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Sir Robert Drury, (died 2 March 1536), knight, (knighted by Henry VII of England after the battle of Blackheath, 17 June 1497) and Lord of the Manor of Hawstead, Suffolk, was Knight of the Body to Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII, Knight of the Shire for Suffolk, Speaker of the House of Commons [elected 4 October 1495], and Privy Councillor. He was also a barrister-at-law. His London townhouse was in Drury Lane.

Robert Drury was son of Roger Drury of Hawstead, Suffolk, and was probably educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge.[1] With Sir Robert Drury began for this family a long connection with the courts of the Tudor sovereigns, and a succession of capable and eminent men whose careers are part of the history of this country throughout the 16th century. His first wife was Anne (d. before March 1558), daughter of Sir William Calthorpe, K.B., of Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, a descendant of King Edward I of England, and his wife Eleanor of Castile.

He was named in many commissions in the county of Suffolk from 1486 onwards. Sir Robert procured from Pope Alexander VI a licence for the chapel in his house at Hawstead, dated 8 July 1501 in the tenth year of that pontificate. The original is now in the museum at Bury. Another early reference to him is an indenture 15 December 1490 by which Robert Geddying, son and heir of John Geddyng, agreed with Robert Drury, esquire, for the erection of houses at Lackford, county Suffolk, Roger and William Drury being co-feoffees.

Sir Robert Drury was knighted by King Henry VII on 17 June 1497, after the battle of Blackheath, and was present at the funeral of the young Prince Henry in 1511, where, amongst the list of mourners, he is included as one of the Knights to bear the canopy. He was an executor of the will of John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, who died in 1513. On the fly-leaf thereof are signatures of "Robertus Drury, miles" and "Willelmus Drury, miles."

Between June 1510 and February 1513 inclusive he was engaged with various colleagues in the attempt "to pacify the Scottish border by peaceful methods and to obtain redress for wrongs committed."

Two splendid books once owned by Sir Robert Drury have survived. One, a fine Latin MS of the Vulgate, written by an English scribe early in the 13th century, is now in the library of Christ's College, Cambridge. Some blank leaves at the end have been used to record the marriages and progeny of the children of Sir Robert Drury. The first group of entries was made at the end of 1527; subsequent entries carry on the records of the growth of the family until 1566. The other book is the finest and most famous of all Chaucer MS, the Ellesmere manuscript of The Canterbury Tales now in the Huntingdon Library. At the top of a preliminary fly-leaf is written "Robertus Drury, miles", and below a list of his children: "William Drury, miles, Robertus Drury, miles, Domina [Anne] Jarmin, Domina [Bridget] Jarningham, and Domina [Ursula] Allington."

Of his daughters by Anne Calthorpe, Ursula married Sir Giles Alington, Knt., of Horseheath, Cambridgeshire. Sir Robert Drury's Will is very extensive and detailed, and mentions "Robert Alyngton my daughter Ursula's son" as being under age at the time of writing. (Drury's sons William and Robert are also mentioned). Another daughter, Anne, married [1] George Waldegrave (ca. 1483 – 8 July 1528) of Smallbridge, Suffolk, from whom descend the Earls Waldegrave, as well as a branch of the Higham of Higham Green and Denham family. She married [2] Sir Thomas Jermyn, Knt.,(ca. 1500 – 1552) of Rushbrooke, Suffolk, from whom descend that family (includes the Jacobite peer) as well as the Crane family of Chilton, later baronets.

Sir Robert Drury's magnificent tomb can be found in the main processional aisle in St.Mary's Church, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Sir Robert's son (mentioned in his Will), Sir William Drury, Knt., of Hawstead, M.P.,P.C.,(c1500-1558), married Elizabeth Sothill (1505-1575) a granddaughter of another Speaker of the House of Commons, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Sir Richard Empson, Knt.,(d.17 August 1510).

References

  1. ^ Robert Drury in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  • Burke, Messrs John and John Bernard, The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, with their descendants, Sovereigns and Subjects, London, 1851, vol.2, pedigree CXVII.
  • Dictionary of National Biography, extensive entry for 'Sir Robert Drury'. Oxford University Press.
  • Shaw, William A., Litt.D., The Knights of England, London, 1906.
  • Carr-Calthrop, Colonel Christopher William, C.B.E., M.D., &c.,Notes on the Families of Calthorpe & Calthrop, 3rd edition, London, 1933, p.43.
  • Campling, Arthur, F.S.A., The History of the family of Drury, London, 1937.
  • Bald, R.C.,Donne and the Drurys, Cambridge University Press, 1959, pps:10-11.
  • Richardson, Douglas,Plantagenet Ancestry, Baltimore, Md., 2004, p.276.
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Richard Empson
Speaker of the House of Commons
1495
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Englefield
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