CALVELEY, Hugh (d.1393), of Calveley and Mottram St. Andrew, Cheshire.
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Family and Education
s. of David Calveley of Calveley and Mottram St. Andrew by his w. Agnes; nephew of Sir Hugh Calveley the elder (d.1394) of Bunbury, Cheshire, governor of the Channel Isles. m. c.1381, Agnes, da. and h. of Sir Laurence Hauberk† (d.1381), of Stapleford, Leics. by Margaret, da. and coh. of Roger Cheyne of Salop, 2s. Kntd. between June 1386 and Nov. 1390.1
The subject of this biography came of a long-established Cheshire family, which numbered among its members two of the most celebrated English commanders of the Hundred Years’ War, Sir Hugh Calveley and Sir Robert Knolles. Thus, although he inherited a substantial estate in Calveley and Mottram St. Andrew, and could easily have lived the life of a country gentleman, the young Hugh Calveley had every incentive to become a soldier. His uncle, after whom he was named, made a fortune out of the profits of war, and it was no doubt with the same aim in view that, in the spring of 1380, he obtained royal letters of protection preparatory to his departure overseas as an esquire in the service of the Crown. He may have spent the next few years abroad, for no more is heard of him until the summer of 1385, when he took part in Richard II’s futile campaign against the Scots. His return as Member for Rutland to the next Parliament probably owed a good deal to his cousin, Sir John Calveley*, who was then under sheriff, and thus in a strong position to influence the county elections. His link with Sir John had been strengthened by the latter’s recent marriage to his wife’s mother, Margaret, which gave them a common interest in the fate of the Hauberk estates. One of the most striking features of the parliamentary representation of Rutland during this period is its domination by a small group of knights and esquires from Cheshire, including Sir Hugh Browe*, whose wife was Margaret’s child by her first husband, Sir Christopher Folville. Yet the Calveleys and Browe did own property in the county at this time, Hugh Calveley being himself lord of the manor of Barrow in Cottesmore, albeit through marriage rather than inheritance.2
By June 1386, if not before, Calveley had established a connexion with John of Gaunt, whom he then accompanied on his expedition to claim the throne of Castile. Just before leaving Plymouth for Spain he and several other members of Gaunt’s retinue gave evidence in the dispute between Richard, Lord Scrope, and Sir Robert Grosvenor over their respective entitlement to wear the same coat of arms. Like Sir Hugh Browe, he pronounced in favour of Grosvenor, whose family had long been associated with his own in the palatinate of Chester. Calveley certainly had need of powerful friends, for the death of his wife’s grandmother, Alice Hauberk, in 1392, gave rise to an acrimonious dispute over the ownership of the manor of Scalford in Leicestershire which was to preoccupy him until his death. By December of that year John Hauberk, the rival claimant, had arraigned Calveley and his wife on an assize of novel disseisin at Leicester, while they, too, were suing him elsewhere. As the third husband of Sir Laurence Hauberk’s widow, Sir John Calveley was also anxious to secure a share of the spoils, and he later appeared with Hugh as a co-defendant at the Leicester assizes. Both parties eventually agreed to accept the arbitration of John of Gaunt and other members of the royal council, but Gaunt’s absence overseas, no less than the inability of the other arbitrators to reach a satisfactory award, led the Crown to intervene. On 18 June following, the Calveleys were given custody of all the goods and chattels in the manor, as well as an assignment of the revenues, but the property itself remained in the hands of the sheriff pending a final settlement of the dispute at law. Not until July 1396 were Hugh’s widow and Sir John Calveley (who was then looking after the family estates), finally successful in gaining control of the manor.3
Our Member remained on close terms with his eminent uncle and namesake, whose estates he stood to inherit. In September 1389, for example, the two men offered joint securities of 50 marks to one Robert Foulehurst of Eldeston in Acton, Cheshire. Shortly before his death, which occurred at the end of June 1393, Calveley settled certain land in the Cheshire village of Hoole upon his uncle, who, although then fairly advanced in years, survived him briefly to become the guardian of his two young sons and their estates. David, the elder boy, succeeded to most of the great commander’s property in April 1394, but since he died a minor in the wardship of Sir Robert Leigh, his brother, Hugh, eventually took possession of this double inheritance. The widowed Agnes Calveley, who married Robert Sherard* before the autumn of 1396, obtained a new dower settlement when Hugh came of age in July 1408. Most of her own possessions eventually passed to the Sherards.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Calverley, Calvylegh.
- 1. Scrope v. Grosvenor, ii. 226; CCR, 1389-92, p. 178. Because of a mistake over the dating of the regnal year 17 Ric. II, both G. Ormerod (Palatine and City of Chester ed. Helsby ii. 263, 419, 764-8) and the DNB (iii. 714-15) state that Sir Hugh Calveley the elder died on 23 Apr. 1393. In fact, he died exactly one year later, and was active as a campaigner during the summer of 1393 (DKR, xxxvi. 523). Because our Member predeceased his distinguished uncle, the same error is invariably made in establishing his own date of death.
- 2. Scrope v. Grosvenor, ii. 226; Rot. Franc. et Gasc. ed. Carte, ii. 131; C219/8/12; VCH Rutland, ii. 123; J. Nichols, Leics. ii. 352.