Sir Thomas Erpingham: ERPINGHAM’S POSSESSIONS

ERPINGHAM’S POSSESSIONS

Soon after returning to England, the king gave Erpingham the position of constable of Framlingham castle, with the manors of Framlingham, Earl Saham and Kelsale in Suffolk, and Southfield, Framingham and Hanworth in Norfolk. These were part of the Mowbray estates which had reverted to the king during the minority of the heir of Thomas Mowbray, the late 1st duke of Norfolk, who died in 1400. The king received £321 8s 10d a year from Little Framlingham manor, and £350 from Southfield; Erpingham probably received twice that amount. Three more manors were given next year, with £40 to cover the costs of the constableship. Norfolk’s son Thomas objected to losing the title, which was withheld on the grounds that Richard’s parliament had no right to confer it; he joined the rebellion of Scrope, Archbishop of York but was arrested and beheaded without trial at York in 1405. His brother John succeeded on his majority , and obtained livery of the estates, and Erpingham surrendered them in 1406., except the manors of Little Framyngham and Southfield, which he held till 1410.[1]

With five others, Erpingham held most of the estates of Roger Mortimer, the late earl of March, from 1399 until 1401. The king received 200l. from the estates, which was probably about one third of their value. Two years later, he was appointed keeper of some parks on the Mortimer estates in Suffolk, with the castle, manor and town of Clare, with almost all of the remaining estates in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, until 1409, when he gave them up.[2] He sold 120 cattle and 4 bulls in Essex.[3], so was presumably farming actively; this may have been on two manors he acquired from Sir Andrew Botiller.[4]

The tenement called “The Newe Inne”, near Paul’s wharf, was granted to Erpingham for life, shortly after Henry IV’s accession, possibly so that Erpingham had a town house in London readily accessible to court. It went to his heir, Sir William Phelip, on his death[5]. He had 100 marks annually from the manor of Saham, Cambridgeshire, another 100 marks from Cambridge for life from the death of Sir Nicholas Dagworth who had previously had that fee[6], £80 a year from Norfolk and Suffolk, and £40 from the fee-farm of Norwich, all given by the king. Another 20l. came from the manor of Gimingham in about 1422. The king gave him 50 marks from the manor of Newton Longville in 1400. The constable of Cardigan castle and Andrew Lenne were ordered to deliver in 1403 the king’s gift to Sir Thomas Erpingham or Howell Brentelees his attorney a barge which had belonged to Thomas earl of Worcester.[7] There is no evidence of his having used it, but this appears to have been another significant mark of esteem.

Thomas Erpingham, Edmund Oldhalle, Nicholas de Wychyngham, Ralph Bateman and Stephen Bastwyke jointly possessed the manors of Upton and Canteley with wards, marriages, escheats, courts leet, villeins and profits, purchased from Hugh lord Burnell. The Cantley manor came to Phelip, as is shown by the arms in the spandrels of the doorway. Similarly, Erpingham jointly with William Phelip the younger, John Wynter and Nicholas Wychyngham, and others, had part of the manors of Horsforde, Great Hautboys, and Burgh in Flegge (and parts of others in Suffolk) from Hamon Lestraunge, with the associated advowsons.[8]

Thomas Erpingham and Robert Berney bought Blickling manor from Eleanor widow of Sir Nicholas Dagworth for a rent of 25 marks to her due for life. This was of course long before the present magnificent Blickling Hall was built. Dagworth’s brass remains in Blickling church; he too had been in Richard’s party, and was imprisoned in 1388. Erpingham had 100l for life from the estates.[9]

Sir Thomas Erpingham bought from Sir Hamon de Felton’s grand-daughter in 1408 the manor of Nethirhall in Lucham (Litcham) and the advowson of the church, and six years later disputed with Thomas Earl of Arundell the ownership of two crosses found on Lycheham common[10].

He bought with Simon Felbrigg and Robert Berney a manor in Norwich called ‘Tolthorphalle’, from Katherine Brewes in 1410. He was required to give Katherine a yearly rent of 20l., from Eye, and of 50l to be taken of the fee farm of Kyngeston upon Hull. It was recognised by the king that he had held Weybread manor all his life[11] .

He held the estates of Alexander, the bishop of Norwich when he died in 1413, paying rents of 200 marks to the Exchequer,[12] and all lands late of Thomas Bardolf, until his son and heir came of age

He was a feoffee regarding dispositions of manors to the son of Thomas lord Morley, Marshall of Ireland. with Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk and he with others had the care of the castles, estates and fees of the earl of Suffolk in 1416, and had to give manors, hundreds, and the castle, town and manor and honour of Eye to Eleanor, wife of the earl’s son.[13].

The manor of Walsoken with appurtenances in Walsoken, Walton and Wallope, Norffolk, came to him in 1420. He had to pay to Henry archbishop of Canterbury, Henry bishop of Winchester, Thomas bishop of Durham, Thomas duke of Exeter, Ralph earl of Westmerland, Henry Fitz Hugh, Walter Hungerford knight John Wodehous and John de Leventhorp esqs. 100l. a year from the manor and soke of Kirton in Lyndesey[14].

Erpingham was given the king’s permission in 1421 to purchase “the priories of Toftes and the manors of Toftes, co. Norfolk, Wermyngton, co. Warwick, Spectebury, co. Dorset, and Aston, co. Berks, the manor of Wychyngham called Longevyles parcel of the possessions of the priory of St Faith Longevyle, and the manor of Horstede, co. Norfolk, parcel of the house or priory of Caen in Normandy, alien.”[15]. He held lands and tenements in Saxlingham from the prior of Walsingham. From Rouen the king licensed him to grant two manors and a fishery to Anne, widow of Thomas lord Morley.[16]

 

Thus he held at least 41 manors during his life, though not all permanently; in addition he had 40l from the fee-farm of Norwich, 80l fees from Norfolk and Suffolk, 100l from Cambridge and 100 marks from Saham; 50 marks from Newton Longville, and the care of estates of the earl of Suffolk, Lord Bardolf, and Mortimer’s estates in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex worth probably several thousands of pounds a year. This was in addition to his royal appointments at Dover and the Cinque Ports and at Framlingham, and his positions within the household and on commissions from the king and council.

He had inherited two manors or properties from his father, and during the next twenty years acquired another six. including Erpingham conferred again by Gaunt.. The biggest group of 13 manors came to him in 1399, 8 of them being given by the king, Henry IV. He bought another five in the next ten years (five in 1401), but the giving of individual manors had stopped; though he had the Clare manors in 1403.

The care of the estates of Bishop Alexander Totingham followed in 1413, and the estates of Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, in 1414. He was required to give Katherine, Michael’s wife, a yearly rent of 20l., from Eye, and of 50l to be taken of the fee farm of Kyngeston upon Hul.

Interestingly, it seems as though he bought every one of the twelve manors that he acquired over the period 1410-1421, the date of his last acquisition. It might have been expected that his leadership at Harfleur and Agincourt would have been rewarded by Henry V; but this does not appear to have been so. His KG had been given by Henry IV in 1400, a reward for his support in seizing the throne. Henry V assumed the throne in 1413; but even the care of the bishop’s and the de la Pole estates are not due to his military service.

It must be that Erpingham had his share of the spoils and trophies of was from his crusades in eastern Europe and the Middle East (such as the chasuble mentioned earlier); we have no evidence of other acquisitions. But Erpingham was rich enough to build the gate, which must in present-day terms have cost over a million pounds; it is doubtful whether his manors alone have been sufficient to fund the construction, which must have been started early in the century.   He had also in 1419 glazed the great east chancel window with eight panes with 82 coats of arms inserted, in St. Michael at Conisford church of the Austin Friars, itself a costly undertaking.   The window was late enough to be helped by the revenue from his care of the major estates.

Prior to his death, Sir Thomas Erpingham gave 300 marks to the prior and convent of Norwich to found a chantry for a monk to sing daily mass for him and his family for ever, at the altar of the Holy Cross in the cathedral, and to keep his anniversary before the whole chapter.  He died on 27th June 1428, and his will, made the previous year, was proved in the prerogative court. Sir William Phelip, Sir Andrew Butler, Knights, William Bambergh, Richard Gegge, Esquires, and others were executors.   Bishop Alnwyk was supervisor. Sir Simon Felbrigge, Sir John Clifton and Sir Thomas Kerdiston, Knights, were witnesses. Writs were issued to the escheators of Berkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Warwick; Dorset., Lincoln and London after his death to discover the extent of his lands and possessions there.[17] The manor of Horstede was committed to Sir William Phelip, the keeping of the priory and manor of Toftes to Sir John Fastolf.[18]   In his will he gave 10M to the high altar (of the cathedral?); to every monk 6s 8d; to Erpingham and Litcham churches 40s. each; to the altar of St Martin at Palace-gate, where his town house was, 26s 8d.; to Norman’s spittle (St. Paul’s hospital) 10M; to the prisoners in the castle and guildhall 40s. each place; to Julian Lampit, a recluse at Carhoe, 10s. [19]   This strangely lacks evidence of great wealth.

References:

[1] C.C.R. 1405-9 p. 145 17 July 1406.

[2] C.C.R. 1405-9   p. 427, 1409; C.C.R. 1413-19, p. 91, 20 Feb. 1410.

[3] C.C.R. 1399-1402 p. 128; 24 Mar 1400.

[4] C.C.R. 1399-1402 p. 392: 9 June 1401.

[5] C.F.R. 1422p. 248, 1 Nov. 1428.

[6] C.C.R. 1399-1402 (1402), p. 460.

[7] C.C.R. 1402-5 p. 226.

[8] C.C.R. 1399-1402 p. 305 26 Jan. 1401; C.C.R. 1399-1402 p. 332 13 Sept. 1401.

[9] C.C.R. 1405-9   p. 279 18 April 1407.

[10] C.C.R. 1405-9   p. 462 24 Oct. 1408. C.C.R. 1413-19 i, p. 146 28 July 1414.

[11] C.C.R. 1409-13 p110, 12 March 1410 .

[12] C.F.R. 1413-22 p. 12, 13 June 1413.

[13] C.C.R. 1402-5, p. 152;   C.C.R. 1413-19 i, p. 264: 1 Feb. 1416.

[14] C.C.R. 1419-22ii, p. 107 14 May 1420;   C.C.R. 1413-19i, 343. 27 Feb., 1417.

[15] C.P.R. 1416-22   5 June 1421.

[16] FEUDAL AIDS    p 57;   C.P.R. V 7 Feb. 1420.

[17] C.F.R. 1422 p. 189: 1 July 1428; C.F.R. 1422 p. 189: 16 July; C.F.R. 1422 p. 190: 1 July;   C.F.R. 1422 p. 235, 1 Nov.;  C.F.R. 1422 p. 236, 26 Feb. 1429.

[18] C.F.R. 1422 p. 247: 1 Nov.: 1428; C.F.R. 1422p. 242, 1 Nov. 1428.

[19] RYE W. (2).

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