Tag Archives: Rhys ap Gruffydd

On this day in 1558 – Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford, died

Walter Devereux was born in 1488 to John Devereux, 8th Baron Ferrers of Chartley and his wife Cecily Bourchier. Devereux was born in either Chartley Castle of Chartley Manor in Stowe-by-Chartley, Staffordshire. He was also the maternal grandson of Anne Woodville, daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg and sister to Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV.

In 1501, when Walter was only 13, his father died with Walter succeeding him as 9th Baron Ferrers of Chartley and on 9th December 1509 he was granted the use of a special livery, despite being underage he was not required to show proof of age or payment of relief for his father’s land. Devereux had also been married prior to his father’s death however, on 15th December 1503 it had been pardoned due to him being under the appropriate age for marriage, he had been married to Mary Grey, daughter of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset and granddaughter to Elizabeth Woodville through her first marriage. Devereux and Mary went on to have three sons, Henry, William and Richard.

On 20th November 1510 he was created High Steward of Tamworth and on 15th February the following year he was appointed alongside Sir Edward Belknapp as joint Constable of Warwick Castle, at the same time Devereux was also appointed joint Steward of the town of Warwick.

Devereux received further appointments on 27th January 1513 when he was appointed Keeper of Netherwood Park, on 1st August 1513 as Councillor and Royal Commissioner of Wales and the Marches and the following year in 1514 as High Steward of Hereford.

Devereux also served the army during the War of the League of Cambrai and later in the Italian Wars of 1521 – 1526, during his time serving in France he was appointed as Captain of the English Army on 24th August 1523 and he oversaw the fight off the coast of Brittany. King Henry VIII was highly impressed with Devereux and rewarded him on 13th July 1523 by creating him a Knight of the Garter alongside Thomas Boleyn.

With King Henry VIII holding Devereux in such high regard the positions kept coming on 11th February 1525 he was appointed as Bailiff of Sutton Coldfield and later that year he was made Steward of the Household and Councillor to King Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary. On 22nd August 1525 Devereux was appointed as Chief Justice of South Wales and High Steward of Builth. The following year on 25th May 1526 he was created Chamberlain of South Wales, Carmarthen and Cardigan making him a powerful and influential man in Wales.

In the late 1520s with his increased powers in Wales he became the target of Welsh peer Rhys ap Gruffydd who in 1529, along with a group of armed supporters, threatened Devereux at knifepoint. The pair were allowed to talk through the issues that were troubling them but Gruffydd and his family continued to cause trouble in Wales and for Devereux until Gruffydd was eventually arrested and executed after being charged with treason.

Devereux married for a second time, following the death of his first wife, to Margaret Garneys and they went on to have two children, Edward and Katherine.

In 1543 Devereux was appointed as Custos Rotulorum of Cardiganshire otherwise known as Keeper of the Rolls, a position Devereux would hold until his death. It is also known that Devereux was with King Henry VIII at the siege of Boulogne when it was taken on 18th September 1544.

Upon his return from Boulogne, Devereux was created Viscount Hereford on 2nd February 1550 and was appointed as a Privy Councillor by King Edward VI. On 4th May 1551 he was made joint Lord Justice and Lieutenant of Stafford and on 18th February 1554 Justice of the Peace for Stafford, Worcester and Salop.

Devereux died on 17th September 1558 and was buried at Stowe-by-Chartley, Staffordshire.

walter_devereux__margaret_garneys_250x187The tomb of Walter Devereux and second wife Margaret Garneys