WINDSOR, Sir Andrew (c.1467-1543), of Stanwell, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1467, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Windsor of Stanwell by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Andrews of Baylham, Suff. educ. M. Temple. m. c.1485, Elizabeth, da. of William Blount, 4s. inc. Thomas and William 3da. suc. fa. 29 Sept. 1485, KB 23 June 1509; cr. Lord Windsor by 1 Dec. 1529.3
Bencher, M. Temple bef. 1500.
J.p. Hants 1502-15, Mdx. 1505-d., Bucks. 1507-d., Berks. 1509-15, Suss. 1526-9; commr. subsidy, Bucks. 1503, 1512, 1514, 1515, 1524, 1534, Mdx. 1503, 1512, 1514, 1515, New Windsor 1512, Berks. 1514, 1515, 1524, Hants 1524, enclosures, Berks., Beds., Bucks., Leics., Northants., Oxon., Warws. 1517, loan, Mdx. 1522, 1524; other commissions 1500-d.; steward, 3rd Duke of Buckingham’s lands, Hants Mar. 1504, Northants. c. 1510, Beds. and Bucks. by Feb. 1514; various stewardships, Bucks., Essex, London and Mdx. 1505-d.; keeper, great wardrobe 1506-d.; high steward, New Windsor by 1510-d.; custos rot. Bucks. ?by 1527; trier of petitions in the Lords, Parlt. of 1542.4
The family of Windsor was descended from William Fitzother, who had the manor of Stanwell at the time of Domesday Book: constable of Windsor castle, he held his manor of that fortress, whence his descendants acquired their royal-sounding name. Thomas Windsor, Sir Andrew’s father, who was made constable of the castle by Richard III, forfeited his lands after Bosworth but had them restored on 22 Sept. 1485, one week before his death. The inquisitions then taken show that the 18 year-old Andrew inherited lands in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Middlesex and Surrey.5
The Windsors quickly recovered from their association with Richard III. A ten-year lease of the farm of Cold Kennington manor, Middlesex, granted to Thomas Windsor just before his death, was renewed for his widow and her eldest son in November 1485. In July 1486 Lady Elizabeth was given possession of Stanwell and its dependencies, which her husband had vested in feoffees for her and their heirs. By 1489 she had married Sir Robert Lytton, who became keeper of the wardrobe in 1492 and who, with Andrew Windsor and others, was granted the presentation to the next vacant canonry at St. Stephen’s, Westminster, in 1493. When Lytton died, his stepson succeeded him as keeper of the wardrobe, during good behaviour and with effect from 20 Apr. 1506; at the same time, or soon afterwards, Windsor was granted an annuity of £300. He had already acted as feoffee for Henry VII, in a land transaction with Syon abbey in 1504, as well as for his brother-in-law Edmund Dudley, whom he partnered in at least one wardship and several land settlements. In a will made just before his execution in 1510, Dudley appointed Windsor one of the guardians of his son Jerome.6
The fall of Dudley did not impede Windsor’s advancement: he continued as keeper of the wardrobe, was knighted at the coronation of Henry VIII, and a month later sued out a pardon for himself and his wife. In 1512 he was appointed to the retinue of Sir William Sandys and in June 1513 received £60,000 as treasurer of the middle ward of the royal army; he landed at Calais with the King on 30 June and was paid on the army’s dismissal in November. As keeper of the wardrobe he was concerned with all the ceremonies of state, at several of which his attendance is recorded. He witnessed the marriage of Princess Mary to Louis XII in 1514, signed the peace and marriage treaties with France in 1518, and two years later accompanied the King to the Field of Cloth of Gold. On 1 Sept. 1524 he was at Blackheath to greet the papal envoy, who was bearing Henry VIII the gift of a sacred rose.7
Little is known of Andrew Windsor’s career in the House of Commons. His election to Henry VIII’s first Parliament may be inferred from an entry in the Windsor borough records, copied in the 17th century, which credited him, as high steward of the town, with the insertion of a clause of local interest in the Act passed by that Parliament allocating funds to the royal household (1 Hen. VIII, c.16): this proviso he is more likely to have secured from within than from outside the House, which also passed a companion Act (c.17) regulating payments to him as keeper of the great wardrobe. His Membership of the Parliaments of 1512 and 1515 is more hypothetical, being suggested only by his service on subsidy commissions in these years for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Windsor, but there is a stronger presumption that he sat again in 1523 as that Parliament passed both a private Act (14 and 15 Hen. VIII, c.31), which he doubtless initiated, enabling him and his brother Anthony to retain stewardships granted to them by the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, and a public one (14 and 15 Hen. VIII, c.19) amending the provisions of the Act of 1510 relating to the Household. Provisos were also added on behalf of the brothers to the Act attainting Buckingham (14 and 15 Hen. VIII, c.20) and to another private Act (14 and 15 Hen. VIII, c.27) protecting the interests of Sir John Marney, 2nd Baron Marny.8
Windsor seems to have accommodated himself to Wolsey, and his connexion with Buckingham, like his earlier attachment to Dudley, left him unscathed when the duke perished in 1521. There had, it is true, been one awkward, even dangerous, moment some four years before that tragedy. It was in August 1517 that an affray between Windsor’s servants and those of Serjeant Thomas Piggott, over their masters’ rival claims to a ward, provoked Wolsey’s celebrated threat ‘to see them learn the new law of the Star Chamber’, a lesson which would be the more salutory in that both offenders were ‘learned in the temporal law’. In Windsor’s case, however, the lesson was to have a reassuring sequel, for two years later he was chosen by Wolsey as one of the commissioners in the cardinal’s enlarged court of requests, and in 1526 he was made a councillor ‘for matter in law’. None the less, Windsor’s next great advancement was to follow, not precede, the fall of Wolsey. His election in 1529 as knight of the shire for Buckinghamshire, with Sir John Russell, was clearly a product of royal intervention, since the writ for Buckinghamshire was among those called for from Wolsey by the King when he lay at Windsor that summer: it is likely enough that as high steward of the borough Sir Andrew was at hand to receive the nomination. Parliament opened on 4 Nov., but Windsor’s Membership of the Commons was soon terminated by his creation as a baron, probably by patent, and his admission to the House of Lords on 1 Dec. He was to attend there regularly for the rest of his life and in the process to partake in the condemnation of many of his peers. There is no warrant for the suggestion that his eldest surviving son William, who had been returned to this Parliament for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, may have opted to follow him into the Upper House: no such privilege was available to the son of a baron, and William Windsor was to join the Lords only after his father’s death. Windsor was probably replaced in the Commons by Sir Francis Bryan, for whom he had earlier bought the wardship of Henry Fortescue.9
Windsor’s attitude to the upheavals of his later years seems to have been that of a wary conservative. He joined the spiritual and temporal lords who wrote to the pope in July 1530, beseeching him to further the King’s divorce lest worse should follow. He received Anne Boleyn at the Tower on the eve of her coronation and did not scruple to offer Cromwell £40 a year, with a gold collar worth £100, if the secretary would help him to obtain some unnamed but evidently lucrative office. In December 1535 Thomas Bedyll, one of Cromwell’s monastic visitors to Syon abbey, reported ambiguously that Lord Windsor had sent for him and his colleague ‘and laboured much for the converting of his sister and some of his kinswomen here’. As there were one or two defiant inmates at Syon, Windsor may have feared for his sister Margaret, who had been its prioress for some 20 years, and for her sake have appealed personally to the royal agents to proceed gently. Syon eventually passed to the King in December 1539, seemingly without a surrender, and its nuns became the most highly paid of all those who received pensions, Margaret Windsor’s being £100 a year. Meanwhile, her brother had contributed to a subsidy for crushing the northern rising and been included in a list, annotated by Cromwell, of peers who were to punish the rebels. He was among those summoned to attend Queen Jane Seymour in 1536, he escorted Sir John Russell when his former fellow-Member was raised to the peerage in March 1539, and he greeted Anne of Cleves at Blackheath on 3 Jan. 1540. Yet his long and varied services did not bring Windsor the Garter. He had first been proposed by the 2nd Marquess of Dorset as early as 1523, was backed by the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1525 and was repeatedly nominated thereafter. The two dukes usually favoured him and often a majority of the knights added their voices, as did Russell (who was admitted within a month of becoming a peer) on two occasions in 1541, but the King persistently ignored him, preferring to leave a vacancy.10
Windsor for his part did not fit easily into the new England of his maturity. He was often in the law courts, and while it was common enough to be grasping and litigious, Windsor went beyond the norm in high-handedness, even if he was dealing with the powerful. When he seized the lands of a widow’s son, he apparently ignored a letter in her favour from Cromwell. He would have preferred similar short cuts in dealing with the city of London, after its attempts to make the King’s tenants of the wardrobe keep watch like other citizens or to infringe their liberties in other ways. Detained at Stanwell by an ague, the 70 year-old keeper asked Cromwell to restrain the mayor, adding that there had been a time when such usurpations ‘would have weighed to a forfeiture of the liberties of the City’.11
During his long career Windsor added considerably to his inheritance. Near Stanwell he acquired the manor of Poyle from the family of that name; in Buckinghamshire he bought the manor of Bradenham in or after 1505, and that of Weston Turville some time after 1512; and in Surrey he added the manor and advowson of Headley in or after 1526. A conservative temperament did not inhibit him from sharing in the spoils of the monasteries. In August 1539 he was granted the reversion of the house and site of Ankerwyke priory, Buckinghamshire, with its property in that county and in Middlesex and Surrey, the rectory and other property at ‘Wyllasham’ (probably Willingham), Suffolk, and the advowson of Stanwell, which had belonged to Chertsey abbey.12
All Windsor’s estate arrangements were shattered, however, when towards the end of 1541 the King dined at Stanwell and, on leaving, declared that he wanted Windsor’s ancestral home. Tradition ascribes this demand to the King’s wish to bind his nobility to the Dissolution—in this case surely an unnecessary precaution—and adds that the protesting owner was forced to leave at once, although he had laid in his Christmas provisions. Be that as it may, on 14 Mar. 1542 Windsor parted with all his lands at Stanwell, and its dependencies elsewhere, in exchange for £2,197 and a string of ex-monastic estates scattered over Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Surrey, Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Westminster and London. The only lands in Middlesex were the manors of Cranford and Le Mote. Windsor sold the London property to Sir William Stourton, 7th Baron Stourton, in November 1542, but in the following April, after his death, he was assigned a further annuity of £40 from some more Gloucestershire and Wiltshire property formerly belonging to Syon.13
The loss of his home notwithstanding, Windsor described himself as of Stanwell when he made his will on 26 Mar. 1543. He acknowledged the royal supremacy but made the traditional bequest of his soul to God, the Virgin Mary and the holy company of heaven, and asked to be buried next to his wife in the church at Hounslow. There followed elaborate directions for the funeral, the distribution of alms, a month’s mind and an obit for 14 years on the anniversary of his father’s death, all in addition to the chantries which he had founded at Dorney and Stanwell. His eldest son George had died in 1520, so that the heir was his second son Sir William, who was to have all his mother’s plate and goods, while a younger son Edmund was left all the household goods at Stoke Poges and another, Thomas, those from the testator’s chambers at London and Stanwell. The three daughters Elizabeth, Anne and Edith had already been provided for on their marriages to Sir Peter Vavasour, Roger Corbet and George Ludlow, but many other smaller bequests were made to Windsor’s sons, grandchildren and the heirs of his brother, Sir Anthony, while his sister Margaret, the late prioress of Syon, was given £80 a year from the manor of Cranford. The executors were Sir William and Edward Windsor, Chancellor Audley, who was given £50, and (Sir) John Baker I, who received £30 6s.8d.; the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Sir Anthony Windsor, as overseers, were left £40 and £10 respectively.14
Windsor died on 30 Mar. 1543 and was buried at Hounslow. His 44 year-old heir was granted livery of the lands on 11 June and the will was proved on 31 July.15
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. F.T. Baker
- 1. R. R. Tighe and E. E. Davis, Windsor Annals, i. 500.
- 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 3. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m.s, CIPM Hen. VII, i. 12, 16, 28, 29. CP; PCC 23 Spert.
- 4. CPR, 1494-1509, pp. 209, 470, 487, 560, 592, 632, 650; LP Hen. VIII, i-v, vii, viii, x-xix; St.Ch.2/33/58; Rot. Parl. vi. 517, 540; Statutes, iii. 82, 83, 86, 116, 118, 171, 173; LJ, i. pp. 165, lxviii, lxxi, lxxii, cxliv; Tighe and Davis, i. 500; SP1/29/170, 174, 178; VCH Bucks. iii. 90; M. C. Rosenfield, ‘The disposal of the property of London monastic houses’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1961), 34; Guildhall Misc. iii. 166, 172; G. J. Aungier, Syon Monastery, 446; Val. Eccles. i. 397, 402; Chron. Calais (Cam. Soc. xxxv), 13; C. Rawcliffe, The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394-1521, pp. 203, 204, 211.
- 5. VCH Mdx. iii. 37; CIPM, Hen. VII, i. 12, 28, 29; Test. Vet. 352-6; Copinger, Suff. Manors, ii. 297.
- 6. CFR, 1485-1509, pp. 11, 26; CCR, 1485-1500,