Armagil Waad
Armagil Waad (ca. 1511 – 20 June 1568) was a chief clerk of the Privy Council, servant of government and an English parliamentarian.

Early life

He is said to have been born at Kilnsey
Kilnsey is a small village in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the B6160 road, between the villages of Grassington and Kettlewell, near Arncliffe and just across the River Wharfe from Conistone....

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, near Conistone
Conistone is a small village in North Yorkshire, England. It lies 3 miles north of Grassington, beside the River Wharfe, in Upper Wharfedale....

, and his mother’s maiden name is given as Comyn. On the dissolution of the monasteries Kilnsey was granted to Sir Richard Gresham, to whom Armagil may have owed his introduction at court.

Waad was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £153 million. Magdalen is currently top of the Norrington Table after over half of its 2010 finalists received first-class degrees, a record...

, whence he graduated B.A. on 23 January 1531-2. He is then said to have entered some inn, possibly the Middle Temple, as his name does occur in the registers of the other three principal inns of court.


In 1536 he joined as an adventurer in Hore’s voyage to North America; he sailed with Oliver Daubeney, ‘Mr. Joy, afterwards gentleman of the king’s chapel,’ and others in the Minion from Gravesend
Gravesend, Kent
Gravesend is a town in northwest Kent, England, on the south bank of the Thames, opposite Tilbury in Essex. It is the administrative town of the Borough of Gravesham and, because of its geographical position, has always had an important role to play in the history and communications of this part of...

, towards the end of April. After about two months’ sailing they reached Cape Breton
Cape Breton (Nova Scotia)
This article is about the headland. For other uses, see Cape Breton .This article is about the headland. For other uses, see Cape Breton .This article is about the headland...

; they also visited Newfoundland and Penguin Island (now known as Funk Island
Funk Island
Funk Island is a small, barren, isolated, uninhabited island approximately northeast of Wesleyville, Newfoundland, Canada.-Geography:The island is roughly trapezoidal in shape, with a maximum length of 0.8 km and a maximum width of 0.3 km and is nearly flat, rising 14 m out of the North...

). They steered a northerly course home, fell in with icebergs, though it was the middle of summer, and reached St Ives, Cornwall
St Ives, Cornwall
St Ives is a seaside town, civil parish and port in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing. The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial...

 about the end of October. Waad is said to have written an account of this voyage, which was afterwards printed. No such work has been traced, and it is not in Hakluyt, which, however, contains an account of the voyage furnished by one of Waad’s companions, Thomas Butts, son of Sir William Butts
William Butts
Sir William Butts was a member of King Henry VIII of England's court and served as the King's physician.He had his portrait painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1543, and was knighted the following year...

. Sir William Waad’s description of his father as the first English explorer of America, subsequently paraphrased into ‘the English Columbus’ rests on this voyage. It has little justification. Waad has no more title to the name than his companions on the Minion, and infinitely less than the sixteen Englishmen who accompanied Sebastian Cabot
Sebastian Cabot (explorer)
Sebastian Cabot was an explorer, born in the Venetian Republic.-Origins:...

, not to mention the possibility that were English sailors among Columbus’s crews.

Public service

After his return Waad seems to have entered the service of Henry VIII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, probably as a messenger. In 1540, on the recommendation of Lord Maltravers
Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel
Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel was an English nobleman, who over his long life assumed a prominent place at the court of all the later Tudor sovereigns, probably the only person to do so.-Court career:...

, the lord deputy, Waad was promoted clerk of the council at Calais. He was promoted third clerk of the privy council in London at midsummer 1547, serving at first without a regular salary, though he was paid for special services, like arresting a Frenchman (probably Jean Ribauld) when he tried to escape to France . On 22 Sept. 1547 he was elected member of parliament for Chipping Wycombe
Wycombe (UK Parliament constituency)
Wycombe is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It currently elects one Member of Parliament by the first-past-the-post system of elections....

, and on 17 April 1548 began to draw a regular salary of fifty marks as third clerk of the council. Four years later he had risen to be chief clerk
Clerk of the Privy Council (United Kingdom)
The Clerk of the Privy Council is a civil servant in the government of the United Kingdom. He or she is the most senior civil servant in the Privy Council Office....

, in which capacity he was paid 50l. a year. In July 1550 he was employed as the channel of communication with the French and Spanish ambassadors, on 20 Dec. 1551 he was ordered to make an inventory of Cuthbert Tunstall
Cuthbert Tunstall
Cuthbert Tunstall was an English Scholastic, church leader, diplomat, administrator and royal adviser...

’s goods, in April 1552 he brought certain accusations against the Countess of Sussex and was himself instructed to examine her in the Tower
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

, and on 31 May following he was commissioned to procure Paget
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert , was an English statesman and accountant who held prominent positions in the service of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I.-Early life:...

’s signature to the articles against him.

The last mention of him as clerk occurs on 13 June 1553, and there can be little doubt that he lost his office on Queen Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

’s accession. He also lost his seat in parliament, and possibly a post in the customs which he had bought, and of which, as he subsequently complained to Cecil
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, he was deprived without compensation. In 1554 he was, however, granted by the crown the manor of Milton Grange
Milton, Oxfordshire
Milton is a village and civil parish about west of Didcot and a similar distance south of Abingdon.-Toponym:From the 10th to the 13th century the village's toponym was Middeltune...

, Oxfordshire. He also acquired lands in Kentish Town
Kentish Town
Kentish Town is an area of north west London, England in the London Borough of Camden.-History:The most widely accepted explanation of the name of Kentish Town is that it derived from 'Ken-ditch' meaning the 'bed of a waterway'...

 and at Lydd
Lydd is a town in Kent, England, lying on the Romney Marsh. It is one of the larger towns on the Marsh, and the most southerly town in Kent. Actually located on Denge Marsh, Lydd was one of the first sandy islands to form as the bay evolved into what is now called the Romney Marsh...

, Kent, and subsequently leased Belsize Park
Belsize Park
Belsize Park is an area of north-west London, England, in the London Borough of Camden.It is located north-west of Charing Cross and situated on the Northern Line. It borders Hampstead to the north and west, Kentish Town and Gospel Oak to the east, Camden Town to the south east and Primrose Hill...

, Hampstead, which he made his home, from the dean and chapter of St. Paul’s. On 17 Dec. 1555 he was summoned to account for 800l. paid him by Sir Andrew Judd. Waad does not appear to have been restored to the clerkship of the council on the accession of Elizabeth; but on 15 April 1559 he was sent on a mission as ambassador to the Duke of Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

. He was instructed to seek increased facilities for English merchants in the duke’s dominions, to report on his relations with the free cities in his duchy, to offer Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

’s aid in repressing the attempts of the said ‘stades’ to recover their liberties and to suggest ‘some further intelligence’ between the duke and England for the purpose of maintaining the Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

. In June 1562 he was sent to Rye to muster six hundred men for service at Havre, and to collect information about the movements of French parties and the readiness of the Huguenots to accept English help. In December he requested a grant of the salt marshes between Lydd and the mouth of the Camber, with license to enclose them. In 1566 he was engaged in examining at the Tower Cornelius de Alneto or Lannoy, an alchemist who had failed to redeem his promise of manufacturing gold for the queen’s service.

Family and later life

Waad died at Belsize on 20 Jun 1568, and was buried in Hampstead
Hampstead is an area of London, England, north-west of Charing Cross. Part of the London Borough of Camden in Inner London, it is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland...

 church, where an alabaster monument, with a long inscription was erected to his memory by his son William. Owing to the rebuilding of Hampstead church in 1745 and three subsequent restorations, no trace of the monument remains. His will was proved in the prerogative court of the archbishop of Canterbury .

Waad was twice married; firstly, to Alice, daughter of Richard Patten (d. 1536), widow of Thomas Searle, and sister of William Patten
William Patten (historian)
William Patten was an author, scholar and government official during the reigns of King Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth I.-Early career:...

, the historian of Somerset’s
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

 1547 expedition into Scotland, and secondly to Anne Marbury, the widow of Edward Bradley (d.1558), a London haberdasher. According to Waad's epitaph he had 20 children by his two wives, 14 of whom predeceased him. All his surviving children were from his first marriage. The eldest surviving son was Sir William Waad.

He was also a good Spanish scholar.

Waad's writings

Besides the ‘Observations’ on his travels attributed to him, Waad was author of:
  • The Distresses of the Commonwealth, with the Means to remedy them, an elaborate treatise preserved at the record office .
  • Decastichon de receptione ducis Somerset a Londinensibus printed by Patten in his Expedicion London, 1548, 4to.
  • Carmen in obitum Suffolciensium fratrum, printed in the collection of verses on the deaths of the dukes of Suffolk
    Duke of Suffolk
    Duke of Suffolk is a title that has been created three times in British history, all three times in the Peerage of England.The third creation of the dukedom of Suffolk was for Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, in 1551. The duke also held the title Baron Ferrers of Groby...

    in 1551.
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