CONSTABLE, Sir John (by 1491-1554/56), of Kinoulton, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1491, 4th s. of Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, Yorks. by Joyce, da. of Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, Worcs. and Blatherwycke, Northants.; bro. of Sir Marmaduke I. m. by Feb. 1521, Jane, da. and coh. of Henry Sothill of Lincs., 3da. Kntd. 11 May 1544.1
Commr. tenths of spiritualities, Notts. 1535; j.p. 1538-d.2
John Constable may have been one of the ‘seemly sons’ of Sir Marmaduke Constable who fought alongside their father at Flodden, where two of his brothers were knighted. Five years later his father named him an executor of the will by which he was to receive lands at Tibthorpe near Great Driffield in the East Riding as well as 300 sheep and 100 marks in plate, but by then he had probably made the marriage which was to domicile him in Nottinghamshire. His wife, since 1505 a ward of Sir William Pierrepont, with whom Constable had been joined in a recognizance in 1512, brought him, besides several Yorkshire manors, Kinoulton; later he added nearby Herteswell Grange when Swineshead abbey, to which it belonged, was dissolved.3
Constable’s public activities in his adopted county seem to have begun with his valuing of Beauvale priory with Sir John Markham in 1535 and continued with his appointment to commissions of gaol delivery and to the bench. In 1541 he supervised the depositions in the case of the Strelley inheritance, when it was decided by the ‘common voice of the county’ that the lands should descend to the male heir. He also became one of the county’s leaders in war. In 1542 and 1544 he attended the musters with 20 men, and in the Scottish campaign of 1544 he received conduct money and wages for 112 men under his captaincy: as provost marshal to the Earl of Hertford he took part in the burning of Edinburgh and Leith, and was knighted by Hertford. In the following year he was nominated as sheriff but not pricked.4
Constable was probably a Catholic. In his will he asked for the prayers of ‘our most Blessed Lady, and all the saints’ and made generous provision for his household chaplain. Such an allegiance might help to explain both why Constable, unlike so many of the men whom Hertford had knighted, was not elected to Parliament in 1545 or 1547 and why he was chosen as senior knight for Nottinghamshire in Mary’s second Parliament. He is likely to have enjoyed the support of the 2nd Earl of Rutland, who by this time was restored to the Queen’s favour after his part in the succession crisis: Rutland’s aunt Catherine had married Constable’s nephew Robert. Shortly after the Parliament ended, however, there was a rift between the two over a lease.5
Constable died between 19 June 1554 and 8 Oct. 1556, the dates of the making and proving of his will. He appointed his wife Jane executrix and left to her the choice of the ‘hallowed ground’ where he was to be buried: she was to hold the lease of the manors and demesnes of Kinoulton and all his other lands during her lifetime, and they were then to descend to William and Edward Oglethorpe, his two grandsons. There was also provision for a married daughter Cecily and other kin, and for servants, fellow-parishioners and the poor of the neighbourhood.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: C. J. Black
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 40; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 65, 290; York wills 15(1), f. 148; LP Hen. VIII, iii, xix; Harl. 6063, f. 15.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, viii, xii, xiii, xvi, xviii; CPR, 1547-8, p. 88; 1553-4, p. 22.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, i, iii; Test. Ebor. v (Surtees Soc. lxxix), 91; Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. lxxxviii. 104-5; Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, i. 155; Nichols, Leics. ii(2), 816.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, viii, xvii, xix, xx, add.; HMC Bath, iv. 60, 66, 71, 74; HMC Rutland, i. 46; iv. 356-8, 363.
- 5. HMC Rutland, i. 63; iv. 356, 363.
- 6. York wills 15(1), f. 148.