Charles Wriothesley was born on 8th May 1508 to Thomas Wriothesley and his wife Jane. Thomas Wriothesley was a Garter King of Arms at the College of Arms, London. Wriothesley uncle, William, also served here as a York Herald.
Born in London, at the age of three his family moved into Garter House, a self built home by his father to show the family’s rise to power and Wriothesley was sent to Cambridge to study law at Trinity Hall.
In 1524 a junior officer of arms (a pursuivant) was promoted to replace a senior role after the death of a herald. So at just 16 years old Wriothesley was appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant with the posting being made official with a salary of £10 a year and letters patent being signed on 29th May 1525. In addition to this post Wriothesley was also studying to become a lawyer and in 1529 he became a gentleman of Gray’s Inn.
In 1532 Wriothesley was part of the ceremony that saw Anne Boleyn appointed as Marquess of Pembroke and he also attended her coronation the following year.
Wriothesley’s father, Thomas died on 24th November 1534 and the College of Arms saw a set of promotions to fill the empty position of Garter King of Arms. Wriothesley became Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary a position he would hold until 1562. Wriothesley was passed over many times for promotion to the position he sought most, Garter King of Arms, the same position his father and grandfather held.
Wriothesley was the author of the chronicle that is now referred to as Wriothesley’s Chronicle. The only existing copy is a transcript made in the early 17th Century with the original being lost.
Wriothesley died at his London home on 25th January 1562 and his fellow heralds financed his funeral. With no will to bequeath his belongings they were sold off, mostly to Gilbert Dethick. Wriothesley was buried in St Sepulchre-without-Newgate.