Portal:Gilbert and Sullivan/Selected biography/18

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Richard Cholmondeley

Sir Richard Cholmondeley (1472 – 1521) was an English farmer and soldier, who served as Lieutenant of the Tower of London from 1513 to 1520 during the reign of Henry VIII. Cholmondeley is remembered because of his tomb at the Tower of London and because he is fictionalized as a character in Gilbert and Sullivan's darkly comic opera, The Yeomen of the Guard. Knighted in 1497 for valor in battle against the Scots, Cholmondeley continued to serve as a soldier until 1513, becoming entrusted with many positions of responsibility for security of castles and fortifications in England. He was successful as a farmer and a shrewd investor in land, much increasing his family wealth. As Lieutenant of the Tower of London, he drew criticism for his reaction to the Evil May Day riots of 1517, when he ordered the firing of some of the Tower's artillery at the city during rioting. He was also responsible for the rebuilding of the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower. His illegitimate son, Roger Cholmeley, became Chief Justice of the King's Bench.