CONSTABLE, Sir Marmaduke I (c.1480-1545), of Everingham, Yorks.
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Family and Education
Commr. subsidy, Yorks. 1512, tenths of spiritualities 1535, for survey of monasteries 1536; sheriff, Lincs. 1513-14, Yorks. 1532-3; member, council in the north June 1530-d.; j.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) 1532-d., (N. Riding) 1534/35-d., (W. Riding) 1536, 1538; knight of the body by 1533.2
A younger son in an old Yorkshire family, Marmaduke Constable married a local heiress and established a branch at Everingham. In 1513 he was one of the ‘seemly sons’ who fought under his father’s command at Flodden, where his valour earned him a knighthood at the hands of Thomas, Lord Howard. Some months later, when the King returned from northern France, he was further recognized by being pricked sheriff of Lincolnshire, where he had a territorial interest in right of his wife. His life was to be spent largely in the north, but in 1520 he went to the Field of Cloth of Gold and then to Gravelines for the meeting with the Emperor. In the next two years he fought again on the borders, and his courage at the capture of Jedburgh and Ferniehurst won general admiration and brought further commendation from Howard, by then 3rd Duke of Norfolk.3
Constable’s reputation, experience and connexions made him an obvious choice for a seat in Parliament, and in 1529 he was returned with his cousin Sir John Neville I as one of the knights for Yorkshire: to local support he could have added the favour of Norfolk, whose influence on this occasion was far-ranging. Whether this was his first appearance in the Commons the loss of the names for the earlier Parliaments of the reign leaves no means of deciding. He was one of the group of Members, most if not all of them conservatives, who customarily dined at the Queen’s Head and there discussed parliamentary matters. The names of others in this group are to be found on a list of Members compiled by Cromwell early in 1533 and thought to indicate those who opposed the bill in restraint of appeals to Rome then passing through Parliament: the paper bearing the names is torn at the top and the first of them obliterated, but from its position in the list, which follows the order of the official list of Members, it could well have been Constable’s. If he was to that extent out of sympathy, and out of favour, with the regime, his request to Cromwell to be allowed to absent himself from the opening of the next session in January 1534 may have been prompted by other considerations than the pressure of business in the north which was its ostensible reason. He was, however, almost certainly present during the following session, in the early winter of 1534, for his name appears on another list of Members compiled by Cromwell, probably in December 1534, which is believed to be connected with the treasons bill then under discussion, possibly as a committee. Constable may have sat again in the Parliament of June 1536, when the King asked for the return of the previous Members, but the only other Parliament to which he could have been elected for Yorkshire was that of 1545, for which the names of the knights for that shire are unknown but which was postponed and assembled only after his death.4
Unlike his elder brother, who stood close to Thomas, Lord Darcy, Constable did not support the Pilgrimage of Grace. After the collapse of the rebellion he interceded with Norfolk on Robert Aske’s behalf, but despite the King’s regard for him this did not avail to save the rebel leader. Constable’s own loyalty did not go unrewarded: he was allowed to buy Drax priory, which had been founded by his wife’s ancestors. It was on 2 Mar. 1541 that he made his will, asking to be buried beside his wife at Everingham. He divided his property between his sons, whom he appointed executors, with two of his brothers and his cousin William Babthorpe supervisors. He was to live for another four-and-a-half years, serving in the Scottish campaign of 1544 and dying on 14 Sept. 1545.5