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Astley, John (1507? – 1595?)

« John Astley (c.1507-1596) was the eldest son of Thomas Astley of Hill Morton and Melton Constable, Norfolk. His father was a Gentleman Pensioner, one of the ultra-elite royal bodyguards established by Henry VIII who were specifically charged with the breeding of war-horses and the cultivation of horsemanship in England. John may have attended Jesus College, Cambridge, but probably went to Court when he was about twelve. His mother’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, was aunt to Ann Boleyn (royal mistress then queen and mother of Elizabeth I). Nothing is known of his early years but he must have learned his horsemanship and mastered Italian : possibly he travelled and fought abroad. His first recorded office was as a gentleman waiter in the household of Edward Prince of Wales from 1543, but he moved to the household of his cousin, Princess Elizabeth, very quickly, probably by 1544. In 1547 he was elected Member of Parliament for Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. »Dejager (2014)