Denb., steward, lordship of Denbigh, chancellor and chamberlain, Denb. Dec 1549; chamberlain, receipt of the Exchequer 1550; jt. ld. lt. Suff. 1552.

As an esquire of the body Anthony Wingfield was present at the funeral of Henry VII, but it was the new King's first war which brought him advancement. In 1512 he served in the Dragon of Greenwich with his kinsman Sir Charles Brandon and Sir John Seymour under the captaincy of Sir William Sidney, and in the following year at the Battle of the Spurs on 16 Aug 1513, his part in the capture of Tournai brought him a knighthood. In 1516 he accompanied Charles Somerset abroad.

Pricked sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in Nov 1513, he was ‘discharged’ and shortly afterwards succeeded by Thomas Gebon: the reason may have been that he was required either at court or with one of his uncles, Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton Castle, abroad, but two years later he served his term in the office. He was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and also went with the King to Gravelines for the meeting with Carlos V. He served in the campaign of 1523 under Brandon, now Duke of Suffolk, who was afterwards to use him in the suppression of the Lincolnshire rebellion in 1536. He last took the field in 1544 against the French: he commanded 500 men at the capture of Boulogne and was made a member of the council there, but he did not remain abroad for long.

Like his prominent kinsmen Wingfield was more than a soldier: to long service in the administration of his county he became Vice-Chamberlain to Henry VIII, and Privy Councellor. He was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard on 9 Mar 1539. In 1540 he was One of the King's Justices at the arraingnment of Sir Edward Knyvett for 'striking' in the Court. As Captain of the King's Guard he was at the entrance of Anne of Cleves into the country at Deal, Kent and journeying to court via Blackheath. Thomas Wingfield , eldest son of Sir Henry Wingfield, Governor of Orford Castle, was then the 1st Governor of Deal Castle. In 1540 he was one of those who arrested Thomas Cromwell at the Council Board. On 23 Apr 1541, at 2nd Vespers at the Palace of Westminister he was, with the Duke of Norfolk and others, honored with the Badge of the Garter, and installed as a Knight of the Garter at Windsor Castle, with the Earl of Surrey, on 22 May. He also arrested the Earl of Surrey and conducted him to the Tower on December 12 1546. Well placed to profit from the Dissolution, he purchased the lands of Campsea priory and those of Letheringham and Woodbridge, was appointed steward of the college at Worcester and in 1546 became keeper of the former abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. Other lands, this time in Essex, came to him after the attainder of Thomas Culppeper, but these he parted with almost immediately. In the last year of the reign he was in debt to the King and surrendered several manors in lieu of payment, but this evidently did not tell against him, for in the King's will he was named an assistant executor and bequeathed £200 and assigned of the council to Edward VI. In the royal funeral procession he was Captain of the Guard.

During the Protectorate of Somerset, Wingfield was a member of the Council but he appears to have attended less frequently than he had hitherto done. Whether this reflected a lack of sympathy with the new regime does not appear, but with the outbreak of rebellion in 1549 Wingfield was to prove a strenuous and successful upholder of law and order in his county and the experience must have helped to align him with the revolt against Somerset which followed. It was he whom the Council despatched on 10 Oct to Windsor to arrest Somerset and his adherents, an operation which he conducted without a hitch: four days later he escorted his prisoner from Windsor to the Tower, through the streets to the Tower on 14 Oct. He was rewarded with offices in the Household and the Exchequer and with the constableship of Denbigh castle.

Wingfield regularly sat for his county in Parliament. His earliest known election dates from 1529, when he was returned first knight of the shire with Sir Thomas Wentworth. Both were followers of the Duke of Suffolk and Wingfield probably took precedence as the elder, but it was no mean achievement, for not only was Wentworth to be ennobled before the year was out but Wingfield's uncle Humphrey, the future Speaker, was to appear in the same House in the inferior role of Member for Yarmouth. Nothing is known of Wingfield's part in the proceedings of this Parliament, but it was perhaps during its first session that he, his brother-in-law Edmund Knightley and Knightley's brother Richard were assaulted in Cheapside. Presumably he sat for Suffolk again in the following Parliament, that of 1536, when the King asked for the re-election of the previous Members. He was to do so in 1539, when in the course of the second session he was the bearer of several bills, including the bill dissolving the greater monasteries, from the Commons to the Lords, and perhaps again in 1542, for which Parliament only the name of one of the knights of the shire for Suffolk remains: of the other all that is known is his style ‘the right worshipful’, which would accord with Wingfield's status as a Councillor. In Dec 1544, while presumably at Boulogne, he was returned for Horsham, a borough controlled by his kinsman Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. It is possible that Wingfield, sensing that his current duties at Boulogne were an obstacle to re-election for Suffolk, asked for the duke's help in obtaining a place elsewhere or alternatively that the Duke, perhaps anxious to promote the election of Arthur Hopton, offered to compensate Wingfield if to facilitate Hopton's election he forwent his own. The opening of the Parliament of 1545 was postponed from Jan until the following autumn and when it assembled Wingfield, who had long since ceased attending the council at Boulogne, took his place in the House, on 23 Dec taking three bills up to the Lords.

The Parliament of 1547 was to be Wingfield's last and once more he appeared as knight of the shire for Suffolk: it was also, to judge from the Commons Journal, the one which kept him most busy. Bills were committed to him which dealt with the export of bell-metal (14 Dec 1548), the buying of pensions (19 Dec 1548), regrators (30 Jan, 11, 12 Nov 24 Dec 1549 and 3 Jan 1550), the forestalling of herring in Lowestoft Roads (12 Nov 1549), farms (6 Dec 1549), the ownership of sheep and farms and the export of corn, leather, cheese and tallow (6 Dec 1549). The third session also saw him deliver bills to the Lords and append his signature to the Acts for the general pardon, the restitution of Sir William Hussey, the acquisition of a churchyard at West Drayton by Sir William Paget, and the fine and ransom of the Duke of Somerset. In Feb 1549 and in Feb and Mar 1552 the House granted privilege to servants of Wingfield but on the last occasion revoked the grant made to Hugh Flood after receiving a petition against it. Flood's escape from custody and recapture engaged the attention of the House and of Wingfield himself for several days.

On the list of Members of this Parliament, as revised in the winter of 1551-2, Wingfield is marked ‘mortuus’, but he survived its dissolution by four months, dying on 15 Aug 1552 at the house of his friend Sir John Gates at Bethnal Green, just north of London. He had made his will two days earlier, providing for his family and servants, and naming as executors his wife and his second but eldest surviving son Robert, and as supervisor Sir Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Lord Wentworth. He was buried on 21 Aug at Stepney, East of the Tower, London, Middlesex, England. Buried in great state with a grand porcession and a huge feast 'for all comers'. His great house (one of many) was near St. Anne's, Limehouse Church and was still known as 'Wingfield's Rents' in 1781.

Sources:

DNB

J. M. Wingfield, Some Recs. Wingfield Family

M. E. Wingfield, Visct. Powerscourt, Muniments of Wingfield

D. E. Hoak, The King's Council in the Reign of Edward VI

W. K. Jordan, Edward VI

Machyn's Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), (giving date of death as 20 Aug)

Jocelyn Wingfield, SIR ANTHONY WINGFIELD, KG, of Letheringham, Suffolk

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