Anthony Kingston

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Sir Anthony Kingston
Spouse(s) Dorothy Harpur
Mary Gainsford
Anthony Kingston (illegitimate)
Edmund Kingston (illegitimate)
Father Sir William Kingston
Born c.1508
Died 14 April 1556

Sir Anthony Kingston (ca. 1508 – 14 April 1556) was an English royal official, holder of various positions under several Tudor monarchs.


Anthony Kingston was the son of Sir William Kingston of Blackfriars, London by one of Sir William's first two wives, Anne (née Berkeley), the widow of Sir John Guise (d. 30 September 1501), and Elizabeth, whose surname is unknown. He had a sister, Bridget, who married Sir George Baynham (d. 6 May 1546) of Clearwell, Gloucestershire, son and heir of Sir Christopher Baynham (d. 6 October 1557).

Sir William Kingston married thirdly, Mary (née Scrope), widow of Edward Jerningham (d. 6 January 1515), and daughter of Richard Scrope (d.1485), by whom he had no issue.[1] By his father's third marriage Anthony Kingston had four step brothers and a step sister, Sir Henry Jerningham (d. 6 September 1572), Ferdinand Jerningham, Edmund Jerningham (d. 9 February 1546), Edward Jerningham and Elizabeth Jerningham.


Kingston served at the head of a thousand Gloucestershire men under the Duke of Norfolk in the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536–7, and fought in the defeat (13 October 1536) of the rebels at Louth. He was knighted by Henry VIII, 18 October 1537. He held offices about the court, such as that of serjeant of the king's hawks, and received land belonging to the suppressed monasteries in Gloucestershire, including a regrant of the site of Flaxley Abbey. He was appointed High Sheriff of Gloucestershire for 1533-34 and 1550-51.[2]

After the death of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham in 1535, Kingston married his widow, Mary, daughter of Sir John Gainsford, and left Gloucestershire to reside at Chudleigh, Devon, which, with Honiton, belonged to his wife's jointure.[2]

In 1546, as the Constable of the Tower of London, he was charged with torturing Anne Askew, accused of heresy. In 1549 Kingston was made Provost Marshal by King Edward VI and suppressed the Prayer Book Rebellion in 1549 with great cruelty. After the Cornish uprising, in which Cornish people were slaughtered when English and mercenary forces moved into Cornwall, John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford left the task of settling scores with the Cornish to Kingston, who was responsible for a series of murders and judicial hangings of well-known figures. They included: Nicholas Boyer, the mayor of Bodmin and John Payne, portreeve of St Ives; Mayor Mayow of Gluvian in the parish of St Columb was hanged outside a tavern in St Columb. A number of priests were hanged, including Richard Bennett, vicar of St Veep and St Neot, Simon Morton, vicar of Poundstock, and the curate of Pillaton.[3] John Hooker contributed an account of the rebellion to the 2nd edition of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles in which he gives the name of the eight clergy who were executed.[4] Others such as Robert Voyse, vicar of St Cleer, and the Vicar of St Keverne were attainted. After the events Cornish historian Richard Carew observed that in Cornwall Anthony Kingston "hath left his name more memorable than commendable".[5]

Kingston was a member of Edward VI's council for the marches of Wales. When Lady Jane Grey succeeded Edward, she sent orders to Kingston and Sir John St. Loe to levy forces and march towards Buckinghamshire (16 July 1553), but her reign was over before they had time to obey.[2]

In 1552 Kingston was cited before John Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, on a charge of adultery. At first Kingston refused to appear, and when at length he came, he beat and abused the bishop, who sternly rebuked him, fined him £500, and forced him to do penance. He afterwards owned that Hooper had converted him from his evil life, and took a touching farewell of the bishop (8 February 1555) before the latter's martyrdom at the stake.[2]

Kingston sat in the House of Commons for Gloucestershire in the parliaments of 1539, ?1542, 1545, 1547, 1552–3, and 1555. He was knight marshal in the parliament of 1555 and a supporter in it of the Protestant religion. It is said that he took the keys of the house away from the sergeant, with, it seems, the approval of the majority. But on 10 December, the day after parliament was dissolved, he was sent to the Tower of London on a charge of conspiring to put Elizabeth on the throne. He remained there till the 23rd, when he submitted, asked pardon, and was discharged.

In the next year, 1556, however, Kingston was concerned in a plot to rob the exchequer in order to provide funds for the conspiracy devised by Sir Henry Dudley with the object of making Elizabeth queen and marrying her to Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire. Six confederates were executed, but Kingston died, possibly by his own hand, on 14 April 1556 at Cirencester, or on his way from Devon to London to stand trial.[2]

Marriages and issue[edit]

Kingston married firstly, before October 1524, Dorothy Harpur, the daughter of Robert Harpur, and secondly, by 1537, Mary Gainsford, widow of Sir William Courtenay (d.1535) of Powderham, and daughter of Sir John Gainsford of Crowhurst, Surrey. He had no issue by either marriage, but by a mistress had two illegitimate sons, Anthony and Edmund,[6] on whom by a deed of feoffment he settled part of his estates in 1547.[2]


  1. ^ Lehmberg 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bradley 1892.
  3. ^ Rowse, A. L. (1941) Tudor Cornwall. London: Jonathan Cape; pp. 282-86
  4. ^ Holinshed, Raphael (1586) The ... chronicles, comprising the description and historie of England, the description and historie of Ireland, the description and historie of Scotland; first collected and published by Raphaell Holinshed, William Harrison, and others. Now newlie augmented and continued (with manifold matters of singular note and worthie memorie) to the yeare 1586 by John Hooker, alias Vowell Gent, and others. 3 vols. London: John Harrison, 1586-87; p. 1002
  5. ^ Philip Payton - (1996) "Cornwall", Fowey: Alexander Associates
  6. ^ Loades 2004.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBradley, Emily Tennyson (1892). "Kingston, Anthony". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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