The Tudor Society

29 April – William Dacre, 3rd Baron Gilsland, a lucky man

A photo of the exterior of Carlisle Cathedral, resting place of William Dacre

Carlisle Cathedral, resting place of William Dacre

On this day in Tudor history, 29th April 1500, William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre of Gilsland and 7th Baron Greystoke was born.

Here are some facts about this Tudor baron:

  • Dacre was the eldest son of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, and his wife, Elizabeth Greystoke, Baroness Greystoke.
  • Dacre became 7th Baron Greystoke on the death of his mother in 1516 and 3rd Baron Dacre of Gilsland on the death of his father in 1525.
  • In around 1520, he married Elizabeth Talbot, daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury. They had four sons: Thomas, 4th Baron Dacre, Edward, Francis, and Leonard, and two daughters: Anne and Magdalen.

  • Dacre served Henry VIII as Captain of Norham Castle, Steward of Penrith, and Warden of the West Marches, then Edward VI as Governor of Carlisle, and Mary I as Warden of the Middle Marches.
  • Dacre constantly had arguments with the Sir William Musgrave and the Earl of Cumberland in the North.
  • Dacre is best-known for being the only person to be acquitted of treason during Henry VIII’s reign. He’d been arrested for treason for having secret meetings and making private treaties with Scotland before peace was made between England and Scotland in May 1534. At his trial in Westminster Hall, Dacre defended himself for 7 hours and when the verdict was “not guilty”, everyone cheered. Unfortunately, his pardon cost him heavily in fines and loss of offices, letters patent and leases. He was able, however, to recover most of his property.
  • In 1536, the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels approached him and asked him to be their leader, but Dacre stayed loyal to the Crown. His reward was an appointment to the king's council in the north.
  • Under Edward VI, Dacre served in Lord Protector Somerset's 1547 Scottish expedition, but in 1551 he was imprisoned for a time after a feud with Sir William Musgrave, the man who'd given evidence against him in 1534.
  • In the 1553 succession crisis, Dacre was loyal to Mary I.
  • Dacre died a natural death on 18th November 1563 after being taken ill a few days earlier. He was buried in Carlisle Cathedral.

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29 April – William Dacre, 3rd Baron Gilsland, a lucky man