AGLIONBY, William, of Carlisle and Tarraby, Cumb.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Adam Aglionby (d. aft. 1376) of Carlisle by his w. Juliana. m. by 28 Oct. 1380, Mary, poss. da. of Alan Blennerhasset of Carlisle.1
William’s family took its name from the village of Aglionby, which lies just to the north of Carlisle; and his father was well known in the area. Besides serving on at least one royal commission in Cumberland, Adam acted as an executor, in 1362, for the rector of Kirklinton, who bequeathed a quantity of wool to his wife. William had evidently come of age by 1376, when he joined with his father in acquiring a messuage in Carlisle from John Thirlwall* of Alstonby. He married his wife, Mary, at some point before October 1380, the date of a charter whereby they obtained joint possession of fairly extensive holdings in the Cumbrian villages of Warwick and Cumwhinton. It looks very much as if the lawsuit which William later began against John Sowerby* and others for the detention of rents there was actually collusive, but another round of litigation involving the abbot of St. Mary’s, York, which dragged on from 1391 to 1395, may well have been more serious. After a short interval the abbot again went to court, in 1404, arraigning the influential local landowner, Sir Peter Tilliol*, together with the Aglionbys on yet another assize of novel disseisin.2
Aglionby’s wife is said to have been a daughter of Alan Blennerhasset, one of the most prominent figures in Carlisle, who may well have used his position to further the young man’s career. At all events, Aglionby had soon established himself as a lawyer of some consequence in the north-west. In June 1382, for example, he joined with William Osmundlaw* in standing surety at the Exchequer for the farmers of a fishery in the River Eden; and two years later he represented Carlisle for the first time in Parliament. In both August 1387 and February 1389 he served as a juror at inquisitions ad quod damnum held in the city; and he was again sent to Westminster in February 1388 as a member of the Merciless Parliament. On this occasion Alan Blennerhasset was actually in office as mayor of Carlisle, so he could well have had a hand in securing Aglionby’s election. The latter’s success in public life was, however, offset by a long and violent quarrel with one Robert Penrith, who apparently made a number of attempts to kill him during the course of a lawsuit. According to a complaint submitted by Aglionby to the court of Chancery shortly before April 1397, Penrith and his supporters had not only tried to ambush him with ‘launces, espees, pollaxes, baitaillaxes a auters maners dez armours’, but had also terrorized his tenants and servants at Tarraby (near Carlisle) in such a way as to render him virtually homeless, and had, moreover, prevented him from continuing his legal practice at Carlisle. His accusations led to the setting up of a royal commission of oyer and terminer, but the outcome of its investigations remains unknown.3
Aglionby witnessed a conveyance of property in Carlisle in February 1402, but no more is heard of him after August 1406, when he and his wife were still defending their title to land in Warwick and Cumwhinton at the assizes in Penrith. He probably died well before December 1418, when a ‘vacant place’ which had once belonged to him near Caldew Gate in Carlisle came on to the market. The Thomas Aglionby who married into the Skelton family at about this time may, perhaps, have been his son.