Hussey, John (DNB00)

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HUSSEY, JOHN, Lord Hussey (1466?–1537), was the eldest son of Sir William Hussey [q. v.], by Elizabeth his wife; he is referred to as a knight in his mother's will, which is dated in 1503. He fought on the king's side at Stoke in 1486, and became comptroller of the royal household. In the first year of Henry VIII he received a pardon, apparently for his share in the extortions of the late reign. Scores of recognisances for various sums, upon which his name is associated with those of Empson and Dudley, were cancelled in the early years of Henry VIII. Hussey received large grants of land in Lincolnshire and neighbouring counties, became one of the council, master of the king's wards, knight of the body, and took three hundred and forty men to the French war in 1513, when he was one of the commanders of the rearguard. He was employed on various diplomatic missions, and was sent as envoy to the emperor after the Field of Cloth of Gold. In 1521 he was made chief butler of England. In 1529 he was summoned by writ to the House of Lords as 'Johannes Hussey de Sleford, chivaler.' He was a signatory to the document sent from England begging the papal sanction to Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Arragon, and was one of those who at the queen's trial gave evidence as to her previous marriage with Prince Arthur. He was appointed in 1533 chamberlain to the illegitimated 'Princess' Mary, and his allegiance to her father seems about the same time to have begun to waver. On 30 Sept. 1534 Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, reports to Charles V an interview in which Hussey held out hopes of a national uprising if Charles would make war upon Henry. In January 1536 Hussey begged Cromwell to excuse him from attending forthcoming parliament on the ground of ill-health. Nevertheless he was present when parliament met, 8 June. His wife Anne was at the same time sent to the Tower for calling Mary princess.

On the outbreak of the Lincolnshire rebellion, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, in the autumn of 1536, the rebels warned Hussey that personal danger would attend a refusal to join with them; he appears, however, to have remained firm in his allegiance to the king, forwarding the rebels' letters to Cromwell, and telling the writers who were anxious that he should submit their terms of agreement to Henry that the king could make no terms with traitors. But when the king sent a message to Hussey (4 Oct.), directing him to raise men to repress the rebellion, he took no steps to carry out the royal order. He was consequently summoned to Windsor to answer for his conduct. In a letter to Darcy, written from Windsor on 7 Nov., he says he was 'like to have suffered' for confederacy with his correspondent had not the Duke of Norfolk interceded for him. He concludes by urging Darcy to use all his energies to secure the 'traitor' Aske.

However, in the spring of 1537 Hussey again fell under the king's suspicion, and he was arrested, together with Darcy and some others, for complicity in the Lincolnshire rising. On 12 May 1537 a true bill was returned against him at Sleaford. On 15 May he was tried with Lord Darcy at Westminster. Hussey pleaded not guilty,' but he was convicted and sentenced to be executed at Tyburn. Cromwell offered him pardon of 'lyffe, landes, and goodes' if he would furnish particulars of those concerned in the rebellion; but this he could not do, being, he said, ignorant as to the whole affair. Foreseeing no hope of pardon, he earnestly entreated that those bounden to him might not suffer by his forfeiture, and he sent the king a list of his debts. According to Stow he was executed at Sleaford in the following June, but the record of his conviction mentions Tyburn as the place for carrying out the sentence.

He married Anne, daughter of George Grey, earl of Kent. According to Dugdale he had a second wife, Margaret Blount; but in the documents written by him shortly before his death he speaks of his wife as 'Anne.' Possibly Margaret Blount may have been a first wife. One of his sons, William, seems to have been knighted at Tournai in 1510, and became a privy councillor. His children were restored in blood in 1563, but his attainder was not reversed.

[Letters and Papers, Henry VIII; Record of the Trial and Conviction of Lord Hussey and other original documents at the Public Record Office; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 310; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. iv. 531; Fronde's Hist. of England; Nicolas's Peerage, ed. Courthope.]

W. J. H-y.