Guildford, Richard (DNB00)
|←Guildford, Nicholas de||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 23
|1904 Errata appended.|
GUILDFORD, Sir RICHARD (1455?–1506), master of the ordnance, was the son of Sir John Guildford of Rolvenden in Kent, controller of the household to Edward IV. His ancestry had been settled in Kent and Sussex for at least eight generations. The date of his birth can only be conjectured approximately from the fact that his eldest son was over twenty-eight years old when he died in 1506; for, as men commonly married early in those days, we may presume that he was a father at about twenty-three. The first thing recorded in his life shows that he was relied on as a trusty councillor by Reginald Bray [q. v.], who chose him as one of the four persons to whom he first communicated the plot against Richard III in 1483. Both father and son raised forces that year for the Earl of Richmond in Kent, and were attainted in consequence. The son, who thereby forfeited some lands in Cranbrook, fled to Richmond in Brittany, and returned with him two years later, landing along with him at Milford Haven, where he is said to have been knighted. It may be presumed he was with Henry at Bosworth. Little more than a month later, on 29 Sept. 1485, the new king appointed him one of the chamberlains of the receipt of exchequer, master of the ordnance and of the armoury, with houses on Tower Wharf, and keeper of the royal manor of Kennington, where the king took up his abode before his coronation. As a chamberlain of the receipt of the exchequer he had the appointment of an 'usher of the receipt,' and of other officers. What were his emoluments in that office does not appear; but as master of the ordnance he had two shillings a day with allowances for persons under him, and as master of the armoury a shilling a day with like allowances—the pay, as regards the latter office, to date from 8 Aug., a fortnight before the battle of Bosworth, when it appears that he received the appointment from Henry though he was not yet king (Campbell, Materials, i. 68, 369). When Henry's first parliament met his attainder was reversed (Rolls of Parl. vi. 2736). As master of the armoury he had to prepare the 'justes' for the king's coronation, for which a hundred marks were paid him in advance. For the like preparations at the queen's coronation two years later he also received a hundred marks; and on another occasion, shortly after the first, we meet with a payment to him of 16l. 19s. 10d. for the repair of the 'justes' in question.
The king also made him a privy councillor and granted him various lands and some wardships which fell vacant. Among the former was the manor of Higham in Sussex, which was granted him in tail male with 'the increase of the land there by the retirement of the sea: to hold by fealty and the service of supporting a tower in his marsh near the port called the Camber in Sussex, to be built within two years from the date of these presents, for the protection of the inhabitants of Kent and Sussex from rebels and others navigating the sea there.' His genius evidently lay in the control of artillery and fortifications, engineering and shipbuilding, for which various payments to him are recorded. The lands he won from the sea are to this day called Guilford Level. In 1486 he received 'for the making of a ship within the county of Kent' 100l. ; on 8 March 1487 13l. 6s. 8d. was paid him as master of a vessel called the Mary Gylford, named probably after a daughter who, in Henry VIII's time, was married to one Christopher Kempe (Hasted, Hist. of Kent, ii. 128); and on 12 April he had 40l. 'for the building and novel construction of a ship to be made de novo with ordnance and fittings.' This last, it is clear, was the same as the ship first mentioned, 'to be made within the county of Kent.' It was to be a vessel of seven hundred tons, 'like the Colombe of France.' In the spring of 1487, again, we find that he was commissioned to construct a ship called the Regent. Another curious entry relating to him is a warrant to pay him 17l. on 2 Oct. 1486 for a collar of gold of that value, which he had delivered to the king in order that it might be given to a 'gentilman estraungere comyng unto us. out of the parties of Flaundres.'
In 1487 it appears that the treasurer and barons of the exchequer had for some reason seized the office of chamberlain of the receipt, which had been granted to him by the king for life; but he obtained a warrant under the privy seal to prevent them proceeding further until the king himself had examined the official arrangements, with a view apparently to greater efficiency. A little later he surrendered the office, which was then granted to Lord Daubeney [q. v.] On 14 July he was given the wardship and marriage of Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Robert Mortymer, with the custody of her lands during her minority. In Michaelmas term 1488 a payment of 12l. to a London merchant is authorised 'for a table delivered by him to Richard Guldeford for the Sovereign.' On 11 March 1489 he had a warrant to the exchequer to reimburse him 30l. which he had laid out 'in harnessing' (i.e. arming) seven of the king's servants and seventeen of the queen's. In September following certain alterations were ordered to be made in the buildings of Westminster Palace under the direction of Guildford and the Earl of Ormonde.
In 1490 Guildford undertook to serve the king at sea with 550 marines and soldiers, in three ships, for two months from 12 July. On 13 May, apparently in the same year, he had a grant of three hundred marks out of the subsidies in the port of Chichester. On 20 Feb. 1492 Henry VII made his will in view of his proposed invasion of France, and appointed Guildford one of his trustees (Rolls of Parl. vi. 4443). Guildford also made great preparations for that expedition, and for his expenses in so doing the king on 30 March ordered an immediate advance to be made to him of 20l. out of an allowance of 40l. a year already granted to him over and above his fees as master of the ordnance and of the armoury. He accordingly accompanied the king to Boulogne, and attended him at the meeting with the French commissioners for peace immediately after. On 1 Feb. 1493 he was given the wardship and marriage of Thomas, grandson and heir of Sir Thomas Delamere (Patent, 8 Hen. VII, p. 2, m. 10). On 19 July he lost his father, Sir John Guildford, a privy councillor like himself, who was buried in Canterbury Cathedral (Weever, Funerall Monuments, 1st ed. p. 235). In the 9th Henry VII, being then sheriff of Kent, 100l. was given him for his charges in that office, and in the same year (1 Dec.) he had a new grant of the office of master of the armoury to him and his son Edward. In November 1494 he was at Westminster at the creation of the king's second son Henry as Duke of York. About 1495 he was named one of six commissioners to arrange with the Spanish ambassador about the marriage of Arthur and Catherine (Cal. State Papers, Spanish, i. No. 118). In the summer of that year, after Perkin Warbeck's attempt to land at Deal, he was sent by the king into Kent to thank the inhabitants for their loyalty. In the parliament which assembled in October following he was one of those members who announced to the chancellor the election of the speaker (Rolls of Parl. vi. 4586). In that parliament he obtained an act for disgavelling his lands in Kent (ib. p. 4876). About this time we find him mentioned as controller of the royal household (ib. p. 461), an office which his father had held before him, and one of his sons held after him. On 21 April 1496 he was made steward of the lands which had belonged to the Duchess of York in Surrey and Sussex; and in 12 Henry VII he was again appointed one of a set of trustees for the king in a deed confirmed in parliament (ib. vi. 5106).
On 17 June 1497 he assisted in defeating the Cornish rebels at Blackheath, for which service he was created a banneret. About this time he seems to have made an exchange of lands with two abbots in Kent and Sussex; for on 5 June two royal licenses were granted, the first to the abbot of Faversham, to enable him to acquire lands from any one of the annual value of 20l., and also to alienate twelve hundred acres in Cranbrook and Frittenden to Sir Richard Guildford; the second to the abbot of Robertsbridge, enabling him to acquire lands to the annual value of 40l., and to alienate to Sir Richard three thousand acres of salt marsh in the parishes of Playden, Iden, Ivychurch, Fairlight, Pett, and Broomhill. On 4 July 1498 the custody of the lands of Catherine Whitehed, an idiot, was granted to him and others. In 1499 he and Richard Hatton were commissioned by the king to go in quest of Edmund De la Pole, earl of Suffolk, after his first flight to the continent, and persuade him to come back. He had a further charge to go to the Archduke Philip; but so important was the bringing back of De la Pole that he was instructed to forego that journey if the refugee would not return without him. In 1500 he went over with the king to the meeting with the archduke at Calais. In the same year he was elected a knight of the Garter. In 1501, as controller of the household, he had much to do with the arrangements for the reception of Catherine of Arragon at her first arrival in England.
On 7 May 1503 his absence was excused at St. George's feast, which he appears to have pretty generally attended in other years. In 19 Henry VII his name occurs among the collectors appointed by parliament to levy the aid granted to the king on account of the creation of the late Prince Arthur, and of the marriage and conveyance of the Princess Margaret to Scotland (ib. vi. 538). In the same year (1504) he obtained an exemplification under the great seal of the act for disgavelling his lands, and of a proviso in his favour in the act of resumption 1 Henry VII.. On 4 April 1506 he had what was called a special pardon—really a discharge of liabilities in respect of his offices of master of the ordnance and of the armoury, and also as master of the horse (Patent, 21 Henry VII, pt. i. m. 30). About the same time, in 21 Henry VII, he had also some confirmations of former grants, and, according to Ellis, a grant of free warren in his manor of Cotmanton.
On 7 April in the same year he made his will. Next day he embarked at Rye along with John Whitby, prior of Gisburn in Yorkshire, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They landed next day in Normandy, and passed through France, Savoy, and the north of Italy to Venice, whence, after some stay, they sailed on 3 July. After visiting Crete and Cyprus on their way they reached Jaffa, on 18 Aug. But before they durst land they had to send a message to Jerusalem to the warden of Mount Sion, and they remained seven days in their galley till he came with the lords of Jerusalem and Rama, without whose escort no pilgrims were allowed to pass. Two more days were spent in debating the tribute to be paid by the company before they could be suffered to land, so that they only disembarked on 27 Aug. They were forced by the Mamelukes to spend a night and a day in a cave, and when allowed to proceed upon their journey both Guildford and the prior fell ill. They did reach Jerusalem, but the prior died there on 5 Sept., and Guildford the next day. Guilford's chaplain prepared an account of 'The Pylgymage of Sir Richard Guylforde to the Holy Land. a.d. 1506,' which Pynson printed in 1511. There is a unique copy at the British Museum, which was reprinted by Sir Henry Ellis for the Camden Society in 1851.
Guildford was twice married. His first wife was Anne, daughter and heiress of John Pimpe of Kent; his second, whom he married in presence of Henry VII and his queen, was Joan, sister of Sir Nicholas Vaux, afterwards Lord Vaux of Harrowden. By his first wife he had two sons and four daughters; by his second one son, Henry [q. v.] Lady Joan survived him many years, accompanied Henry VIII's sister Mary into France in 1514, and had afterwards an annuity of 40l. for her service to Henry VII and his queen and their two daughters, Mary, queen of the French, and Margaret, queen of Scots (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. ii. No. 569).[Anstis's History of the Garter; Pilgrimage of Sir Richard Guylforde (Camden Soc.); Polydori Vergilii Anglica Historia; Campbell's Materials for a History of Henry VII (Rolls Ser.); Gairdner's Letters. &c., Ric. III and Henry VII (Rolls Ser.); Inquis. post mortem 23 Henry VII, No. 18.]
|328||i||8||Guildford, Sir Richard: for 1458 read 1485|