KIRKHAM, George I (by 1479-1528), of Warmington, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. by 1479, s. of John Kirkham. m. by 1500, Anne, da. of Thomas Armston of Armston, 1s. 4da.2
Commr. sewers various Fenland and midland counties 1504, 1515, subsidy, Northants. 1514, 1515, 1523, 1524; clerk of the hanaper 1 Oct. 1506-12 July 1509; steward, manors of Fotheringay, Little Weldon and Rockingham, Northants. 3 Nov. 1507-d.; keeper, Morehay and Horreshawes in Rockingham forest 16 July 1509-d., steward, manors of Aldwinkle, Maxey, Thorpe Hill and Thorpe Waterville 4 Aug. 1509-d.; j.p. Northants. 1515-d.; gent. usher extraordinary by 1516-d.3
According to the Northamptonshire visitation of 1564, George Kirkham’s father was of Kirkham Abbey, Lancashire. This looks to be a piece of pretentiousness, prompted maybe by his son’s residence at Fineshade Abbey, for not only does it mislocate Kirkham Abbey, which is in Yorkshire, but such evidence as has been found suggests that several generations of Kirkham’s forbears had dwelt in Huntingdonshire or Bedfordshire.
Kirkham’s service to Henry VII (which evoked the gift of the gilt standing cup he was to bequeath in his will to Henry Pole, Lord Montagu), and to the King’s mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, of some of whose manors he had probably been steward before being granted that office by Henry VIII, must have involved him in close association with David Cecil, with whom he gave recognizances to the crown in November 1506. It was with Cecil that he was returned for Stamford to the Parliament of 1515. He had settled at Warmington, a few miles south of Stamford, soon after his marriage to Anne Armston, of the neighbouring hamlet of that name, and in 1504 he had received the money gathered in Stamford towards the subsidy. His election in place of William Hussey I was at variance with the King’s request for the return of the previous Members, but as both men were familiar figures at court the arrangement was probably both amicable and approved. It was while he was a Member that Kirkham was put on the Northamptonshire bench, and he may have been given a supernumerary office at court at about the same time.4
Kirkham’s remaining years were probably spent in Northamptonshire, where in 1525 he entertained Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, en route for Collyweston. He made his will on 3 Mar. 1528 and died a week later. He asked to be buried in Warmington church before the image of St. Catherine and provided for the endowment of a chantry there from the sale of his London property; his establishment of an obit for, among others, the souls of Edward Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire (d.1499) and Sir John Sapcote† (d.1501) reflects former connexions of which no other trace has been found. He appointed as executors his 28 year-old son Robert, his son-in-law Gervase Middleton and a cleric. Kirkham had once been paid for services to the abbey of Peterborough, and one of the first two Members for Peterborough, Richard Pallady, was to marry his niece.