Sir William Kingston was born around 1476 and grew up in Painswick, Gloucestershire and first appeared in court life in June 1509 as a yeoman of the guard and again in 1512 as an under marshal in the army. During his time in the army he was on the Spanish coast at San Sebastian with Dr William Knight. He is noted as being involved in discussions regarding the best course of action for the English troops that were under the leadership of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset.
Kingston was also present at the Battle of Flodden and was knighted in 1513 (you can read more about the Battle of Flodden here – https://wordpress.com/post/85308923/809/)
Kingston was appointed as High Sheriff of Gloucestershire for 1514-1515. Kingston was present in the French court during 1520 after Sir Richard Wingfield wrote to King Henry VIII that the French Dauphin had taken a liking to Kingston. King Henry VIII had also taken to Kingston and he was present with the King at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and later at the meeting with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Henry was so impressed with Kingston he presented him with a horse.
For the next few years Kingston remained a country magistrate as well as courtier and acted on the King’s behalf levying men in his home county, when he was in London he stayed with the Black Friars.
In April 1523 Kingston joined Lord Dacre on the northern frontier and Kingston along with Sir Ralph Ellerker were assigned some of the most dangerous posts including being at the capture of Cessford Castle. He returned to London suddenly and was appointed Captain of the Guard and a Knight of the King’s Body. On 30th August 1523 along with Charles Brandon he landed at Calais and on 28th May 1524 he was appointed Constable of the Tower with a salary of £100, in addition to this he also signed the petition to Pope Clement VII regarding the King’s divorce in July 1530.
Kingston would be involved in some of the biggest political events of the 1530’s in November 1530 went to Sheffield Park, Nottinghamshire to take charge of Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey was concerned as he was once told that he would meet his death at Kingston, although Kingston tried to reassure him that he was not there to kill him he was with Wolsey when he died and later rode back to London to inform the King of the news.
Kingston travelled to Calais with Henry VIII for a second meeting with Francis I at Boulogne and on 29th May 1533 he greeted Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London where she would stay before her coronation.
He remained the Constable of the Tower and on 2nd May 1536 he received Anne Boleyn once again at the Tower who had been sent to the Tower accused of adultery. Kingston would report to Thomas Cromwell regarding Anne and her movements whilst imprisoned. He sent his first report on 3rd May where he documented Anne’s arrival and her musings regarding her arrest. He would go on to escort Anne to the scaffold after already telling her that her execution had been postponed.
On 9th March 1539 Kingston was made controller of the household and on 24th April he was made a Knight of the Garter, the King gave Kingston granted Flaxley Abbey to Kingston.
Sir William Kingston attended his last Privy Council meeting on 1st Septmeber 1540 and died on 14th September at his home in Painswick.
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