ARDERNE, Ralph (c.1374-1420), of Parkhall in Castle Bromwich, Warws. and Upper Wick, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b.c. 1374, s. and h. of Sir Henry Arderne† of Parkhall by his w. Ellen, prob. da. and h. of Sir John Sapy† of Upper Wick. m. bef. Aug. 1400, Isabel or Sibyl (d. 8 Apr. 1435), Is. Robert†. Kntd. between 1417 and d.
Dep. sheriff, Worcs. (by appointment of Richard, earl of Warwick) 4 Nov. 1404-27 Nov. 1405.1
Receiver, earl of Warwick’s estates in France by 1420.
Arderne came from ‘a most ancient and worthy family’ (Dugdale) which originated in Warwickshire in the 11th century and subsequently accumulated substantial estates there and elsewhere. From his parents he inherited the manors of Parkhall, Barcheston, ‘Pedemore’ in Sutton Coldfield and Curdworth (Warwickshire), Upper Wick (Worcestershire), Acton and property in Nantwich (Cheshire), and Wappenham and Sulgrave (Northamptonshire). Not all of these were always in his possession, however, for his mother retained an interest until her death in 1408, and for several years the Northamptonshire manors were held by his two younger brothers. During his lifetime Arderne added to these holdings the Worcestershire manor of Little Inkberrow. Contemporary evidence for the value of the Arderne estates is contradictory or inadequate, but in 1436, when Ralph’s son was assessed for taxation, the Warwickshire lands alone were estimated to be worth £113 a year.2
Arderne’s father, Sir Henry, who had represented Warwickshire in 1377 and 1380 and Worcestershire in 1381, had been a trusted retainer and councillor of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and for his good service had been granted by him for life two Worcestershire manors. It seems likely that on Sir Henry’s death in 1382 the young Ralph became the earl’s ward; certainly, by 1395, after he had come of age, he was in receipt of an annunity of £8 from Earl Thomas as one of his esquires. Meanwhile, on 16 May 1392, he had contracted to join the company of the King’s lieutenant in Ireland, Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, for a year’s service, receiving as payment £24, but in the event the proposed expedition never sailed. In June 1398, after his lord the earl of Warwick had suffered imprisonment and forfeiture by judgement of Parliament and Gloucester had been murdered at Calais, Arderne took the precaution of obtaining a royal pardon specifically relating to the support he had given to the Lords Appellant. He did not hesitate to rejoin Earl Thomas’s affinity after his release in 1399, thereafter remaining in the service of Warwick and his successor for the rest of his life.3
Arderne probably obtained Little Inkberrow from Earl Thomas after it had been recovered from forfeiture. The manor was in his possession by 1403, and in the following year he had formal discussions with the receiver of the estates of the widowed Countess Margaret as to the extent of her dower portion in the property. Meanwhile, the young Earl Richard had enlisted for military service against the Welsh rebels, and Arderne had followed suit, taking his own contingent of six archers to join Henry of Monmouth in the siege of Harlech castle; and, being in the prince’s pay in June 1403, he probably saw action at the battle of Shrewsbury in the following month. Warwick appointed him as deputy sheriff of Worcestershire in 1404, but this did not end his involvement in the fighting in Wales, for during his term of office he sustained heavy costs in leading troops from the county into north Wales without wages or reward, thus incurring a considerable drain on his personal resources. Accordingly, but not until February 1406, he was made an allowance of 40 marks owing on his account for the shrievalty at the Exchequer. He was then knight-elect for Worcestershire to the Parliament which was to meet a month later. Seven years afterwards, in 1413, Arderne attended both the Worcestershire and