Flower, William (DNB00)

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FLOWER, WILLIAM (1498?–1588), Norroy king of arms, born at York about 1498, was probably the elder son of John Flower, tailor and corn merchant, of the parish of All Saints upon the Pavement, York, whose goods were administered on 2 Nov. 1523 by Margaret, his widow. He married Helen Davyes, and had two sons and three daughters, of whom Elizabeth married first, about 1570, Robert Glover [q. v.], Somerset herald, and secondly, in April 1588, a Mr. Woolward. Noble rightly says ‘few have been more assiduous in the duties of their profession than this Norroy, as the visitations of his province evince’ (Hist. of Coll. of Arms, p. 172). He became Guisnes pursuivant extraordinary upon the removal of Fulke ap Howell at Westminster, 10 July 28 Henry VIII. When Calais pursuivant extraordinary he was sent, 1 April 1543, to Rouen to visit the merchants and marines who had been captured by the French, and were confined there (Noble, loc. cit.) On 30 May 1544 he was appointed Rouge Croix, and promoted to the office of Chester herald about 37 Henry VIII. With Sir Gilbert Dethick [q. v.], Garter, he attended the Marquis of Northampton into France, when he had an allowance of 10s. per diem for his ‘dyett.’ The deputation from Thomas Hawley, Clarenceux, to Flower, constituting him his marshal and deputy, is dated at the house of the said Clarenceux in Barbican, London, 1555, 1 and 2 Philip and Mary. His patent as Norroy is dated 29 Jan. 1561–2 (Rymer, Fœdera, xvi. 620; Machyn, Diary, Camden Soc., p. 276). A commission of visitation was addressed to him on 10 July, 6 Elizabeth. On 9 March 1580 he obtained a patent joining Robert Glover, Somerset, his son-in-law, with himself for the office of Norroy, in which patent he is stated to be then eighty-two years of age. Flower died at Windsor in the autumn of 1588. His will, bearing date 14 Oct., 30 Elizabeth, 1588, was proved in London 22 Nov. following. The effects were small, and the legacies consisted chiefly of articles of furniture and wearing apparel (will registered in P. C. C. 9, Leicester).

Flower's ‘Visitation of Yorkshire’ in 1563 and 1564 was edited for the Harleian Society in 1881 by Charles Best Norcliffe of Langton, Yorkshire, from the original manuscript, which has been in the possession of the family since 1738. Two copies of this visitation, one with additions, are in the College of Arms; a portion only is to be found in the British Museum, Harleian MS. 1171. In 1567 Flower undertook a ‘Visitation of the County Palatine of Lancaster,’ on which occasion he appointed Robert Glover his marshal or deputy; the visitation has for that reason been sometimes described as ‘Glover's Visitation.’ The original manuscript is preserved in the College of Arms, but a carefully written transcript of it by Glover is in the British Museum, Harleian MS. 2086. A second copy in the same collection, Harleian MS. 6159, with additional and enlarged pedigrees, was made by William Smith [q. v.], Rouge Dragon pursuivant, in 1598. Transcripts of this visitation, all in the libraries of Humphrey Chetham of Manchester, and of Queen's College, Oxford, and other copies, more or less inaccurate, are in several public and private collections. It was printed by the Chetham Society in 1870 under the editorship of Canon F. R. Raines. Flower's last undertaking was a ‘Visitation of the County Palatine of Durham’ in 1575, in which he was again greatly assisted by Glover. One hundred and forty copies of this visitation were printed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1820 from a copy in the possession of Nicholas John Philipson, F.S.A., of that town. Manuscript copies exist in the libraries of the British Museum (Harl. MSS. 1171 and 1540), of the College of Arms, of Queen's College, Oxford, and of Durham Cathedral.

[Raines's Introduction to Lancashire Visitation (Chetham Soc.); Norcliffe's Preface to Yorkshire Visitation (Harl. Soc.); Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1547–80, Foreign, 1553–8, p. 312; Noble's History of the College of Arms; Sims's Manual for the Genealogist, 2nd ed., pp. 165, 168, 176.]

G. G.