BELGRAVE, William, of Belgrave, Leics.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of John Belgrave. m. ?Isabel, da. of William Sandon, 2s.
Duchy of Lancaster bailiff of Sileby and Belgrave by 1399-bef. Mich. 1412; receiver of the duchy honour of Leicester in Leics. and Warws. by 1414-bef. Feb. 1416.1
The family of Belgrave, which included among its members Roger de Belgrave†, knight of the shire in 1327 and 1338, and Roger†, the mayor and parliamentary burgess of Leicester (respectively William’s grandfather and uncle), took its name from a township just to the north of Leicester, where it had been settled since the time of Henry II. Although William’s cousin, John Belgrave (d.1387), was the principal heir to the family lands (as well as to more at East Haddon in Northamptonshire), in 1375 he agreed that part of the estate at Belgrave should pertain to William’s father and in due course (probably in 1412) this passed along with property at North Kilworth to William himself.2 Besides being tenants of the earls (afterwards dukes) of Lancaster, the Belgraves had long fulfilled the function of officials on the local Lancastrian estates: William’s grandfather had served as the then earl’s receiver of the honour of Leicester, and since 1313 the bailiwick of Sileby had been passed down from one member of the family to another, to remain a virtually hereditary post until William himself relinquished it nearly a century afterwards. William occupied the bailiffship from before the deposition of Richard II, probably owing his appointment to John of Gaunt. Naturally, he came into close contact with other local officials of the duchy; for instance, it was in association with William Bispham*, feodary of Leicestershire, that he acted in 1407 as trustee of land at ‘Newthorp’. Belgrave ceased to be bailiff before the autumn of 1412, perhaps so that he might be promoted as receiver of the honour of Leicester. He may well have been occupying this office at the time of his return to Henry V’s first Parliament, and was certainly doing so when he attended the shire elections to both Parliaments of 1414.3
It is not certain whether it was this William Belgrave or his son of the same name who, by the spring of 1424, had apparently inherited the interest of Elizabeth, recently deceased widow of Thomas Mandeville*, in the former Shulton estates at Countesthorpe and elsewhere in Leicestershire, and then joined the other Shulton coheirs in continuing their lawsuits with the abbey of St. Mary de Pré over title to the advowson of Blaby. In either case, the precise relationship between the Belgraves and Elizabeth Mandeville remains obscured.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. DL29/198/3113, 212/3248; Somerville, Duchy, i. 562, 566.
- 2. J. Nichols, Leics. iii. 174, 177; VCH Leics. iv. 421; Roll of Mayors Leicester ed. Hartopp, 19-20; Leics. Med. Peds. ed. Farnham, 12-14; Leics. Village Notes, iii. 82-86; C136/102/3.
- 3. Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xx. 312; CAD, vi. C4473, 4795; DL29/212/3249; C219/11/3, 5.
- 4. Village Notes, v. 43; Leics. Arch. Soc. xvii. 74. Elizabeth cannot have been our William’s mother as Nichols suggests (iv. 56), for she married Mandeville before 1377 when John Belgrave was still alive. On the other hand, it is just possible that she married William himself sometime after Mandeville’s death in c.1408, although she would then have been too old to be the mother of his sons. The younger William Belgrave, who held land of the duchy at Sileby (CAD, i. A1427), formed an alliance with the Willoughby family of Wollaton, Notts., by his marriage to Hugh Willoughby’s† da.