Wingfield, John (DNB00)

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WINGFIELD, Sir JOHN (d. 1596), soldier, was the third son of Richard Wingfield of Wantisden in Suffolk, and Mary, daughter and coheiress of John Hardwick of Derby, sister of Elizabeth (Talbot), grand-countess of Shrewsbury [q. v.] (Visitation of Huntingdon, Camd. Soc. p. 129). His brother Anthony, reader in Greek to Queen Elizabeth, is separately noticed. Having apparently for some time previously served as a volunteer against the Spaniards in Holland, he was appointed captain of foot in the expedition conducted thither by the Earl of Leicester in December 1585 (Cal. Hatfield MSS. v. 240), and, being wounded in the action before Zutphen on 22 Sept. 1586 (ib. vi. 570), he was for his bravery on that occasion knighted by Leicester (Stow, Annals, p. 739). He was one of the twelve knights 'of his kindred and friends' that walked at the funeral of Sir Philip Sidney on 16 Feb. 1587, and, returning to the Netherlands, was appointed governor of Gertruydenberg, His position, owing to the jealousies existing between the English auxiliaries and the States, and the mutinous condition of the garrison for want of pay, was neither an easy nor an agreeable one. Nevertheless, with the assistance furnished him by his brother-in-law, Peregrine Bertie, lord Willoughby de Eresby [q. v.], he managed to hold out successfully during 1588, and even to assist materially in forcing Parma to raise the siege of Bergen in November. But a rumour early in the following year that he intended to hand over the place to the Spaniards brought Maurice of Nassau before the town with a demand for its surrender. Wingfield indignantly denied the intended treason imputed to him, offering to prove its falsehood with his sword against any man and in any place whatever. Nevertheless, either because he had not the will or the power to prevent it, Gertruydenberg was on 10 April 1589 delivered up to the Spaniards (Motley, United Netherlands, ii. 389, 517, iii. 97; Markham, Fighting Veres, pp. 138-40). Returning to England with his wife and newly born child, Wingfield served as master of the ordnance under Sir John Norris (1547?-1597) [q. v.] in Brittany against the forces of the league in 1591, and the following year he is mentioned as being in charge of the storehouse at Dieppe (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1591-4, pp. 57, 218). He was one of the committee appointed in 1593 for conference touching the relief of poor maimed soldiers and mariners (Hatfield MSS. iv, 295); and in June 1596 he sailed on board the Vanguard, as camp-master with the rank of colonel, in the expedition under the Earl of Essex against Cadiz. After the attack on the Spanish fleet, in which he bore his share (Markham, Fighting Veres, p. 227), he was one of the first to enter the town; but despising the warning of Sir Francis Vere not to expose himself recklessly without his armour, he was struck down by a shot in the market-place just when all resistance ceased (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1595-7, pp. 191, 249, 272; Motley, United Netherlands, iii 364). He was buried with military honours in the principal church in Cadiz (Camden, Annals, 1615, ii. 119), and the following year the queen granted his widow an annuity of 100l. (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1596-7, p. 454). Wingfield married, about 1582, Susan, sister of Peregrine Bertie, lord Willoughby de Eresby, and widow of Reginald Grey, fourth earl of Kent, by whom he had one son, Peregrine, born in Holland.

[Authorities quoted; Powerscourt's Wingfield Muniments, p. 30.]

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