Poyntz, Francis (DNB00)

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POYNTZ, Sir FRANCIS (d. 1528), diplomatist, was third son of Sir Robert Poyntz (d. 1521) of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, and his wife Margaret, natural daughter of Anthony Wydevill, earl Rivers [q. v.], by Gwentlian, daughter of William Stradling. The family was descended from the Barons Poyntz, who had been prominent in the Welsh and Scottish wars of Edward I (cf. Rymer, Fœdera, orig. ed. vol. ii. passim; Parl. Writs; Dugdale, Baronage; and G. E. C[okayne], Complete Peerage), and had long been settled in Gloucestershire. The father officiated at many court ceremonies, was chancellor to Queen Catherine of Aragon, and in 1520 attended Henry VIII to France. From a brother was descended the Poyntz family of Essex, and from his second son, John, father of Robert Poyntz [q. v.], the family of Alderley, Gloucestershire (Palin, More about Stifford, p. 128).

Francis was in 1516 appointed esquire of the body to Henry VIII, and became a carver in the royal household in 1521. In 1526 he was granted custody of the manor of Holborn, ‘in the suburbs of London,’ during the minority of Edward Stanley, third earl of Derby [q. v.], and in the same year he received some of the forfeited lands of Edward Stafford, third duke of Buckingham [q. v.] In 1527 he was sent as ambassador to the emperor, with instructions to mediate peace between him and Francis I, and to threaten war in the Netherlands if Charles V declined these overtures. He was also to remonstrate with the emperor on his treatment of the pope and the sack of Rome. Poyntz travelled by way of Paris, where he was joined by the French ambassador to the emperor, and arrived at Madrid on 1 July. But his embassy met with little success, and he left Spain in October, having an interview with Francis at Paris on the way back. He died of the plague in London on 25 June 1528. He married Jane or Joan, daughter of Sir Matthew Browne of Betchworth, Surrey, but left no issue. At the request of his eldest brother Anthony, Sir Francis wrote ‘The Table of Cebes the Philosopher, Translated out of Latine into Englishe by Sir Francis Poyngs;’ it was published in 16mo by Berthelet probably about 1530; a copy is in the British Museum Library.

Sir Anthony Poyntz (1480?–1533) inherited Iron Acton, where his descendants were seated for many generations. He was knighted in 1513, when he commanded a ship in Howard's expedition against France. In September 1518 he was sent on an embassy to the French king, and was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in July 1520. In 1521 he was one of the jury at Bristol before whom the Duke of Buckingham was indicted. In 1522 he joined in Surrey's expedition to Francis in command of the Santa Maria. In the following year he became vice-admiral, and was employed in command of some twelve or fourteen sail in preventing the return of Albany to Scotland. In 1523 he was administrator for his father. In 1527 he served as sheriff of Gloucestershire, and in 1530 was on a commission to inquire into Wolsey's possessions. He died in 1533, having married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Huddesfield; and, secondly, Joan, widow of Sir Richard Guilford. His eldest son, Sir Nicholas, born in 1510, was a prominent courtier during the latter part of Henry VIII's reign, and died in 1557. A portrait of Sir Nicholas by Holbein belongs to the Marquis of Bristol, and two drawings, also attributed to Holbein, to King Edward VII (Cat. Tudor Exhib. 1890, Nos. 79, 493, 500). Another, which is anonymous, belonged in 1866 to the Marquis of Ormonde.

Sir Nicholas's great-grandson, Sir Robert Poyntz (1589?–1665) matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 15 March 1604–5, was M.P. for Gloucestershire in 1626, 1628–9, and was knighted on 2 Feb. 1626–7 at the coronation of Charles I; he sided with the king during the civil war, and wrote ‘A Vindication of Monarchy …,’ 1661, 4to (Brit. Mus.); he was buried at Iron Acton on 10 Nov. 1665.

[Authorities quoted; Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Sir John Maclean's Memoir of the Poyntz family; Cotton MSS. passim; Letters, &c., of Henry VII (Rolls Ser.), and Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer and Gairdner, passim; Atkyns's Gloucestershire, p. 104, &c.; Visitation of Gloucestershire (Harl. Soc.); Wood's Athenæ, iii. 715–16; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Lit. Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club); Chron. of Calais (Camden Soc.); Rymer's Fœdera, orig. ed. xiv. 404; Brewer's Hist. of Henry VIII, ii. 149; Sandford's Genealog. Hist. p. 434; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire; Gough's Sepulchral Mon.]

A. F. P.