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“York's wife” spent the brief remnant of her days in the Monastery of Bermondsey in Southwark. Though there is little beyond presumptive evidence that she had ever lived at Devizes, the terms on which her successor held the place seem to intimate that the castle had not yet ceased to be a residence, though it might no longer be regarded as a mili. tary position. If not one of the defences of the realm, it was still the baron's hall. Its subsidence into the condition of a ruin must be attributed to the commercial genius of Henry VII., the constant tendency of whose policy was to lower the pretensions of the feudal nobility and to exalt the power of the trading population.
Sir ROGER TOCOTES, KNT. 1485. This knight was three times Sheriff of Wilts viz. in 4th and 11th Edward IV. and 1st of Henry VII. He married Elizabeth (Braybrooke) widow of William Beauchamp Lord St. Amand of Bromham. In the Act of Resumption 4th Edward IV. a saving is made in his favour, in favour of his wife Elizabeth, and in favour of the heirs of her late husband, in respect of the manor of Woodrew in Melksham forest. The exceptionary clause saving to him in like manner the grant of Devizes in the Act of Resumption 1st Henry VII. describes him as “Constable of our Castle of Devizes, steward of the manors and lordships of Marlborough, Devizes, and Rowde; and steward of the lordships of Sherston, Cheriell, and Brodetown.” At the same time John Burley is to retain the subordinate offices of porter of the castle and keeper of the park. John Burley, (judging by one of the Herald's lists) was of Whistley, a hamlet lying at the southern extremity of the park. Sir Roger Tocotes was buried at Brombam.
ELIZABETH OF YORK WIFE OF HENRY VII. 1486. She was the daughter of the last mentioned Queen, Eli. zabeth Woodville. The following extracts represent a class
of expenses occuring among her Privy-purse annalia, under date, 1502. “Nov'. Paid to John Duffin for riding from Berkley-herons to Pevesham
and Blakemore to the lord Saintmond [St Amand. Lord Beauchamp of Bromham?]. From thence to the park of Corsham; from Corsham to the Devizes; from thence to the forest of Savernak to Sir John Seymour for bucks for the King's grace: and from thence to Fairford;
by the space of eight days at 10d the day—6s. 8d. "12 Sep. Item, to John Duffin, for riding to the keeper of the Park of the
Devizes, and for bringing of six bucks thence to the Queen, 6s. 8d. During Perkin Warbeck's affair in 1496, Wiltshire was the scene of no other movement than the march across it of the Cornish army of Michael Joseph the Bodmin farrier, headed by James Touchet Lord Audley, who joining them at Wells was allowed to lead them first to Salisbury and then to London; though according to another account he held a command subordinate to that of Joseph, and consented to lower his knightly cognizance of a butterfly beneath the smith's pennon. In an old book of Queen Elizabeth's time called “The mirror of magistrates” being a series of rhyming narratives, there is one styled “Michael Joseph the blacksmith's account of the foolish end of Lord Audley” in which the Cornish chieftain is thus made to speak.
“Touchet Lord Audley, one of birth and fame,
KATHARINE OF ARRAGON HENRY VIII.'s FIRST WIFE [1510 ?). KATHARINE HOWARD HENRY VIII.'s FIFTH WIFE [1540 ?].
In 1535-6 Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn were apparently in Devizes and its neighbourhood. The King dates from Bromham 30th September 1535. Though the title of Anne's father was Earl of Wiltshire, and the Herald's visitation-list for this county in 1565 has “Bullen Earl of Wiltshire” it seems doubtful whether Anne as the Queen ever enjoyed the accustomed jointure here.
THOMAS LORD SEYMOUR OF SUDELEY [1536 ?]. This aspiring nobleman was brother to Jane Seymour of Wolf-hall near Pewsey who became the third wife of Henry VIII. and the mother of Edward VI. an alliance which suddenly elevated the Seymours of Wiltshire from the rank of country gentry to the loftiest positions of State. Thomas Seymour's title, besides that of his barony, was Lord High Admiral of England. His brother Edward, created Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford, became Protector of the realm on the accession of his youthful nephew Edward VI. Seymour's first daring flight in fortune's wake was his marriage with Henry VIII.'s widow Katharine Parr, a match to which the lady had no personal objection, having favoured his suit before she was affianced to royalty. So powerful was Seymour already in the Council that they consented to entrust the Lady Jane Grey in the family of his wife who was already the legal guardian of the Princess [afterwards Queen] Elizabeth. Thus he had two heiresses to the Crown in his keeping. But this was not all. An intimacy of a mysterious kind had already sprung up between him and his illustrious ward the Princess Elizabeth, which at length aroused the jealousy of the Queen Dowager his wife. What relation it bore to his ambitious projects for the future, none can tell. His own wife died soon after in child birth; and the catastrophe which eventually overtook himself drew for ever a veil over the deep mysteries of his treason.
In the meanwhile, his brother the Protector who was fighting in Scotland in 1547 became aware of the progress which he was making at home in the endeavour to obtain an undivided rule in the Council. But the King's affections were not yet alienated from his elder uncle; and the Protector, on his return to England, had sufficient power to crush the faction which had sought to supplant him, and to attaint for high treason the Admiral himself. This is not the place to recite the impeachment by which his enemies accomplished his
death, further than to remark that it is a question of some local interest, how far his dwelling house at Bromham may have been the scene of any of the intrigues laid to his charge? It is at least certain that in 1548 instructions arrived from the Council, directing Sir Hugh Pawlet, Sir Thomas Chaloner and John Yernleyl to search the Lord Admiral's house at Bromham. Lemon's Kalendar. His lordship's possession of the fee-farm of the Borough of Devizes will have to be noticed hereafter.
State of the Town
DURING THE 15TH AND 16TH CENTURIES. THE domestic history of the Borough at this early period I offers but few materials for comment. The Charter of Richard II. had granted to the Burgesses the substance of their prayer recited above at page 81, and given them moreover a Coroner of their own; but it saddled them with the novel stipulation that all their able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 should, when need so required, assist in the defence of the Castle. This obligation is supposed to have given rise to the revenue which, under the name of “Castle guard rent” long continued to be gathered by the Borough Chamberlains. It was levied in part on landholders at a short distance from the town, but for more than a century it has been quite lost sight of. Examples occur in the Corporation books, thus “1663 Mr. Mereweather paid Castle guard rent for his farm at Lavington £1.”_"Mr. Orrell of Calstone £2 10s.”_"Mr. Topp's Farm at Stert £1."_“Gabriel Still, of Lavington Forum £3.” Perhaps it came to be resisted as an unwarrantable and obsolete demand, and was quietly allowed to drop, from the difficulty of recovery. Some of the latest
i John Yernley, that is Ernele, three times Sheriff of Wilts. was of Bourton in the parish of Jackson's List. Bishop's Cannings, and was two or
entries on the subject seem to indicate such a state of feeling: as thus "1678, Received of the King's messenger for 16 years arrears of Castle guard rent due from Mrs. Bailey, widow, of Etchilhampton £8.”_"1685, Arrears of Castle guard rent of Mr. Beach of Keevil, £1.”—“Paid the King's messenger for straining from Mr. Beach £1 5s.”—In 1725, the chamberlains are instructed to sue in the Exchequer Court Mr. John Samwell and Mr. William Powell “who last paid the Castle guard rent.”—“1727, ordered that search be made for deeds and records relating to the Castle guard rents.”—1732, enquiries were again ordered to be made into the estate of the Castle guard rent, and the last notice of the subject appears to be in 1735, when it was resolved, (though apparently nothing came of the resolution) “to proceed forthwith for the recovery of the Castle guard rent." A small portion of it seems to have been chargeable on lands held by Church and Chantry feoffees. Thus the wardens of Saint Mary's Church pay, 1606, “Castle rent yearly to Mr. Kent 15s. 4d.” Probably in every case these small payments are relics of the feudal holdings in the neighbourhood, derived mediately from the King in the person of the lord of the castle.
In the matter of trade, wool must always have occupied a prominent place here, both in respect of brokerage and of manufacture. The Wool-Hall of Devizes was the seat of the Burgesses' principal mercatorial guild: it was the heart of their commerce, and a main source of their revenue. It had its private chapel, its registered coat of arms, and its book of records. Aubrey makes the remark that in his time the County of Wilts contained the most sheep and wool of any in England. Nat. Hist. 110. He could also have told us in how many instances the wealth of some of the principal families in the county sprang from this source, a fact more patent in his day than in our own. Methuen, Webb, Stump, Salter, Hall, Long of Rood Ashton, Brewer, Sutton, Ash, Selfe, Halliday, and Yerbury, are names which suggest themselves at