William Kingston

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Sir William Kingston as played by George Irving

born c.1476 - died 14th September, 1540

Character's backstory: He progressed well in the Household of King Henry VIII , attended the principal state occasions, and served with increasing responsibility in many of the campaigns after 1512. He fought at Flodden, perhaps under Thomas Berkeley, and was engaged in the most dangerous sector of the border fighting with the 2nd Lord Dacre during 1523. In 1521, Kingston served on the grand jury which indicted Edward Stafford Duke of Buckingham of treason, and he was to be a principal beneficiary by the duke's fall. In the following year, the King bestowed upon him the offices of steward and bailiff of Bedminster, Somerset, and all the duke's possessions. As captain of the guard, Kingston was sent to apprehend Cardinal Wolsey in November 1529 and as Constable of the Tower, he became custodian of the series of state prisoners held there. He was one of the signatories to the petition to the Pope for the King's divorce, yet in 1535 Ambassador Chapuys was to observe to the Emperor that if war came and Queen Katherine of Aragon
and Princess Mary Tudor were put in the Tower, Kingston would be ‘a good servant to your majesty and the ladies’.
He was Constable of the Tower of London during the time Anne Boleyn & the five men accused with her were arrested & executed. The information he passed on to the King helped seal their fate.
By the autumn of 1536, Kingston had become one of the King's inner council, and his name constantly appears in instructions and correspondence during the northern rebellion. He played an active part by leading in person, with his own band of 500 men, a large force of Gloucestershire landowners. After presumably sitting in the Parliament of 1536, to which the King asked that the previous Members should be re-elected, Kingston appears to have been one of the more prominent Members, if not a leader, of the Commons in its successor of 1539. On nine occasions during the first two sessions, he bore bills from the Lower to the Upper House. Kingston attended his last Privy Council meeting on 1 Sept 1540, died at Painswick 13 days later and was succeeded by his son, Anthony.


Position: a Knight of the Garter

Personality type:

Signature look:

Endearing trait(s):

Annoying trait(s):

See also : William Kingston's dispatches to Cromwell from the Tower 1536

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Family members:

1st. Elizabeth (?)
2nd. Mary Scrope

Children : Bridget & Anthony




  • "This morning she sent for me, that I might be with her at such time as she received the good Lord, to the intent I should hear her speak as touching her innocency alway to be clear. And in the writing of this she sent for me, and at my coming she said, "Mr. Kingston, I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry therefore, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain." I told her it should be no pain, it was so little. And then she said, "I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck", and then put her hands about it, laughing heartily. I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death. Sir, her almoner is continually with her, and had been since two o'clock after midnight." - Letter to Thomas Cromwell.

  • 'Master Kingston, shall I go in to a dungeon?'
    'No, Madam you shall go into your lodging that you lay in at your coronation.' 'It is too good for me. Jesu, have mercy on me!' and she kneeled down weeping a great pace, and in the same sorrow fell into a great laughing, and she hath done so many times since. (Kingston reported)



George Irving - The Tudors Wiki
George Irving as William Kingston, welcoming Queen Anne to the Tower of London
William Kingston - The Tudors Wiki William Kingston - The Tudors Wiki