TOWER of London. The Constable. 70

TOWER of London. The Constable.

Of the Governor and principal Officers of the Tower.


THE first and chief Officer of the Tower of London is called the CONSTABLE: Whose Place is of high Honour and Reputation, as well as of great Trust. Many Earls, and one a Duke, have been Constables of the Tower. I shall not (nor perhaps is it possible to) set down an exact List of them. Who the Four first were, Stow hath left on Record. I shall add a few more; and particularly shall preserve the Memory of two or three of later Times; and the rather, having something to say of them. There will be also intermixt other memorable Matters, as we pass.

Constable of the Tower.

J. S.

Successive Constables in King Stephen's Day
Godfrey Magnaville Earl of Essex

Henry Fitz Aucher, Constable and Custos in the Reign of Henry III.

Othou, Constable Anno 1263. in the same King's Reign.

Sir John de Sandwike: his Lieutenant was John de Blakebroke, before whom John Le Blount was sworn Maior 31. Edward III.

These Six are mentioned in a Patent of King Richard II.
John Darcy
John de Beauchamp
Robert Le Morle
Richard La Vache
Alan de Buxhil
Sir Tho. Murrieux

John Holland, Duke of Excester, Constable in the Reigns of King Henry V. and K. Henry VI.

Robert Brakenbury, Esq; being a Trusty Friend of King Richard III. was constituted Constable of the Tower in his first Year, viz. 1483. where I observe two Errors in Historians. For both Stow in his Summary, and Baker in his Chronicle, name him Lieutenant, and the latter gives him the Title of Knight. Whereas I am well assured by an Original Ledger Book of that King's, that he had only the Qualification of Esquire; and that he had the Office of Constable conferred on him. For thus it is recorded, Robert Brakenbury, Esq; hath the Office given him of Constable of the Tower of London, for Term of Life. And in another Place, Robert Brakenbury, Constable of the Tower with an 100l. for Term of Life, to be perceived of the Revenues of Writtel, &c. This Brakenbury, beside Constable, had other Offices in the said Tower very beneficial, conferred on him by that King, to gratify and keep him tight and true to him: As the Office of Master and Operator of the Monies, as it was called, and the Office of Keeper of the Exchange within the Tower of London during his Life. And lastly, the Office of keeping the Lions, with the Wages of 12d. per Diem for himself; and for the Meat of every Lion and Leopard 6d. by the Day. Besides these, he had the Office of Constable of Tunbrigg Castle in Kent, with Ten Marks Fee, and the Stewardship of the Lordship of Ware, with the Fee of an 100 Shillings. He was also High Sheriff of Kent. Moreover, to the same Robert were granted the Manors of Mote Morden, Dething, Newingdon in Kent, and all other Lands, late the Earl Rivers, to the Value of 26l. 13s. 4d. Yearly. And the Manors of Crawthory, and Coherede, late John Chenies, Robert Heins, and Humphrey Cheynes, and all other Lands and Tenements in Rumney Marsh, late the said John's, Robert's, and Humphrey's, of the Value of 50l. 18s. 9d. And the Manor of Glas- senbury, and all other Lands and Tenements in the County of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, which were Walter Roberts's, to the Value of 40l.

Robert Brakenbury, An. 1483.

Ledger Book.

K. Richard III.

Had other Offices in the Tower.

A Matter happened to this Constable somewhat rare, and seldom heard of. It was a Command issued once from the King to him, to surrender up the Keys of the Tower (which was in effect to give up all his Power) to Sir James Tyrrel, only for the Space of a Night, for the ordering of some special Matters there. Which was in truth, to murther the Two young Princes, Edward and Richard. Which the said Constable, being privately dealt with about the Business, honourably declined. But Tyrrel, a Man of a more profligate Conscience, undertook; and for that Purpose was in a sort Constable of the Tower for that black Night. To this Knight the King was also very bountiful, and conferred on him many Lands and Offices, if they could but have made his Mind easy under the Weight of his Guilt. He had granted him the Office of Steward of the Lordships of Lanemtherry, Lanthesant, and Port Wenloke, &c. in Wales, and the Marches, for Term of Life, with the Wages, Fees, &c. accustomed; and to make Officers in the said Offices under him. Likewise the Office of the Castle of Dundagel, within the Dutchy of Cornwal, during Life, with Wages and Fees. Also, to be Supervisor of the Castle and of the Town of Guisnes in Picardy, in the Absence of the Lord Mountjoy. And allow me to add one thing more, John Dighton, one of the prostituted Villains that actually smothered the Princes, was gratified with the Bailiship of Aiton, in the County of Stafford, with Wages accustomed during Life.

He surrenders the Keys of the Castle for one Night.

Sir Jam. Tyrrel.

Brakenbury (though he had the Constableship for Life) yet in the Year 1585, that is, the first Year of Henry VII. he was discharged, and a Nobleman, the Earl of Oxford, succeeded in that Honourable Charge.

The Earl of Oxford Constable.

Under the next King, Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Lovel was Constable, Sir Edmund Walsingham Lieutenant. And afterward, in the Time when Queen Anne Bolen was committed to the Tower, Sir William, [Anthony rather] Kingston, was Constable, according to Hollingshed.

Sir Tho. Lovel Constable, and Sir Will. Kingston.

In the Reign of King Edward VI. Sir John Gage, Knight, was Constable, a Man of great Quality, sometime Comptroller of the Houshold to King Henry VIII. afterward a Privy Counsellor to the same Prince. In the Month of October, 1552, were Articles and Ordinances established by the King's Majesty for Sir John Gage, Constable of the Tower, and Sir Edward Warner, Lieutenant, and the Yeoman of the Guard, with others appointed to give Attendance in the Tower of London, for the sure keeping of the same, to be observed and kept upon Pains therein limited.

Sir John Gage Constable.

E Theieri MSS.

But toward the latter end of that Reign, he was discharged by the Interest of the Great Duke of Northumberland, who then did all; and Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, Lord Admiral, towards the very Conclusion of King Edward's Life, was placed there politickly by the said Duke, in the Quality of Constable, supposing him his assured Friend and Creature, the better to bring to pass the Pretention of Jane Grey to the Crown, married to the said Duke's Son. But he was deceived; for that Earl soon turned about for the Lady Mary; and made his former Mistress, Queen Jane, his Prisoner. And Queen Mary obtaining the Crown, put Sir John Gage into the Place of Constable again. But she made Sir Thomas Bridges (Lord Chandois soon after) Lieutenant of the Tower.

Earl of Lincoln Constable.

Anno 1552, May 28. A Patent was granted to Sir Edward Bray, Knight, of the Constableship of the Tower, in Reversion after the Death of Gage, by the annual Fee of 100l. durante Vitâ