James WINGFIELD of Stone Castle

Born: ABT 1519, St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Mdx., England

Died: AFT 31 Aug 1587, Stone Castle, Kent, England

Father: Richard WINGFIELD of Kimbolton Castle (Sir Knight)

Mother: Bridget WILTSHIRE

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born ABT 1519, third son of Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton, Hunts. by his second wife, Bridget, dau. of Sir John Wiltshire of Stone Castle; brother of Thomas Maria. Gent. household of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester 1531-55; master of the ordnance, Ireland c. 1558-d.; constable, Dublin castle c. 1558-Jan. 1586; member, council of Ireland 1559-62, of Munster 26 Apr 1587; commr. eccles. causes, Ireland 1568, sewers Kent 1568.

Jacques Wingfield's early life was probably spent in Calais and he is said to have spoken excellent French. He entered Gardiner's household in 1531 (his uncle Lewis had been comptroller of Bishop Fox's household) and it is as the bishop's servant that he appears during the next 24 years. He was in Paris with Gardiner in 1538, when Germain Gardiner described him as popular at the French Court, though an outspoken defender of England, and he again accompanied Gardiner on foreign missions in 1546-7. From 1540 he was bailiff of the episcopal manor of Bishops Sutton, Hampshire, and from 1551 of Farnham, Surrey. Clearly it was on Gardiner's nomination that he sat in Mary's first Parliament for Taunton, another manor of the see of Winchester. Wingfield had remained faithful to Gardiner during the bishop's imprisonment under Edward VI; he continually pleaded with the Duke of Somerset for Gardiner's release and was named one of his proctors at the trial of 1551, in which he deposed as to the numbers and quality of Gardiner's household and to his master's loyalty.

The death of Gardiner (who left him 40) ended the first phase of Wingfield's career. The remainder of his life centred on Ireland. In May 1556 he arrived at Dublin with the lord deputy Sir Thomas Radcliffe; he was sent home in the following year, probably to fetch more troops, for he returned early in 1558 with 400 men, and by Nov had obtained the offices of master of the ordnance and constable of Dublin castle. His ignominious defeat by Shane O'Neill in a skirmish in 1561 led Queen Elizabeth to order his removal from all his offices, but through the intercession of Radcliffe (now 3rd Earl of Sussex) and Cecil he was allowed to keep them, and though on bad terms with some of the deputies who succeeded Sussex he did so until his death. Accompanied the Lord Deputy Grey in his expedition to Glandelagh, against the O'Byrnes and the O'Tools. Sir John Perrot complained in 1586 that Wingfield was too old and had been four years in England, but in that year he secured large grants of land in the Munster Plantation for himself and his family. He went back to Ireland but died soon afterwards, between Apr and Sep 1587. His will, in the name of James Wingfield esquire of St. Giles's parish, London, was proved in the prerogative court of Ireland, and letters of administration for his English property were granted at Lambeth on 6 Sep 1587.
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