Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
|Full Name:||Baptist "Bab" May|
|Age:||47 (b. 1628)|
A tall man, always elegantly and most fashionably dressed, he is otherwise unremarkable.
Initial Impression of Personality
Baptist has a reputation that precedes him, even into the country, as the King's man, whose favour can be bought, at least for a time.
Baptist May, commonly known as 'Bab', was one of the ancient family of May from Sussex and Kent. The son of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Sir Humphrey May of Carrow Priory (Norfolk), by his second wife, Judith, daughter of Sir William Poley, of Boxted, Suffolk. He is said to have been named after his uncle by marriage, Baptist Hicks (or Hickes), 1st Viscount Campden.
Baptist was rumoured to have been educated in France, and attended the Court of Charles I as a page. At the age of twenty, he attended the Duke of York during his travels to the Netherlands and then during his exile. Upon the Restoration, Charles II rewarded his loyal service, appointing him jointly with the Earl of St. Albans to the lucrative office as Registrar of the Court of Chancery. May showed his gratitude by rendering himself indispensable to the King in his 'private pleasures', as Groom of the Bedchamber from 1662.
In 1665, the year that Baptist sailed with the Duke of York in the ‘Royal Charles’ against the Dutch, he also gained, in succession to Viscount FitzHarding, the position of Keeper of the Privy Purse, apparently through Lady Castlemaine's influence. In return for the favour, however, she subsequently made the most extravagant demands on the funds which he thenceforth controlled. In that same year, he was rewarded with a grant of "several parcels of ground in Pall Mall Fields for building thereon a square of thirteen or fourteen great and good houses" and of the highway from Charing Cross to St. James's.
In 1666, Baptist May decided to enter Parliament and made an attempt to become the MP for Winchelsea, in Sussex. He arrived in the town with letters of recommendation from the Duke of York, but his reputation preceded him and the people declared "they would have no Court pimp to be their Burgess'. Four years later, he was more successful in Midhurst.
Baptist rivals William Chiffinch, the King's Closet Keeper, in the attentions which he has shown the King. With Rochester, the Killigrews, Henry Saville and Sir Fleetwood Sheppard, he frequently attends those select parties which enlivened the evenings of the King in the apartments of his mistresses. He remains on good terms with Barbara Castlemaine.
Bab is currently Groom of the King's Bedchamber and Keeper of the Privy Purse. He is also interested in sport and keeps a fine stable of horses.