CHILDREY, Thomas (c.1350-1407), of Childrey, Berks.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Hants Nov. 1375 (goods wrongly escheated), July 1380 (homicide), Wilts. Mar. 1398 (estates forfeited by John, Lord Cobham), Berks. May 1400 (wastes on royal lordship of Crookham), Oxon. and Berks. June 1406 (concealments); array, Berks. Aug. 1378, Apr. 1385; oyer and terminer Apr. 1382, July 1388, May 1393; to reform administration of Amesbury priory May 1398; raise royal loans, Oxon., Berks. June 1406.
J.p. Berks. 6 Nov. 1377-May 1380, 15 July-Nov. 1389, 16 May 1401-d.
Escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 24 Oct. 1392-12 May 1394.
Steward of the estates of William of Wykeham, bp. of Winchester 21 Apr. 1400-c. Mar. 1405.2
Parliamentary commr. to audit the accts. of the treasurers of war June, Dec. 1406.3
Childrey’s father, a royal serjeant-at-law from 1362 to 1371, was advanced to the judiciary of the King’s bench in November 1371, only to die just three months later without taking up his duties. Thomas, who acted as an executor of Sir Edmund’s will, inherited his estates, which included manors in Childrey and Balsdon as well as property elsewhere in Berkshire at South Fawley and West Hagbourne, and land at Stokenchurch and South Leigh in Oxfordshire. Then, early in 1375 he came into some property at Sparsholt following the death of his aunt Margaret, and that same year he was quitclaimed land in Sulhampstead Bannister and Stratfield Mortimer by the widow of a kinsman, Edmund Childrey the younger.4 To these family estates Childrey added substantially as a consequence of his marriage. Although his wife Elizabeth’s background is obscure, she is known to have been coheir to a number of properties in and near the City of London, situated in the parishes of St. Mary Magdalen, Milk Street, and St. Mary Woolchurch, and in the suburbs outside Bishopsgate, and she may well also have owned the manors of Putteridge and Hockwell in Hertfordshire, which she held jointly with her husband. In 1390 the Childreys conveyed to trustees Elizabeth’s manor of Bayworth in Sunningwell, in order that it might be granted to Abingdon abbey for the purpose of maintaining a monk to celebrate mass on behalf of the then abbot, Peter Hanney. A few years later they acquired Upton Russells, which had previously belonged to Childrey’s brother-in-law, Sir Maurice Russell*. Altogether they could expect an annual income from their lands somewhat in excess of the £70 suggested by the jurors at Elizabeth’s post mortem.5
In July 1373, not long after he had come into his patrimony, Childrey received a bond in £200 from (Sir) Thomas de la Mare† of Berkshire, for reasons which remain unclear. He was already embarked on a career in the law, in which, although he never rivalled his father, he evidently reached a high professional standard. On occasion he was called upon to provide securities at the Exchequer or in Chancery on behalf of such clients from Berkshire as Sir Adam Louches, and in 1377 he served as proctor for Richard Denby, parson of Bromham, Wiltshire, who was then bound in a recognizance for 100 marks to renounce a canonry in the conventual church of Wherwell. This last transaction may have led indirectly to the lawsuit of six years later in which Childrey was sued by Sir John Roches* of Bromham for obtaining forged indentures expressly so that they might be produced in Chancery to delay the execution of a recognizance. In the meantime, he had acted as executor of the will of Roger Longe, citizen and vintner of London, a business which involved him in considerable litigation. Towards the end of 1389 he was made a feoffee of a moiety of the manor of Stoke sub Hamdon, Somerset (once owned by John, Lord Beauchamp of Hatch), most likely acting on behalf of Sir Matthew Gournay’s wife Philippa, whose uncle, Sir Gilbert Talbot*, was one of his most important clients. In 1394-5 Childrey looked after Talbot’s affairs at home in England during his absence with Richard II’s army in Ireland, and Sir Gilbert subsequently agreed to be godfather to one of the lawyer’s daughters.6
Childrey witnessed the grant to Richard II made in April 1399 by the archbishop of Canterbury, Roger Walden, of the manors of Steventon, Berkshire, and Westbury, Wiltshire, preparatory to the King’s donating them to Westminster abbey; but he is not known to have been connected with Walden personally. However, he was acquainted with William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, who not only appointed him as steward of all the estates of the bishopric in 1400, but also named him as an executor of his will in July 1403 (at the same time making him a bequest of silver vessels worth £50). The stewardship no doubt further enhanced Childrey’s standing in the locality, and when, in October 1402, Henry IV sent out letters requesting benevolences, Childrey was one of the two men to whom they were directed in Berkshire. The other was Laurence Drew, together with whom, while sitting in the Parliament of 1406, he was to be selected for the committee of six Members of the Commons nominated to audit the accounts of the treasurers of war, Thomas, Lord Furnival and (Sir) John Pelham*. In June 1407 Sir Fulk Pembridge* asked Childrey to take on the trusteeships of certain Trussell manors in Berkshire in order to safeguard the future interests of his widow, but his own death, just three months later, precluded him from ever doing so.7
In February 1405 Childrey had obtained a royal licence to entail the manor of Balsdon on his son Thomas and the latter’s issue. There is, however, no evidence that the settlement was ever concluded, and when Childrey died on 30 Oct. 1407 his heirs were found to be as follows: his eldest daughter, Elizabeth (b.c.1377), wife of Sir John Kingston; his grand daughter, Elizabeth, child of his second daughter, Joan, by her husband, Thomas Calston*; and his third daughter, Sibyl (b.1401). Childrey’s widow, who retained the bulk of his property in dower and jointure, married Sir Thomas de la Pole but lived on no more than four years, whereupon the estates were divided between the coheirs. Three future shire knights were to benefit from this arrangement: William Fynderne*, who married Elizabeth Kingston; William Darell†, who married Elizabeth Calston; and Thomas Beckingham*, who married Sibyl Childrey.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Chelrey, Chellerey, Cholrey.
- 1. CCR, 1364-8, pp. 461-3.
- 2. Reg. Wykeham (Hants Rec. Soc. 1896-9), ii. 498; Winchester Coll. muns. 4225; Hants RO, bp. of Winchester’s pipe roll 159409.
- 3. RP, iii. 577; CPR, 1405-8, p. 351.
- 4. Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxii), pp. xxxi, lvii, xcvi, xcvii; CIPM, xiii. 171; CChR, v. 191; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 115, 212; 1389-92, p. 317; VCH Berks. iv. 175, 210, 274.
- 5. C137/87/34; CP25(1)12/77/5; VCH Berks. iii. 283; iv. 425; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 423; VCH Herts. iii. 42.
- 6. CCR, 1369-74, p. 572; 1374-7, p. 471; 1377-81, pp. 105, 133; 1381-5, p. 296; CFR, ix. 36, 82; CPR, 1377-81, p. 388; 1388-92, pp. 157-8; 1391-6, pp. 476, 536; C138/35/55.
- 7. CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 319-20; 1405-8, p. 336; R. Lowth, Wm. of Wykeham, pp. xliii, xliv; E159/183 adhuc recorda Mich. rot. 4; PPC, ii. 74, 76.
- 8. CPR, 1401-5, p. 493; C137/66/28, 87/34; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 315-18; 1413-19, pp. 469-71; CFR, xiii. 233, 235-6.