Sir Richard WINGFIELD of Kimbolton Castle, Knight

Born: 1460, Letheringham, Suffolk, England

Died: 22 Jul 1525, Toledo, Spain

Buried: St. John De Pois, Toledo, Spain

Notes: Knight of the Garter

Father: John WINGFIELD of Letheringham (Sir Knight)

Mother: Elizabeth FITZLEWIS

Married 1: Catherine WOODVILLE (D. Buckingham/D. Bedford) AFT 21 Dec 1495

Married 2: Bridget WILTSHIRE (dau. and heiress of Sir John Wiltshire of Stone Castle and Isabella Clothall) (m.2 Sir Nicholas Harvey of Ickworth - m.3 Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Leighton)

Children:

1. Charles WINGFIELD of Kimbolton Castle (Sir)

2. Thomas Maria WINGFIELD of Stonley Priory (Sir MP)

3. James WINGFIELD of Stone Castle

4. Lawrence WINGFIELD

5. Jane WINGFIELD

6. Mary WINGFIELD

7. Margaret WINGFIELD

8. Cecily WINGFIELD

9. Elizabeth WINGFIELD

10. Catherine WINGFIELD


He was born at Letheringham, Suffolk, son of Sir John Wingfield and his wife Elizabeth FitzLewis. He was one of the major landowners in Huntingdonshire, and an influential courtier and diplomat in the early years of the Tudor dynasty of England. Lived at Kimbolton Castle.

Wingfield became a courtier during the reign of Henry VII of England. He married Catherine Woodville sometime after 1495. She was widow of both Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, and Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford. The marriage made him an uncle-by-marriage to Queen consort Elizabeth of York and her husband Henry VII.

He was made Lord Deputy of Calais in 1511. With Sir Edward Poynings and others he was sent in 1512 to arrange a Holy League between Pope Julius II, the English king and other European sovereigns.

In 1514, Wingfield was sent to the Netherlands in order to attempt the arrangement of a marriage between Archduke Charles of Austria and Princess Mary Tudor, to secure a dynastic alliance between the Tudors and the rising Habsburgs. But Wingfield's mission failed, and Mary Tudor was married to Louis XII of France in 1514. Wingfield was also occupied in discharging his duties at Calais, but in 1519 he resigned his post there and returned to England.

In 1520, Wingfield was appointed ambassador to the court of Francois I of France. He is known to have helped in the arranging the meeting between Henry VIII of England and Francois at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He twice visited Emperor Carlos V in 1521 in an effort to convince him against declaring war on Francois I.

Henry VIII created him a Knight of the Garter in 1522. The future Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor was the only other Knight created during that year. Wingfield was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1524. For his services Wingfield was granted lands throughout the Kingdom of England, notably Kimbolton Castle which was further expanded by him.

Ambassador to Spain. While on an errand to the Spanish court, Wingfield died at Toledo on 22 Jul 1525. He is buried at St John de Pois in that city.

Although no single family predominated in Huntingdonshire, at least four of the knights Nicholas Harvey, William Lawrence, Tyrwhitt and Wingfield, were connected with Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton, whose descendants later in the century were to share the representation with the Cromwells of Hinchingbroke and the Tyrwhitts of Leighton Bromswold.

Wingfield second wife, Bridget Wiltshire, was the daughter of Sir John Wiltshire of Stone Castle (b.1434 - d. Dec 1526) and Isabella Clothall. Sir John was comptroller of Calais under Henry VII. The date of her birth is listed in some accounts as 1477, but this seems too early in light of some of the birthdates of her children, which go as late as 1532.

A neighbour and close friend lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, she became a member of Catalina of Aragon's household, sometime before 1520. As Lady Wingfield, she was at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and was invited to court by Anne Boleyn in 1530 when Anne was still only ' Lady Anne Rochford'.

By 1532, she had remarried and been widowed a second time. Her second husband was Sir Nicholas Harvey of Ickworth, gentleman of the Privy Chamber and ambassador to Ghent. She may, however, have continued to call herself Lady Wingfield. By Harvey, Bridget had five children. She inherited Backenhoe from Harvey in 1532 and in 1534 passed it on to her third husband, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Leighton. Tyrwhitt was also friend of the Duke of Suffolk, no friend of Anne. Thomas Wyatt supposedly blamed the Duke for his arrest, so Lady Bridget's deathbed confession of Anne's "crimes" may have been details about her friendship with Thomas Wyatt from years before.

There is also a theory that Bridget may have been unhappy about Anne possibly scolding her about her relationship with Tyrwhitt, whom she married shortly after the death of her second husband. Since Harvey died in 1532, and there is no mention of Bridget in court records after Jan 1534, she married her third husband rather hastily after the death of the second. She died in childbirth. Supposedly, her deathbed utterances were condemnations of Anne's behavior.

It was probably a spat between two women that got blown out of all proportion when Thomas Cromwell and his spies were looking for anything to pile on in their charges against Anne. In 1536 her name came up (as Lady Wingfield) when Anne Boleyn was charged with adultery. It was said that Bridget had made a deathbed confession concerning the Queens misconduct. This was apparently common gossip at the time. Exactly what shes supposed to have confessed is unknown, as is the date of her death. She was still alive in Jan 1534.
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