Monday, April 02, 2012

Question from Stuart - Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard in 1513

Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard c.1513

I wonder if you could help me, I have been trying to find out who the Captain of the Yeomen was at the time of Henry VIII's 1513 invasion of France.

I have found that the title was passed at some point in 1513 from Sir Henry Guildford to Sir John Gage (I think!) but i'm not sure whether this was before, during or after the campaign, can you help at all?

Best Regards



Lara said...

You have probably already seen this, but all I could find in either of their ODNB entries was his in Sir Henry Guildford's:

Later in the year, in August 1512, Guildford took part in a disastrous naval engagement off Brest, as joint captain with fellow courtier Sir Charles Brandon of sixty yeomen of the guard aboard the Sovereign. In 1513 Henry VIII himself, anxious for personal glory and yearning to cut a dash as a warlord, mounted an invasion of France. Guildford embarked from Southampton, commanding a hundred men of the king's ward. At the siege of Thérouanne in August 1513, and presumably at the so-called battle of the Spurs fought in the middle of the month, he carried the royal standard. Soon afterwards, after the capture of Tournai, he was created a knight-banneret before returning to England.

Foose said...

There may be some confusion about which post Sir John Gage was appointed to in 1513. His son Robert wrote a brief biography of him, in which he says:

"... he [Sir John], being at the wininge of Turwin (Tournai) and Turrein (Therouanne), was first made captain of the Castle of Callis (Calais) ... Shortly after he was sent for home and presently made Knight, of the privy Counsell, vize chambelaine, and captain of the guard ..."

The question is what "presently" means in the context of the promotion to Captain of the Guard. Some books on Google state that he was named to that post in 1513, after he distinguished himself at the sieges of Tournai and Therouanne; another source says he was made Captain of Guisnes (perhaps this was an alternate or older title for Captain of Calais) at the time, and a third source stated he was made Captain of the Guard in 1528.

According to one source, Gage was born in 1490, which would make him 23 when he officially came to Henry's attention (almost an exact contemporary of the king) in 1513; I would think that would be a little young for such an important court post as Captain of the Guard, however remarkable Gage's bravery, as the position brought with it a great deal of access to the king and there would be a number of contenders for the job. The appointment to Captain of Calais (or Guisnes) of a young, exceptional gentleman, which would probably require him to remain on duty abroad, during an ongoing war, might make more sense.

But this is guesswork; the sources are all at odds, and no one cited an Ur-source that I could trace. His son reports that Gage was a ward of the Duke of Buckingham (long before the Duke got into trouble), and a connection by his marriage of the Guildfords (Henry Guildford was Captain of the Guard around 1512) so he was pretty well-plugged in to the patronage network. If he did become Captain of the Guards in 1513, his promotion may have proceeded naturally from a combination of his connections, deeds and personal appeal.

Stuart said...

Thank you I was aware of the first source to an extent but not in that detail so so thank you very much !

I did not have anywhere near as much information regarding Gage so thank you Foose for your summary, I think Guildford could be my man.

Best Regards