John HUSSEY

(1st B. Hussey of Sleaford)

Born: 1465/1466, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England

Died: 29 Jun 1537, Lincoln, England

Father: William HUSSEY (Sir Knight)

Mother: Elizabeth BERKELEY

Married 1: Margaret BLOUNT 1490, Mangotsfield, Gloucester, England

Children:

1. William HUSSEY (Sir Knight) (b. ABT 1492)

2. Thomas HUSSEY (b. ABT 1495)

3. Gilbert HUSSEY (b. ABT 1497)

Married 2: Anne GREY (B. Hussey of Sleaford)

Children:

4. Giles HUSSEY (Sir)

5. Elizabeth HUSSEY (B. Hungerford of Heystesbury)

6. Bridget HUSSEY (C. Rutland/C. Bedford)

7. Anne HUSSEY

8. Dorothy HUSSEY

9. Mary HUSSEY

10. William HUSSEY


According to the Lincolnshire Pedigrees, Sir John Hussey of Sleaford, Knight, first son and heir; Sheriff of county Lincoln 9 Henry VII; aet. 30 at his father's death; Knight of the King's Body 5 Henry VIII; Chief Butler of England 13 Henry VIII; summoned to Parliament 3 Nov 21 Henry VIII, 1529; attained and beheaded at Lincoln 29 Jun 29 Henry VIII, 1537; his children restored in blood only 5 Elizabeth I, 1562. See also Cokayne, "Complete Peerage", 2 ed., vol. VII, pgs. 15-17.

On 12 Jun 1481 John Hussey was appointed surveyor of the lordships in Lincolnshire held by the Duke of Clarence. On 16 Jun 1487 he fought in the three-hour Battle of Stoke in which the invasion of England by Lambert Simnel was defeated. Simnel was an impostor claimant to the British crown and a pawn in the Yorkist conspiracies against King Henry VII. Immediately following the battle, the King brought Hussey into the royal household and appointed him comptroller. He was sheriff of Lincolnshire from 7 Nov 1493 to 5 Nov 1494. In 1494 he held the office "of tronage and pesage" at Boston, Lincolnshire, according to "Complete Peerage". In that year he was described as "esquire of the King's body".

John Hussey was knighted in 1497 at the Battle of Blackheath near London. On 9 Dec 1503 he was given the powerful office of overseer of the wardships in the King's hand. In this office he was instrumental in increasing the King's personal income by six-fold. In 1503 he was made "Knight of the Body," bodyguard to the King. He was appointed Master of Lyfield Forest, Rutlandshire in 1505. In 1509 he was mentioned as being Master Forester of Weybridge and Sapley, Surrey, according to "Letters and Papers of Henry VIII".

John Hussey was involved in putting down Lovell's rebellion (1486) and was a partner of Sir Richard Empson, knight; and Edmund Dudley, Sergeant at Law, Henry VII's tax gatherers executed on 17 Aug 1510 at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII.

He was "Comptroller of the Household" to Henry VII and was with the court at Richmond in 1509 when the King died and was also present at his burial in Westminster, according to "Complete Peerage". He received a 5 annuity for life as comptroller. In 1509 he was listed as owner of Dagnams manor, Essex and Wodhede manor, Rutlandshire at that time. In that year he was Commissioner of Oyer and Terminer [commission empowering judges on circuit to hold courts to hear and determine offenses] in Lincolnshire.

When King Henry VIII ascended the throne John Hussey continued to receive the king's favor, receiving large grants of land in Lincolnshire and neighboring counties. He became a member of the council and continued as Knight of the Body and Master of the King's Wards. On 20 Aug 1509 he obtained a pardon for his part in an extortion plot and release of all debts due the crown. It was claimed that he had used his position at court to enrich himself by illegal means. This pardon mentioned his wife 'Margaret Blownt' in a last documented reference to her, suggesting that she died shortly after this time.

It is believed that John Hussey was remarried almost immediately to Anne Grey, dau. of George Grey second Earl of Kent, and Catherine Herbert. Later in 1509 John Hussey and Anne Grey transferred Basilton manor, Berkshire to Henry Bridges. She inherited Stoke Hammond manor in 1512 and transferred it in 1514 to Richard Wyatt.

John Hussey was a pall bearer at the funeral of Prince Henry, son of Henry VIII, 27 Feb 1511. He agreed to furnish 12 men for the invasion of France 2 May 1512. In 1513 Hussey was a captain commanding 328 men engaged in the French war. In that year he crossed the channel with his troops and engaged in the successful seiges of Therouanne and Tournais and in the Battle of Guinegate. He was made a 'Knight Banneret', possibly at the Battle of Spurs, in France on 16 Aug 1513. A banneret had the privilege of leading his retainers to battle under his own flag. They ranked at the next order below Knights of the Garter providing they were created by the King on the field of battle.

He was present 9 Oct 1514 at the marriage of Princess Mary, sister of Henry VIII, to King Louis XII of France, and in 1515 was called upon to attend the French Queen.

He transferred Button manor and Mangotsfield manor to Lord Berkeley in 1516. Hussey had become a close personal friend of King Henry, and when his daughter, Princess Mary was born 18 Feb 1516, he was entrusted with her guardianship. He wrote a letter on 1 Mar 1518 to Lord Lisle in which he reported the theft of religious articles from a church. He reported that '... Pilgrimage Saints goeth down apace and instanced Our Lady at Southwick Church...'. Little did he realize when he wrote the letter how he would become a victim and a casualty of the rebellious religious movement which was to grow in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.

John Hussey and "Sir William Hussie", either his son or his brother, accompanied Henry on his visit to France in 1520. He was one of 11 knights who attended the King at the Field of Cloth of Gold near Guiness where the Henry met King Francois I of France for three weeks of tournaments, pageants, masques, and banquets. All of the knights in attendance were later created peers or succeeded to peerages.

Hussey was sent as envoy to the Emperor Carlos V after the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He was appointed 10 Jun 1520 to a commission "...to settle disputes between English merchants and the Teutonic Hanse..." by King Henry VIII, according to "Calendar of State Papers". He was appointed a commissioner of peace in Lincolnshire in Nov 1520. It was reported that on 1 Feb 1521 John Hussey "owed the King 2,3l8, 19 s, 17 d.".

In 1521 he was made chief butler of England, and he held that office until his death. On 17 May 1522 he attended the King at Canterbury, Kent on the occasion of the visit of Emperor Carlos V. Sir John Hussey was mentioned in the will of Simon FitzRichard dated 5 Nov 1527. On 20 May 1522 the sheriff of Lincolnshire was ordered by the King to seize the goods and part of the land of "... Sir John Hussey and Sir Edward Guilford, of the king's household for satisfaction of a debt to the Bishop of London, now deceased, and the Hospital of St. Thomas of Avon, London...".

Hussey was a Member of Parliament on 6 Jul 1523. He wrote a letter on that date describing the work he was doing in Parliament which was published in "Calendar of State Papers". In Mar 1524 he and his son Giles were named on the Commission of Sewers [servers to theking] for Lincolnshire by the King.

John was named as one of the executors of the estate of Edward Stanley, Lord Monteagle, in Apr 1524. Part of the probate arrangements was that Thomas Stanley, the heir, was to marry '...one of the daughters of John Hussey...' Later on 2 Jun 1527 John Hussey released the heir from the marriage bond and declared that he could marry whom he pleased, according to "Calendar of State Papers". Richard Bank, one of the executors of the estate of Edward Stanley, went to prison for misappropriation of the funds of the estate. While in prison he implicated John Hussey and Thomas Darcy, the other two executors.

On 1 Apr 1524 Hussey, along with others in Lincolnshire, "loaned" to the King 4,254 to finance his war in France. John Hussey received a receipt for two hogsheads of wine from Sir Ralph Verney and Eleanor Pole, his wife, 11 Dec 1524. He was named to a Commission for Searches 13 Feb 1525 for Holburn. He was appointed a judge 5 Feb 1526. In Jan 1529 John Hussey filed a complaint against Richard Bank for '... breaking into his close 1 Sep 1528 at Enfield, Middlesex and doing damage to the extent of 10 pounds...'.

Hussey was summoned to Parliament 3 Nov 1529 as Knight of the Shire for Lincolnshire. On 1 Dec 1529 he was summoned by writ to the House of Lords as 'Johannes Hussey de sleford, chivaler'. He paid Garter an admission fee of 20s. He was a signatory to the document sent from England begging the papal sanction to Henry VIII's divorce from Catalina de Aragon, and was one of those at the Queen's trial who gave evidence as to her previous marriage with Prince Arthur.

In Jun 1530 he was named Commissioner for Gaol Delivery for Lincolnshre Castle. He entered into an indenture with his son William Hussey 2 Jul 1530 regarding his son's marriage settlement. John Hussey "chamberlain of London", was involved in a suit with Robert Bayley, "mercer of London" in Oct 1530. In Nov 1530 he received custody of Harewode manor and wardship of Henry Rither, son and heir of Thomas Rither. In 1530 Hussey and his son William sold to William Button the Somersetshire manors of Batheaston, Bathampton, Bathford, Twerton, and the Wiltshire manors of Compton Basset, Comerwell, and North Wraxall, according to "Medieval Deeds of Bath and District".

John Hussey was present at the christening of Princess Elizabeth in 1533 and was mentioned as chamberlain to Princess Mary, on 31 May 1533 and also in 1535. Anne, Lady Hussey is mentioned as one of Mary's attendants which position she lost about Jun 1534 and was imprisoned in Aug 1534 in the Tower of London for a time for having called Mary 'Princess' after the King had forbidden the use of that title. She is also suspected of not thinking the marriage with Catalina of Aragon unlawful. She asked for the King's pardon 3 Aug 1554 and was released before 18 Dec 1534. Following his wife's imprisonment and observing the King's erratic behavior when the Pope refused to allow him to divorce Catalina, John Hussey began to waver in his loyalty to the King. He was scheduled to go to Rome in 1534 to intercede with the Pope on behalf of Henry, but the trip was cancelled.

John Fewterer dedicated "The Miracle of Christ's Passion", his book, to the Honorable 'Lord Husey', from Syon, 6 Dec 1533. In 1534 he was reappointed to the "Butlership of England". In that year he wrote Lord Lisle, Deputy of Calais, that he had been bedfast for 14 weeks.

Hussey wrote his will 22 Oct 1535 in which he mentioned that he was "somewhat sick in body". In the will he requested "... to be buried in Sempringham church if I die within seven miles of it...". He gave title to Brigeasterton manor and Rutland manor to his wife; his lands he left intail male to "... Sir William Huse, son and heir apparent; sons, Thomas, Gilbert, Sir Giles; brothers, Sir William and Sir Robert Huse; daughters, Mary and Bridget Huse, each to have 500 marks; Executor, brother, Sir Robert Huse...".

On 30 Jan 1535/6 John Hussey wrote to Secretary Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, asking to absentuate himself from Parliament because of illness, "... not being able to ride or go. I beg I may be excused from Parliament as I shall not reach London alive...". He was, however, present at Parliament in Jun and Jul 1536, according to "Journal of the House of Lords".

John Hussey wrote a letter to Lord Lisle in 1536 requesting him to use his influence to obtain a grant of Waverly Abbey to him during the King's suppression of Catholic institutions. The abbey had been confiscated by Thomas Cromwell.

On the outbreak of the Lincolnshire rebellion, in the autumn of 1536, Hussey seemed to remain firm in his allegiance to the King. He was opposed to the rebellion, but remained in his house at Sleaford, Lincolnshire, afraid to stir out, knowing that his tenants were in sympathy with the rest of the people. However, he did toy with the idea of taking a part in the rebellion. He had a clandestine meeting with the Imperial Ambassador who reported to Emperor Carlos V that John Hussey had stated that the rebellion had 1/3 more men than the King "with plenty of victuals and money". Apparently the meeting was a feeler to see if the Emperor would back the rebellion and perhaps assist in the overthrow of the King. There was a William Hussey with the rebels at Lincoln. He was probably of the same family as John, Lord Hussey. Lord Hussey had been able to bring in his tenants to fight for the King when he had been ordered to do so on 4 Oct 1536. He was accused of making no effort to raise men to put down the rebellion, and the King accused him of being a traitor when he refused to tell the names of the men behind the rebellion. Although he was believed loyal to the King by his fellow members of the House of Lords, particularly the Earl of Shrewsbury, he was taken to London to face an inquiry, and it appears that the charges aginst him were dropped temporarily due to the intervention of the Duke of Norfolk on his behalf. Shortly afterwards another rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace was organized by Robert Aske, a nobleman who gathered a force of some 30,000 men in his following. However Aske was arrested shortly afterwards for high treason and hanged at York.

Eventually Hussey was indicted for treason and a true bill was returned at Sleaford, Lincolnshire in May 1537. At the insistance of the King he and Lord Darcy were tried by the House of Lords at Westminster, and on 15 May 1537 were found guilty of treason. John Hussey lanquished in the Tower for eight weeks at a cost to the crown of '20 shillings per week' for his keep. He maintained his innocence to the end. He addressed one final, futile appeal to the King in Jun 1537. In addition to appealing for his life, he gave an account of his debts and requested they be promptly paid. He also requested that the impending marriage of his daughter, Dorothy to Thomas Wimbish be allowed to procede. The spiteful King denied the marriage request. Before the execution Thomas Cromwell offered him "lyffe, landes and goodes" if he would furnish particulars of those involved in the rebellion, but Hussey was unable to agree to this since, on his own testimony, he was ignorant of the whole affair.

There is a difference of opinion as to where he was executed, Sleaford or Tyburn, and as to whether he was hung or beheaded. In a history of "The Earlier Tudors"; by Mackie, it is related that Hussey was beheaded in Lincoln. The story tells that on 28 Jun 1537, King Henry wrote to the Duke of Suffolk, '... am sending Hussey for you to behead in Lincoln as soon as possible after his arrival...'. John Hussey and his accomplice, Sir Robert Constable, were delivered out of the Tower 28 Jun 1537 to Sir Thomas Wentworth who conducted them northward with 50 horsemen as guards. The sentence was carried out on the following day and Thomas Darcy, cousin to Hussey, was executed at the same time.

After John Hussey was attainted of treason and executed, his manor of Sleaford, with other lands to the value of five thousand pounds per annum were confiscated, and forfeited. His children were, however, afterwards restored in parliament the 5 year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1563); but neither his estates nor the title were granted to his heirs.

Sources:

Calendar of State Papers.

Complete Peerage.

Dugdale's Summonses

History of Berkshire.

History of Surrey.

Letters and Papers of Henry VIII.

Lincoln Wills.

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts

Visitation of Gloucestershire.

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