BLOUNT, Sir Thomas (exec.1400), of Laverstock, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1348, s. of Sir Thomas Blount† (c.1321-c.1407), of Compton Valence, Dorset and Kingston Blount, Oxon. by Joan, da. of Sir Edmund Hakluyt† of Longford, Herefs., and wid. of Reynold Fitzherbert of Midsomer Norton, Som. m. (1) between Feb. and Nov. 1387, Isabel, da. of John, 2nd Lord Botetourt, wid. of Sir Hugh Segrave of Kempston, Beds.; (2) by Oct. 1394, Joan (b.c.1344), da. of Joan Wodefeld, niece and h. of John Tudworth of Laverstock, wid. of Sir Hugh Cheyne†, s.p. Kntd. by Mar. 1374.1
Commr. of arrest, Hants Aug. 1382; to muster retinues going to Calais Apr. 1386.2
The early stages of Blount’s career are difficult to disentangle from that of his father, a veteran of Crécy who sat for Dorset in 1376 and 1377 (Jan.) and for Oxfordshire in 1381 and 1382 (May), and who, living to ripe old age, did not die until after his son’s execution for treason. It was certainly the younger Thomas, however, who, already a knight, in March 1374 had royal letters of protection revoked after he had failed in his undertaking to go overseas in the retinue of John, duke of Brittany. In June 1376 both father and son were party to recognizances for £200 made with Edmund, earl of Cambridge. They were more closely connected with Sir Thomas West (d.1386), who married the younger Sir Thomas Blount’s half-sister, Alice, and Blount’s first known royal commission, in 1382, was to arrest and deliver to Winchester gaol those who had assaulted and robbed Alice West and her children in the New Forest.3
Shortly afterwards Blount entered the service of Richard II. In May 1383 he received at the Exchequer a gift of 20 marks, and in the following spring he was paid twice that sum for conducting from Berkhampstead castle to Scotland a French knight travelling through England on an embassy and for escorting him from London to Calais on his return journey. As a knight of the King’s chamber Blount took part in Richard’s expedition to Scotland in 1385, with a small personal retinue of one esquire and two archers, and in October that year, after their return, the King granted him the wardship and marriage of the heir of an Oxfordshire landowner, on the grounds that he had ‘scanty means of support’. Within a few days, however, Blount surrendered this patent in return for a more permanent source of income: a life annuity of £40 from the fee farm of Hereford. In March 1386 he received £20 for additional services to the King. The following month he was retained to serve on the defence of Calais with two men-at-arms, four archers and two gunners, under the command of Sir Thomas Percy (afterwards earl of Worcester).4
It was no doubt Blount’s position at Court which enabled him to marry, in 1387, the widow of the former treasurer of the Exchequer, Sir Hugh Segrave. But although this was a prestigious match it did not bring Blount much in the way of material benefits: Isabel Segrave’s father, Lord Botetourt, had settled on her the manors of Bordesley and Haybarne in Warwickshire, but in 1390 she and Sir Thomas conveyed them to Hugh, Lord Burnell, and his wife Joyce (Isabel’s niece and the heir to the bulk of the Botetourt estates); and Isabel’s dower from her marriage to Segrave apparently consisted of no more than the manor of Burghfield in Berkshire.5 Blount was important enough to be expelled from court by the Lords Appellant in January 1388, only to be reinstated as a knight of the chamber as soon as the King regained political control. He continued to enjoy royal patronage: in February 1389 he was granted the profits of lands late of Sir Miles Windsor, during the minority of the heir, and he was permitted to purchase the latter’s marriage for 100 marks. Two years later Richard sent him to Paris as his personal messenger to Charles VI. In 1394 he accompanied the King on his first expedition to Ireland,6 and it was along with Richard’s trusted councillor, Sir Henry Green, that he was returned for Wiltshire to his only Parliament, that of 1397 (Sept.), which was to bring to fruition the King’s plans for the defeat of his opponents. Blount qualified for election for Wiltshire as a result of his second marriage, which had brought him, jure uxoris, the manor of Laverstock and other properties in the county, besides land in Hampshire and (as his wife’s jointure from her former husband) the manor of Rolleston in Leicestershire.7
Blount remained close to other members of Richard II’s household. In April 1399, for example, he was party to the entail of the manor of Bury in Chalfont St. Giles (Buckinghamshire) on Sir Philip de la Vache* and his wife. There is no evidence, however, that he went to Ireland that spring on the King’s last expedition. Blount’s royal annuity was confirmed by Henry IV in November 1399, but he was too deeply committed to the deposed King Richard to change his allegiance so readily, and without hesitation he joined the conspirators headed by the earls of Kent, Salisbury and Huntingdon, who on 17 Dec. at the Abbey house in Westminster, plotted to seize the King while he was at Windsor for the feast of Epiphany. The plot miscarried and the traitors were forced to flee to Cirencester. There, after a fight, Blount was taken prisoner. He was brought to Oxford, tried before King Henry by the steward and the marshal and rigorously drawn, hanged and quartered on 12 Jan. Sir Thomas’s last words were allegedly of his willingness to die in the service of his sovereign lord, Richard II. The chroniclers’ descriptions of him as ‘un sage baron’, ‘un bon chevalier’ and ‘miles generosus’, perhaps reveal more about their own bias towards the deposed monarch than about Blount himself.8
Blount’s estates were forfeited to the Crown, but not for long, for the manor of Blatchington, Sussex, which he had held for life since 1393 after the death of the widow of his half-brother, Sir Edmund Fitzherbert*, now reverted to the latter’s heirs, while the manor of Kingston Blount, Oxfordshire, which he had leased from his father for £20 a year, was soon returned to the elder Sir Thomas. The property he had held in right of his wife, Joan, was restored to her in November 1401, after her marriage to Thomas Linford. As Blount left no issue, his heir was his brother, Hugh.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Misc. Gen. et. Her. (ser. 5), vii. 73-83, 319-20; CPL, iv. 495; CIPM, xi. 207; xvi. 425, 818-20.
- 2. Rot. Gasc. et Franc. ed. Carte, ii. 152.
- 3. CPR, 1370-4, p. 423; 1381-5, p. 197; CCR, 1374-7, p. 424; CP, xii. (pt. 2), 59.
- 4. E403/496 m. 6, 499 m. 20, 502 m. 9, 510 m. 29, 512 m. 1; CPR, 1385-9, pp. 33, 37, 39; EHR, lxxiii. 17; E101/68/10/249; C76/70 m. 16.
- 5. CIPM, xvi. 206; CCR, 1385-9, p. 360; CPR, 1388-92, p. 237; VCH Berks. iii. 401. CP, ii. 234 makes no mention of Isabel, presumably because she d.s.p. before her niece’s death in 1407.
- 6. E101/402/5 f. 31d.; CPR, 1388-92, p. 10; 1391-6, p. 473; R. Higden, Polychronicon ed. Lumby, ix. 116; T.F. Tout, Chapters, iv. 345; E403/533.
- 7. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 440; CIPM, xvi. 818-20.
- 8. CPR, 1396-9, p. 553; 1399-1401, p. 43; Chron. Traison et mort Ric. II ed. Williams, 77, 86-91; Wylie, Hen. IV, i. 92; E37/28; Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), 102.
- 9. CCR, 1392-6, p. 37; 1399-1402, p. 440; CIPM, xvi. 403; CFR, xii. 35, 40, 41; CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 194, 245, 313, 416, 475; CIMisc. vii. 40, 108, 129, 187; VCH Oxon. ix. 24-25; C137/14/59.