Tag Archives: Knight of the Garter

On this day in 1560 – Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury died

Francis Talbot was born in 1500 to George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Anne Hastings. Francis’ father, George, fought alongside King Henry VII during the uprising of Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke and was godfather to Henry’s eldest daughter, Princess Margaret. In 1538 Francis inherited his father’s title to become 5th Earl of Shrewsbury.

Francis followed his father’s footsteps and was in favour with King Henry VIII during his reign, despite being a staunch Roman Catholic. Francis even received lands, including parts of Worksop Priory and Beauchief Abbey, from the dissolution of the monasteries.

On 30th November 1523 Francis married Mary Dacre, daughter of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre, the couple went on to have three children; George, 6th Earl of Talbot, Anne and Thomas. Mary died in 1538 and Francis went on to marry again to Grace Shakerley but they would not have any children.

Francis took little interest in politics however, in 1545 he was made a Knight of the Garter and Francis was also deemed a powerful figure in the north of England and was part of the troops that invaded Scotland in 1547 that ended in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.

During the reign of King Edward VI the Imperial Ambassador described Francis as ‘one of the most powerful men in the kingdom’ and when plots arose against the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset he attempted to recruit Francis to his side but instead Francis joined those that opposed his rule. In 1549 Francis replaced Robert Holgate, Bishop of Llandaff, as Lord President of the Council of the North.

When King Edward VI took to the throne Francis converted to the reformed religion but harboured sympathies to the Catholic faith. Francis, although not a politician he was a member of the King’s Council. Despite converting to Protestantism and not opposing the proclamation of Lady Jane Grey as Queen after the death of King Edward VI, it is likely that he would have worked to convince the Council to recognise Mary I as the rightful heir and was one of the first to openly support her claim. Due to his early support Mary rewarded him upon her ascension with a place on her Council.

Francis, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth was Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire alongside his role as President of the Council of the North. In a letter from Francis to Sir William Cecil dated on 17th January 1559 from Ferry Bridge he stated that he was going to take some troops to Newcastle and whilst he was away he was appointing his Vice President, Sir Thomas Gargrave to do his job in his absence.

Francis Talbot died on 28th September 1560 in Sheffield Manor, Sheffield and was buried at St Peter’s in Sheffield.

Francis TalbotFrancis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury

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On this day in 1535 – George Neville died

George Neville was the son of the second Baron of Bergavenny also called George and his wife Margaret. Neville was born in 1471, although the exact date is unknown. He was brought up alongside his brothers, Edward, Thomas and Richard.

Neville was created a Knight of the Bath on 5th July 1483 but went on to be a keen supporter of King Henry VII, he even fought alongside the King at the Battle of Blackheath against the Cornish rebellion. Upon the death of his father on 20th September 1492 Neville inherited the title of Baron Bergavenny.

Neville married Joan FitzAlan, niece to Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV, it is believed that the marriage produced two daughters; Elizabeth Neville and Jane Neville, who went on to marry Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu and son of Lady Margaret Pole.

It is documented that Neville was at Calais with King Henry VII in May 1500 and the loyalty he showed the King continued through to his son when he was crowned the new King of England at the time Henry VIII’s coronation Neville was in the hereditary office of Chief Larderer.

On 20th August 1512 Neville was made a commissioner of array for Kent, Surrey and Sussex and on 28th January 1513 he was appointed warden of the Cinque Ports. Neville was nominated to be inducted into the Knight of the Garter on 23rd April 1513.

Neville married for a second time in 1513 to Margaret Brent this marriage would end up childless and only lasted a few years.

King Henry VIII sent Neville to France later in 1513 and between June and October was a general in the army. It was a role he would take in 1514 again and due to his loyalty and success in 1515 he was granted the keepership of Ashdown Forest.

On 23rd July 1518 Neville, Lord Cobham, the Bishop of Chichester and some Kentish gentlemen were sent to meet Cardinal Campeggio and escort him to Canterbury where he would act as the Pope’s representative during peace negotiations and the signing of the Treaty of London. It was also in this year that Neville became a member of the Privy Council.

In June 1519 Neville married for a third time to Lady Mary Stafford, daughter of Duke of Buckingham. They would go on to have three sons and five daughters. In May 1521 Neville would find himself imprisoned in the Tower of London until early 1522 under suspicion of conspiring with his new father-in-law. He was soon released and pardoned, cleared of all charges of treason on the 29th March 1522. However, Neville had lost all his offices and had to resort to selling his home, Birling, to the King.

After his release he attended King Henry VIII as he met Charles V in 1522 and was once again the captain of the army in France in 1523.

As King Henry VIII proceeded with his divorce from Katherine of Aragon on 13th July 1530 Neville’s signature appears on a letter that was sent to Pope Clement VII asking him to settle to divorce case as soon as possible. With Neville back in favour with the King he was able to buy his home back and return to Birling. With the King breaking from Rome and remarrying to Anne Boleyn, Neville once again took the office of Chief Larderer at Anne’s coronation.

Neville married for a fourth and final time to his former servant and mistress, Mark Brooke (also known as Cobham).

However, age was catching up with Neville and in May 1535 he was notably absent from the feast of the Knights of the Garter due to ill health. With his health failing Neville wrote to the King asking that his family was not heavily pressed for his inheritance as he had many daughters that needed providing for as they all became married.

Neville died on the morning of 13th June 1535 (some documents say it was the 14th) at his home. His body was buried at Birling but his heart was buried at Mereworth.

George NevilleGeorge Neville painted by Hans Holbein the younger

On this day in 1596 – Sir Henry Hastings was buried

Sir Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, was born in 1535 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire to Francis Hastings and his wife Catherine Pole.

Hastings grew up in companionship with the future King Edward VI where they were tutored Richard Cox, John Cheke and Jean Belmain. The tutors provided the boys with an education in humanism, language and history. In 1548 Hastings briefly attended Queen’s College, Cambridge.

On 21st May 1553 Hastings was married to Katherine Dudley, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley. This marriage was arranged through their father’s who were political allies. It was an alliance that would draw Hastings into a family that would be remembered forever.

With the young King Edward VI dying he named his cousin Lady Jane Grey his heir, going against his father’s final act of succession. Lady Jane Grey was also John Dudley’s daughter in law via his son Guildford. Lady Jane’s reign only lasted nine days when Edward’s sister, Mary, claimed the throne.

Hastings backed his father in law in his attempt to keep Jane on the throne and keep the country out of the hands of the Catholic Mary. Dudley and his supporters, including Hastings, found themselves imprisoned in the Tower of London. Hastings was freed after swearing loyalty to Mary and her reign.

With Hastings free he entered into the service of Cardinal Reginald Pole and followed him around the continent to Flanders, Calais and London. They also escorted Philip II of Spain from Spain to England for his marriage to Mary.

When Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558 Hastings and his family were welcomed into her court and gained their loyalty. Hastings was in attendance at Elizabeth’s first parliament and during his time at court he witnessed the readings of the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Elizabeth also named Hastings as a Knight of the Bath. Hastings inherited the title of 3rd Earl of Huntingdon when his father died on 25th January 1560.

Hastings family name would come in to question once again in 1562 when Elizabeth contracted smallpox. Hastings was named as a potential rival heir, through his ancestor George Plantagenet and was favoured by the Protestants and those who were enemies of Mary Queen of Scots. Although he convinced Elizabeth of his loyalty she was sceptical in employing him.

Although Elizabeth no longer had full trust in Hastings, she still used him in important missions. In 1569 he helped George Talbot in escorting Mary Queen of Scots from Wingfield Manor to Tutbury. Hastings would later act as one of the judges in her trial in 1586.

In 1570 Hastings was inducted into the Knight of the Garter and through this in 1572 Hastings was appointed president of the Council of the North where he helped protect Enland’s borders from Scotland.

Whilst in Newcastle in November 1595 Hastings fell ill with a fever and died on 14th December 1595. Elizabeth spent time comforting Hastings wife. As they were childless Hastings had named his nephew Francis as his heir. Hastings was buried on 26th April 1596 at St Helen’s Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch alongside his nephew, Francis, who died three days after Hastings.

Henry Hastings