|Intro||English courtier, scholar, and patron of learning|
|Is|| Courtier |
|Type|| Academia |
|Death|| 8 November 1534 |
William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy (c.1478 – 8 November 1534), KG, of Barton Blount, Derbyshire, was an English courtier, scholar and patron of learning. He was one of the wealthiest English nobles of his time.
William Blount was born in about 1478 in Barton Blount, Derbyshire, the eldest son of John Blount, 3rd Baron Mountjoy (c. 1450 – 1485) by his wife Lora Berkeley (d.1501), daughter of Edward Berkeley (d.1506) of Beverston Castle, Gloucestershire. After her husband’s death in 1485, Lora Berkeley remarried firstly to Sir Thomas Montgomery (d.1495), and secondly to Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond (d.1515), grandfather of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, father of Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII.
Blount was a pupil of Erasmus, who called him inter nobiles doctissimus (“The most learned amongst the nobles”). His friends included John Colet, Thomas More and William Grocyn.
In 1497 he commanded part of a force sent to suppress the rebellion of Perkin Warbeck. In 1509 he was appointed Master of the Mint. In 1513 he was appointed Governor of Tournai, and his letters to Cardinal Wolsey and King Henry VIII describing his vigorous government of the town are preserved in the British Library.
In 1520 he was present with Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and in 1522 at the king’s meeting with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Having served since 1512 as Chamberlain to Queen Catherine of Aragon, it fell to him in that office to announce to her the intention of Henry VIII to divorce her. He also signed the letter to the Pope conveying the king’s threat to repudiate papal supremacy unless the divorce were granted.
Mountjoy married four times:
- Firstly, in about Easter 1497, to Elizabeth Say (d. before 1506), a daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Say of Essenden, Hertfordshire, by whom he had a daughter:
- Gertrude Blount, later a lady in waiting to Queen Mary I (1553–1558), who on 25 October 1519 married Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter (c. 1498 – 1538), KG, PC, the eldest son of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon by his wife Catherine of York, daughter of King Edward IV.
- Secondly, before the end of July 1509, Mountjoy married Inez de Venegas, one of the Spanish attendants of Catherine of Aragon while she was Princess of Wales.
- Thirdly, before February 1515, Mountjoy married Alice Keble (d. 8 June 1521), daughter of Henry Keble, Lord Mayor of London in 1510 and widow of Sir William Browne (d.1514), Lord Mayor of London in 1513. She died in 1521 and was buried at the Greyfriars, London. By Alice he had children as follows:
- Charles Blount, 5th Baron Mountjoy, eldest son and heir, like his father also a patron of learning.
- Catherine Blount (c.1518 – 25 February 1559), who married firstly Sir John Champernowne of Modbury, Devon, and secondly Sir Maurice Berkeley (d.1581) of Bruton, Somerset.
- Fourthly, before 29 July 1523, Mountjoy married Dorothy Grey (daughter of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset by his wife Cecily Bonville (the greatest heiress of her age)) and widow of Robert Willoughby, 2nd Baron Willoughby de Broke. Dorothy Grey was the sister of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk (1517–1554), father of Lady Jane Grey (1536/1537–1554) Queen of Nine Days. By Dorothy he had the following children, all first cousins to Lady Jane Grey:
- John Blount
- Mary Blount, who married (as his first wife) Robert Denys (d.1592) of Holcombe Burnell in Devon.
- Dorothy Blount, who married John Blewett (d.1585) of Holcombe Rogus in Devon.
Mountjoy died on 8 November 1534 and was buried at Barton Blount.