Sir John CONSTABLE of Knowlton

Born: BEF 1491

Died: ABT 1556, Knowlton, Nottinghamshire, England

Father: Marmaduke CONSTABLE (Sir Knight)

Mother: Joyce STAFFORD

Married: Jane SOOTHILL (dau. of and co-heir Henry Soothill and Joan Empson) BEF Feb 1521



2. Catherine CONSTABLE


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

Born by 1491, fourth son of Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, by Joyce, dau. of Humphrey Stafford of Grafton; brother of Sir Marmaduke of Everingham. Married by Feb 1521, Jane, daughter and coheir of Henry Soothill of Idle. Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire, Apr 1554. Knighted 11 May 1554. Commissioner, tenths of spiritualities, Notts. 1535; Justice of Peace, 1538-death.

John Constable may have been one of the 'seemly sons' of the Sir Marmaduke Constable who fought alongside their father at Flodden, where two of his brothers were knighted. Five years later his father named him an executor of the will by which he was to receive lands at Tibthorpe near Great Driffield in the East Riding as well as 300 sheep and 100 marks in plate, but by then he had probably made the marriage which was to domicile him in Nottinghamshire. His wife, since 1505 a ward of Sir William Pierrepoint, with whom Constable had been joined in a recognizance in 1512, brought him, besides several Yorkshire manors, Knowlton (or Kinoulton); later he added nearby Herteswell Grange when Swineshead abbey, to which it belonged, was dissolved.

Constable's public activities in his adopted county seem to have begun with his valuing of Beauvale priory with Sir John Markham in 1535.

Constable was probably a Catholic. In his will he asked for prayers of 'our most Blessed Lady and all the saints' and made generous provision for his household chaplain. Such an allegiance might help to explain both why Constable, unlike so many of the men whom the Earl of Hertford had knighted in the Scottish campaign of 1544, was not elected to Parliament in 1545 or 1547 and why he was chosen as senior knight for Nottinghamshire in Mary's 2nd Parliament. He is likely to have enjoyed the support of Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland. Rutland's aunt had married Constable's nephew, Robert. Shortly after Parliament ended, however, there was a rift between the two over a lease.

Constable died between 19 Jun 1554 and 8 Oct 1556, the dates of the making and proving of his will. His wife Jane was executrix and left to her the choice of where he was to be buried: she was to hold the lease of the manors and demenses of Kinoulton and all his other lands during her lifetime, and they were then to descend to William and Edward Oglethorpe, his grandsons. There was also provision for a married daughter Cecily and other kin, and for servants, fellow-parishoners and the poor of the neighborhood.
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