Generation 19 – Sir Hugh le Despenser, Knt (abt 1359 – 1401)

 47 Generations of Family History
Generation 19
Sir Hugh le Despenser
Justiciar of South Wales
Knight of the Passion of Jesus Christ
Governor of Henry, Prince of Wales (afterwards King Henry V)
Sir Hugh of Colyweston, Northamptonshire, Bonby, Lincolnshire, Sheldon and Solihill, Warickshire, Hotham, Yorkshire.
Steward of Macclesfield and Surveyor, Keeper and Master of the Forests of Macclesfield and Mara
(abt 1359 – 1401)

Facts

Name: Sir Hugh “Justiciar of South Wales” le DESPENCER Knt
Birth: abt 1359
Place of Birth: Colyweston, Northamptonshire, England
Parents:
Father: Sir Hugh le DESPENCER Knt
Mother: Alice de Hotham

Spouse: Sybil
Marriage: before September 1388
Place of Marriage: England

Children: They had 1 known child
i. Elizabeth Spencer

Last Will and Testament: 1st July 1400 – Hampton, England
Death: 14th October 1401
Place of Death: Bonby, Lincolnshire, England
Cause of Death: Unknown
Burial: after 14th October 1401
Place of Burial: Friars Preachers at Stamford, Lincolnshire, England

Titles:

(i) Justiciar of South Wales
(ii) Knight of the Passion of Jesus Christ
(iii) Governor of Henry, Prince of Wales (afterwards King Henry V)
(iv) Sir Hugh of Colyweston, Northamptonshire, Bonby, Lincolnshire, Sheldon and Solihill, Warickshire, Hotham, Yorkshire.
(v) Steward of Macclesfield and Surveyor, Keeper and Master of the Forests of Macclesfield and Mara

Wars and Battles: Despenser’s Crusade

Heraldry: Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable

Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable Source: Wikepedia

Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent; 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable
Source: Wikepedia

Family Connection: 18th great-grandfather

Short Biography

Sir Hugh “Justiciar of South Wales” le DESPENCER Knt [1, 2, 3, 4]. was born about 1359 in Colyweston, Northamptonshire, England. He was the only son of Sir Hugh le DESPENCER Knt (1339 – 1374) and Alice de Hotham (1335 – 1379).

Sir Hugh le Despencer was the great-grandson of Hugh Despenser the Younger (1286 – 1326) who rose to national prominence as royal chamberlain and a favorite of Edward II of England. A series of subsequent controversies eventually led to his being hanged, drawn and quartered.

Sir Hugh le Despencer was born ten years after the Black Death which reached England in 1348, and killed perhaps half the population. He was also born during The Hundred Years’ War which was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 pitting the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the House of Valois for control of the Kingdom of France. This war directly involved the House of Despenser and Hugh himself would find himself at the very heart of it.

During his life three King’s of England sat on the throne of England; Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377), Richard II (6 January 1367– February 1400) and Henry IV (15 April 1367 – 20 March 1413). Hugh is also recorded as being the Governor of Henry, Prince of Wales (King Henry V), who was born on the 16 September 1386/1387. I have no idea of how old Prince Henry was when Hugh acted as his Governor, but it would have been sometime between 1386 – 1401.

King Henry V, by unknown artist. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 545

King Henry V, by unknown artist.
National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 545

(Note: King Henry V is the husband of my 16th great-grandmother Catherine “Princess of France” de VALOIS (1401 – 1437), who I descend from through my maternal family tree.)

In 1383, In service of King Richard II, Sir Hugh le Despencer was sent overseas and played an important role during the Despenser’s Crusade which occurred between 21 December 1382 – September 1383. (This war was also known as the Bishop of Norwich’s Crusade and sometimes just Norwich Crusade) it was a military expedition led by Henry le Despenser, Bishop of Norwich (1341 – 1406) who was also Uncle to Hugh le Despencer ( that aimed to assist the city of Ghent in their struggle against the supporters of Antipope Clement VII. It took place in the context of the Western Schism and the Hundred Years’ War between the medieval kingdoms of England and France. While France supported Clement, whose court was based in Avignon, the English supported Pope Urban VI in Rome.

Part of a misericord in a Chancel stall in St. Margaret's Church, King's Lynn. A 14th-century carving of Henry le Despenser, the victor of the Battle of North Walsham. Source: Wikepedia

Part of a misericord in a Chancel stall in St. Margaret’s Church, King’s Lynn. A 14th-century carving of Henry le Despenser, the victor of the Battle of North Walsham.
Source: Wikepedia

The crusade was mustered at Sandwich on 27 April, and sailed for Calais on 16 May 1383.The chronology of the crusade from the sailing until 25 May is provided in a letter Despenser wrote to another prelate. The first crusaders to arrive at Calais stayed only a few days, before the entire force had crossed the channel. The bishop led them in a successful attack on Gravelines. That month (May 1383), on the home front, one Thomas Depham of Norfolk was imprisoned for casting doubt on an official report from Flanders.

Henry le Despenser appointed his nephew Hugh le Despencer as one of the captains of the crusade alongside Hugh Calveley, William Elmham, Thomas Tryvet, John Ferris, William Ferinton and Matthew Reedman.

As part of the Despenser’s Crusade and the Revolt of Ghent (1379-1385) The Siege of Ypres occurred between June 8 and August 8 1383 by English forces and forces from the Flemish city of Ghent. The siege was a failure.

This crusade is where Hugh’s title; Knight of the Passion of Jesus Christ came into being and is very likely connected or the same as the Supreme Order of Christ which is the highest order of chivalry awarded by the Pope.

Sir Hugh le Despencer is also recorded as being overseas in 1386.

On return to England and shortly before September 1388, Hugh le Despencer married a noblewoman named Sibyl (surname unknown), and by the 1389 they had one daughter named Elizabeth.

On the 20th January 1389, the following is recorded in the Feet of Fines: regarding The manor of Hoton’ Crauncewyk’ and 1 bovate of land in Hoton’ Crauncewyk’.

CP 25/1/278/145, number 3.

County: Yorkshire.
Place: Westminster.
Date: One week from St Hilary, 12 Richard [II] [20 January 1389].
Parties: Roger de Wyntryngham, the parson of the church of Baynton’, Leonard de Hedon’, clerk, Thomas Lyndesey, chaplain, John de More and Hugh Ardern’, querents, and Hugh le Despenser of Colyweston’, knight, and Sibel, his wife, deforciants.
Property: The manor of Hoton’ Crauncewyk’ and 1 bovate of land in Hoton’ Crauncewyk’.
Action: Plea of covenant.
Agreement: Hugh le Despenser and Sibel have acknowledged the manor and land to be the right of Roger, as those which Roger, Leonard, Thomas, John and Hugh Ardern’ have of their gift, and have remised and quitclaimed them from themselves and the heirs of Hugh to Roger, Leonard, Thomas, John and Hugh Ardern’ and the heirs of Roger for ever.
Warranty: Warranty by Hugh le Despenser for himself and his heirs.
For this: Roger, Leonard, Thomas, John and Hugh Ardern’ have given them 100 marks of silver.

Persons: Roger de Winteringham, Leonard de Hedon, Thomas Lindsey, John de Moore, Hugh Arderne, Hugh le Despenser, Sibel le Despenser
Places: Bainton, Collyweston (in Northamptonshire), Hutton Cranswick
Cranswick
Feet of Fines CP 25-1-278-145, number 3. Source: http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/fines/abstracts/CP_25_1_278_145.shtml

Feet of Fines
CP 25-1-278-145, number 3.
Source: http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/fines/abstracts/CP_25_1_278_145.shtml

In 1401 Hugh was appointed Steward of Macclesfield and Surveyor, Keeper and Master of the Forests of Macclesfield and Mara for life. Although he was already in failing health and had written a Will the year previously on 01 Jul 1400 in Hampton, England.

Below is an abstract of this Will;

The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Le Despenser, Knight. Dated at Hampton, 1 July 1400 [f0. 46.] In Norman French.

The Chapel of the Friars Preachers of Stamford, where my uncle lies, to be made longer, and a marble stone placed there for my father and my mother, and another for my eife and myself.

To my daughter Elizabeth cii for her marriage.

My feoffees of land in Caldeford, Sulihull, ffencot, and Morecot, which I have by the gift of mt uncle Sir Ralph de Ferrers, to enfeoff my wife for life. My manor of Kyrkelond in Staffordshire. My lands in Rothley to Thos. ffrysby for life. John Horspate. John Burley. Jankyn Brett. The Manor of Esynden, which I had by the gift of Sieur del Spencer.

No probate annexed.

During his life Sir Hugh le Despencer was also styled; Justiciar of South Wales, sometimes referred to as the Justiciar of West Wales was a royal official of the Principality of Wales during the medieval period. He controlled the southern half of the principality.

Hugh is recorded as dying on the 14th October 1401 in Bonby, Lincolnshire, England [2]. and he was buried shortly afterwards in Friars Preachers at Stamford, Lincolnshire [3].

Family

Sybil [5, 6]. She was born Abt. 1365 in England [5]. Court of Common Pleas, CP 40/571, rot. 375 1403 in London, Middlesex, England (Court of common pleas: The National Archives, CP40: 1399-1500) [6]. She died on 16 Aug 1415 in England [5].

Sir Hugh “Justiciar of South Wales” le DESPENCER Knt and Sybil. They were married Bef. Sep 1388 in England [3]. They had 1 child.

  • i. Elizabeth SPENCER[1, 2, 5, 7]. She was born Abt. 1389 in Bonby, Lincolnshire, England. The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Despenser on 01 Jul 1400 in Hampton, England (will of Hugh le Despenser, son (or grandson) of Edward le Despenser and Ann: will of Hugh le Despenser, knight, dated at Hampton, 1 July 1400. – The chapel of the Friars Preachers of Stamford, where my uncle lies… – To my daughter Elizabeth c’li f) [2]. She married Jenkyn MAYE. They were married Abt. 1420 in Wiltshire, England [2, 7]. Coat of Arms was Arms of Despencer: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent2nd & 3rd: Gules, a fret or, over all a ribbon sable. Maye of Charterhouse Pedigree in Somerset, England [1]. She died in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England.

Feet of Fines CP 25/1/290/60, number 75 related to The manors of Solyhyll’ and Sheldon’ and the advowsons of the church of Solyhyll’ and of the free chapel of St Alphege of Solyhyll’ in the county of Warwick and the manor of Hothom and the advowson of the church of Hothom in the county of York. (after the death of Sir Hugh le Despencer).

County: Warwickshire. Yorkshire.
Place: Westminster.
Date: Two weeks from Easter, 5 Henry [IV] [13 April 1404].
Parties: Sibel, who was the wife of Hugh le Despenser, knight, querent, and Edward Botiller, knight, and Anne, his wife, deforciants.
Property: The manors of Solyhyll’ and Sheldon’ and the advowsons of the church of Solyhyll’ and of the free chapel of St Alphege of Solyhyll’ in the county of Warwick and the manor of Hothom and the advowson of the church of Hothom in the county of York.
Action: Plea of covenant.
Agreement: Sibel has acknowledged the manors and advowsons to be the right of Anne. For this, Edward and Anne have granted to Sibel the manors and advowsons and have rendered them to her in the court, to hold to Sibel, of Edward and Anne and the heirs of Anne for the life of Sibel, rendering yearly 1 rose at the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, and doing to the chief lords all other services. And after the decease of Sibel the manors and advowsons shall revert to Edward and Anne and the heirs of Anne, quit of the heirs of Sibel, to hold of the chief lords for ever.
Warranty: Warranty by Edward and Anne and the heirs of Anne.

Persons: Hugh le Despenser, Sibel le Despenser, Edward Butler, Anne Butler
Places: Solihull, Sheldon, Hotham
The manors of Solyhyll' and Sheldon' and the advowsons of the church of Solyhyll' and of the free chapel of St Alphege of Solyhyll' in the county of Warwick and the manor of Hothom and the advowson of the church of Hothom in the county of York. Source: http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/fines/abstracts/CP_25_1_278_145.shtml

The manors of Solyhyll’ and Sheldon’ and the advowsons of the church of Solyhyll’ and of the free chapel of St Alphege of Solyhyll’ in the county of Warwick and the manor of Hothom and the advowson of the church of Hothom in the county of York.
Source: http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/fines/abstracts/CP_25_1_278_145.shtml

Sources

[1] edited by Frederic William Weaver., The visitations of the county of Somerset, in the years 1531 and 1573, together with additional pedigrees, chiefly from the visitation of 1591 (Printed for the editor by W. Pollard in Exeter), Maye of Charterhouse Hidon Upon Mendip – page 49.

[2] Alfred Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills. An Abstract of all the Wills & Administrations recorded in the Episcopal Register of the Old Diocese of Lincoln (290 High Street, Lincoln), The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Le Despenser, Knight. The Last Will and Testament of Hugh Le Despenser, Knight. Dated at Hampton, 1 July 1400 [f0. 46.] In Norman French. The Chapel of the Friars Preachers of Stamford, where my uncle lies, to be made longer, and a marble stone placed there for my father and my mother, and another for my eife and myself. To my daughter Elizabeth cii for her marriage. My feoffees of land in Caldeford, Sulihull, ffencot, and Morecot, which I have by the gift of mt uncle Sir Ralph de Ferrers, to enfeoff my wife for life. My manor of Kyrkelond in Staffordshire. My lands in Rothley to Thos. ffrysby for life. John Horspate. John Burley. Jankyn Brett. The Manor of Esynden, which I had by the gift of Sieur del Spencer. No probate annexed.

[3] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, Hugh Le Despenser – Page 73. See attached Story.

[4] Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), Ancestry Family Tree.
http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/AMTCitationRedir.aspx?tid=4632607&pid=30480.

[5] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, Hugh Le Despenser – Page 73.

[6] Jonathan Mackman and Matthew Stevens, Court of common pleas: The National Archives,CP40: 1399-1500 (Centre for Metropolitan History), Court of Common Pleas, CP 40/571, rot. 375.

[7] Charles Herbert Mayo, A genealogical account of the Mayo and Elton families of the countiesof Wilts and Hereford (Chiswick Press), Page 4 – The Origin and Local Distribution. At Chippenham refided Jenkin Maye, who married a daughter of Sir Hugh Spencer, and was the anceftor of May of SCharterhoufe, Somerfet, bearing ” Sable, a chevron or between three rofes argent, a chief of the fecond.

[8] Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition … By Douglas Richardson.
Hugh Despenser, Knt., of Colyweston, Northamptonshire, Bonby, Lincolnshire, Sheldon and Solihill, Warickshire, Hotham, Yorkshire, etc., Governor of Henry, Prince of Wales (afterwards King Henry V), Justiciar of South Wales, Knight of the Passion of Jesus Christ, son and heir, born abt 1359 (aged 16 in 1375). He married before Sept. 1388 Sibyl, They had one daughter, Elizabeth, living 1400. In 1383 he was beyond the seas in the King’s service. In 1383 and again in 1386 he had a dispute with John Hotham, Knt., of Scorborough regarding the manor of Hotham, Yorkshire. In 1401 he was appointed Steward of Macclesfield and Surveyor, Keeper and Master of the Forests of Macclesfield and Mara for life. Sir Hugh despense died 14 October 1401, He left a will dated 1 July 1400, requesting buried in the chapel of the Friars Preachers at Stamford, Lincolnshire. His widow, Sybil, died 16 August 1415.

[9] Brydges Collins’ Peerage of England 6 (1812): 496-511 (sub Despenser).

[10] Annual Rpt. Of the Deputy Keeper 36 (1875):

[11] 145 Archives del’ Orient Latin 1 (1881): 362-364)

[12] Gibbons Early Lincoln Wills 1280-1547 (1888): 98-99 (will of Hugh dispenser, Knt. Dated 1 July 1400, mentions his land in Caldeford, Sulihill, Fencot, and Morecot, which he had by the gift of his uncle Ralph de Ferrers.

[13] Wrottesley Peds from the Plea Rolls (1905): 179,

[14] Saltmarsh Hist. & Chartulary of the Hothams of Scarborough (1914): 64, 214-216

[15] Legge Anglo-Norman Letters & Petitions (Anglo-Norman Text Soc, 3) (1941): 284-286, 302-304. (Sir Hugh dispenser styled “cousin” by King Henry IV of England)

[16] VCH Warick 4 (1947): 214-229.

[17] Brooks Knights Fees in Counties Wexford Carlow & Kilkenny (1950): 199-200.

[18] Cal. Inqs Misc 7 (1968): 293.

[19] Year Books of Richard II 4 (Ames Found. 7) (1987)

[20] Cal. IPM 20 (1995): 120 (alleges that Hugh Despenser died 12 December 1399).

[21] Allington-Smith Henry Despenser (2003): 3-4

[22] Despenser’s Crusade – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Despenser%27s_Crusade

[23] Edward le Despenser – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_le_Despenser

[24] Henry Despenser The Fighting Bishop – By Richard Allington-Smith – http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dCJJDHraWvQC&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=hugh+despenser,+1374&source=bl&ots=LF_PryJDsZ&sig=4zcwSYnuJFeIAL3rXtmGvz_5gOc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kjZ3VJOFO6-y7QbxxIHQBQ&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=hugh%20despenser%2C%201374&f=false

[25] Feet of Fines: CP 25/1/278/145 – CP 25/1/278/145, number 3.

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