ROWLAND, John (by 1512-49), of Windsor, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. by 1512. m. da. of Richard Raynolde.2
Page of the robes by 1542-d.; keeper of Hundon park, Suff. 1543-d.; comptroller of customs, Chichester by 1546-d.3
The first reference found to John Rowland relates to the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533, when he was appointed an almoner to attend at the table of the lord mayor: if this points to a London origin it has not been traced. As page of the robes in the royal household Rowland was to win the regard of the King, who left him £50 in his will and also bequeathed him clothes and rings: the keepership of a park in Suffolk and a customs post at Chichester were doubtless also marks of royal favour. In 1544 he had accompanied his royal master to northern France on the expedition which took Boulogne.4
Rowland was to survive the King less than three years but during that time he attended his only Parliament. The fact that he was returned for Winchelsea with John More, a colleague in the customs at Chichester, can only mean that both were nominated at the Cinque Port, but by whom is a matter for conjecture. The Protector Somerset himself, who as treasurer was head of the customs administration, may have intervened: another and more interesting possibility is that his brother Admiral Seymour used his position to secure the return of two port officials, one of whom also stood close to the young King whose devotion Seymour was already seeking to win. Of Rowland’s role either in the Commons or at court during the next two years nothing is known, and almost all the remaining information about him comes from his will.
Rowland prepared this long document when he was already sick and it is dated 5 Sept. 1549. He commended his soul to God, ‘trusting that for the passion and merit of Jesu Christ, in whom is my only belief and trust, I shall be one of them that shall rest in the kingdom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’. Then, ‘for a token of obedient love’, he left the King a sum of £6 13s.4d. remaining in the hands of John More. The articles which Henry VIII had left to him Rowland now in turn bequeathed: to Philip Lenthall he gave ‘a white satin doublet which was the King’s that dead is’ and to a Mrs. Weyser ‘a ring of gold set over with a fine spark of a sapphire, which was the King’s’. To his ‘natural mother, desiring her of her blessing and that it may please her to pray for me’, he left the house where she lived with its appurtenances ‘both above and beneath and the two smith’s shops rent free’; he also left her his rents and tenements in Windsor, with remainder to his sister Alice and her husband Robert Smart, swordbearer of London, for life, and then to their daughter Catherine. He had also a nephew, Robert Rowland, to whom he left £4, and a father-in-law, Richard Raynolde, who received 20s. and a nightgown, but he made no mention of a wife.
The rest of the bequests were to friends and servants, the former including (Sir) Thomas Cawarden, Robert Robotham, yeoman of the King’s robes and Thomas Weldon, master of the King’s household. Many less highly placed or well known friends at Windsor were also remembered. A servant, Nicholas Snow, was to have the lands at Eton leased to him and others at Blewbury, Berkshire. Robert and Alice Smart were to be the executors and John Stokes the overseer. As Rowland’s will was proved on 29 Dec. 1549 he had probably died shortly after making it, perhaps before the opening of the third session of Parliament on 4 Nov. It is not known who replaced him in the Commons.