Marmaduke Constable

Sir Marmaduke Constable (c.1456/7 – 20 November 1518) of Flamborough, Yorkshire, was a courtier and soldier during the reigns of Richard III, Henry VII and Henry VIII.

Sir Marmaduke Constable
Flodden Memorial - - 39370.jpg
Memorial at Flodden Field, where Marmaduke Constable commanded the left wing
Died10 November 1518
BuriedChurch of St Oswald, Flamborough, Yorkshire
Spouse(s)Margery FitzHugh
Joyce Stafford
Sir Robert Constable
Sir Marmaduke Constable
Sir William Constable
Sir John Constable
Agnes Constable
Eleanor Constable
FatherSir Robert Constable
MotherAgnes Wentworth


Constable was born around 1456/7.[a] He was the eldest son and heir of Sir Robert Constable (4 April 1423 – 23 May 1488) of Flamborough, Yorkshire, and Agnes Wentworth (d. 20 April 1496), daughter of Roger Wentworth of North Elmsall, Yorkshire, by Margery le Despencer.[b]

According to Horrox, the Constables of Flamborough were followers of the Percys. Marmaduke's father was in the service of King Edward IV in 1461, but by 1470 both Marmaduke and his father were in the service of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. Marmaduke campaigned with the Earl in Scotland in the early 1480s, and Northumberland knighted him at Berwick in August 1482. Marmaduke's epitaph states that he had been with Edward IV in France in 1475, perhaps under Northumberland.[2]

By December 1483 Constable was a knight of the body to King Richard III, and was granted forfeited lands after Buckingham's rebellion. On 28 March 1484 the King granted him the constableship of Tutbury Castle, and other offices.[3]

According to Horrox, it is unclear whether Constable fought for Richard III at Bosworth. In any case, he was not attainted, and was granted a pardon by Henry VII on 18 November 1485, was a knight of the body to the King by May 1486, and accompanied him to the wars in France in 1492.[4]

Constable succeeded his father in May 1488, and in November of that year became sheriff of Yorkshire. The first three years of Henry VII's reign were disrupted by risings in the North. Constable's brother-in-law, Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, Worcestershire, was executed at Tyburn on 8 July 1486 for his involvement with Francis Lovell's rising in Yorkshire in 1586, and the Earl of Northumberland was killed by a Yorkshire mob in a rising in 1489. After Northumberland's death, Constable became an associate of Thomas Howard, then Earl of Surrey, who nominated him in 1509 to the Order of the Garter. In 1513 Constable commanded the left wing at the Battle of Flodden under Howard, for which service he received a letter of thanks from the King dated 26 November 1514 in which he is addressed as Sir Marmaduke Constable the elder, 'called the little'.[5]

Constable died on 10 November 1518 after swallowing a frog while drinking a glass of water.[6] In the Church of St Oswald in Flamborough one may still read a rhyming epitaph describing his life and prowess.

Marriages and issueEdit

Constable married firstly Margery FitzHugh, daughter of Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron FitzHugh,[7] and sister to Alice and Elizabeth FitzHugh,[citation needed] by whom he had no issue.[8]

Constable married secondly Joyce Stafford, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford (1400 – 7 June 1450) of Grafton, Worcestershire, slain at Sevenoaks by the rebel, Jack Cade, and Eleanor Aylesbury (born c.1406), the daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury (d. 9 September 1418) and his second wife, Katherine Pabenham (c.1372 – 17 June 1436), by whom he had four sons and two daughters:[9]

Another noteworthy member of this family was the regicide, Sir William Constable (died 1655) who fought for Parliament in the English Civil War, and was a signatory to the death warrant of Charles I of England.[19]


  1. ^ He was said to be 31 at his father's death in 1488.
  2. ^ He had five brothers: Robert (late 1450s – 1501),[i] a lawyer; Philip; John, who became Dean of Lincoln; Sir William; and Roger, and seven sisters, Elizabeth, who married Sir Thomas Metham; Margaret, who married Sir William Eure; Agnes, who married firstly Sir Walter Griffith, and secondly Sir Gervase Clifton; Margery, who married Sir Ralph Bigod; Anne, who married Sir William Tyrwhit of Kettleby, Lincolnshire; Agnes, who married Sir William Scargill, and Katherine, who married Ralph Ryther, esquire.[1]
  1. ^ Richardson states that Robert was knighted.


  1. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 527–8; Horrox 2004; Baker 2004.
  2. ^ Horrox 2004.
  3. ^ Horrox 2004.
  4. ^ Horrox 2004; Brodie 1887, p. 43.
  5. ^ Horrox 2004; Brodie 1887, p. 43; Richardson I 2011, p. 119.
  6. ^ "King Richard III: Battle of Bosworth descendants to meet". BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  7. ^ Brodie and Horrox state that she was the daughter of William, Lord FitzHugh.
  8. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 528.
  9. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 117–19, 528–9.
  10. ^ Newman 2004.
  11. ^ Bindoff and Horrox state that John Sothill was a knight.
  12. ^ Richardson I 2011, pp. 529–30; Horrox 2004; Bindoff 1982, pp. 685, 687–8; Sullivan 2004.
  13. ^ Brodie 1887, p. 43.
  14. ^ Jane's twin sister, Elizabeth, married Sir William Drury.
  15. ^ Raine & Clay 1869, p. 169; Clay 1908, p. 64.
  16. ^ Brodie 1887, p. 43; Bindoff 1982, p. 684.
  17. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 528.
  18. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 185.
  19. ^ Chisholm 1911.



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