Transcription © Copyright E.C. ("Paddy") Apling July 2011 (from digital copy provided by the authors).
© T. E. & M. Miller 2011
By 1513 he had accrued a sizeable annual income. In 1494 he had been granted for life all honours, castles, manors and lordships in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire belonging to Cecily Duchess of York, which would go to the Crown on her death. These provided an income of £10 a year, that is forty shillings per county. In 1513, he was granted for life the Norfolk manors of Saham Toney, Necton, Panxworth and Little Cressingham, which carried an annuity of £100, and for attendance about the King's business he received further annual payments of £200 and £800.
Sir Robert was an established member of the court. As a knight he was present at the funeral of Henry VII and was a Sumpter Man12 at the coronation of Henry VIII. He was also an official mourner at the funeral of Henry VIII's son prince Henry. In the State papers a list of items purchased by Roger Delle on behalf of Sir Robert between 1512 and 1514 gives an insight into the lifestyle of a Tudor court official. This list includes items for Lady Southwell: a firkin of soap, 4s; a scarlet hat, 4s; 8 pieces of "mockys says,13" £4; and 4 pieces of "saten of Syperes,"36s. Quantities of wine are well featured, although some may have been purchased in his role as Butler for official functions and some are listed as gifts to other people. They include: a tun of wine (2 hogsheads claret and 2 red), £4 14s 4d; a barrel (19~ gallons) of malmezey, 13s; a barrel (5 gallons) of Romney, 3s 5d; a little vat of Rhenish wine, 30s; 2 hogshead of Gaskyn wine, one red the other claret, £4 5s. The foodstuft listed is not the everyday items but more the luxury ones: a loaf of sugar, 5s 4d; 6lb almonds, 9d; 61d of "resons of corans" [currant raisins], 9d; 6lb of great "resons" [rasins], 6d; a turbot, 16d; 2 salt salmon, 3s 8d; a quarter of "stoxfys,"14 5s 4d; a cade [cask] of "sprottys" [sprats], 20d and a barrel of white herring, lOs. The cost of a few regular food items does appear, a barrel of flour cost £3 8s and 2s was spent on horse meat but the amount is not given. The list also contains various other items: a hand gun, 8s; a horn 12d; a trussing bed15, 18s; a chamber pot, 14d; and a range of building materials.
On the personal side, as is often the case at this time, it is difficult to find much detail of Sir Robert's life. It is not known when or where he was born but it may well have been at Woodrising. His education like that of his brother, Francis, was probably directed towards the legal profession. Sir Robert was married twice, firstly to Ursula daughter of John Bohun of Midhurst, Kent, and secondly to Elizabeth the widow of John Bourgchier, Lord Fitzwarren. Ursula was still alive in 1498 so his second marriage to Elizabeth occurred fairly late in his life. Unfortunately, there were no children from either marriage and hence no direct heir to the Woodrising estate, something that was to re-occur later in the family history. On his death on 31st March,1514,16 the estate was left to his brother Francis's eldest son, Richard. After Sir Robert's death Lady Elizabeth reverted to the title Lady Fitzwarren.
In his will dated 15th April and the 13th November, 1513, Sir Robert specified where he wanted to be buried. If he died within forty miles of London he was to be buried in the cloisters of the Preacher Friars in the City of London near the Lavatory17 near to the picture of the holy crucifix. If he died within forty miles of Woodrising he was to be buried there in the parish church of St. Nicholas. He bequeathed forty shillings to each place for his sepulchre and a friar was to say mass daily for twenty years after his death. The mass was to included prayers for his soul and the souls of his late wife Ursula, his mother and father and all their kinfolk, and after her death the soul of his wife Elizabeth. The friar was also to sing for their souls once a year for the twenty years. The task was to be performed in the morning by the first friar to wash his hands at the Lavatory. For this he would receive a salary of 8s 4d. His house in Hackney, London, he left to the use of the Dean of St. Pauls Cathedral for twenty years. The Archbishop of Canterbury received £200 and an obligation of £100 by two London men. Elizabeth got all of the household material, "all her jewells and wearing gere for her handes, necke and bodye," and a third of the plate of her choice. The rest of his properties went to his nephews, Richard and Robert, his brother Francis' two eldest sons.
11 £1 in 1511-1514 is equivalent to about £430 today.
12 A packhorse driver but in this case presumably a more ceremonial role.
13 A fine cloth like serge, made of twilled worsted.
14 Cod, ling or similar fish split open and dried without salt for preservation.
15 A travelling bed that could be dismantled and packed into trusses or bundles.
16 Until 1752 the year began on 25th March and ended on 24th March. The dates herein have been corrected to the post 1752 Gregorian Calendar, i.e. dates between 1st January and 24th March have been advanced one year.
17 A place for washing the hands.
© Transcription Copyright E.C. ("Paddy") Apling, July 2011.