WESTON, Robert (by 1522-73), of Lichfield, Staffs.; later of Dublin, Ireland.
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Family and Education
b. by 1522, 3rd s. of John Weston of Weeford, Staffs. by Cecily, da. of Ralph Neville and sis. of Ralph, 4th Earl of Westmorland; bro. of James. educ. All Souls, Oxf., fellow 1536, law dean 1538, BCL 1538, DCL 1556; Coll. Advocates 1556. m. Alice, da. of Richard Jenyns or Jennings of Great Barr, Staffs, 1s. 3da.1
Principal, Broadgates Hall, Oxf. 1546-9; vicar-gen. to Richard Sampson, bp. of Lichfield, by 1550; chancellor to Miles Coverdale, bp. of Exeter, 1551-3, to Thomas Bentham, bp. of Lichfield, by 1564; dean of arches 1559-67; commr. to enforce Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy in Ireland 1562, 1568, England 1572; master in Chancery by Feb. 1563; ld. chancellor and ld. justice [I] 1567; dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin 1567, Wells 1570.2
Weston began as an ‘associate’ of Dr. John Story at Oxford, moved to Exeter in the service of a protestant bishop, was active as a civilian during Mary’s reign, and died in office under Elizabeth. It was presumably the bishop of Lichfield who arranged for Weston to serve in the first Parliament of the reign. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton put his name forward as a possible master of requests, though as usual his recommendation was ignored, and when in February 1560 the Pope was thought to be about to summon a general Council, Throckmorton again suggested Weston, one of the ‘canonists and civilians’ likely to do credit to the English cause. In May 1561 he wrote again, saying that the French wanted Latin and French translations of the Church of England service book, and suggesting that ‘Dr. Weston of the Chancery’ should be approached as one of two ‘aptest learned men to arm themselves to defend modestly and learnedly their doctrine’. In April 1566 Cecil wrote to the lord deputy of Ireland Sir Henry Sidney telling him of Weston’s forthcoming appointment as chancellor, but the office was not granted until 10 June 1567. The next day he was granted the deanery of St. Patrick’s in commendam. In August he wrote to the Queen from Ireland asking her to pardon 100 marks she had lent him, pleading the smallness of his fee and the impoverishment of his deanery. That October he announced he was unsuited to be a lord justice, asked for a younger assistant to be sent over, and was given an additional £100 p.a. But he really wanted to be recalled, pleading ‘the gout, the stone and the colic’. In 1570 he was given another deanery, but he was still pleading poverty in 1571, and his complaints of financial difficulties lasted until his death in office in May 1573, ending his life ‘as never any more godly’. The lord deputy said he could not ‘be corrupted with gifts’; Sir John Perrot told the Privy Council that ‘the very Irishry lament the loss of the late lord chancellor’; the bishop of Meath, Weston’s son-in-law, said that his arrival in Ireland was one of the greatest blessings that God had ever bestowed on the ‘wretched country’; and John Hooker declared that ‘the whole realm found themselves most happy and blessed to have him serve among them’. He was buried in St. Patrick’s, where his grand-daughter’s husband, the Earl of Cork, later erected a monument to him. A month after his death the lord deputy and Council in Ireland wrote to the Queen and Privy Council on behalf of his widow, who had ‘borne herself as commendably as beseemed the wife of so good a man’. Weston’s will appointed her sole executrix and residuary legatee of his modest estate. There was little land to descend to his son and heir, John.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Erdeswick’s Surv. Staffs. 164-5; PCC 25 Peter; N. and Q. iv(4), p. 367.
- 2. J. Vowell alias Hooker, Bps. of Exeter, 43; Cam. Misc. ix(3), pp. 46-7; CSP For. 1558-9, p. 287; 1561-2, p. 127; CSP Ire. 1509-73, p. 294, 335-6; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 525; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 621-2; 1566-9, pp. 173, 328; 1569-72, p. 440.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xxi(1), p. 473; Rymer, Foedera, xv. 547; CPR, 1558-60, p. 28; 1560-3, p. 279; 1566-9, pp. 27, 88; CSP For. 1559-60, p. 353; 1561-2, p. 127; EHR, lxv. 96; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 525; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 294, 335-6, 347, 367, 384, 420, 434, 447, 455, 464, 504, 510-11; SP63/30/78, 32/29; E. P. Shirley, Letters and Pprs. Church of Ireland, 200-300; R. Holinshed, Chronicles, ed. Hooker, vi. 336; M. Mason, St. Patrick’s, 166-7, app. liv; PCC 25 Peter.