BUC, George (c.1563-1622), of London and Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. c.1563, 1st s. of Robert Buc of Ely, Cambs., later of Chichester, by his w. Elizabeth, da. of one Pettle of Brandon Ferry. educ. Thavie’s Inn c.1580; New Inn, M. Temple 1585. unm. suc. fa. 1580. Kntd. 1603.
Official in revels office by 1601, dep. master 1603, master 1610-22; esquire of the body 1603-22.1
One of Buc’s ancestors, Sir John, had been comptroller of the Household to Richard III, and the family were therefore out of favour for the first part of the Tudor period. They were connected with the Heighams and Tilneys of Suffolk2 and with the Howards. Buc’s grandfather, Robert Buc of Melford Hall, Suffolk, was with Norfolk at Flodden. Buc himself was probably educated at Chichester under his brother-in-law Henry Blaxton, who was chancellor of Chichester cathedral by 1575. While he was in London, training for the law, he showed first signs of literary aspirations.
A follower of Charles Howard, the lord admiral, Buc fought against the Armada, celebrated the victory in verse, and accompanied his patron on the Cadiz expedition. Seven years later he was with Howard on the peace mission to Spain. Intermittently, he was employed overseas: in 1587 he was in France, and in 1601 in Middleburgh, taking instructions from Sir Robert Cecil to Sir Francis Vere. Buc’s two appearances in the Commons were due to the Howards. In 1595 his name was put forward for the French secretaryship or the clerkship of the signet, but nothing came of it.3 Still, he was awarded lands in Lincolnshire, which were under dispute with members of the Tilney family, and in 1603, after a struggle with the dramatist John Lyly, he gained the reversion to the mastership of the revels after his relative Edmund Tilney. He made the usual complaints of financial difficulties, alleging non-payment of a £20 annuity promised by the Howards. Next he begged Salisbury for a rent allowance for the revels office, ‘the only reward of my long, chargeable and faithful service done in court and abroad; by land and by sea; in war and in peace for the space of wellnear 30 years’. He craved favour ‘for her sacred sake, who would have done me right, and now reigneth in glory’. Salisbury allowed him £30 a year.
In March 1622 Buc was described as ‘in his old age fallen stark mad’. His successor at the revels office was appointed in May and Buc died 31 Oct., leaving property in Lincolnshire and a London house by Paul’s Wharf. A will, never proved, which he was said to have drawn up in 1612 was found to be a forgery in 1624. The inheritance, according to an inquisition post mortem of 1625, passed to his brother, a recusant priest. Buc was a prolific writer, probably best known for his History of the Life and Reign of Richard III, and The Third University of England, a description of educational institutions in and around London.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. PCC 1 Arundel; Suss. Arch. Colls. xlviii. 140; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 551; Chambers, Eliz. Stage, i. 96, 99.
- 2. Harvey, Suff. Vis. ii. 215-16.
- 3. HMC Hatfield, v. 189.
- 4. Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, ii. 430; CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 150, 366; C142/391/45; 566/17; Wards 7/63/60; Chambers, Eliz. Stage, i. 96-9.