A broken promise?

In the 1520s, a disgruntled courtier named Sir Richard Weston, brought a case against the Dean and Canons before the Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. His supplication to Cardinal Wolsey survives amongst the records of Chancery at The National Archives [TNA C 1/594/5]. Weston appealed to the Lord Chancellor to summon the Dean and Canons before the Court of Chancery to receive a judgement in equity since he had been unable to find a remedy in the common law.

Sir Richard Weston, who had been appointed lieutenant of Windsor castle and forest in 1508 and keeper of the swans on the Thames in 1517, complained to Wolsey that the past Dean, John Veysey [Dean of Windsor, 1515-1519], and the Canons of Windsor had accepted his suit “to have the office of the feren stewardship” of the College of St George, with its profits and fees, after the death of Sir Thomas Lovell. However, now that Sir Thomas Lovell had died, the present Dean and Canons were refusing to honour the promise. The supplication is undated, but must date from between 1524, when Lovell died, and 1529, the year of Wolsey’s fall.

The “feren stewardship” was presumably the office of High Steward of the College of St George, which seems to have been created in the late 15th or early 16th century in order to secure influential patronage at the Royal Court. The office holder was rewarded with a quarterly fee and some opportunity for profit and Weston’s anxiety to secure it suggests that it was a lucrative position. However, a Chapter record indicates that the Marquess of Exeter, who was appointed Constable of Windsor Castle in 1525, was chosen to replace Sir Thomas Lovell in 1526. Sir Richard Weston’s suit was clearly unsuccessful. However, he went on to become Treasurer of Calais in 1525 and sub-Treasurer of the Exchequer in 1528. He died in 1541.

Clare Rider, Archivist and Chapter Librarian

The Queen's Free Chapel. The Chapel of the Most Honourable and Noble Order of the Garter. The Chapel of the College of St George.