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Daubeney, Giles (DNB00)

DAUBENEY, GILES, Lord (d. 1508), soldier and statesman, was descended from the ancient Norman family of de Albini, whose ancestor Robert de Todeni came to England with the Conqueror and built Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire on the confines of Lincolnshire. The head of the house in the days of Edward I and his son are said to have been summoned to parliament as barons. But they were only summoned to councils, and there is no appearance that the title was held by any member of the family before Giles was created a baron by Henry VII. He was the eldest son of William Daubeney, who had livery of his lands in the twenty-fourth year of Henry VI, by his wife Alice, daughter of Jenkin Stourton. He was probably born at South Petherton in Somersetshire, where his father seems to have been continually resident. In 1475 he went over to France with Edward IV, from whom he obtained a license before going to make a trust-deed of his lands in the counties of Somerset and Dorset (Patent, 15 Edw. IV, pt. 2, m. 19). He was then designated esquire, and he went in command of four men-at-arms and fifty archers, whose pay for a quarter of a year, with his own included, amounted to 141l. 1s. Soon after he became one of the esquires for the king's body, and two years later, in the seventeenth of Edward IV, he had a grant for life of the custody of the king's park at Petherton, near Bridgewater. M.P. for Somerset in 1477–8, he was knighted before the end of King Edward's reign; so is he designated in a commission for taxing aliens in Somersetshire in the brief reign of Edward V (Patent, 27 April, Edw. V, No 2 in dorso; see Calendar in Appendix to Ninth Report of Dep.-Keeper of Pub. Records). He was also present at the coronation of Richard III on 6 July 1483 (Excerpta Historica, 384), and his name appears in the commissions of the peace for Somerset as late as 26 Aug. in that year (Patent, 1 Rich. III, pt. 1, m. 7, in dorso; see Calendar, as above). But having been from the first a well-wisher of the Earl of Richmond, he was consulted before any one else by Reginald, afterwards Sir Reginald, Bray [q. v.] as to the projected invasion in his favour, planned in concert with the Duke of Buckingham. On the failure of Buckingham's rebellion he, like many others, fled to Richmond in Britanny, and he was consequently attainted in Richard's parliament (Parl. Rolls, vi. 246). The custody of Petherton Park was granted to Lord Fitzhugh (Patent, 1 Rich. III, pt. 3, No. 114), and Daubeney's lands in Somersetshire, Lincolnshire, and Cornwall were confiscated (Patents, 1 Rich. III, pt. 3, No. 200; 2 Rich. III, pt. 1, No. 101, and pt. 3, No. 37).

His fortunes were retrieved when Henry VII became king. His attainder was reversed in Henry's first parliament, and he became a privy councillor. On 2 Nov. he was appointed master of the mint, an office in which Bartholomew Reed of London, goldsmith, as the practical ‘worker of monies,’ was associated with him in survivorship. The mastership of the king's harthounds had been granted to him on 12 Oct. before. He had also the offices of constable of Winchester Castle, constable of Bristol Castle, steward of the lands of the duchy of Lancaster in Hampshire and Dorsetshire, steward of the lands of the earldom of Salisbury in Somersetshire, and various minor appointments given him about the same time (Rolls of Parl. vi. 354). On 7 March 1486 he was appointed lieutenant of Calais for a term of seven years in reward for his services to the king in exile and the dangers he had encountered on his behalf; and on the 12th of the same month he was created Baron Daubeney with succession in tail male. On 15 Dec. following he was named at the head of a great embassy to treat for a league with Maximilian, king of the Romans; and some of his correspondence with Maximilian's ambassadors in March following has been preserved. About this time, or at least as it is supposed, before 27 May 1487, he was made a knight of the Garter (Beltz, Memorials of the Garter, clxvii). On 25 Nov. 1487 he was present at the coronation of Elizabeth of York at Westminster—an event which had been delayed for two years, and in anticipation of which he had received on 17 Dec. 1485 a commission to buy eight coursers in Flanders to draw the ‘chares’ at the pageant. On 20 Dec. 1487 he was appointed one of the chamberlains of the receipt of the exchequer. He appears about this time to have gone on an embassy to France, from which having returned, he was with the king at Greenwich on Twelfth night, 1488. He was also with the king at Windsor on St. George's day (23 April) following, and at the feast on the succeeding Sunday. On 7 July of the same year he and Fox, bishop of Exeter, as commissioners for Henry VII, arranged with the Spanish ambassadors the first treaty for the marriage of Prince Arthur with Catherine of Arragon. On 23 Dec. he had a commission to take musters in Somersetshire and Dorsetshire for the relief of Britanny; but this did not prevent him spending Christmas with the king at London. Next year he crossed to Calais, raised the siege of Dixmude and took Ostend from the French. In 1490 he was sent to the Duchess Anne in Britanny to arrange the terms of a treaty against France, and later in the year he was appointed commander of a body of troops sent to her assistance (Rymer, xii. 451, 455). In June 1492, Britanny having now lost her independence, he was again sent over to France, but this time as ambassador, with Fox, then bishop of Bath and Wells, and four others to negotiate a treaty of peace with Charles VIII (ib. 481). No settlement, however, was arrived at, and the king four months later invaded France and besieged Boulogne. The French then at once agreed to treat, and Daubeney was commissioned to arrange a treaty with the Sieur des Querdes, which was concluded at Etaples on 3 Nov. Daubeney immediately after went on to Amboise, where, the French king having meanwhile ratified the treaty himself, he arranged with him for its future ratification by the three estates of either kingdom (ib. 490, 498, 506, 511).

On 24 Nov. 1493 the king granted to him and to Sir Reginald Bray jointly the office of chief justice of all the royal forests on this side Trent (Patent, 9 Hen. VII, m. 8). In November 1494 he was present at the creation of Prince Henry as duke of York. In 1495, after the execution of Sir William Stanley, he was made lord chamberlain. On the meeting of parliament in October the same year he was elected one of the triers of petitions, as he also was in the parliaments of 1497 and 1504. In 1496 he, as the king's lieutenant at Calais, with Sir Richard Nanfan his deputy there, and five others of the officers of that town, were commissioned to receive for the king payment of the twenty-five thousand francs due half-yearly from the French king by the treaty of Etaples (Rymer, xii. 623). In 1497 the king had prepared an army to invade Scotland to punish James IV for his support of Perkin Warbeck, and had given the command to Daubeney; but scarcely had he begun his march when he was recalled in order to put down the rebellion of the Cornishmen, who came to Blackheath unmolested. It was said that on this occasion Daubeney himself was taxed with remissness by the king. He set upon the rebels at Deptford Strand, and they took him prisoner, but soon after let him go and were defeated (17 June). This at once ended the Cornish revolt. In September, Perkin having landed in Cornwall, there was a new disturbance in the west, to meet which Daubeney was at once sent thither with a troop of light horse, announcing that the king himself would shortly follow. The siege of Exeter was raised on his approach, and the flight of Perkin soon ended this commotion also.

In 1500 Daubeney accompanied Henry VII to Calais, and was present at his meeting with the Archduke Philip. On his way at Canterbury he witnessed the ratification of the treaty for the marriage of Prince Arthur to Catherine of Arragon (Rymer, xii. 752, 762). In 1501 he had charge of many of the arrangements for Catherine's reception in London, and in November he was a witness to Prince Arthur's assignment of her dower. On St. Paul's day (25 Jan.) 1503 he was at Richmond at the ‘fyancells,’ or betrothal, of the Princess Margaret to James IV of Scotland. In the same year he was absent from the feast of the Garter on 7 May, which he never attended again, being excused as engaged in the king's service, though so far as the records remain he seems to have been generally present before. On 2 April 1504 he was made by letters patent constable of Bridgewater Castle, and steward of all the lands in Somersetshire and Dorsetshire which had belonged to Henry VII's deceased queen, Elizabeth of York; also constable of Berkhampstead Castle and manor and of Langley Regis in Hertfordshire, and warden of the forests of Exmoor, Rache, Mendip, and Gillingham, in Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Dorsetshire (Patent, 19 Hen. VII, pt. i. m. 23). On 16 May 1506 he and others, as tenants of the manor of Shenley, Buckinghamshire, received a pardon, which was in effect a discharge of all their obligations to the deceased Lord Grey of Wilton and his heir (Patent, 21 Hen. VII, pt. ii. m. 16). On 11 Dec. he himself received a similar pardon, or acquittance of all his responsibilities to the king incurred when he was lieutenant of Calais (Patent, 22 Hen. VII, pt. i. m. 13).

At this time he does not seem to have been a very old man, and on 11 Feb. 1508, the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's death, when the king was confined to his chamber by the gout, Daubeney was well enough to make his offering for him at Westminster. On Thursday 18 May, after riding with the king from Eltham to Greenwich, he was taken suddenly ill. He was ferried down the river to his house in London. On Saturday the 20th he received the sacrament. He died about ten o'clock in the evening of the 21st, and his obit, according to old ecclesiastical custom, was kept on the 22nd. On the afternoon of the 26th his body was conveyed to Westminster by the river, and almost all the nobility of the kingdom witnessed his funeral rites. He had in his will appointed Westminster Abbey as his place of sepulture, and there his body rests now under a splendid monument with alabaster effigies of himself and his wife by his side. He had made his testament on 19 May, and appointed that his feoffees should stand seised of the manors of Winterslow in Wiltshire and of Crichel Gouis in Dorsetshire, of the yearly value of 26l. 13s. 4d., to maintain perpetually three priests, at ten marks a year each, to sing masses for his soul and the souls of his father and mother, two of them in the church where he should be buried, and the third in the parish church of South Petherton, where several of his ancestors were interred. A Latin epitaph was written for him by the poet laureate, Bernard André [q. v.], and was probably inscribed upon his tomb at Westminster, but has long since been defaced. Of the tomb as seen at this day (except that the iron railing adorned with the Daubeney badge, ‘two dragons' wings conjoined by a knot, or,’ which was about it only sixty-three years ago, has since disappeared) a full description will be found in Neale's ‘History of Westminster Abbey,’ ii. 180. The features of Daubeney, as represented in his effigy, agree well with the character given of him by Bernard André for gentleness and humanity. The long straight nose in a line with the receding forehead just relieves the general expression from an appearance of weakness which the forehead alone might otherwise convey. That he was, as Bernard André calls him, ‘merâ simplicitate bonus,’ an honest and simple-minded man, there seems no reason to doubt. In his will he desired to be buried near that splendid chapel which his master, Henry VII (‘whose true servant,’ he says, ‘I have been these twenty-six years and above’), had prepared for his own resting-place. This shows that he had been devoted to Henry's service, not only for some years before he was king, but for a year at least before Richard III's usurpation.

His will also shows that he had been in the king's debt to the extent of 2,000l., of which he had cleared off 200l., leaving the remainder a charge upon his lands in Dorsetshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, and Lincolnshire. He also leaves to his wife the remainder of a lease, which he had from the Knights of St. John, of the manor of Hampton Court. His wife, whose christian name was Elizabeth, was a daughter of Sir John Arundel of Lanhern in Cornwall. She survived him some years, and obtained from Henry VIII the wardship of his son and heir, Henry, the second lord Daubeney, afterwards created Earl of Bridgewater (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. i. No. 1304). Their only other child was a daughter, Cecily, who became the wife of John Bourchier, lord Fitzwarine, afterwards Earl of Bath.

The year of Daubeney's death has hitherto been given as 1507 on the evidence of an inscription on his tomb which is now illegible, but is preserved in Camden's ‘Westminster Abbey.’ The event, however, is distinctly recorded by Bernard André among the occurrences of 1508, and the date of the will, 19 May 23 Hen. VII, is equally unmistakable. The inscription preserved by Camden must have been very inaccurately transcribed, for not only does it make Daubeney die a year too early, but it puts the death of his wife, who survived him, earlier still, viz. 1500. She was certainly alive at least as late as 1513 (ib. ii. 1486).

[Burke's Extinct and Dormant Peerage; Collinson's Somerset, iii. 109; Polydore Vergil; Hall's Chronicle; Gairdner's Memorials of Henry VII; Gairdner's Letters, &c. of Richard III and Henry VII; Leland's Collectanea, iv. 230, 236, 238, 240, 245, 247, 259, 260; Spanish Calendar, vol. i.; Venetian Calendar, vol. i.; Campbell's Materials for the Reign of Henry VII; Halliwell's Letters, i. 179; Anstis's History of the Garter; Will (Bennett, 16) in Somerset House.]

J. G.