Radcliffe, Robert (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 47
Radcliffe, Robert

by William Arthur Jobson Archbold
1904 Errata appended.
Contains subarticle Henry Radcliffe (1506?–1557).

RADCLIFFE or RATCLIFFE, ROBERT, first Earl of Sussex (1483–1542), born in 1483, was only son by his first wife of John Radcliffe or Ratcliffe, baron Fitzwalter [q. v.] Restored in blood as Baron Fitzwalter by letters patent of 25 Jan. 1506, he was made a knight of the Bath on 23 June 1509, and acted as lord sewer at the coronation of Henry VIII the following day. From this time he was a prominent courtier. He was appointed joint commissioner of array for Essex and joint captain of the forces raised there on 28 Jan. 1512–13, and in the English expedition of 1513 he commanded two ships, the Make Glory and the Ellen of Hastings. In 1515 he took part in the ceremony at the reception of Wolsey's cardinal's hat. The same year the king restored him some of his lands that had been withheld. On 28 May 1517 he was made joint commissioner to inquire into demolitions and enclosures in Essex.

Fitzwalter was at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, and admiral of the squadron and chief captain of the vanguard in the expedition of 1522. On 23 April 1524 he was made K.G. On 18 July 1525 he was raised to the dignity of Viscount Fitzwalter. On 5 Feb. 1525–6 he was made a privy councillor, and, taking the king's view of the divorce question, he was created Earl of Sussex on 8 Dec. 1529. Other honours followed. On 7 May 1531 he became lieutenant of the order of the Garter; on 31 May 1532 he was appointed chamberlain of the exchequer; on 5 June 1532 he appears as one of the witnesses when Sir Thomas More resigned the great seal.

Sussex was long in very confidential relations with Henry. It must have been with the king's knowledge that he proposed at the council on 6 June 1536 that the Duke of Richmond should be placed before Mary in the succession to the throne. After the pilgrimage of grace, he was in 1537 sent on a special commission to quiet the men of Lancashire. In 1540 he was made great chamberlain of England and one of the commissioners to inquire into the state of Calais, an inquiry which resulted in the disgrace of Lord Lisle [see Plantagenet, Arthur]. He received many grants of land after the suppression of the monasteries, and died on 26 Nov. 1542.

Radcliffe married: first, about 1505, Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham, by whom he had Henry, second earl, who is noticed below, and Sir Humphrey Radcliffe of Elnestow. His second wife was Lady Margaret Stanley, daughter of the second Earl of Derby. On 11 May 1532 Gardiner wrote urging Benet to press on the dispensation rendered necessary by the consanguinity between Sussex and Lady Margaret. By her he had a son, Sir John Radcliffe of Cleeve or Clyve in Somerset, who died without issue on 9 Nov. 1568, and a daughter Anne, whose dowry when she married Thomas, lord Wharton, was raised by selling Radcliffe Tower and other Lancashire estates. Radcliffe's second wife died on 3 Feb. 1583–4. His third wife was Mary, daughter of Sir John Arundel of Lanherne, Cornwall.

Henry Radcliffe, second Earl of Sussex (1506?–1557), born about 1506, served Wolsey on his embassy to France in 1527 as a gentleman attendant. From 1529 till his father's death he was known as Viscount Fitzwalter. He was made K.B. on 30 May 1533, and on 31 May 1536 had the valuable grant of the joint stewardship of the royal estates in Essex. On 26 Nov. 1542 he succeeded as second Earl of Sussex, and exercised the family office of lord sewer at the coronation of Edward VI. He was one of the lords and gentlemen who put Somerset in the Tower by the order of the council in October 1549. He declared for Queen Mary, and was captain-general of her forces and privy councillor in 1553, and lord sewer at her coronation. He took part in the trials of Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guilford Dudley, and was made knight of the Garter on 24 April 1554. In October 1556 he was engaged in Norfolk in trying to force the gospellers to go to mass. Execution for debt was stayed against him in the Star-chamber the same month by the queen's orders. He died on 17 Feb. 1556–7 in Cannon Row, London, and was buried at the church of St. Lawrence Pountney. His remains were subsequently removed to the church of Boreham, Essex. His estates passed to Sir William Radcliffe of Ordsall (cf. Stanley Papers, Chetham Soc., pt. ii. p. 172). He married, first, before 21 May 1524, Lady Elizabeth Howard, fifth daughter of Thomas, second duke of Norfolk, and by her had three sons, Thomas [q. v.] and Henry, successively earls of Sussex, and Robert who was killed in Scotland in his father's lifetime; secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir Philip Calthorpe, styled in his will his ‘unkind wife.’ By her, whom he divorced, he had Egremont Radcliffe [q. v.]; Maud, who died young; and Frances (1552–1602), who married Sir Thomas Mildmay. It is to the descendants of Frances that the barony of Fitzwalter ultimately descended.

[Letters and Papers, Henry VIII; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Add. 1547–65, pp. 443, 447; Proc. of the Privy Council, ed. Dasent, i. 3–35, ii. 344; Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 480; Baines's Hist. of Lancashire, ii. 421, &c.; Froude's Hist. of Engl. vi. 18, &c.; Zurich Letters, iii. 179; Bale's Selected Works, pp. 220, 242; Cranmer's Works, ii. 324, 490 (Parker Soc.); Strype's Memorials of the Reformation, I. i. 235, 565, 598, II. i. 6, ii. 162, &c. III. i. 128 n., ii. 414, and Cranmer, 396, &c.; Froude's Divorce of Catherine of Aragon, p. 176; Chron. of Calais (Camd. Soc.), pp. 10, 11, 31, 175, 184–5, 187; Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 25114, f. 288.]

W. A. J. A.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.229
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
135 ii 4f.e. Radcliffe, Robert, 1st Earl of Sussex: for She died read Radcliffe's second wife died