Friday, December 21, 2018

Compton Wynyates

From The Tudor Travel Guide:
We can thank Sir William Compton, Henry VIII’s childhood friend and long-time companion, for much of the house we see today. William’s father died when he was just eleven. As a young boy, his wardship was granted to King Henry VII, and the king placed him as a page to his infant, second son, Henry, who was then just two years old. William could not have foreseen how such a placement would have paved the way to glory, riches and great favour, for at the time, the little  prince was only second in line to the throne.

However, the wheels of fate turned; Prince Arthur, the Tudor heir, died at Ludlow Castle in 1502, and Prince Henry succeeded his father seven years later as King Henry VIII. Although Compton was nine years older than Henry, the two seem to have developed a close friendship, for after Henry’s succession, Compton was soon appointed Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Groom of the Stool, physically the king’s closest companion.

William also shared the king’s love of vigorous physical exercise, which no doubt bound them further in their bonhomie. On several occasions, there are accounts of the two of them  successfully challenging all-comers, ‘with spear at the tilt one day, and at tourney with the swords on another’. If the contemporary accounts of Elizabeth Amadas are to be believed, then it seems Sir William also played a key role in hosting clandestine trysts between the king and fair ladies of the court at his London home on Thames Street. So great was the king’s favour towards William that a year before his death, he was given the unusual permission to wear his hat in the king’s presence.

As a result of such favour, grants and money would soon follow, bolstering the Compton coffers. Amongst many other offices, he was made constable of both Sudeley and Warwick Castles. This meant he had use of the properties, and could make money from the estates, in return for keeping the buildings in good order for the king. Such appointments were lucrative – and much sought after. It was the making of William Compton, and as money flowed in, so Sir William (knighted on the steps of Tournai Cathedral after the glorious English victory there in 1513) turned his attention to his main country residence. (Read more.)


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