Henry Semark


King’s College Cambridge 1512





A History of Cambridgeshire – The University of Cambridge , King’s College


 In March 1509, three weeks before his death, King Henry gave another £5,000 towards the building, and instructed his executors to provide, if necessary, further sums sufficient for the completion. By early 1512 the shell had probably been finished; and on the 8th February in that year the executors paid over a second sum of £5,000 to provide for the vaulting, the stalls, the glass, and all other works necessary for the completion of the whole chapel. In the following summer John Wastell and Henry Semark, one of the wardens of the masons, contracted to build the great vault, and finish it within three years. Meanwhile the timber roof was being carried westwards, by the master carpenter Richard Russell, from the point where it had stopped in 1483.


Comment: Was Russell a relation of the Russell’s of Northants/Bedford family connections to the Semark/Sapcote of Northants


The above refers to Wills and Clark, Archit History from this publication…


The additional funds enabled the college to draw up contracts for the completion of the building. They provide for the erection of the great stone vault; the vaults of the porches and sixteen of the chapels; the finals of the buttresses; and the four corner towers. The first in order of time is that for the same vault. The parties to it are Robert Hacumblen, Provost, and Thomas Larke “surveyour of the kynges workes” on the one side, and John Wastell, master mason and Harry Semerk, one of the wardens of the masons, on the other. It was not dated, being a draft only, but it was certainly drawn up between 22 April and 7 June, 1512, when a deed was executed between Wastell and Semerk, by which it was agreed that Wastell should have the sole profit, and bear the whole charge. The material was to be stone from Weldon, and it stipulated that this, together with all other things required for the work, and the wages of the workman, are to be provided for by Wastell and Semerk. They are to be paid at the rate of £100 for each “severy”, which would make a total of £1,200;and they undertake to complete the whole in three years. Further, they are to be allowed the use of certain ropes and saws belonging to the College, and of a scaffold….. Wastell signed a further contract 5 January 1512-13.


Note: Is this Weldon Northants, Weldon was a known Semark “location” during this period. Also see Clothworker family from Weldon , indicating skilled family.


PRO: John Bagard and Thomas Neche, clerk. v. William Mannyng and Harry Sennak (Semark), feoffees to uses.: Mortgage of lands in Bury St. Edmunds, by John Wastell, of Cambridge, freemason.: Suffolk.


John Wastell : Rebuilt Saffron Walden Church and assumed Master Mason at the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds succeeding Simon Clerk.