Robert Rochester

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Arms of Sir Robert Rochester, KG - though Sir Robert died before he could be installed as a knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter

Sir Robert Rochester KG (ca. 1494 – 28 November 1557) was an English Catholic and Comptroller of the Household and a member of the Privy Council in the reign of Mary I.


Rochester's family were 'minor Essex gentry' associated with the Earls of Oxford.[1] According to Ross, Robert Rochester, esquire, was Comptroller of the Household to John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, at a fee of £10 per year, from about 1495 until his death in 1508.[2]

Robert Rochester was born at Terling, Essex, the third son of John Rochester and Grisold Writtle, daughter of Walter Writtle of Bobbingworth. Grisold Writtle's sister, Eleanor, married James Walsingham, and was the mother of Edmund Walsingham, Lieutenant of the Tower of London.[3][4]

Rochester's younger brother, Blessed John Rochester,[3] was a Carthusian priest and martyr who was executed in York in May 1537, and beatified in 1888.


According to Hughes, by 1542 Rochester had been appointed receiver to John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and was also appointed bailiff of the Earl's manor of Lavenham in Suffolk.[1] By 1551 Rochester had been appointed Comptroller of the Household to Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's elder daughter by Catherine of Aragon. In that year, the Privy Council ordered Rochester to stop any priest from saying mass in the Princess's household; Rochester refused, and was imprisoned in the Tower, and replaced as Comptroller by Sir Anthony Wingfield. The next year, he was released to retire to the county because of his health. He was soon allowed to resume his post as Comptroller.

When the Princess assumed the throne as Mary I, she rewarded Rochester for his faithful service, making him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and appointing him to the inner circle of the Privy Council. He served as a Member of Parliament for Essex from 1553 to 1555.

Rochester never married. He died 28 November 1557. William Rochester, Sir Robert's older brother received a third of Robert's lands.[1]Robert was buried 4 December at the Charterhouse at Sheen, the house reconstituted by the remnant of the English Carthusians under Dom Maurice Chauncy. He was succeeded in his post as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster by his nephew, Sir Edward Waldegrave (died 1 September 1561), son of John Waldegrave (died 1543) and Rochester's sister Lora (died c. 1545).[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c Hughes 2004.
  2. ^ Ross 2011, pp. 109, 183, 234.
  3. ^ a b Metcalfe 1879, p. 622.
  4. ^ Robison 2004.
  5. ^ Pollard 1897, p. 73.
  6. ^ Weikel 2004.


External links[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Bl. John Rochester". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.