TEMPEST, Sir Richard (c.1480-1537), of Bracewell and Bowling, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1480, 1st s. of Nicholas Tempest of Bracewell by Cecily or Margaret, da. of Sir John Pilkington of Pilkington, Lancs. and Sowerby, Yorks. m. settlement 13 July 1497, Rosamund (d. 1 Feb. 1554), da. and h. of Tristram Bolling (d. 30 May 1502) of Bowling, at least 5s. 1da. suc. fa. 1483, uncle 1 July 1507. Kntd. 25 Sept. 1513.1

Offices Held

Steward, duchy of Lancaster, Bradford 1505-?d., Blackburn hundred 1511-d., Rochdale in 1527, Barnoldswick by 1537, master forester, Bowland by 1526-d., keeper, Quernmore park in 1527; esquire of the body by 1509, knight by 1521; j.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1511-21, Yorks. 1530, (E. Riding) 1532, 1536, (N. Riding) 1536; commr. musters, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1511, 1512, subsidy Yorks. 1512, 1514, 1515, (W. Riding) 1524, for redress of outrages, west marches 1531; other commissions 1530-5; feodary, Yorks. 1514; sheriff 1516-17; receiver, 3rd Earl of Derby’s lands in Lancs. in 1523; steward, Wakefield and constable, Sandall castle by 1530.2


Richard Tempest’s father was a younger son in a leading Yorkshire family who were tenants and kinsmen of the great baronial house of Clifford. On his father’s death Tempest was probably entrusted to the guardianship of his uncle Sir Thomas Tempest who arranged his marriage to an heiress and bequeathed him the family seat at Bracewell, where Richard Tempest is said to have built a new house. It may have been to another relative, Thomas Lord Darcy of Temple Hurst, that he owed his advancement in the service of the crown and at court: Tempest was later to say that he would take Darcy’s part against any lord in England. He received his first office, a duchy of Lancaster stewardship, as early as 1505, attended the funeral of Henry VII as an esquire of the body, apparently fought in the French campaign of 1513 and was knighted at Tournai (although according to some accounts he had also fought at Flodden earlier in the same month), and seven years later attended the Field of Cloth of Gold, where he was one of three knights charged with scouting the countryside in the interests of security; he was also present at the meeting of Henry VIII and the Emperor at Gravelines. In 1527 the Duke of Richmond expressed his gratification with Tempest as one ‘at all times ... ready to do unto me all the pleasure he can’. Less satisfactory were his constant feuds and quarrels with his neighbours: in 1523, when he was serving against the Scots, the Earl of Surrey tried to reconcile him with Sir Henry Savile, and in November 1530 at Cawood the fallen Wolsey made a similar attempt to make peace between Tempest and Brian Hastings, ‘between whom was like to ensue great murder’.3

Tempest evidently owed his return to the Parliament of 1529 to Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland. Nothing is known of his role in the Commons but he may have taken advantage of his presence there to commend himself to Cromwell: in June 1532 he thanked the minister for being good to his son-in-law Thomas Waterton I, and among the matters on which they corresponded was Tempest’s continuing feud with Sir Henry Savile, which in 1534 reached such a pitch that both men risked removal from the Yorkshire bench. His involvement in border warfare caused Tempest to miss at least the beginning of the fifth session (1533) of the Parliament, and on 3 Nov. 1534, the day the seventh session opened, he was still at Bowling. He was probably returned for Appleby again in 1536, in accordance with the King’s general request for the re-election of the previous Members, but the ‘Mr. Tempest’ whose name appears with three others on the dorse of an Act concerning expiring laws which was passed by this Parliament is likely to have been his kinsman Sir Thomas Tempest, a lawyer and servant of the crown.4

On the outbreak of the northern rising of 1536 Tempest offered to join Lord Darcy at Pontefract against the rebels, but Darcy (who was to be executed for his behaviour in the crisis) told him to stay at Wakefield. When Tempest did come to Pontefract it was to join the rebellious commons and in November he was among their captains at York. He was to be described as ‘neither good first nor last’ and was certainly less committed than his younger brother Nicholas, but his failure to rally to the crown contrasted ill with the vigour he had shown in the previous year when faced with a smaller insurrection in Craven. Nicholas Tempest was executed on 25 May 1537 and a week later the 3rd Duke of Norfolk thanked Cromwell for advising him of the King’s suspicion of Sir Richard Tempest and John Nevill, 3rd Lord Latimer. Summoned to court to answer the charges brought against him, Tempest was imprisoned in the Fleet. His plea to Cromwell to be released on bail for fear of infection was not entertained but was evidently justified, for he died on 25 Aug. 1537. He had made a will on 6 Jan. 1536, presumably before setting out to attend the last session of the Parliament of 1529, and had then asked to be buried in Bradford church if he died in the parish. According to John Gostwick he willed before his death that his heart should be taken north and buried in the place he had prepared for himself and his wife, whom he had appointed executrix. Tempest’s heir was his son Sir Thomas, then 40 years of age, and the will was proved on 29 Jan. 1538.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age (variously given) in uncle’s i.p.m., CIPM Hen. VII, iii. 362, 506. Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xi. 246; Test. Ebor. vi (Surtees Soc. cvi), 60-62; C142/59/11.
  • 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 498, 501, 506, 508, 522, 532; LP Hen. VIII, i-viii; Statutes, iii. 86, 117, 175.
  • 3. Yorks. Arch. Jnl. 247-8; xviii. 370, 379; Northern Hist. i. 51, 55; LP Hen. VIII, i, iii, iv, xi; Bradford Antiquary, n.s. i. 494; Chron. Calais (Cam. Soc. xlii), 22; Rutland Pprs. (Cam. Soc. xxi), 33, 42-43, 101; Cam. Misc. iii(4), p. lii; R. R. Reid, King’s Council in the North, 96; G. Cavendish, Wolsey (EETS ccxliii), 144-6; M. H. and R. Dodds, Pilgrimage of Grace, i. 56, 61; Elton, Policy and Police, 304, 348-9.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iv-viii; House of Lords RO, Original Acts 28 Hen. VIII, no. 6.
  • 5. M. H. and R. Dodds, i. 172, 235, 250, 312, 314; ii. 144, 218; R. B. Smith, Land and Pol. 134, 175, 189-90, 194, 199-202; Northern Hist. i. 47; LP Hen. VIII, xi, xii; C142/59/11 and E150/236/18, giving the date of death incorrectly as 20 Aug.; Test. Ebor. vi. 60-62.