Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Apsley, Allen (1569?-1630)

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APSLEY, Sir ALLEN (1569?–1630), lieutenant of the Tower, was youngest son of John Apsley, Esq., of Pulborough, Sussex, and was born about 1569. Coming up to court to seek his fortune, he lost his all at play, and sailed for Cadiz with Essex 1596. Passing, on his return, into Ireland, he became victualler of Munster, married a rich widow, and was knighted at Dublin 5 June 1605 (Carew Papers, 619, p. 160). He next married a daughter of Sir Peter Carew, and was made victualler to the navy about 1610. Having married, thirdly, Lucy, daughter of Sir John St. John (by whom he was father of the celebrated Mrs. Hutchinson), he obtained in addition the lieutenancy of the Tower, 3 March 1617. 'Here,' says Mrs. Hutchinson, 'he was a father to all his prisoners.' Many eminent prisoners were under his charge, including Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir John Eliot, and his wife is said to have provided Raleigh with the means for continuing his experiments. But he was the friend and political ally of the Duke of Buckingham (Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iv. 310), and Mrs. Hutchinson's statement must be compared with Mr. Forster's detailed description of his rigorous treatment of Sir John Eliot and other enemies of Buckingham (Forster's Sir John Eliot, ii. 469-78, 521). Apsley witnessed Buckingham's will drawn up 25 June 1627, just before the duke sailed for the island of Rhé (Wills (Camden Soc.), p. 91). Apsley himself served with that expedition (1628) and caught a fever, followed by a consumption, of which he died 24 May 1630, aged 61. He was buried in the Tower chapel, where a tablet was erected to his memory. He died deeply involved in debt. As victualler of the navy he set forth in a petition that he had spent 100,000l., which was unpaid at the date of his death. The 'State Papers' throughout the seventeenth century are full of references to this and other of Apsley's debts (cf. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii. 148; Cal. Treasury Papers, i. 166).

[Mrs. Hutchinson's Introduction to her Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson; Bell's Memorials of Persons buried in the Tower, pp. 35-36; Cal. State Papers (Dom. 1627-8), p. 499.]

J. H. R.