Thursday, December 11, 2008

Question from Julian - More information on Matthew Baker

Henry Tudor's Men - Matthew Baker, [whom the Bretons named Matthieu Besquer]Liegeman and Squire of the Body, "faithful unto death"?

Matthew Baker was a member of Henry's bodyguard during the Breton & French Period of Exile [ his name appears several times in quotes from Breton reports of the period]
In 1486 he was appointed joint Governor of Jersey & Guernsey with Davy Phillip, [another "Squire of the Body, who was Knighted in 1504]
Baker served the-now King Henry VII in Jersey until 1494, when he seems to have been recalled to London. Thereafter he is said to have been thrice appointed to head three Embassies [which ones and when?]; and is said to have finished his Royal Service in charge of the Palace of Westminster, or "Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell" as it was nicknamed, [the central Offices of Henry VII's government]
This week, quite by chance, I have seen a reproduction of Brit Library Additional MS 45131, fol.54 - showing Henry VII's "deathbed scene". And I quote - "The chief Officers and other nobles are identified by their heraldic shields"! The Arms of Matthew Baker are shown by a figure at the foot of the bed.
So Baker served the young Henry in Brittany, at the Castle of Susciniou, - and was still high in his Service in 1509, when his Liege Lord died..
A lifetime of faithful Service?
Where might I find out more about the jobs Baker did for King Henry VII AFTER he was recalled from Jersey 1494/5? Who is the leading Scholar of Henry VII's Court and Courtiers, who might be able to either inform me - or direct me to relevant contemporary sources, or modern transcriptions thereof?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

The first place I would suggest looking for information on what jobs Baker did for Henry VII, Julian, would be the various "Calendars," especially the Calendar of the Close Rolls and Calendar of the Patent Rolls. These should reveal any offices Baker may have been appointed to, and rewards he may have received for services rendered. Most Calendars are indexed, making the search a little easier.

You might also try searching the National Archives Online Catalogue using Baker's name (with any alternate spellings) and restricting results to ca. 1450-1525. That may give you some references that you can then look up in the printed transcriptions. I get 719 citations for "Baker" alone.

If you need more specific direction, ask Lara to give you my email address and I can offer very detailed "how to" instructions.