Cave, Ambrose (DNB00)

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CAVE, Sir AMBROSE (d. 1568), chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, was fourth son of Roger Cave of Stanford, Northamptonshire, by his second wife, Margaret Saxby. It is stated that he was a student at one time at St. John's College, Cambridge, and at another at Magdalen, Oxford. In 1525 he visited Rhodes as a knight hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem. He was a brother of the Knights' Hospital at Shingay, Cambridgeshire, the governorship of which he tried hard to obtain, and in 1540, when the order was dissolved, received a pension of 66l. 13s. 4d. He became sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1548, M.P. for Leicestershire 1545, 1547, and 1553, and for Warwickshire 1558, 1559, and 1562, a privy councillor on Elizabeth's accession, as one ‘well affected to the protestant religion,’ a commissioner to compound with holders of land worth 50l. a year who refused to be knighted 20 Dec. 1558 and 28 March 1559, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster 22 Dec. 1558, and a commissioner ‘for the northern parts towards Scotland and Berwick’ a day later. In parliament Cave played a very small part. On 6 March 1558–9 he stated that a London alderman, Sir Thomas White, ‘misliked the Book of Common Prayer,’ and White was summoned to the house, which readily accepted his explanation. Cave was busily employed in 1559. He was nominated a commissioner to administer the oath of supremacy, 31 March; a searcher of the books and lodgings of two bishops, White of Winchester and Watson of Lincoln, suspected of papist leanings, 3 April; a joint-lieutenant of Warwickshire, 26 May; a commissioner for the visitation of the dioceses of Oxford, Lincoln, Lichfield and Coventry, and Peterborough, 22 July; a commissioner for raising men in Warwickshire and Shropshire for service at Berwick, 25 Sept. On 13 Feb. 1563–4 he went on a special commission for the trial of murders, burglaries, and other felonies. Cave was often at court, and the story runs that he once picked up the queen's garter, which had slipped off while she was dancing; Elizabeth declined to take it from him; he thereupon tied it on his left arm, and said he would wear it all his life for the sake of his mistress. A portrait of Cave with the garter round his arm was formerly the property of the Rev. Sir Charles Cave of Theddingworth, Leicestershire. Cave died 2 April 1568, and was buried at Stanford.

He married Margaret, daughter of William Willington of Barcheston, Warwickshire, and widow of Thomas Holte, justice of North Wales. By her he had one child, Margaret, wife of Henry Knollys, son of Sir Henry Knollys, K.G.

Thomas Cave of Stanford, the grandson of Sir Ambrose's eldest brother, was created a baronet by Charles I 30 June 1641. Sir Thomas's family still survives, and bears the surname of Cave-Browne-Cave (Foster, Baronetage, pp. 110–11).

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. i. 251–2; Hayward's Annals of Elizabeth, p. 12; Cal. State Papers (Dom.), 1547–90; Bridges's Northamptonshire, i. 583; Rymer's Fœdera, xv. passim.]

S. L. L.