Sir Richard Weston
Sir Richard Weston (1469-1542) was born in Rosel Manor. He was the son of one of Richard Harliston’s knights, and became a courtier of Henry VIII. His only son was beheaded after being accused of being a lover of the King’s wife, Anne Boleyn.
In 1461 when England was rent by the Wars of the Roses, the French seized Mont Orgueil, and established themselves in Jersey. In October 1468 Richard Harliston, Vice-Admiral of England, recaptured the castle after a 19-week siege. Among those killed during the fighting was Renaud Lempriere, Seigneur of Rosel.
His widow, Catherine Camel, daughter of John Camel of Shapwick, Dorset, married one of Harliston's knights, Edmund Weston, son of Peter Weston of Boston, Lincolnshire. Their eldest son, Richard, was born in Rosel Manor in 1469. Two facts fix the date. In 1519 he was one of the 'ancient knights' put in charge of the young Henry VIII, who were all over 50; but his parents could not have married before May 1468, the month in which the siege began, during which his mother's first husband was killed.
The Westons were in high favour with the Tudor kings. In 1485, within a month of the coronation of Henry VII, Richard's father, Edmund, was made Governor of Guernsey "in consideration of good and gratuitous services performed with great labour and great personal cost", which suggests that he had helped to secure Henry Tudor his throne.
Four months later he was made an Esquire of the Body. In 1502 there is a record of him at Court. The Privy Purse Expenses make a note of £1 13s 4d paid him "for the King's loss at disse" (dice), and of £2 "for the King's loss at cheke" (chess).
About this time he married Anne, daughter of Oliver Sandys of Shere, one of the Queen's gentlewomen.
When Henry VIII became King, Richard's rise was rapid. Even before the coronation he was made Governor of Guernsey (his father was now dead), a post which he held for 32 years. In 1511 he became Lieutenant of the Castle and Forest of Windsor with lodgings in the Lieutenant's Tower. In the same year he was one of the commanders of the English archers sent to help to drive the Moors out of Spain.
In 1514 he was knighted by the King, and in 1518 appointed a Knight of the Body, which meant being in constant attendance at Court, and was dubbed a Knight Commander of the Bath. In the same year, when peace was made between England and France, he signed as one of the witnesses.
In 1519, when the ‘gay, young sparks in attendance on the King were discharged at the request of the Council’, he was one of the ‘four sad and ancient knights’, who took their place.
- "He was", says Frederick Harrison, “a servant after Henry's own heart, brave, discreet, wary, magnificent, artistic, cosmopolitan, without troublesome scruples either in Church or State, a man without any feudal connections and with no dangerous ambitions".
- "He served for more than 32 years, and never lost the King's favour or resigned a single office till his last illness. He saw out all the changes in policy and religion, he did homage to five of Henry's Queens; he saw scores of his colleagues and his own son beheaded; and yet he retained to the last the confidence of the King".
- "He was one of the able men of courage, brains, and culture, on whom the Tudors relied to break the teeth of the barons, personally unscrupulous, grasping, time-serving, self-seeking, but withal of unblemished credit and staunchly faithful to his master. There is hardly a single State ceremony during Henry's reign in which he is not recorded to have had part.
He was a judge in the Star Chamber. He was in attendance on the King at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He was Treasurer of Calais, Under-Treasurer of England. He was sent to meet Anne of Cleves, when she landed, and to escort her to Rochester, where the King was waiting for her. In 1521, on the execution of the Duke of Buckingham, he was granted the Manor of Sutton on the banks of the Wey in Surrey, and here he built the beautiful house that is still standing. Henry stayed with him in 1533 "huntyng the redd dere".
His only son, Francis, was brought up at Court, and made a page when he was 15. At 19 he was one of the King's favourites, and figures frequently in the Privy Purse Expenses. These show £6 (the equivalent of £72 today) paid him for "four games which he wanne of the Kinge's Grace at Tennes at four angelles a game", £4 10s "lost to Weston at bowles", £46 "wonne off the King at Dyce", and £48 "lost by the King to Weston at Pope Julius' game".
In 1530 he married Ann Pickering, an heiress to great estates in Cumberland. In 1535 at Anne Boleyn's coronation he was made a Knight of the Bath and Gentleman of the Queen's Chamber. In May 1536 he was arrested as one of the Queen's lovers, and beheaded. In his last letter to his father he enclosed a list of his debts (chiefly gambling ones) "which I humbly desyre you to dyschardge". These amounted to £925, or about £12,000 of our money.
His execution did not affect his father's relations with the King. Sir Richard was present in the following year at the christening of the young Prince Edward and at the funeral of Queen Jane Seymour. In 1539 he was appointed Master of the new Court of Wards, which gave him control of the estates of all heirs of the King's tenants who were under age. He died on 7 August 1542, and was buried in the Parish Church of the Trinity at Guildford in the chapel he had built for the purpose.