Sir Henry GUILDFORD

Born: ABT 1478 / 1489

Died: 1532

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Richard GUILDFORD (Sir Knight)

Mother: Jane VAUX

Married 1: Mary BRYAN

Married 2: Mary WOTTON (dau. of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe and Anne Belknap) (m.2 Sir Gawen Carew)


Sir Henry Guildford

Hans Holbein the Younger 1527

Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

Sir Henry Guildford

Hans Holbein the Younger 1527

Royal Collection, Windsor Castle


Third son of Sir Richard Guildford, only son by his second wife, Joan, dau. of Sir William Vaux of Harrowden, sister of Nicholas Vaux, Lord Vaux; half-bro. of Sir Edward Guildford. Married first, Apr 1512, Margaret, dau. of Sir Thomas Bryan of Ashridge, Herts., s.p.; secondly, by 1525, Mary, dau. of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe and Anne Belknap, s.p. Kntd. 30 Mar. 1512, kt. banneret 1513, KG nom. 24 Apr., inst. 6 May 1526.

Bailiff, manor of Sutton Coldfield, Warws. 1512; constable, Leeds castle 1512-31, jt. (with Sir Edward Guildford) 1531-d.; esquire of the body by 1513, knight by 1515; royal standard bearer 1513-d.; j.p. Kent 1514-d.; commr. subsidy 1514, 1515, 1523, 1524; other commissions 1523-d.; master of the horse 1515-22, of the henchmen in 1517; Councillor 1516-d.; comptroller, the Household 1522-d.; jt. chief steward of abp. of Canterburyís castles and manors 1524-d.; chamberlain, receipt of the Exchequer 1525-d.

As the youngest son of a father who, before he died considerably in debt, had obtained an Act (11 Hen. VII, c.49) freeing his lands in Kent from gavelkind, Henry Guildford inherited little land and an annuity of only £10. Compelled to make a career for himself he went to court, became a companion of the young Henry VIII and ended as comptroller of the royal household. He and the King were of an age and their friendship probably dated from their early years when Sir Richard Guildford was comptroller to Henry VII.

At the first New Year of the reign Guildford and his elder half-brother Edward formed two of a small company headed by the King who played Robin Hood and his men to amuse the Queen Catalina. Over the next seven or eight years Guildford acted as master of the revels on many such occasions. He was not, however, continuously at court. When in May 1511 the King sent a force to Spain under Thomas, Lord Darcy, Guildford accompanied it as provost marshal. The expedition achieved nothing and soon returned, but Guildford stayed behind and on 15 Sep 1511 was knighted by Fernando of Aragon at Burgos, his arms being augmented by a pale pomegranate on a white shield. He travelled home overland and shortly after his return he was knighted by Henry VIII at Westminster on 30 Mar 1512, the day of the proroguing of Parliament.

In the following month the King attended Guildfordís wedding with Mary Bryan, and in Jun the couple received a royal grant of the manors of Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire, and Bicker in Lincolnshire. Guildford took part in the disastrous naval engagement off Brest in Aug 1512 as joint captain with Sir Charles Brandon of 60 yeomen of the guard in the Sovereign, and in the next year he accompanied the King on his invasion of France, commanding 100 men of the Kingís ward. He was made a knight banneret after the capture of Tournai, and as master of the revels he celebrated the victory with an interlude in which he played before the King. In May 1514 he returned to Calais in the Lord Abergavennyís expedition, and five months later, after peace had been concluded, he did so again on his way to the coronation as Queen of France of Henry VIIIís sister Mary.

After four summers largely taken up with campaigning Guildford returned to a more settled life in England. His chief residence was Leeds Castle, Kent, which he held for the King: he was later to own other property in the county, including the manor of Hadlow, granted in 1522, and North Frith park, which he received two years later, and from 1522 he held a 40-year lease of the manor of Eltham and the stewardship of Lee, near Lewisham. But it was still the court which was the centre of Guildfordís life. An infrequent attender at the Council, of which he was sworn in 1516 (in the next ten years he was recorded as present only six times), he was first and foremost a personal servant of the Kingís, one of the few men assigned lodgings in the royal house by the Eltham ordinances of 1526. He was appointed to go with the King in 1520 to the Field of Cloth of Gold and to the meeting with Carlos V at Gravelines, and in the autumn of 1521, when he accompanied Cardinal Wolsey to Calais, he was soon recalled because the King found himself short of attendants in his privy chamber. Guildford apparently left England only once more, when he went with Wolsey to Calais in 1527 and travelled with him into France. In this year his portrait was painted by Holbein, then on his first visit to England.

Guildford was elected knight of the shire for Kent in 1529 with his half-brother Sir Edward. In this Parliament the Commons complained of the excessive fees demanded by the clergy for proving wills, a protest which was touched off, it appears, by Guildfordís declaration that he and the other executors of Sir William Compton had paid Wolsey and Warham 1,000 marks for probate of the will. Guildford was one of the two members of the Lower House, the other being Sir William Fitzwilliam, who on 1 Dec 1529 signed the 44 articles of complaint against Wolsey prepared by a committee of both Houses for presentation to the King. Soon after this Wolsey acted on Cromwellís recommendation in attempting to placate those whose friendship was worth having; for Guildford he spoke of securing an increase in fee of £40 a year, tardy amends for his earlier advice to the King that Guildfordís annuity of £100 might be revoked and some of his offices distributed if he became captain of Guisnes. Guildford also became involved, both as a Member of Parliament and personally, in the matter of the Kingís divorce. He was one of the milites et doctores in parliamento who signed the letter of 13 Jul 1530 to the Pope urging him to accede to the Kingís desire. This he could scarcely have refused to do, although he had little reason to welcome the advent of Anne Boleyn. According to Chapuys, Anne was aware of his dislike of her and in Jun 1531 threatened him with the loss of the comptrollership when she became Queen. He replied that he would resign first, and straightway went to the King and gave up his baton; this the King returned to him, telling him not to take the matter seriously, but for a time Guildford quitted the court and went down into Kent. He had returned at latest by Nov, when he was one of the Councillors who conducted negotiations at Greenwich with a special envoy from the Emperor.

Guildford made his will on 18 May 1532, asking to be buried, if he died within 40 miles of London, in the church of the Blackfriars, where he had already ordered his tomb, and appointing his wife his executrix and charging her with the payment of his debts. By the end of the month he was dead. According to the widow, Mary Wotton, his debts to the King far exceeded the value of all his goods in his London home and at Leeds Castle. She received a release from all her obligations to the King on 25 Mar 1533 but was still deeply in debt in 1535 when she wrote to Lord Cromwell on the subject.

Lady Guildford married as her second husband Sir Gawen Carew. Her sister, Margaret, married Thomas Grey, 2ļ M. Dorset. And her brother was Nicholas Wotton, Dean of Canterbury and York. She was still at court in 1543 as one of Queen Catherine Parr's ladies. Mary died childless in 1558.

Mary Wotton

Hans Holbein the Younger 1527

Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

Mary Wotton

Hans Holbein the Younger 1527

St. Louis Art Museum

 

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