Sir Thomas Cheyne

Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

Home Top of Page Communities Sir Thomas Cheyne

Exract From
Book Cover

Edited by
Peter Fleming, Anthony Gross
and J. R Lander



The Cinque Ports - Dover, Sandwich, Rye, New Romney, Hastings, Hythe and Winchelsea - rarely claim the attention of historians. They were no longer the mainstay of royal navies after the thirteenth century, and their economic decline set in soon after1 By the 1530s Dover and Sandwich were still reasonably prosperous, and the silting at Rye and Hastings had not yet ruined their harbours, but Hythe was fighting a losing battle against the shingle that had already blocked New Romney and Winchelsea.2 The maritime activities of the portsmen were confined largely to fishing, with most seaborne trade in the hands of foreign merchants.3

The constitutional history of the ports, particularly for their period of relative greatness during the middle ages, has been well covered, but far less attention has been paid to other aspects of their history.4 Perhaps this is because the necessary records for the detailed study of political, social and economic activity within the ports are, extant only from the later middle ages, partly as a result of the greater elaboration of administrative machinery which, ironically, accompanied the ports' drift into decay.5 Historians tend to be more interested in the growth of institutions than their decline, and so the post-medieval history of the Cinque Ports has aroused little interest.

But the fact that the ports maintained their privileged status into the Tudor period and beyond suggests that thev were still reckoned to be of some value even in their twilight years, at least in part because the territory which fell withm the liberty of the Cinque Ports included the most strategically important coastline in England6. It is the contention of this essay that the Cinque Ports in the early modern period should not he written off as an anachronism or as constitutional oddity, but can provide material for a useful case study in the relationship between central and local authority in sixteenth century England.

The crown's agent in the Cinque Ports was the lord warden. His position within the liberty can be likened to that of the medieval sheriffs before their powers were eroded by the rise of JPs and lieutenants of counties: he had sole responsibility for the return of writs to the crown, the collection of taxes and the arrest of criminals. Through his court held in the church of St James below Dover castle he exercised jurisdiction broadly equivalent to that of chancery (and commonly referred to as such within the Cinque Ports), and he also exercised admiralty jurisdiction along the south-east coast. He had a lieutenant's powers of muster, and his constableship of Dover castle furnished him with a garrison and imposing accommodation for his staff, led by the clerk and the lieutenant of the castle.7 The Cinque Ports made much of their liberties; in fact, the powers of the lord warden had the potential to place these communities in a uniquely subservient relationship with central government. But the sixteenth century lord warden was not simply the crown's representative, and his loyalties were divided. Appointed by a crown increasingly intolerant of rival jurisdictions, he was none the less bound by his oath of office to maintain and defend the ports' liberties. As their individual political influence declined, the ports looked to their lord warden to champion their cause at the centre; and while the lord warden's first loyalty had to be to the sovereign, he could not afford to ignore threats to what was after all his power base.8 The lord warden was the ports' viceregal governor; he was also their protector from external pressures, not least those exerted by the crown. This essay examines how one lord warden attempted to balance these competing demands while at the same time developing his own power base within the liberty. By so doing, the nature of the Cinque Ports themselves, and their relationship with the crown, will also be explored.

Sir Thomas Cheyne was appointed lord warden on 17 May 1536, on the same day that the previous holder of the office, Viscount Rochford, was executed; his tenure ended with his death on 16 December 1558 a month into the reign of Elizabeth. Cheyne's term of office coincided with the so called 'Mid Tudor Crisis' a period of intense political, religious and social tensions, combined with a series of foreign threats cuIminating in the loss of Calais and the invasion scare of 1558. These crises were felt as strongly along the south-east coast as anywhere else in provincial England. If the nature of political and social relationships is most clearly illuminated in the stark light cast by dissension and crisis, then Cheyne's wardenship should offer a rewarding period for study.

Thomas Cheyne was born about 1485 into a gentry family which had been prominent in Kent since the fourteenth century. From the beginning he had links with the Tudor dynasty; his uncle and guardian was John Lord Cheyne of Berkshire, Henry Tudor's standard bearer at Bosworth. As a youth Thomas Cheyne is said to have been among Henry VII's henchmen; he was a squire of the body at the king's funeral and as the step son of Isabella, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn he would become a distant relative of Henry VIII.9 Cheyne served all five Tudor monarchs, his career showing the classic renaissance mix of courtier, soldier and diplomat. He was an esquire of the body from 1509, knighted in 1512/3, a gentleman of the privy chamber from 1526 to 1539, and thereafter privy councillor and treasurer of the household. In his military capacity he commanded a ship against the French in 1513, served in France from 1523 to 1525, and again in 1544 and 1545; he led forces against Wyatt in 1554, was constable of Queenborough, Rochester, Saltwood and Dover castles, and as lord warden and lord lieutenant of Kent (1551 to 1553) he was much involved with musters and coastal defence. As a diplomat he was sent to the papal curia in 1513, was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and was three times ambassador to France under Henry VIII and to Charles V in 1549 and in August 1553.10 Above all he possessed the ability to survive: while there were fluctuations in his career, Cheyne managed to retain his position amid all the vicissitudes of the mid Tudor period.

Cheyne was already a prominent figure within Kent when he became lord warden, but it was from this point in the mid 1530s that he built up his power base to become one of the most powerful men in the south east. He was a Kentish JP from 1526, and from at least 1539 he represented Kent in every parliament with the single exception of 1555 (in 1557 the council seems to have taken steps to ensure tliat this unfortunate occurrence would not be repeated, and Cheyne was duly elected to his final parliament the following year).11 Cheyne's wealth matched his public position. To the family estates in Kent he added property in Berkshire and Middlesex through his marriage to Frideswide, daughter of Sir Thomas Frowick (by 1515), but probably the larger share of Cheyne's wealth in later life derived from his acquisition of former monastic property and from the fruits of office. In his will of 1558 Cheyne mentioned various properties which together gave him an annual net rental income of over £950, and this was in addition to the sizeable jointure lands provided for his second wife and his daughter-in-law, as well as numerous generous bequests to family, servants and friends; after his death it was estimated that he kept between two and three hundred people in his service.12

In 1536 the Cinque Ports received this courtier-soldier-diplomat as their new 'good lord', and Sir Thomas Cheyne acquired a new affinity. But the ports had a recent history of unrest: in 1526 an attempt by the king's bailiff at Sandwich to extend the crown's rights led to serious dissent from jurats (councillors) and communalty (burgesses), while Wolsey may have encouraged communal strife as part of his policy of increasing royal control through the lord warden.15 The disturbances of the 1520s came on top of the ever-present rivalries between individual ports, the underlying social tensions between rich and poor, and the growing religious frictions. So Cheyne's new affinity required careful management.

The Cinque Ports were always jealous of their privileges, but under the Tudors these were coming under increasing pressure, and Cheyne was often called upon to help defend them. The lord warden's monopoly on the return of writs came under increasing pressure during the 1540s and I550s. In 1541 Thomas Birchet of Rye was commended by the Brotherhood for ignoring a sub poena from chancery because it arrived without a letter of attendance from the lord warden. He was advised to procure a letter from Cheyne to the lord chancellor notifying him of this decision.14 Six years later the exchequer was the offending department, when representatives of Rye, Hastings and Sandwich met with Sir James Hales, the ports' retained legal counsel, to discuss the best way to secure Cheyne's assistance.15 This particular abuse of the ports' privileges seems to have increased under Edward V1: in 155O the mayor and jurats of Dover refused to accept a royal writ because it was not accompanied by a letter of attendance from the lord warden. Two years later the brotherhood complained of the many writs and processes that had recently been issued directly to portsmen rather than via the lord warden, and it was decided to draw up a petition, to be circulated around the ports and then presented to Dover castle for Cheyne's inspection.16 These incidents involved portsmen and resulted in appeals made on their behalf to the lord warden.

When officers of Dover castle suffered from infringements of the ports' liberties, Cheyne himself took the initiative. In May 1556 Joseph Beverley, clerk of Dover castle, and William Crispe, lieutenant of the castle, were arrested by the lord chancellor's sergeant at arms; their offence may have related to the muster they had taken on the day of their arrest, or to a royal demand for the delivery of prisoners held on suspicion of piracy.17 Beverley and Crispe appealed to Cheyne for help, who, after taking legal advice, replied that he would complain to the lord chancellor that the warrant for their arrest was invalid since it had not been addressed to the lord warden's office, and so infringed the liberties of the Cinque Ports:

I trow thys ys the ffyrste lord Chancellor that ever sent any such offysur to areste any man with in the ports onles he cam ffyrste to the Warden of the ports ... I wyll styk wythe the Ryght to the utter moste of my power, I meane to the libertyes of the ports, as ffar as there charters wyl bere. 18
Beverley and Crispe regained their freedom but were shortly to appear in court when Cheyne wrote to advise them that they should request every port to 'make serche for suche presidentes as they have to maynteigne their said liberties', and to send representatives to a meeting at Dover to discuss tactics; he closed the letter by restating his determination to
'stand by you and them for the maynteininge of their said liberties asfar as their charters will beare to thuttermoost of~y po(w]ore'.19
Clearly, Cheyne did not hesitate to appeal to the liberties of the Cinque Ports when his own rights were infringed, but his second letter suggests that he expected the' portsmen would regard this incident as an infringement of their liberties as well.

The lord warden's monopoly on the return of writs was not an unmixed blessing. Failure to return writs within the allotted time rendered him liable to amercement, whatever the reason for delay. When sending some exchequer writs under the lord warden's precept to Sandwich in 1558 Joseph Beverley warned the recipients to deal with them speedily and lawfully, so that his master would:

be not therupon amersed as of late tyme he hath byn and moche adoe to escape the danger therof wherof I have thought good to advertyse you so as therby ye maye the rather kepe yorselves and the said office from perill.20

The Cinque Ports were traditionally granted exemptions from flfteenths and tenths and subsidies, ostensibly in recognition of the contribution they made to the king's navies; this had been recognised in a charter of 1465, despite the fact that by then their contribution to the navy was largely confined to a handful of transport ships.21 At the granting of an exemption to the ports from a fifteenth and tenth the usual procedure was for each head port on behalf of itself and its members to draw up billets or receipts for the sums exempted, and these were given to the collectors for presentation to the exchequer.22 But these exemptions were not given automatically, and the portsmen had to work hard for them in the face of increasing royal fiscal demands.

In 1538 Cheyne helped to secure a respite from subsidy payments for Dover's members.23 In May 1540 a guestling (a meeting of the Cinque Ports' representatives) appointed solicitors to put the ports' case for an allowance from the fifteenth to the lord warden and to the Council, in July Sandwich sought Cheyne's assistance in securing its allowance, and by November 1541 continued representations to the Council had achieved a hearing in the exchequer. In the meantime, collectors were to cease their demands within the liberty and upon the 'advocantes' (portsmen living outside the liberty).24 The immediate result of this process seems to have heen favourable to the ports, for by June 1542 they were making out new billets to claim their exemptions.25 But the following month further action was being discussed and in December the ports agreed to follow Cheyne's advice on a petition to be presented to the kjng.26 Similar appeals appear to have worked in 1544, when Sandwich, Dover and their members were released from all sums due from them for all fifteenths and tenths and subsidies granted since 1534.27 In April and May 1546 the collectors of the subsidy and of the fifteenth were forbidden to extend their activities into the liberty, and this followed lobbying of the council by Cheyne and three representatives of the ports.28 But in June Cranmer was discussing with the council ways of making the Cinque Ports contribute, and in December the portsmen were once again petitioning for a pardon from the fifteenth and tenth, with some success.29

These efforts to secure exemption show the ports working closely, and it seems, successfully, with their lord warden, on an issue which was always of great importance to them. The ports claimed that taxation wouId exacerbate their decline, leading to depopulation and the weakening of the south east's coastal defences.30 Cheyne's help was readily given when requested, suggesting that he saw this as part of his exercise of lordship, and as protecting his power base. His seat on the council made him a particularly effective mediator.31

In the autumn of 1555 the ports faced a challenge that potentially struck at the root of their privileges, in the shape of a writ of quo warranto which called into question the legal foundations of the liberty.32 The help of the lord warden was essential in this matter, and so at the special guestling called on 10 September the ports decided to send elected representatives to Cheyne, explaining the situation and requesting him to act as a 'meane' between themselves and the queen; meanwhile each port was to seek legal advice.33 While the ports were in no doubt as to the importance of this issue, this was not reflected in the timetable they had set themselves: the representatives were not to meet among themselves until the 22nd, by which time Cheyne had already received a writ demanding the appearance in king's bench of the bailiff, jurats and commonalty of New Romney to answer the quo warranto for their claim to be a corporate body.34 The quo warranto touched the interests of the lord warden as well as those of the ports, and so his assistance was eventually forthcoming: in April and September 1557 Joseph Beverley, clerk of Dover castle, accompanied Thomas Menys the mayor of Sandwich in discussions with the ports' counsel Roger Manwood on this matter.35

Another aspect of the lord warden's relationship as patron to the ports was his role as arbbiter and general facilitator of business. For example, in 1540 Cheyne was approached by Dover regarding a debt of £44 which Sandwich allegedly owed to the port, and the following year he arbitrated between Hastings and Pevensey over the annual payment owed by the latter as a 'limb' of the head port, and helped the two communities to come to an agreement.36 Cheyne also occasionally acted in disputes between individuals and corporations: the brotherhood wrote to him in 1546 and 1551 requesting him to exert pressure on behalf of individuals in dispute with Dover and Sandwich, while in November 1536 Richard Dering, the lieutenant of Dover castle, acted with the mayor of Dover in giving arbitration between two residents of the port.37 The lieutenants of Dover castle could also be found sitting alongside the mayor and jurats of Dover in the borough, or hundred, court.38

The lord warden's chancery court of St James acted as a court of appeal: in the I55Os a plaintiff before the general court of New Romney petitioned Cheyne to summon the jurors in the case to St James to explain why they had awarded what the petitioner claimed were insufficient damages.39 In 1547 Cheyne wrote to the bailiff and jurats of New Romney requiring them to see that justice was done to a suitor in their court of record.40

Clearly, the lord warden's appellate jurisdiction had the potential for causing friction between Dover castle and the ports. In 1542 Cheyne summoned a number of unruly Sandwich residents to appear before his court of St James, an act which the common council of Sandwich complained was in breach of their charter.41 Nine years later John Monynges, the lieutenant of Dover castle, summoned some Dover men accused of causing an affray; the mayor of Dover demanded that he appear before the corporation to answer for this alleged breach, to which Monynges haughtily replied that if the mayor and jurats wanted to discuss the matter they would have to do so at the castle.42 Meanwhile the accused found themselves doubly rebuked: Dover corporation proceeded to make a demonstration of its right to pass judgement by imposing fines on them, in the king's name, while - also in the king's name - they received further writs demanding their appearance at the castle.43

In 1542 the mayor of Sandwich met with his counterpart at Fordwich -one of the head port's limbs - to discuss the writs of certiorari which had been used to bring cases from the borough courts to the lord warden's court of St James, and ten years later the Sandwich common council noted that parties in the court of record before the mayor and jurats had been procuring writs certiorari in order to impede the process of justice, and therefore proclaimed that any person guilty of this tactic would now be liable to a £10 fine, loss of freedom and banishment.44 A writ of habeas corpus from the lord warden provided another means by which individuals could evade the justice of the borough courts: in 1543 two jurats of Sandwich and two brewers who had been imprisoned for an unspecified offence procured a writ of habeas corpus under the lord warden's seal, and broke free, brandishing the writ as their justification.45 The mayor claimed that the writ was contrary to the charter, and that the four 'had not done like honest men in the opteyninge of the same'; in consequence, the common council agreed that their legal counsel should send a letter of complaint to Cheyne on behalf of the town.46

In disputes with the lord warden the ports' usual recourse was to the charters that guaranteed their privileges; the incumbent of Dover castle had a larger armoury, ranging from threats to withdraw his protection to the use of force. When Sandwich failed to elect Cheyne's nominees for the March 1553 Parliament he sent two of his officers to tell the town's council that 'they shuld loke out for them selfes for they shuld get no aide and helpe at his handes'; but the mayor and council were obdurate, and their rather arch response was that:

they had don nothing but according unto the kinges magesties writt & his lordshipes precept and that they cannott ne yet could not do otherwise than according unto the kinges lawes & usages & privileges unles his lordship could purchase a newe writte for the same.47
On this occasion Sandwich got its way, and their two elected burgesses' took their places in parliament.48

Behind the lord warden loomed a still greater presence. On 11 September 1555 Sandwich was required to supply two ships for the transport of King Philip and his retinue across the Channel.49 Three days later the council required Cheyne to supply a further twenty-five or twenty-six ships from the Cinque Ports, observing that it was thought best to require a smaller number than their customary contribution in order that they be well equipped; Cheyne's opinion was sought on this matter.50 Accordingly Cheyne sent a copy of the council's letter to the Cinque Ports with a demand that this be done.51 The Cinque Ports then protested to the council that was was the second time in a year that they had been required to supply ships, and that their charter bound them to supply ships once a year only; after examining the records of the liberty the council found that this claim could not be substantiated, and so wrote back to Cheyne, instructing him to repeat the demand for twenty-five ships, adding ominously, 'and therefore we cannot but thynk it very straunge that they aunswere the matter so slenderly, and had so hesitated to do their duty, particularly since they had for so long been spared the burdens imposed on other communities.52 This letter, with for good measure an endorsement from Cheyne that if the Cinque Ports did not comply it would be to their 'greate hyndraunce hereafter', was ctrculated to the ports, who were instructed to reply without delay.53 The letter prompted a circular from Dover to the other Cinque Ports observing that their answer had been 'wonderfully evyll taken' and that to avoid 'further incovenyence' they should hasten to supply the best fleet they could.54 Faced with the combined displeasure of the council and the lord warden the ports could do nothing else but comply: by 6 October Dover castle had received certificates listing the ships they were preparing to send.55 However, William Crispe, the lieutenant of Dover castle, had to request that the ports resubmit their certificates, this time omtting any mention of the fact that they were responding to circulated copies of a confidential letter sent from the council to Cheyne: it seems that the ports had made one last defiant gesture by registering the forced nature of their compliance and by so doing, knowingly or not, might have caused their lord warden some embarrassment, had it not been for his diligent lieutenant. In their haste, or ill temper, the ports had also neglected to address the lord warden by his fulI title, an omission which Crispe huffily required to be supplied in the returned certificates and in all subsequent letters.56

The mayor and jurats of Sandwich appealed to their privileges again in November 1556 when Cheyne demanded that they supply twenty men to go to Portsmouth for Philip's long-awaited crossing of the Channel. Anticipating Sandwich's claim that this went beyond their accustomed service of ships, Cheyne's officers warned that, if they did not comply, 'his lordship wold not faile to send thaunsweres of the said maior & jurates unto the quenes majestie, for a contempte, to whome the said maior should aunswere for the same accordingly' To this the mayor and jurats replied that they were willing, if need be, for this case to go before the council.57 Despite this brave posturing, the followingh summer Sandwich and its limbs agreed to supply a handful of infantry and cavalry, although the jurats made it clear that they made this concession freely, out of oonsideration for the lord warden's obvious need of troops, and that this was not to establish a precedent.58 Their generosity was to some degree reciprocated when they found themselves unable to raise the requisite number of men and instead offered the lord warden £40 towards the costs of equipping his troops: Cheyne replied that 'consydering the premysses' he would not require this, and so the money was spent on the town's defences.59

At times Cheyne went beyond threats. In 1539 he imprisoned Thomas Birchet, the mayor of Rye, in Dover castle, after complaints against him to the comptroller of the household by John Fletcher, the king's purveyor. Fletcher claimed that Birchet had so set the Rye fishermen against him that he would be unable to procure fish for the household.60

It would not be surprising if Cheyne did act with particular assiduousness when it came to enforcing royal demands. He could never forget that for all his lording it over the Cinque Ports he was still the crown's servant: in February 1557 Cheyne wrote to William Crispe, the lieutenant of Dover castle, that the provision of ships and men for Philip's anticipated crossing had to be effected

'to thuttermost of your poure as well for your discharge as for myne'.61

These incidents remind us that relations between the lord warden and the ports cannot be studied in isolation. The lord warden was the ports' formal channel of communication with the crown and its agents, but there were many other influences on the political life of the liberty, and many other points of contact with national and regional politics. A detailed account of all aspects of Cheyne's political career would be neither possible nor appropriate within the scope of this essay,but some attempt must be made to locate him in his wider political context before moving on to dissuss the Cinque Ports' position within the networks of regional and national power in mid Tudor England.

Cheyne is usually regarded as a religious conservative.62 He probably owed his appointment as lord warden to Cromwell, and apears to have enjoyed his favour until 1537; thereafter relations may have cooled, but not necessarly as a consequence of Cheyne's religious position.63 In any case, Cheyne's command of the royal archers who arrested Cromwell and made an inventory of his goods in 1540 hardly suggests a warm relationship between the two.64 Cheyne's relations with another leading figure in the English Reformation were also ambiguous. In 1537 Cranmer entered into an acrimonious cosrespondence with an unnamed Kentish potentate, whom he accused of disrupting the progress of religious change in the county: the recipient of Cranmer's vitriol could have been Cheyne, but there are other candidates.65 Cranmer's assurance to Cecil of his good will towards Cheyne over a decade later strongly suggests a history of strife between the two.66 This presumed hostility may have stemmed from religious differences alone, but there were more mundane bones of contention between them. In November 1546 the council required Cheyne to submit to their arbitration his dispute with Cranmer over their respective rights to the goods from a Spanish vessel wrecked the previous year.67 Cheyne and Cranmer were also rivals for influence within the Cinque ports.68 Cheyne's acrimonious dispute with Cardinal Pole in 1558 over a number of issues, induding fowling on the archbishop's liberty, rather suggests that quarrels between the county's potentates need not always have had theological causes.69

Cheyne enjoyed a greater prominence at court during the short-lived conservative reaction of the early 1540s: he had been treasurer of the household since March 1530, and he is recorded as being present at over half of the council meetings between 1540 and 1543, as compared to less than a third during the remainder of his career.70 In July 1540 he led the delegation from the commons that requested the king to put the question of his marriage to Anne of Cleves to convocation.71 He also received a flurry of grants of former monastic properties in 1540 and 1541.72 It may have been due to his influence at court at this time that his son John was pardoned in June 1541 for the murder of a gamekeeper during Lord Dacre's poaching expedition.73 John Cheyne's unsubstantiated accusation in November 1541 that his father was a closet papist suggests that there were rumours abroad about Sir Thomas's religious predilections. So also do the unspecified, and equally unsuccessful, accusations made against him by Richard Cavendish, comptroller of king's works at Dover in January 1543, a minstrel in July 1545, and by his own lieutenant of Dover Castle, John Monynges, in September l552.74

The nature of Cheyne's involvement with the Prebendaries' Plot against Cranmer in 1543 is also problematic: his chaplain was approached by some of the plotters to ask his master to use his influence with the archbishop to procure the release of Robert SerIes, the conservative vicar of Lenham. This certainly suggests that the chaplain was thought to be sympathetic to the conservative cause, but the part that Cheyne himself was expected to play would have relied on his having had some sort of working relationship with Cranmer.75

Whatever his religious position may have been in the early 1540s, at Henry's death Cheyne was high in the king's favour.76 He was accepted by Somerset's regime, but after Warwick's coup he feared that he would be branded as a conservative.77 He opposed the adoption of Jane Grey and while he was forced to acquiesce in Northumberland's scheming he pledged his support for Mary as soon as he felt that it was safe to do so.78 Despite his early show of support Cheyne was distrusted hy Mary, at least initially, as she confessed to the imperial ambassador.79 The court could not be certain of his loyalty at the outbreak of rebellion under his erstwhile friend and neighhour Sir Thomas Wyatt in 1554: later that year he was among those considered for exclusion as part of an unsuccessful plan to reduce the size of the council.80 The reasons for Cheyne's lukewarm relationship with the Marian regime are unlikely to have been theological. Perhaps he feared for his holdings of former monastic estates, or his association with Warwick (now Northumberland) may have counted against him - although neither of these factors would have differentiated him from several other courtiers who were readily accepted into the fold - or it may be that Cheyne's francophile predilictions set him against closer imperial ties.8I

Cheyne's will and the elaborate proceedings at his funeral were entirely consistent with orthodox Catholicism, but this is hardly surprising given that he died only a month into Elizabeth's reign.82 It would be unwise to accept the Elizabethan William Darell's description of Cheyne as a well-wisher to the Reformation whose radicalism estranged him from Mary (and who died from an excess of joy at the news of the accession of her sister). The imperial ambassador's estimate of him in 1549 as a true Catholic willing to spend his fortune in the good cause also seems at odds with the facts of his career.83 Perhaps the other part of the ambassador's judgement on him also needs to be taken into account: 'a timid man, much addicted to worldly possessions'.84 Cheyne's conservatism was evidently of the milder sort, well tempered with pragmatism.

One gauge of political influence within the Cinque ports is provided by the returns of burgesses to parliament. In accordance with his monopoly on the return of writs, the lord warden received the writs for parliamentary elections. It was through him that the returns were made, which gave him the potential for exerting considerable influence over the ports' representation.85 In the four parliaments between 1536 and 1545 there were probably no more than three Cinque Ports burgesses with particular Cheyne connections, but in the parliarnents of 1547 and March 1553 there may have been as many as ten Cheyne associates, and in the five elections under Mary possibly as many as forty-two. This would give averages of less than one 'Cheyne' burgess for each election under Henry, five under Edward and over eight (making an average of more than one per port) under Mary.86 While in some cases the relationship between a burgess and the lord warden may have been entirely irrelevant to his election, the overall pattern is clear, and in many instances Cheyne's influence on elections is beyond doubt. Cheyne's interference under Mary represents a new peak in the lord warden's influence on Cinque Ports' elections, establishing, de facto, his nomination of one of the two burgesses for each of the ports; this precedent was to haunt the portsmen in their struggles with Dover castle for generations to come.87 The above evidence suggests a steady accretion of power throughout Cheyne's wardenship, culminating in his supremacy under Mary, but the reality was more complex, as the lord warden's influence was subject to periodic, checks both from within the ports and by outsiders.

In April 1545 Cheyne fell ill, and he was temporarily relieved of his duties as lord warden by Sir Thomas Seymour, Hertford's brother.88 For the next four months Cheyne shared his responsibilities in the Cinque Ports and Kent with Seymour.89 This association may have helped Seymour to develop his interest in the Cinque Ports after his brother, subsequently duke of Somerset, rose to power in 1547, for in the parliament of that year both members for Winchelsea, John Rowland and John More, were outsiders who probably owed their elections to the influence of the Seymour-Somerset circle.90 In August Seymour had been granted most of the former Howard baronies of Bramber and Lewes, and seems to have been flexing his muscles in Sussex, while his position as lord admiral since 1544 would also have brought him into contact with the ports.91

The new Somerset court circle also seems to have been responsible for the return of the religious radical William Brooke (later lord Cobbam) at Hythe. Seymour may have persuaded Cheyne to have another radical outsider, Sir William Stafford, returned for Hastings.92 Cheyne appears to have been deprived of the wardenship soon after Edward VI's accession, but was granted it back in April: it probably took him some time to find his feet under the new regime. At this point his personal influence in the ports may have been in danger of being subsumed into that of the radical court connection.93 In April 1547, solicitors appointed by the Cinque Ports to help procure a new general charter were instructed to make their suit directly to the council: Cheyne does not appear to have been involved in this.94 By July Cheyne was once again acting as a mediator between the ports and central government, but the Seymours' influence in the Cinque Ports remained strong: in August 1548 Somerset's support of the radical Thomas Birchet resulted in his election as mayor of Rye.95

Cheyne was unable or unwilling to prevent the encroachment of the Seymours, but he showed himself determined to meet the challenge from another representative of the radical new order. Cranmer attempted to have up to three of his men elected in 1547: Peter Hayman at New Romney and John Seer at Sandwich were definitely his clients; Thomas Pinnock at Sandwich is very likely to have been.96 Archiepiscopal involvement in the Cinque ports was nothing new: Hythe was part of the manor of Saltwood and most of of New Romney lay in the manor of Aldington, both of which had been held by the archbishops until Cranmer was forced to surrender them in 1540. New Romney at least had probably returned a Cranmer client to every election since 1535.97 But Cranmer's intervention in Sandwich was a new development.98 In September John Seer and Thomas Pinnock were elected for Sandwich, but the mayor, John Stile, refused to accept their return and called another election, which returned Thomas Arden, who had been in Cheyne's service since 1541 (and the first non-jurat to be returned for the port since at least the fifteenth century), and the royal bailiff of Sandwich, Thomas Patche. Both were almost certainly Cheyne's placemen, and Stile was probably acting on Cheyne's orders, or at least with his approval.99 But the proceedings at Sandwich came to the attention of the council, which forced the readoption of the original members, and in May 1548 the common council of Sandwich fined Stile £10 for his action the previous year in breaking open the common chest in order to falsify the election results.100 The council's intervention on behalf of what may have been the 'Cranmer Party' no doubt alarmed Cheyne, who had also suffered a rebuke from the same quarter for his clumsy handling of the Kent election, where Cheyne failed to have returned John Baker, the council's chosen candidate.101 Further humiliation came in 1548, when Thomas Pinnock secured Cranmer's help in Sandwich's campaign for government assistance with harbour improvements.102

The growing confusion of authority within the liberty evidently concerned a number of the leading portsmen. In August 1550 a brotherhood proposed that the franchise for the election of the ports' head officers - mayors, jurats and bailiffs - be restricted to thirty-seven people in each port, to be chosen by the mayors and jurats and that the views of the commons be sought on this. Cheyne was requested to help in the consultation process. 103 Cheyne's off'icers actively promoted the proposal to turn the ports into closed corporations, but Sandwich at least decided not to adopt it and Dover's franchise was not restricted until September 1556,104 The apparent failure of a measure that would have greatly increased the lord warden's ability to control the Cinque Ports corporations is another indicator of Cheyne's difficulties under Edward VI. Cheyne's appointment as lord lieutenant of Kent in April 1551 made a valuable addition to his powers, but his authority within the Cinque Ports was still being contested: it was in September 1551 that lieutenant Monynges made his accusations against Cheyne.105

Elections for the March 1553 parliament were the occasion for further conflict. At New Romney the chamberlain noted that William Tadlow (almost certainly Cranmer's choice) and Richard Bunting were 'put awaye by our lorde warden frome {their] electon' and replaced by Simon Padyham and another unnamed Cheyne client, 'contrarye to our eleccon'.106 Cheyne's high-handed action in an area of traditional archiepiscopal influence may be a rellection of Cranmer's declining political capital under Northumberland. 107 Cheyne acted likewise at Rye, whose elected burgesses, Robert Wood and the radical Alexander Welles, appear to have been turned away at the parliament door in favour of the lord warden's men, Richard Fletcher and John Holmes.108 Cheyne's client Henry Crisp was returned at Dover, and only Sandwich appears to have successfully resisted pressure from the lord warden.109 The appointment of Cheyne as bailiff of Sandwich in June 1553 may have been an attempt to buttress his authority in the most independent and troublesome of the Cinque Ports.110

Before Mary's first parliament the Cinque Ports attempted to challenge the legality of the lord warden's interference in elections. New Romney and Rye considered the possibility of holding a guestling at which a suit against Cheyne would be discussed, and Dover and Sandwich were also involved in legal proceedings, but nothing came of it, apart from an increasing tension between the lord warden and the ports.111 At the elections in Autumn 1553 the burgesses for Dover, Thomas Colly and Thomas Portway, were set aside in favour of Joseph Beverley (the clerk of Dover castle) and John Webbe, another Cheyne client; John Peyton at Hastings, William Oxenden (Cheyne's servant) at Hythe, Clement Heigham and John Holmes at Rye were all probably returned as the result of pressure from the lord warden.112 At Winchelsea, John Guildford, the sheriff of Kent, and William Egleston were set aside by Cheyne in favour of Henry Crisp and William Roper, but Guildford was then placed at New Romney, only to be removed when the council decided that he could not represent a seat within the county of which he was sheriff.113 Sandwich elected two men of Protestant sympathies, Simon Linch and Thomas Menys. Cheyne had strongly objected to Menys' election for the previous parliament, and this time he succeeed in having him replaced by John Perrot, Cheyne's son-in-law.114

Linch was allowed to sit, but in December the council informed Sandwich that his recent election as mayor could not stand since he was already customer of the port. The real reason lay, of course, with his political sympathies.115

Menys and Linch were part of a radical group in Sandwich, the former appearing to have been their leader and a particular thorn In Cheynes side. Menys and Linch were elected by Sandwich to bear the canopy at Marys coronation - the traditional right of the portsmen This was not a happy choice, since they stole the canopy and sold it116 The pair appear to have escaped serious punishment for this calculated insult, being merely required to pay for a replacement.117 But in July 1554 Menys was granted a reduction on his contribution towards a new canopy in recompense for the time he had spent in the Marshalsea, having been put there on the orders of the lord warden while on the port's business: the nature of his transgression is not known.118

The spring 1554 elections seem to have been relatively uneventful, but by the November parliament Cheyne's influence on the elections was openly acknowledged throughout the ports: it appears that for this election each port - with the predictable exception of Sandwich - accepted the principle that one of their two burgesses was to be chosen by the lord warden.119 Sandwich elected its mayor, John Tysar, and a jurat, William Lathebury, but then was forced to accept the latter's replacement by Cheyne's son-in-law, Nicholas Crispe.120 For each of the two remaining parliaments of Mary's reign, in 1555 and 1558, Cheyne, maintained his new-found right to nominate one member for each port. He felt no qualms about introducing complete outsiders, members of his family and household, and apparently, clients of his friends. 121

Cheyne's period of greatest intervention in elections was also a time of great unrest in the ports, particularly at Sandwich. Here prominent inhabitants were showing greater reluctance to accept election as jurats and mayors.122 There was also a spate of outbursts against the mayor and jurats during the mayoralty of John Master in l557-8.123 Master had radical associations, and his religious and political sympathies may account for the opposition to him, but he was also a friend of Thomas Menys, Cheyne's bete noire, and so dissension may have been encouraged from Dover castle.124 Menys had been mayor the previous year, and in October 1557 he was summoned to appear before the council, together with Nicholas Peake, another of Master's associates, over an offensive letter - whose contents are unknown - that had been sent from Sandwich to the lord warden.125 Menys was ordered to bring before the council the five 'chiefelie doers in the devising of the said lettres', while Peake was to remain in attendance, reporting daily to one of the clerks.126

Throughout Mary's reign a radical group managed to survive among the Sandwich jurats. Cheyne's opposition to the religious positions of a number of its leading inhabitants undoubtedly exacerbated his stormy relationship with Sandwich, but he did not completely disassociate himself from religious radicals. Sir John Perrot, his son-in-law, had radical leanings, as had Thomas ArsIen. Thomas Randolph, who probably had Cheyne to thank for his return for New Romney in 1558, may also fall into this category, while Reginald Mohun, burgess for Rye in 1555 - probably again at Cheyne's behest - was unable to secure election in his native Cornwall because of his radical sympathies.127 The Marian council instructed the returning officers to secure the return of members of the 'wise, grave and catholic sort'. As these examples suggest, Cheyne occasionally allowed other factors to override his aversion to religious radicalism, and by so doing preferred his own interests before the demands of the crown.128

No doubt much of the tension within the Cinque Ports at the end of Mary's reign was a local manifestation of general dissatisfaction with the crumbling regime, intensified by the particular demands and fears to which the south coast was subject as the borders of the realm shrank across the Channel.129 But the difficulties between Cheyne and Sandwich may have had more to do with an attempt by the port to resist the encroaching power of the lord warden. Religious differences do not seem to have been the only root of this struggle, although they were certainly a very important element. Sandwich was still prosperous enough to feel able to resist. Unlike Dover, which might also have felt itself strong enough to make a stand, it was far enough distant from Cheyne's administrative base to maintain some degree of independence. Cheyne's growing control over the ports was not merely one among many examples of interference in local politics by the crown and its agents; in fact his success in this regard contrasts sharply with the Marian regime's generally 'perfunctory and ineffectual' attempts to control elections.130

The liberty of the Cinque Ports began as a royal initiative - the product of crown expediency - but by the sixteenth century it had evolved into a community with a sophisticated administrative system, including the brotherbood (a common assembly for its own defence) and a certain common sentiment among its elite that this heterogeneous affiliation was theirs, was something to which they owed a degree of loyalty, and which was worth fighting for. Through the institutions of the brotherhood, the guestling, the shared benefits guaranteed by charters granted to the ports collectively rather than individually, a fund of common interests and intermittently through the figure of their lord warden the portsmen maintained this sense of belonging to a community that cut across county boundaries despite royal encroachments, it was the crown through the lord warden which ultimately safeguarded this identity.

For the crown, the liberty provided a valuable reserve of patronage The lord wardenship was naturally regarded as a particularly valuable reward for good service, but it was much more than this. The lord warden enjoyed a pivotal position in the politics of the south east and was in possession of a power base that enabled him to develop his own policy within the region.131 This was a potentially threatening situation for the crown. 132 That the crown was willing to live with the risks suggests the scale of the advantage it expected to derive from this arrangement. Sir Edward Coke made clear the nature of this advantage when he wrote that the Cinque Ports, 'do lie towards France and therefore prudent antiquity provided that they should be vigilantly and securely kept'; the lord warden, 'in former times was ever a man of great fidelity, wisdom, courage, and experience, for that he had the charge of the principal gates of the Realm'.135

The Cinque Ports were strategically important not for their own military resources - the men and ships of the ports never made an impressive display - but for the infrastructure they provided. The staff of Dover castle supplied the nucleus of a command structure, the chain of ports gave ready communications along the south-east coast, and the ports' fishing fleets provided a reasonably effective watch on events in the Channel. 134 For this reason the crown was willing to suffer the presence of an 'anachronistic' liberty, to allow its exemption from taxation and, for the sake of having this strategic infrastructure under firm, unified control, it was prepared to devolve such powers into the hands of the lord warden.

Home Top of Page Communities
APCActs of the Privy Council
BLBritish Library
CKSCentre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone
CPRCalendar of Patent Rolls
ESROEast Sussex Record Office
FAFeudal Aids
LP, Henry VIIILetters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII
PROPublic Record Office

  1. K. M. E. Murray, The Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports (Manchester, 1935), pp. 27-46, 205-25.
  2. Ibid., p. 209.
  3. Ibid., pp. 209-16.
  4. See ibid., and F. Hull (ed.), Calendar of the White and Black Books of the Cinque Ports, Kent Archives Society/Historical Manuscripts Commission (1966), Introduction, for the constitutional History and administrative structure of the ports. In addition, J. L. Gillespie, 'Dover castle: key to Richard II's kingdom?', Archaeologia Cantiano, cv (1989), pp. 179-95 deals with the political significance of the wardenship at the end of the fourteenth century, as does J. K. Gruenfelder, The Lord Warden and elections, 1604-1628', Journal of British Studies, xvi (1976), pp. 1-23, for a later period. S. T. Bindoff (ed.), The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1509-1558 (London, 1982), i, pp. 253-4, contains useful short accounts of each of the ports.
  5. Murray, Coustitutional History, pp.217-19.
  6. Despite Murray's verdict, Ibid., pp.217, 225-30. For a description of the privileges, see ibid., pp. 1-8.
  7. Ibid., pp. 77-119. For a general account of Cheyne's activities as lord warden, see R. F. Brock, 'The courtier in early Tudor society' (unpublished university of London Ph. D. thesis, 1964), pp.101-5.
  8. Murray, Coustitutional History, pp.77-119.
  9. This paragraph is based on Bindoff, History of Paliament, i, pp. 634-8; Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor Society', passim; S. B. Wyatt, Cheneys and Wyatts: A Brief History in Two Parts (London, 1960), pp. 28-30.
  10. Brock, 'Courtier in early-Tudor society' pp.82-5, 171-2, 217-19
  11. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i pp.112-14.
  12. The Elizabethan writer of an anonymous memorandum on the decline in Kent's defensive capacity looked back fondly to the greater security which Cheyne's private recources had brought to the county, and maintained that he generally kept in his household 160 serving men, together with retainers, gentlemen and others who were ready to attend upon him at times of special need, numbering in total at least 300 men: PRO, SP 12/75/43. For Cheyne's acquisitions of former monastic property, See: LP, Henry VIII, x, no. 176 (Davington priory. 25 January 1536); xv, g. 436, nos 44-5 (Faversham abbey, Ludgate friary and Morton, Surrey, 16 March 1540), no. 1032 (St Sexburgh, Minster, 5 June 1-540); xvi g. 379, no. 58 (Syon, Middlesex, 25 December 1540), no. 1500, p.725 (St Augustine, Canterbury, 16 February, 1541). For his will see Pro, PROB 11/42b. fi. 2-7.
  13. P. Clark, English Provincial Society, from the Reformation to the Revolution: Religion, Politics and Society in Kent. I500-l640 (Hassocks, 1977), pp.13-14; 20.
  14. Hull, White and Black Books, p.227. The brotherhood was the representative assembly of the ports, and its, main purpose was to guard against infringements of the liherties, Murray, Coustitutional History pp.188-9.
  15. Hull, White and Black Books, p.237.
  16. 1550: BL, MS Egerton 2094, f. 28, 1552: Hu1l White and Black Books p 257
  17. BL.MS Add. 34150, f.55; Bindoff History of Parliament i, p428 In May 1556 Cinque Ports delegates met at Dover to discuss a demand from the king's admiralty court for the delivery of prisoners held on charges of piracy, which demand it was claimed infringed the liberties. Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone (CKS) Sa/Ac4 f. 85 Four years previously Cheyne had raised doubts about the competence of a comission which had been appointed to try portsmen accused of piracy following the request of William Thomas to the lord chancellor. CSPD I547-1580, xiv. no: 69: APC, iv, p.130. For tensions, over musters see -Clark, English Provincial Society, p.104.
  18. BL, MS Add. 34150 ff. 55-6.
  19. CKS, Sa/ZB/3/59, f. 102v.
  20. CKS, Sa/B/3/39, f. 124v.
  21. Murray, Coustitutional History, p.219.
  22. Ibid., pp.2I9-21.
  23. BL, MS Egerton 2093, ff 312, 314.
  24. Ibid., ff. 386-7, 392, 394; Hull, White and Black Books, p. 225, 227; LP, -Henry V1II, xvi, no. 672
  25. Hull, White and Black Books, p 228.
  26. Ibid., pp. 229-30; BL. MS Egerton 2093, ff. 402, 406.
  27. LP Henry VIII, xix, Pt 2, no.527.
  28. Ibid., xxi pt 1 nos 698, 870; CKS, NR/FAc/25.
  29. LP, Henry VIII, xxi, pt 1, no.1041; CKS, Sa/AC 3, f. 192. The petition was successful: in March 1547 the barons of the Cinque Ports were given exemption from the fifteenth and -enth and the subsidy, East Sussex Recordd Office, Lewes (ESRO), RYE/57/1 f. 66.
  30. Murray, Coustitutional History pp. 222-3
  31. Cheyne was not always approached directly From 1554 Dover retained his secretary, Henry Tennant at 40s. per annum as its solicitor in all its business, with the lord warden or with the council, BL, MS Egerton 2094, ff. 107 117v.
  32. For the use of quo warranto under the early Tudors see H. Garrett-Goodyear The Tudor revival of quo warranto and local contributions to state building in', M. S. Arnold, T. A. Green et al. (ed.), On the Laws and Customs of England: Essays in Honour of Samuel E. Thorne (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1981), pp. 231-95.
  33. Hull, White and Black Books, p.254
  34. CKS, NR/CPW/20. Sandwich sent it, representative to discuss the quo warranto with Cheyne on 18 September 1556 CKS, Sa/AC4, f. 95
  35. CKS, NR/CPC, ff. 16, 18. The process continued into the following year. In July 1558 the mayor and jurats of Fordwich were surmmoned to Sandwich to discuss their authority for the various privileges they held, CKS, Sa/Ac 4, ff. I28-128v.
  36. BL, MS Egerton 2093, f. 353; ESRO, PEV 816.
  37. BL, MS Egerton 2093, ff. 292-3, 372; Hull, White and Black Books, pp.235, 245.
  38. BL, MS Egerton 2093, if. 328, 369.
  39. CKS, NR/CPL 4.
  40. CKS, NR/JBF 3.
  41. CKS. Sat/AC3, ff. 143-143v.
  42. BL, MS Egerton 2094, f. 40v.
  43. Ibid.
  44. CKS, Sa/AC3, f. 169'; Sa/AC4, ff. 27v-28.
  45. CKS, Sa/AC3, f. 155.
  46. Ibid.
  47. CKS, Sa/AC4, f 31v.
  48. See below
  49. CKS, Sa/AC4, f. 73.
  50. CKS. Sa/ZB/3, f. 96.
  51. Ibid., f.96v; APC, v. p.184.
  52. CKS, Sa/ZB/3, f. 98v; another copy in CKS, NR/CPW 16.
  53. Ibid.
  54. CKS, NR/CPW 16
  55. CKS. NR/CPW 17
  56. 56Ibid
  57. CKS, Sa/AC4, f. 97.
  58. Ibid., ff. 109v-110.
  59. Ibid., ff. 111v-112. Further negotiations followed in August 1557 when Cheyne demanded twenty men from Sandwich to defend the queen, and Sandwich replied that he cou1d have ten, ibid., f. 104v.
  60. PRO, SP 1/I54, pp. 35-5 (LP; Heniy VIII xiv, pt 2, no.341); PRO, SP 1/155, pp. 1-2 (LP, Henry V111, xiv, Pt 2, no. 546).
  61. CKS, NR/CPW/21.
  62. Unless otherwise stated, the following is based on Bindoff, History of Parliament. i, pp. 634-8. and Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society'. passim.
  63. John Husee reported to Lord Lisle that some thought Cheyne's appointment was by Cromwell's preferment, M. St Clare Byrne (ed.), The Lisle Letters (6 vols, London and Chicago, 1981), iii, p.695. For Cheyne's apointment, see LP, Henry, VIII, x, no.1015, g. 16. There were signs of friction from 1538: in March Cromwell countermanded Cheyne's order to the mayor and jurats of Rye to confiscate six tuns of wine rescued from a wreck (PRO, SP 1/130, p.55; LP, Henry VIII, xiii, Pt 1, no. 513); in the same month Cromwell was watching carefully Cheyne's negotiations for the purchase of lands of Faversham abbey (PRO, SP 1/1 30, p.120; LP, Henry VIII, xiii, Pt 1. no.585); in November Jane Roper complained to Cromwell that her son Christopher, one of Cromwell's servants, had been kept out of his lands by Anthony Auger, paymaster of the king's works at Dover, and Nicholas Finch, Cheyne's servant (PRO, SP 1/139, p. 137; LP, Henry VIII, xiii, Pt 2, no.857). However, Cheyne and Thomas Cromwell's son Gregory sat for Kent in 1539, and the latter may have owed his seat partly to Cheyne's influence, Bindoff, History of Parliament i p.728.
  64. LP, Henry VIII, xv no.804.
  65. PRO, SP 6/2, pp.171-182 (LP, Henry VIII, xii, Pt ii, pp.297-9); Clark, English Provincial society, p.48. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i. p.635, unhesitatingly identifies Cranmer's correspondent as Cheyne, but J. Ridley, Thomas Cranmer (Oxford, 1962), pp. 154-5, suggests Sir John Baker or possibly Sir Christopher Hales as alternatives. Cheyne was high steward of the archbishop's lands until 1540, LP, Henry VIII, xvi, no.271.
  66. '... ther is no man more loth to be in contention with any man, than I am, specially with my Lorde Warden, my nere neighbour, dwellynge both in one contray, and whose familier and entier frendeshippe I most desier, for the quyetnes of the hole contray. For the example of the rulers and heades wil the people and menibres followe', J.Strype (ed.), Memorials of the Most Reverend Father in God, Thomas-Cranmer, Sometimes Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (Oxord, 1840), ii, p.1037.
  67. LP, Henry VIII, xxi, Pt ii no. 390. This probably relates to goods taken by Anthony, Cheyne's servant, among others, from certain Spaniards under the pretence of a wreck, in May 1545 ibid., xx. pt 1, no. 732. In November 1546 Anthony was ordered to bring books relating to the dispute to the council, ibid., xxi, pt ii no. 390.
  68. See below, p 138-9.
  69. APC, vi, p.327.
  70. Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', pp.42, 50-1.
  71. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i p.635.
  72. See above, n. 12.
  73. LP, Henry VIII, xvi, g. 947, no.53, nos 931-2, 954. John Cheyne's pardon, and Lord Dacre's execution, was reported as shocking the populace, Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', pp.141-2. Clark suggests that the incident gave Henry VIII the excuse to dispose of the last vestiges of the troublesome Neville affinity English Provincial Society pp 53-4.
  74. John Cheyne's accusation, LP, Henry VIII xvi no 1375 Cavendish S accusation ibid xviii Pt 1, no. 18; APC, i, pp. 73-4 The minstrels accusation (Edmund Finch) LP Henry VIII xx pt 1, nos 1083 - & 1140 Cheyne and Monynges were summoned to appear before Northumberland in September 1552 to settle their dispute APC iv p 127 Cavendish had been in dispute with Cheyne in 1542 over the division of their responsibilities in Dover and this may have encouraged his subsequent denunciation ibid., i p 61
  75. LP-, Henry VIlI, xviii, pt 2, no.546, Ridley, Thomas Cranmer, pp. 231-6; Brock 'Courtier in early Tudor society', p.74. For the local background to the plot, see Clark, English Provincial Society pp. 57-66.
  76. W. K. Jordan, Edward VI: The Young' King (London, 1988), p.64; Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', p.52. According to Paget, Cheyne was to have been raised to the peerage, but the king changed his mind before producing the final version of his will; however, he was left £200 and made an assistant executor, ibid.; Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, p.636.
  77. Cheyne was among those councillors entrusted with the government of the realm during Somerset's Scottish campaign of 1547, Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', pp. 66-7. He was among those who sanctioned Gardiner's imprisonment in June 1548, and he was involved in the interrogation of Sir Thomas Seymour in 1549, lbid, pp.67-8; Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, p. 636.
  78. Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', pp. 68-9; Bindoff, History of Parliament, i p.636; J. Loach, Parliament and the Crown in the Reign of Mary Tudor (Oxford, 1986), p.4.
  79. Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', pp. l74-5. But Cheyne retained his position as treasurer of the household when Mary replaced other household officers, D. Loades, The Reign of Mary Tudor (2nd edn, London, 1991), pp. l9-2l, 42.
  80. Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', pp.69, 215; Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, pp. 636-7; Wyatt, Cheneys and Wyatts, p.30; D. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies (Cambridge, 1965), pp 57-64. In Octoher 1554 the mayor of Canterbury told the council of 'a leud feallowe that hath bruted there the Quene to be apprehended and kept [in] the Lord Treasurer's house', APC v, p.79. despite these doubts and rumours Cheyne was stil1 given a pension of 1000 crowns by Philip, Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', p.637. See also, A, Weikel, 'The Marian council revisited in J. Loach and R. Tittler (ed.), The Mid Tudor Polity c. 1540-l560 (London, 1980), pp;52-73.
  81. Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', p. 17: Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, pp. 634, 636.
  82. PRO. PROB 11/2b. His funeral is described in J. G. Nichols (ed.), The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant Taylor London, Camden Society, xlii (1848), pp. 184-5.
  83. History of Dover Castle (London, 1786), pp. 66-7; Brock, 'Courtier in early Tudor society', p.74; Clendar of Sate Papers, Spanish, ix, no.462, x, no.8.
  84. Ibid.
  85. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i. p.253; J. E. Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London, 1949), pp.213-4.
  86. Bindoff, History of Parliament i. p.254.
  87. Neale, Elizathen House of Commons, pp. 216-21; Gruenfelder, 'Lord warden and elections', pp.1-23. In 1571 Sandwich claimed this precedent as a safeguard against still further encroachments by the then lord warden, Lord Cobham: in 'all Sir Thomas Cheyne's time and in all your Lordship's time also we have had both or one at the least of our own inhabitants according to the Queen's writ and our liberties, and by our customs and liberties always used, one at the teast must be such as was sworn to our liberties, Neale, Elizabethan House of Commons, p.216.
  88. On 27 April the council sent Seymour to be Cheyne's deputy, in view of the latter's 'naughty whoreson ague', PRO, SP 2/5200, f. 74 (LP, Henry VIII, xx, pt 1, no.584). Two years previously Seymour had served under Cheyne in France, PRO, SP 1/179, f. 116 (LP, Henry VIII, xviii, Pt 1, no.773).
  89. Ibid., xx, pt I, g. 846, no 13, no.1313; Pt 2, no.94; APC, i, p.226.
  90. Bindoff, History of Parliament, ii, pp.618-9; iii, p.223. For the local background to this period, see Clark, English Provincial Society, pp. 69-86.
  91. R.J. W. Swales, 'The Howard interest in Sussex elections, 1529 to 1558', Sussex Archaeological Collections, cxiv (1976), pp. 49-60, 54-5; Jordan, The Young King. pp. 368-83.
  92. Bindoff, Hisory of Parliament, i, pp.512-13; iii, pp.364-5
  93. CPR, Edward VI, i, p.103.
  94. Hull, White and Black Books. p.236.
  95. ibid.. p 237 ESRO, RYE/60/6, f. 167v. A further indication of the challengc to Cheyne's hegemony be the increasing number of royal writs directed straight to portsmen, bypassing Dover castle aud infringing the lord warden's right of monopoly: see above, pp.126-7.
  96. Bindoff, History of Parliament, ii, pp. 325-6; iii, pp. l09-l0, 288.
  97. Ibid., i, pp. 257-9.
  98. Cranmer seems to have been making deliberate efforts to establish himself at Sandwich: in March 1547 Sandwich common council agreed to make a freeman at Cranmer's request, CKS, Sa/Ac 3, f. 194v.
  99. Bindoff; History of Parliament. i, pp.263, 328-9; iii, pp.69, 109-10, 288.
  100. Ibid., i, p.262; CKS, Sa/AC 3, ff. 207-207v.
  101. Bindoff, History of Parliament i, p.367
  102. Ibid., iii, pp. 109-10; CKS, Sa/AC 3 ff . 204-204v, 206v
  103. This was based on the precedent of of an act passed in a brotherhood of 1525, See also Murray, Constitutional History p. 92 and Clark, English Provincial Society p.80
  104. CKS, Sa/AC 3, ff. 238v, 244v; BL. MS Egerton 2094 ff. 154-5
  105. APC, iii, p.258; Clark, English Provincial Society, pp.78-81. For the lieutenant's accusations see above.
  106. CKS, NR/FAc 7, f. 80v; Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, p.546; iii, pp.40, 418-19.
  107. Ridley, Thomas Cranmer, pp.318, 322, 340-2.
  108. Bindoff, History of Parliament, ii, pp. 153-4, 379-80; iii, pp.572-3.
  109. Ibid., i, pp.722-3; for Sandwich see above.
  110. CPR, Edward VI v p 78 and see Clark, English Provincial Society p.80.
  111. CKS, NR/FAc 7, f.82v; Sa/AC 4, ff. 35-35v;BL, MS Egerton 2094 f. 90v.
  112. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, pp. 428-9; ii, pp. 329-30, 379-80; iii, pp. 39-40, 100-1, 140, 564-5.
  113. This was probably the result of political considerations. Guildford had been linked with Northumberland and may have been a Protestant, Bindoff History of Parliament, i, pp. 722-3; ii pp. 87-8, 265-6; iii, pp.215-7.
  114. Ibid., ii, pp.532-3, 595-6; iii, pp. 86-8.
  115. Ibid., ii, pp.532-3; CKS, Sa/AC 4, ff. 37, 39. Linch's name was on a list of MPs drawn up in 1553, probably indicating those opponents of some aspects of Mary's religious policies, Loach, Parliament and the Crown, pp.83-90, 239-40.
  116. CKS, Sa/AC 4, ff. 55v-56.
  117. Ibid., f. 58
  118. Ibid., f. 71.
  119. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i. p.254. ln September New Romney wrote to Cheyne asking him to inform the chancellor that they had granted him the nomination of a burgess to parliament. CKS,NR/CPW 16.
  120. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, p.262
  121. In 1558 Henry Tennant, MP for Hastings, was Cheyne's secretary; Richard Daper for Hythe was Cheyne's servant. Cheyne's sons-in-law Perrot and Crispe sat for Sandwich in 1555 and 1558 respectively. John Herbert, member for New Romney in 1555, was a cousin of Cheyne's associate the earl of Pembroke. Reginald Mohun owed his return for Rye in the same parliament to his links with the earl of Bedford, another of Cheyne's associates. A Bedford connection may also have eased Thomas Randolph's passage to parliament as burgess for New Romney. Bindoff, History of Parliament, i, pp. 723-4; ii, pp.13, 339,609; iii, pp.86-8, 176, 436.
  122. For example Thomas Manwood, April 1557, CKS, Sa/AC 4, ff. 106v, 109, and John Sayn ibid., f. l08v. In July 1557 jurats were to be fined if they failed to appear with the mayor at borough courts, ibid., f. 110v. During his mayoral year in 1557-8 John Master asked to be excused from any other offices in the future because of his age, ibid., f. 117v. In April 1558 Simon Linch also asked to be excused office as mayor or bailiff to Yarmouth for two years, ibid., f. 125v.
  123. Ibid., ff. 123, 123v, 124v, 125.
  124. Bindoff, History of Parliament, ii, pp.587, 595-6.
  125. lbid., iii, pp. 77-8 (Peake was Menys' father-in-law, and was related by marriage to the Manwoods); APC, vi, p. 189.
  126. Ibid.
  127. See above; and for Perrot's opposition to Marian policy, see Loach,Parliament and the Crown, pp.211-13, 229.
  128. Ibid., pp. 30-1; Loades, Reign of Mary Tudor, p.2l6
  129. Ibid., pp. 304-39; Clark, English Provincial Society, pp 98-107
  130. Loades,Reign of Mary Tudor, p. 399. Crown influence was mainly used to secure seats for useful candidates, rather than to prevent unsympathetic men from sitting, Loach, Parliament and the Crown, pp. 27-32.
  131. In 1597 there was a fierce struggle between Essex and the Cecils to place their respective clients in the vacant post, Neale, Elizabethan House of Commons, pp. 214-l5.
  132. The court's unease over Cheyne's loyalties at the outbreak of Wyatt's rehellion is a case in point see above,
  133. E. Coke Fourth Institute (London, 1669), pp. 222-4, cited in Neale, Elizabethan House of Commons, p.213.
  134. For the portsmen's reconnaissance in the Channel, see LP, Henry VIII xiii, pt 1 nos 206, 217; xx, pt 1. no.1144, pt 2, no.94; APC, iii. p.118; iv, p. 79. In July 1548 Cheyne replied angrily to a request from the commissioners of muster that he allow some of his servants to lead the Kentish forces. He refused on the grounds that, 'I have the cure of the whole shire methinkes yee should consider that it is meete and beside requisit that I should have my owne men about me, BL, MS Add. 37668 f. 15v. This could be dismissed as bluster, but the anonymous Elizabethan writer on the state of Kent's defences attributed the county's past security to the presence of Cheyne's household, PRO, SP 12/75/43. Tudor governments realised the importance of maintaining the coastal defences. Clark, English Provincial society pp. 47, 72. In 1548, when Sandwich corporation petitioned Somerset for help with the rebuilding of their coastal defences, they included a short account of the defensive role the port had played over the previous two hundred years. W. Boys History of Sandwich (2 vols, Canterbury 1792) ii p. 733.
Home Top of Page Communities