BUTLER, Sir Andrew (d.1430), of Great Waldingfield, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Oct. 1404
May 1421

Family and Education

s. of Thomas Butler of Bulmer, Essex and Great Waldingfield by Margaret, gdda. and h. of John Carbonel (d.1333) of Newton and Chilton, Suff. m. bef. Apr. 1401, Katherine (d.1460/1), da. of William Phelip of Dennington, Suff. by Juliana, da. of Sir Robert Erpingham† of Erpingham, Norf., and sis. of Sir William* and Sir John Phelip*, s.p. legit., 1da. prob. illegit. Kntd. bef. Mar. 1401.

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Suff. July 1405, June 1421; to supervise musters, Kent July 1410; of inquiry, Suff., Essex June 1422 (post mortem).

Dep. constable of Dover Castle and warden of the Cinque Ports to Sir Thomas Epringham c. Nov. 1406-Feb. 1409, and to Henry, prince of Wales Feb. 1409-c. Mar. 1413.

Escheator, Norf. and Suff. 10 Nov. 1413-12 Nov. 1414.

Sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 10 Nov. 1417-4 Nov. 1418.

J.p. Suff. 24 July 1424-d.

Biography

From his father Butler inherited property at Bulmer, just inside the Essex border, while through his mother he was heir to the Carbonel manors of Newton, Chilton and Great Waldingfield as well as to holdings at Acton, Great Welnetham, Wix and Mistley. His lands thus formed a unit on the border of Suffolk and Essex. His mother was still living in February 1394 when she obtained royal confirmation of charters of free warren granted to one of her ancestors, but Butler came into his inheritance within the next seven years.1

Butler’s career began as an esquire in the household of Richard II: he served with two mounted archers in the King’s retinue in Ireland from September 1394 until April 1395, and he continued to wear Richard’s livery at least until the autumn of 1396.2 His sympathies at the time of the King’s deposition are not known, but his subsequent commitment to the house of Lancaster is perfectly understandable, given his marriage, in about 1401, to Katherine Phelip. She was a niece of Sir Thomas Erpingham, who had been handsomely rewarded with appointment to important royal offices after sharing Bolingbroke’s exile, and whose interests were dependent on the survival of the Lancastrian dynasty. Butler’s brothers-in-law, William and John Phelip, with whom he was always closely associated, similarly acquired their fortunes in Lancastrian service. By the summer of 1401, when settlements of Butler’s estates were made on him and his wife, he could call on many prominent figures from the ranks of the gentry of East Anglia to help formalize the transactions: the 20 or so feoffees included at least ten sometime knights of the shire for Norfolk, Suffolk or Essex.3

Butler was probably knighted soon after the accession of Henry IV, and by 3 Aug. 1402, when he was granted an annuity of 40 marks at the Exchequer, he had been made a ‘King’s knight’. This annuity continued to be paid even though he failed to furfil his obligation to accompany Henry’s army into Wales in the following year. Naturally he came into contact with others attached to the royal household: in 1403 he provided securities at the Exchequer for Sir Ralph Rochford, a knight of the chamber, and when returned to Parliament for the first time a year later it was in the company of Sir John Strange, chief usher of the King’s hall.4 At the beginning of the reign Erpingham had been elevated to the prestigious posts of constable of Dover castle and warden of the Cinque Ports, but it was possibly not until November 1406 that he made Butler his deputy in these offices, the former deputy, Sir Robert Berney*, being then appointed sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. On Erpingham’s behalf, Sir Andrew completed the returns for the Cinque Ports to the Parliament summoned to meet in October 1407, and when the prince of Wales succeeded Erpingham in 1409 he was retained to continue discharging the warden’s duties. He may well have carried on serving the prince as deputy at Dover until his accession to the throne; at all events, there was no clash of interests between Henry of Monmouth and the Erpingham circle — Sir Thomas was in receipt of an annuity of £100 from the prince and was to be made steward of the royal household immediately after Henry’s accession in 1413, while Butler’s brother-in-law John Phelip was one of the new King’s personal friends. In the meantime, Butler had secured election to Parliament in 1410 when the prince and the Beauforts had charge of the government, and it is of interest to note that several of his well-wishers were present at the shire court to attest his return: his brother-in-law William Phelip, his trustees John Rookwood and Gilbert Debenham*, and his future executor Robert Rous.5

Among the feoffees of Butler’s estates, as named in conveyances made in 1414 and 1417, were such leading members of the local gentry as Sir Simon Felbrigg KG, Sir John Howard*, the two Sir Richard Waldegraves (the son and grandson of their namesake the former Speaker), William Swinburne*, Robert Tey*, Richard Baynard* and William Rookwood*.6 In his turn, Butler came to the assistance of his neighbours and friends in their private dealings: he acted as an executor of the wills of Sir Robert Tye (d.1414), a kinsman of his wife, and John Rookwood (d.c.1422), and as trustee of the estates of Rookwood’s half-brother William, and of Robert Tey. In November 1418 Sir William Phelip, then engaged at the siege of Rouen, nominated him to serve as his proxy for his installation at Windsor as a Knight of the Garter. Butler remained on good terms with Sir William as he rose to prominence at the courts of Henry V and Henry VI: he acted as feoffee of his property in Norwich, stood surety for him at the Exchequer and was made his co-executor of Sir Thomas Erpingham’s will in 1428.7

Sir Andrew drew up his own will on 12 Dec. 1429. He wished to be buried close to an image of St. Mary Magdalen in the collegiate church of St. Gregory at Sudbury, and left gifts of money to this church and to the churches of Newton, Chilton and Great Waldingfield. To the friars of Colchester, Ipswich, Clare and Sudbury he gave five marks each for prayers for his soul, and he stipulated that 200 masses should be said for him as soon as possible after his death. Butler evidently maintained a large household: his wife’s waiting-women were to have 20s. between them, his squires 20s. each and his grooms 6s.8d. each, while the servants were to have his clothes. The supervisors of the will were named as Sir William Phelip and Sir John Howard. Two days later Butler set down his scheme for the disposal of his estates. His widow Katherine was to have Great Waldingfield, Chilton and Newton for life, in accordance with the arrangement made at the time of their marriage. If God should send Sir Andrew a son, he was then to succeed, and if a daughter she was to have Chilton and Newton. From the sale of his manor in Bulmer 100 marks was to go to Butler’s daughter Margery (who was presumably illegitimate) and 100 marks to the college of seculars at Sudbury who were to hold him and his wife in perpetual remembrance. If his manors were sold, the profits were to be used to find two priests for seven years ‘syngyng for the sowles of me and my frendys’, and further gifts were to be made to the poor and needy on his lands. His feoffees were instructed to free all the bondmen belonging to his manors. Butler died a year later, on 10 Dec. 1430, and his will was proved at Norwich on the 30th. His hopes for a male heir were not fulfilled, for he was found to have left no legitimate issue. His daughter, Margery, married William Crane of Stowmarket, and after Katherine Butler’s death some of the Butler lands passed to her descendants.8 Katherine survived Sir Andrew by 30 years. She received bequests under the terms of the wills of her brother William, newly created Lord Bardolf, in 1438, and her sister-in-law Joan, Lady Bardolf, in 1447. Her own testaments were dated in January and June 1460, and she died shortly before 30 Jan. 1461, the date of probate.9

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger

Notes

  • 1. CIPM, vii. 502; J. Copinger, Suff. Manors, i. 71, 176; Procs. Suff. Inst. Arch. ix. 266; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 379, 383; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 395.
  • 2. E101/402/20, f. 76, 403/10, f. 44d.
  • 3. Bodl. Chs. Suff. 422-3, 1380; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 392; Harl. Ch. 49 D37.
  • 4. CPR, 1401-5, p. 115; CFR, xii. 202; Cal. Signet Letters ed. Kirby, no. 173.
  • 5. C219/10/4, 5; CPR, 1408-13, p. 212.
  • 6. Bodl. Chs. 428-9; CCR, 1429-35,