Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Renaissance Man - before the Renaissance

Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somersetshire, England. Built by Sir Thomas Hungerford and his son Walter, first Baron Hungerford. (4); image (5)

Leo's Tree
Sir Walter Hungerford, soldier, diplomat and politician was adviser to three kings of the Middle Ages. Sheriff of two counties, ambassador to kings, Treasurer of England, renowned warrior, Admiral of the Fleet: he was a leader among men of strength and power.  His personal library was in English, Latin and French - at a time famous for illiteracy. He was a scholarly knight, and a knightly scholar; his castle hall "was hung round with suits of armour worn by its martial possessors, and with the spoils from the fields of Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, and Calais."(1)

Sir Walter was Knighted by King Henry IV, and created a Knight of the Garter by King Henry V. "As a close associate of the late King [Henry V], an active executor of his will and a guardian of his heir, Hungerford was naturally appointed by the first Parliament of Henry VI’s reign as one of the new council of Regency in England. He was sworn in on 26 Jan. 1423, and in the following year his annual stipend was fixed at £100. He was to remain a royal councillor for the next 26 years, and records show that (except when abroad) he attended frequently".(2)

By the time of his death at age seventy-one in 1449, "Hungerford had already built a new church at Farleigh Hungerford, founded chantries at Farleigh, in Salisbury cathedral, at Heytesbury and Chippenham, Wiltshire, and at St. Stephen’s, Westminster, and constructed a causeway over the Standerwick marshes near Warminster"(3).

Baron Walter Hungerford, KG, is 20th gr-grandfather to my children. 

(1) J. Mason; "Youth's Instruction" page 363
(2), (3) The History of Parliament
(4) History of Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somerset by Charles Oman (1926)
(5) image of Farleigh Hungerford Castle by Author nicksarebi
Date 27 November 2009  Wikimedia Commons.

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