CLIBURN, alias FRAUNCEYS, Robert (d.c.1396), of Cliburn and Bampton, Westmld.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of John Fraunceys (d. by 1359) of Cliburn. m.c.1361, Margaret, da. and h. of Roger Cundal (d. by 1366) of Bampton, at least 1s.1
Collector of taxes, Westmld. Nov. 1377, Mar., Dec. 1380, Dec. 1384, Dec. 1385.
Thanks to an entail of family property made by Robert Fraunceys of Cliburn in 1337, his third son, John, succeeded to the manor on the death of his elder brothers, who were childless. John himself died in or before 1359, when his own son and heir, Robert, the subject of this biography, brought a lawsuit against Sir Hugh Lowther for the recovery of certain lands and rents in Askham which he claimed as lord of Cliburn. At first Robert adopted the family name of Fraunceys, but before long he had assumed the toponymic of Cliburn, by which he is more generally known. In about 1361, he seized the opportunity to enlarge his possessions by marrying Margaret, daughter and heir presumptive of Roger Cundal, who owned the manors of Knipe, Bampton Cundal and Bampton Patrick, all of which lay a few miles to the south-west of Cliburn. At some point over the next five years Margaret came into her inheritance, and Robert’s position as a landowner improved accordingly. The survival of his father’s second wife, Margaret, meant that the sub-manor of Cliburn Hervey, which she held as dower, passed out of Cliburn’s hands into those of her new husband, John Warcop, so he must have welcomed these additional revenues all the more. Through his wife, Robert now became a feudal tenant of Roger, Lord Clifford (d.1389), who retained him formally in June 1369 at a fee of ten marks, payable for life from his manor of Winton in Westmorland.2
Meanwhile, in 1367, Robert brought a collusive suit at the Westmorland assizes to confirm his title to the rest of his late father’s estates in Cliburn. Three years later he served as a juror at the inquisition post mortem held at Appleby on William Lancaster’s widow, Aline, but for most of this period he seems to have lived quietly out of the public eye. He first assumed official responsibilities in 1377, as a royal tax collector in Westmorland, by which date he had become involved in the first of several lawsuits with neighbouring landowners. John Preston began by suing him for arrears of rent totalling 43s.4d.; and not long afterwards he was accused by William Hornby of forcibly removing various goods and two boxes of deeds from his home at Whinfell. In 1379 he himself brought an action of trespass against John Strickland of Melkinthorpe, who had allegedly stolen crops and underwood from the demesnes at Cliburn. All this litigation probably involved some visits to the lawcourts at Westminster, and Robert may thus have been less reluctant than other members of the Westmorland gentry to represent his county in Parliament. At all events, he sat three times in the Lower House between 1383 and 1386, and may already have embarked on another round of actions for debt, which still preoccupied him, along with the repeated demands of John Preston, until well into the next decade.3
By now a fairly wealthy man, Robert was able to build a tower at Cliburn for defence against the Scots. He also married his son, John, to Margaret, the daughter of Hugh Salkeld I*, settling upon them various properties in and around Bampton, which, in October 1392, he guaranteed with a promise of rents worth £2 a year in the event of any problems over tenure. A suit brought by him against Sir William Curwen*, for the non-payment of rents in Bampton, shows that he was still alive in 1395, although he probably died soon afterwards, as his wife’s estates passed into the hands of trustees at some point over the next three years.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Clibborne, Clyburn.
- 1. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. viii. 279, 312-13. The pedigree of the Cliburn family in the Middle Ages (ibid. n.s. xxviii. 184-7) is extremely confused and inaccurate, although a series of deeds (pp. 233-6) provides clear evidence of this MP’s ancestry.
- 2. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. viii. 279, 212-13; n.s. xxviii. 187-8, 233-6; CIPM, xvi. no. 837; CPR, 1367-70, p. 284.
- 3. Later Recs. N. Westmld. ed. Curwen, 287, 294; Recs. Kendale ed. Farrer and Curwen, ii. 206; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. x. 485; n.s. xxviii. 187-9.
- 4. Later Recs. N. Westmld. 293; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. viii. 279, 312-13; n.s. xxviii. 250-2.