Simon de Burley

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Arms of Sir John Burley, KG

Sir Simon de Burley, KG (ca. 1336 – 1388) was holder of the offices of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle between 1384-88, and was a Knight of the Garter.


Sir Simon Burley was one of the most influential men in the court of King Richard II of England. Although of humble origin, he was brought up with Edward, the Black Prince; they became intimate friends, and Burley was raised to become a tutor to the prince's son, later Richard II. He first served in the fleet which destroyed the Spanish corsairs in 1350. In 1355, he took part in Edward‘s abortive expedition from Calais, and in 1364 he appears in attendance on the Black Prince in Aquitaine. By him he was sent on the embassy to Peter of Castile in 1366, and shared in his restoration and the victory of Najara in 1367. On the war being renewed in 1369, he was attacked near Lusignan, when with a detached force, and made prisoner by the French. On the release of the Isabella of Valois, Duchess of Bourbon he was exchanged (1370) and rejoined the Black Prince at Limoges.[1]

In 1377, Richard II confirmed an annual grant of £100 to Burley granted to him by first by Sir John Chandos and then by Edward III along with the custody of Carmarthen castle, in terms referring to him as "the King's father's Knight." In the same year, Burley was given the office of Master of the Falcon and Keeper of the Mews near Charring, and was appointed constable of Windsor Castle for life. The following year, the King further granted Burley the manor of Chiltenham in Gloucester and the 'fee simple' of the castle and lordship of Llanstephan.

In 1382, Richard granted him the office of under-chamberlain of the King's household for life, and appointed him surveyor of the lands in South Wales in the King's hands during the minority of the heir of Edmund Mortimer. In 1384, the King granted him for life the constableship of Dover Castle and the wardenship of the Cinque Ports,[1] and three hundred pounds yearly (for the maintenance of himself, chaplains, etc.) with provision that he exercise the office himself. His long connection with the family of Richard II is indicated by his being named by Joan of Kent, King Richard's mother, as one of the executors of her will in 1385.

In 1388 Burley, along with other favourites of the King, was impeached for treason by the commons and executed in the Merciless Parliament of 1388.[1]


Simon Burley had no children (that survived). His father was a John Burley of Birley, Hereford, and Simon was the younger brother of another Sir John Burley who, along with his son Richard had also served under the Black Prince and were also both Knights of the Garter.[1]



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRound, John Horace (1886). "Burley, Simon". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 7. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Preceded by
Sir Robert Assheton
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Succeeded by
The Lord Devereux