Sir William COMPTON, Knight

Born: ABT 1475 / ABT 1492, Compton, Wyngate, Warwickshire, England

Died: Jun 1528, Compton, Wyngate, Warwickshire, England

Father: Edmund COMPTON

Mother: Joan AYLWORTH

Married 1: Warburga BRERETON 1498


1. Peter COMPTON of Compton

2. Catherine COMPTON

Married 2: Elizabeth STONOR (d. 25 Aug 1560) (dau. of Sir Walter Stonor and Anne Foliot) (m.2 Walter Walshe - m.3 Sir Phillip Hoby)

Associated with: Anne STAFFORD (C. Huntingdon)

When Henry VIII ascended to the throne in 1509, he handed the Manor of Wooburn to his friend Sir William Compton, Chief Ranger of Windsor Great Park.

Don Luis Caroz, the Spanish Ambassador, reported, on 28 May 1510, that one of the young, married sisters of the Duke of Buckingham had attracted the attention of King Henry VIII. Buckingham had two sisters: Anne, wife of Sir George Hastings, later Earl of Huntingdon, and Elizabeth, wife of Robert Ratcliffe, Lord FitzWalter, were both ladies-in-waiting to Queen Catalina. According to the Ambassador, Sir William Compton, a favoured companion of Henry, had been seen courting Anne, Lady Hastings. Perhaps because Compton was no fit paramour for a duke's sister it was thought that he was acting on Henry's behalf. Caroz reported, with some glee, the dramatic scenes that ensued when another sister, Elizabeth, Lady Ratcliffe, informed the Duke of Compton's behaviour. Buckingham quarrelled with Compton and the King before storming from the court. Anne was carried off by her husband to the safety of a nunnery. Henry was clearly angry, but none of this makes it clear whether Compton or the King was in fact the guilty party. Sir William Compton's attraction to Anne Stafford was the genuine article. In 1527 Wolsey drew up a citation accusing Compton of adultery with Anne. Compton apparently took the sacrament in order to disprove his guilt. However, his will belies his protestations of innocence. Not only did he founded a chantry where prayers were said daily for her soul and those of his family members, but also the profits from certain of his lands in Leicestershire were earmarked for her use for the remainder of her life.

In 1514 the dilapidated Bruce Castle and manorial rights were given to Sir William Compton. He may have built a Tudor house on the site. The Round Tower was built at about the same time from red bricks obtained locally. The walls are three feet thick, and some of the original Tudor bricks remain. The latest theories are that the original purpose of the Round Tower was a hawk mews, used for keeping birds of prey for the medieval sport of falconry. There are records that Henry VIII had a meeting with his sister Margaret, Queen of Scotland, at Bruce Castle in 1516.

Sir William Compton arranged that his daughter should marry John St. Leger. The bride was to bring a dowry of £2,346 and both families were to settle lands on the couple. The marriage did not take place, seemingly because Catherine Compton died.

Sir William Compton as Groom of the Stole (the gentleman in charge of the Kingís personal toilet and Privy Purse) was a constant thorn in Wolseyís flesh as head of the mignons. The latter were able to win minor victories like the battle in 1517 for the hand of Margaret Dymoke the widow of Sir Richard Vernon of Haddon Hall. Wolsey wanted her for his follower Sir William Tyrwhitt whilst Shrewsbury, Carew,and Compton combined to secure her for William Coffin.

In 1523 Compton was sent on service to Scotland. In the course of the summer of 1528, several of the court were taken ill of the sweating sickness. On of those carried off by the epidemic was Sir William Compton, who held the constableship of Warwick Castle and other important offices in that part of the country. On the death of Sir William Compton, George Throckmorton of Coughton sought to become sheriff and custos rotulorum of Worcestershire, steward of the see of Worcester and under treasurer of England.

Compton lived at Wooburn Manor and left it to his son Peter, a ward of Cardinal Wolsey. His grandson Henry inherited estates and started castle Ashley.

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