Sir Geoffrey POLE, Knight

Born: ABT 1494/1501, Lordington, Sussex, England

Acceded: Lordingham, Sussex, England

Died: 1558

Father: Richard POLE (Sir Knight)

Mother: Margaret PLANTAGENET (C. Salisbury)

Married: Constance PAKENHAM (b. 1505 - d. Sep 1570) (dau. of Sir John Packenham) ABT 1524

Children:

1. Arthur POLE

2. Thomas POLE

3. Edmund POLE

4. Geoffrey POLE of Lordington

5. Henry POLE

6. Catherine POLE

7. Catherine POLE

8. Elizabeth POLE

9. Mary POLE

10. Margaret POLE

11. Anne POLE


Son of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury. He had three brothers, Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu, Reginald Pole, and Sir Arthur Pole; and one sister, Ursula. Little is known of his early life. In 1529, he was knighted by Henry VIII at York Place. A devout Roman Catholic, he greatly disapproved of Henry VIIIís divorce proceedings from Catalina of Aragon. Although he was appointeed one of the servitors at Anne Boleynís coronation, his loyalties were with Princess Mary and the former Queen Catalina. He then visited the Imperial Ambassador Chapuys and assured him that if the Holy Roman Emperor were to invade England to redress the wrong that had been done to Queen Catalina, that the English people would favor him.

Unfortunately, his words reached the ears of the King and he was arrested and sent to the Tower on 29 Aug 1538. He lay for two months in prison and, in late Oct, began his interrogation. He was questioned about private conversations and letters sent to and received from Cardinal Pole by himself and other members of the family. These had not been vetted by the Crown, raising suspicions of a plot against the King. His wife, Constance, was also examined. When she realized how indiscreet her husband had been, she warned her brother-in-law, Lord Montagu that he was in danger. The warning came too late. Geoffrey was faced with the rack and, knowing that he would inevitably implicate his mother and elder brother, Henry, Lord Montagu, he attempted suicide and seriously injured himself. After long periods of interrogation he broke and supplied the ďevidenceĒ the King required not only against Margaret and Henry but also against Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, Sir Edward Neville and others. Henry had Montague and Exeter arrested and committed to the Tower on 4 Nov. Geoffrey, tried with his brother and Exeter, entered a plea of guilty and was condemned to death but was pardoned as a result of his betrayal on 4 Jan 1539. Cromwell informed the French Ambassador that he was hopeful of learning more from him. On representation from his wife, Geoffrey received a pardon for reason that he was so ill that he was already as good as dead.

In Sep 1540, he was again in prison, this time in the Fleet. A few weeks after his motherís death on 27 May 1541, he left his family behind and fled to Europe, where he remained until the reign of Queen Mary. Pole, some said insane with guilt for the rest of his life, returned to England during the reign of Mary Tudor. He had travelled to Rome when he left England and thrown himself at the feet of his brother, the Cardinal. He proclaimed himself unworthy to be considered his brother as he had caused another brotherís death. Reginald obtained his absolution from the Pope and sent him to the Bishop of Liege in Flanders. He returned to England and died in 1558 a few days before Reginald and was buried at Stoughton.

He had married Constance, the elder of two daughters and heirs of Sir John Pakenham. Some sources give Sir Edmund Pakenham of Lordlington, Sussex (b. 1480 - d. 1528) as her father. They had five sons and six daughters of whom two married and one daughter became a nun. Constance died in 1570 and was buried beside Geoffrey.

Constanceís sons Arthur and Edmund, who had inherited their fatherís royal blood, were sent to the Tower for treason in 1562 and died there. Constance was buried beside her husband in Stoughton Church.

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