Guildford, Henry (DNB00)
|←Guild, William||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 23
|Guildford, Nicholas de→|
GUILDFORD, Sir HENRY (1489–1532), master of the horse and controller of the royal household, was the son of Sir Richard Guildford [q. v.] by his second marriage. His mother was Joan, sister of Sir Nicholas Vaux. With the exception of an impossible story of his serving under Ferdinand and Isabella at the reduction of Granada, nothing is recorded of him before the accession of Henry VIII, when he was a young man of twenty, and evidently a favourite with the new king. On 18 Jan. 1510 he and his half-brother, Sir Edward, formed two of a company of twelve in a performance described by Hall, got up for the amusement of the queen. Eleven of them, arrayed ‘in short coats of Kentish Kendal, with hoods on their heads and hosen of the same,’ personated Robin Hood and his men, and with a woman representing Maid Marian surprised the queen in her chamber with their dancing and mummery. Next year, on Twelfth Night, he was the designer of the pageant with which the Christmas revelries concluded—a mountain which moved towards the king and opened, and out of which came morris-dancers. At the tournament next month, held in honour of the birth of a prince, he signed the articles of challenge on the second day. Immediately afterwards he went with Lord Darcy's expedition to Spain against the Moors, where the English generally met with such a cool reception; but he and Sir Wistan Browne remained a while after their countrymen had returned home, and were dubbed knights by Ferdinand at Burgos on 15 Sept. 1511 (Cal. Spanish, ii. No. 54). Early next year they had both returned, and received the same honour at the hands of their own king at the prorogation of the parliament on 30 March 1512. Hitherto he had been only squire of the body, a position he seems still to have retained along with the honour of knighthood. He was also a ‘spear’ in the king's service, and as such had an advance of 200l. wages in April 1511. And as early as 29 March 1510 he had a grant of the wardship of Anne, daughter and heiress of Sir John Langforde.
In May 1512 he married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Bryan. The king's sister, Mary, at that time called Princess of Castile, made an offering of six shillings and eightpence at his marriage. On 6 June the king granted to him and his wife the manors of Hampton-in-Arden in Warwickshire and Byker in Lincolnshire. On 3 Dec. he was appointed bailiff of Sutton Coldfield in Warwickshire, and keeper of Sutton Park; on the 24th constable and doorward of Leeds Castle, and keeper of the parks of Leeds and Langley in Kent. In March 1513, and at other times, he received advances of money from the king to enable him to repay a loan of 2,000l. In that year he embarked at Southampton with the army that invaded France, and was one of the commanders of ‘the middle ward,’ having been appointed on 28 May the king's standard-bearer in the room of Sir Edward Howard, the admiral, who was drowned. His own standard is described heraldically as follows: ‘Per fess White and Black. The device the trunk of a tree couped and ragulée Or, inflamed Proper. Motto, “Loyallté n'a peur.”’ (Nichols, Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, iii. 65). He commanded a hundred men when he passed out of Calais on 30 June. He and Sir Charles Brandon [q. v.], afterwards duke of Suffolk, had five shillings a day each as joint captains of the Sovereign, in which they crossed the Channel. At the winning of Tournay he was created a knight-banneret, and as master of the revels he celebrated the victory by an interlude, in which he himself played before the king.
On 1 Jan. 1515 his name appears for the first time on the commission of the peace for Kent. On 6 Nov. he was appointed master of the horse with a salary of 40l. a year, an appointment which he surrendered seven years later in favour of Sir Nicholas Carew [q. v.] On the same day he had an annuity of fifty marks granted to him as squire of the body. In the same year he became an executor of Sir Thomas Cheney of Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, and before Christmas we find him writing to a minstrel in the Low Countries named Hans Nagel, to allure him over to England, not, however, for the sake of his music, but as a spy who could make reports about the fugitive, Richard De la Pole. On 11 Aug. 1518, in anticipation of a splendid embassy from France, he and Sir Nicholas Carew had each some liveries of cloth of gold from the wardrobe to prepare for jousts at Greenwich. On 2 Oct. he signed the protocol of the treaty of London with the rest of the king's council, and two days later the treaty of marriage between the Princess Mary and the Dauphin. In 1519 he received two letters from Erasmus in praise of the court of Henry VIII. Next year he attended the king to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and also to the meeting with the emperor at Gravelines. On 12 Feb. 1521 he had a grant of the custody of the manor of Leeds in Kent, and of the lordship of Langley, near Maidstone, for forty years, at the annual rent of 27l. 15s. 8d. In May following he was one of the justices both in Kent and in Surrey before whom indictments were found against the unfortunate Duke of Buckingham. Next year, on 24 April, the duke's manor of Hadlow in Kent was granted to him. In the autumn of 1521 he accompanied Wolsey to the Calais conferences, but on 21 Sept. Pace wrote to the cardinal to send him and Francis Brian home, as the king had few to attend him in his privy chamber. In May 1522 he went again in Wolsey's train to meet the emperor at his landing at Dover. On 1 Sept. following he obtained from the crown a forty years' lease of the manor of Eltham, with a house called Corbyhall, and the stewardship of the manor of Lee, or Bankers, near Lewisham in Kent.
In 1523 he became, on the Earl of Kildare's return to Ireland, one of the earl's sureties that he would come again on reasonable warning and present himself before the king. On 30 Aug. in that year he was named one of the commissioners for the subsidy in Kent; and on 1 Sept., on the death of his uncle, Nicholas, lord Vaux of Harrowden, he and three other executors received orders to deliver up Guisnes Castle to Lord Sandes. About the same time he had the duty of bringing into the Star-chamber the books of ‘views and musters’ for the districts of Maidstone, Calehill, and Eythorne in Kent. His rapidly advancing fortunes may be traced by the fact that he was assessed for the subsidy in February 1524 at 300l., and in May 1526 at 520l. On 6 Feb. 1524 a license was granted to him and his half-brother, George Guildford, esquire of the body, to export yearly one thousand woollen cloths. On 15 July he had a grant in tail male of Northfrith Park, a further slice of the lands of Buckingham in Kent. In November his name was returned, as it had already been once before, as one of three persons competent to serve the office of sheriff for that county, but he was not selected. On 20 Dec. he had a license to export three hundred quarters of wheat, and about this time he is said to have surrendered his office of standard-bearer, which was conferred upon his brother, Sir Edward, in conjunction with Sir Ralph Egerton. In April 1525 Archbishop Warham wrote to him about the discontent created by the demand for a benevolence in addition to the subsidy. On 18 June he witnessed at Bridewell the grant of the earldom of Nottingham to the king's bastard son, Henry Fitzroy. On 15 Aug. he writes to Wolsey from Barnet, in answer to a request to send him the new book of statutes for the royal household signed by the king. This referred to a set of regulations which came into force in January following, under which Sir Henry was one of the select number who were assigned lodgings in the king's house, he being one of a council appointed to hear com- plaints of grievances presented to the king personally as he passed from place to place. In the autumn he signed, with other councillors, a form of ratification of the treaty of the Moore, which it was agreed to demand from Louise of Savoy, regent of France. At this time also he seems to have been one of the officers called ‘chamberlains of the receipt of the exchequer,’ in which capacity he superintended the cutting of tallies, and also had the custody of original treaties and other diplomatic documents committed to him.
On 5 May 1526 he witnessed a charter at Westminster. About this time he and Sir Thomas Wyatt built a banqueting-house for the king at Greenwich, and accounts of banquets and revels audited by him as controller of the household are occasionally met with. In June 1527, just before Wolsey's great mission to France, he delivered to the cardinal's secretary, Stephen Gardiner [q. v.], out of the exchequer certain boxes containing a number of international treaties and other evidences. He received Wolsey at Rochester on his way, and the cardinal sent him on in advance of him to make arrangements at Calais. He accompanied him on his progress through France, and was saluted by Francis as an ambassador. He was actually receiving at this time a pension of 218¾ crowns from Francis under the treaty of the Moore. In the spring of 1528 there were seditious rumours in some parts of Kent about demanding repayment of the loan which the people had been forced to contribute to the king; and some even proposed to break into gentlemen's houses, among others that of Guildford's half-brother, Sir Edward, and steal their weapons. This gave Sir Henry much to do, and he ultimately sat on a commission at Rochester for the trial of the malcontents. It is needless to say that he had no sympathy with popular movements. His fortunes were built on court favour, and when Thomas Cromwell came as Wolsey's agent to suppress the small priories in Kent for his college at Oxford, Guildford asked him to visit him at Leeds Castle, with a view to obtain from him the farm of the suppressed house of Bilsington.
The ravages of the sweating sickness in 1528 caused the justices in Kent, among whom were Sir Henry Guildford and his brother, Sir Edward, to adjourn the sessions at Deptford, where they met ‘in a croft nigh unto the street,’ from June till October. At the end of June Sir William Compton died of it, and Guildford was his chief executor. On the arrival of Cardinal Campeggio in England at the end of September he was, as controller of the household, much occupied with the preparations for his reception. He met the legate on Barham Downs, and at Dartford informed him of the arrangements for his entering London. In the same year he made an exchange of lands with the priory of Leeds in Kent, and appointed Lord De la Warr and others trustees for the execution of his will. Next year (1529) he was one of the witnesses called to prove the consummation of the marriage between Prince Arthur and Catherine of Arragon, when he practically could prove nothing, because, as he said, he was not then twelve years old. This statement, together with the fact that he gave his age as forty at the time the deposition was taken, shows that he was born in 1489. In the parliament of 1529 he was knight of the shire for Kent, and it was he who gave point to the complaints of the commons against the spiritualty with regard to probates of wills by the statement that he had paid to Wolsey and Archbishop Warham a thousand marks as executor to Sir William Compton. On 1 Dec. he signed the articles brought against Wolsey in parliament. On the 8th he witnessed at Westminster the charter which created Anne Boleyn's father Earl of Wiltshire. He was one of those whose friendship Wolsey at his fall, by Thomas Cromwell's advice, secured by a pension of 40l. a year, and who probably spoke in his favour as far as they dared. On 20 May 1530 he was present at an assay of the silver coinage at Westminster. On 20 June he was named on a commission of gaol-delivery for Canterbury Castle. On 13 July he signed the celebrated letter of the lords and councillors of England to the pope, urging him to comply with the king's wishes as regards the divorce.
On 23 April 1531 he attended a chapter of the Garter at Greenwich. On the 26th he surrendered his patent of the offices of constable, doorward, and parker at Leeds and Langley, and had a new grant of them to him and Sir Edward Guildford in survivorship. He was still in high favour with the king, but he was strongly opposed in his own mind to the policy the king was now pursuing of casting off his wife without a papal sentence and fortifying himself against the pope and emperor by a French alliance. On this subject he spoke his thoughts freely to the imperial ambassador, Chapuys, and even in court he could not disguise his sympathies; so that Anne Boleyn, looking upon him as an enemy, warned him that when she was queen she would deprive him of his office of controller. He answered quickly she need take no trouble about that, for he would give it up himself, and he immediately went to the king to tender his resignation. The king remonstrated, telling him he should not trouble himself about what women said, and twice insisted on his taking back his bâton of office; but for a time Guildford retired from court. He still remained one of the king's council, and on 1 Jan. 1532 he not only received a new year's gift from the king, but presented his majesty with a gold tablet. He died in May following.
Guildford was twice married, but he died without issue. It does not appear when his first wife, Margaret Bryan, died. His second was Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent. She survived him, and as his executrix obtained a release from all her obligations to the king on 25 March 1533, and she afterwards married Sir Gawen Carey, or Carew, of Devonshire.Cal. State Papers, Henry VIII, vols. i. to vii.; Antis's History of the Garter; Pedigree in ‘Pilgrimage of Sir Richard Guylforde,’ Camden Soc.]