CONSTABLE, Sir Robert (by 1495-1558), of Everingham, Yorks.
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Family and Education
J.p. Yorks. (E. and N. Ridings) 1545-d.; commr. sewers (E. Riding) 1545, Humber 1553, Holdenshire 1555, relief (E. and N. Ridings) 1550, goods of churches and fraternities (E. Riding) 1553; sheriff, Yorks. 1557-d.3
Like his father and grandfather, Robert Constable saw much service against the Scots. He was knighted by the Earl of Hertford during the campaign of 1544 but was taken prisoner in the following spring: he wrote to the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury from Edinburgh on 19 Mar. asking to be ransomed or exchanged. In September 1548 his brother-in-law Sir Richard Manners, whom Hertford, now Duke of Somerset and Protector, had appointed deputy-warden of the east and middle marches, asked Shrewsbury to allow Constable to help him in the east march, and it may have been while doing so that Constable captured Archibald Douglas, laird of Glenbervie, whom he had with him at Everingham in the following January.4
Constable also followed his forbears in sitting as a knight for Yorkshire. He is known to have done so in the two Parliaments of 1553 and may have sat for a third time in 1555, when the loss of the christian name from the return leaves it in doubt whether he or (Sir) John Constable of Burton Constable was elected: the balance of probability lies with Sir Robert, as (Sir) John sat on other occasions only for his neighbouring borough of Hedon. Apart from his military record and several years’ service on the bench, Constable could doubtless count on the support of the Earls of Shrewsbury and Rutland: Shrewsbury both advocated and prepared for the Parliament of March 1553, and his involvement in the succession conspiracy was reluctant enough for him to make his peace with Mary and continue to wield his patronage during her reign. That Constable made the transition without difficulty is shown by his retention on the commission of the peace and his appointment as sheriff, and it is no surprise to find that as a Member of the first Marian Parliament he did not stand ‘for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism, or in the fourth—if he was in that one—follow the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in voting against one of the government’s bills. Whether it was he or (Sir) John Constable to whom a less contentious bill, to establish a standard measure throughout the realm, was committed after its second reading on 17 Oct. 1553 the omission in the Journal of a christian name leaves uncertain. As sheriff in 1557-8 Constable, himself debarred from election, was responsible for returning both (Sir) John Constable for Hedon and Sir Richard Cholmley, his cousin, as knight of the shire.5
Constable did not survive the reign of Mary, dying on 29 Oct. 1558. By his will, which he had made on the previous 1 Sept., he provided for his three surviving younger sons and three married daughters (of whom Elizabeth was the wife of Edward Ellerker) and he appointed as executors his wife and his eldest son Marmaduke, who had been knighted in 1547.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Authors: L. M. Kirk / Alan Davidson
- 1. C219/24/61 surname only legible. OR gives Sir John Constable but Browne Willis, Notitia Parl. iii (2), 48 gives Sir Robert.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/72/9, 73/58. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, ii. 291; Gooder, Parlty. Rep. Yorks. ii. 11-12.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 91-92; 1550-3, p. 394; 1553, pp. 353-4; 1553-4, pp. 26, 35; 1554-5, pp. 109-10; C219/25/42.
- 4. HMC Bath, iv. 70; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 17, 27-28, 395.
- 5. CJ, i. 28.
- 6. C142/120/73; York wills 16, f. 20.