COGGESHALL, Thomas (d.1402), of New Hall in Boreham, Great Baddow and Sandon, Essex.
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Family and Education
yr. s. of Sir John Coggeshall† of Codham Hall and Coggeshall, Essex, prob. by his 1st w. Margaret, sis. and h. of Humphrey Staunton of Alresford, Essex; uncle of Sir William*. m. bef. Mich. 1382, Margaret (d. 28 Feb. 1419), wid. of Sir Hugh Baddow† of Great Baddow, 1s.
J.p. Essex 10 Nov. 1389-July 1397, 28 Nov. 1399-d.
Escheator, Essex and Herts. 2 Jan.-14 Dec. 1392.
Commr. of inquiry, Essex Jan. 1393 (entail of de Vere estates); to examine the condition of Colchester abbey following the bp. of London’s visitation Jan. 1393; of gaol delivery, Rayleigh Oct. 1393; to treat for payment of a fine of £2,000, Essex, Herts. Dec. 1397; of array, Essex Dec. 1399, July 1402; oyer and terminer Nov. 1400; to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402.
Sheriff, Essex and Herts. 18 Dec. 1393-11 Nov. 1394, 19-30 Sept. 1399.
Member of Henry IV’s council 1 Nov. 1399-d.
Thomas came from one of the most influential gentry families of Essex. His father represented the shire in Parliament six times, served several terms as escheator and sheriff and, before his death in 1361, was knighted by the Black Prince; and Thomas’s elder brother Sir Henry†, who then inherited the Coggeshall estates, sat for Essex in 1363 and 1373. By 1360 Thomas had acquired land in Broomfield, and in 1373 he and his brother conveyed certain family properties in Norfolk to Sir Thomas Shardelowe† in exchange for the manor of New Hall in Boreham, and lands in Little Baddow, Springfield, Little Waltham and Hatfield Peverel, all of which Thomas subsequently took as his own. Sir Henry was at that time seriously in debt, owing as much as £1,000, and on his deathbed in 1375 he charged the trustees of his estates to sell certain holdings in order to pay his creditors and support his children. Thomas, who now by his brother’s demise obtained the manor of Little Baddow in tail male, did what he could for Sir Henry’s immediate family by purchasing the wardship of the heir, his elder nephew William, from Edmund of Langley, earl of Cambridge, to whom it had been granted by the Crown. It may have been in order to reimburse him for that or other financial transactions made on his behalf that in 1382 the nephew paid him 200 marks.1
Coggeshall’s marriage brought him substantial landed holdings, for his wife’s dower from Sir Hugh Baddow included the manor of Great Baddow and lands in Writtle, Sandon and Hanningfield, of which he secured possession after negotiation with Eleanor, wife of William Baret* of London (who was probably Baddow’s daughter). In 1392 his feoffees granted certain of these premises in mortmain to provide daily services in Great Baddow church for the welfare of Coggeshall and his wife and for the soul of her former husband.2
Coggeshall formed an attachment which was to last for the rest of his life, when, in about 1372, he and his brother joined the retinue of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, for service in France. Also of this company was John Gildesburgh*, who thereafter became intimately involved in the affairs of the Coggeshall family. Indeed, most of the Essex knights and esquires with whom Thomas Coggeshall was well acquainted appear to have been aligned with the de Bohun family, and this was clearly an important influence on the course of his career. After the earl’s death in 1373 Coggeshall remained in the circle attached to the widowed countess Joan, and he stayed close to her until his own death nearly 30 years later, evidently inspiring her trust and affection. In January 1380 Alice, widow of John, Lord Neville (d.1358), enfeoffed Coggeshall and others of the countess’s affinity — such as the lawyer Robert Rykedon — of the property known as ‘The Leadenhall’ in London, along with the advowsons of five city churches. They were probably acting on behalf of the countess, to whom belonged the reversion of all of Lord Neville’s estates. That April Countess Joan granted Coggeshall a reversionary interest in the manor of Great Totham, Essex, of which Lady Neville was also tenant for life; two years later he conveyed it back to the countess and other trustees, and in 1387 they sold it for 200 marks to John, Lord Bourgchier, the husband of Coggeshall’s sister, Elizabeth. Also of that circle and well-known to Coggeshall were Sir Richard Waldegrave*, John Doreward*, Sir Thomas Mandeville† and Sir William Berland†. In 1386 Coggeshall was party to transactions regarding three manors in Essex, in which, besides the countess and her brothers Thomas Arundel, bishop of Ely, and Richard, earl of Arundel, were also involved Waldegrave, Berland and Gildesburgh.3
It may be safely presumed that by the time Coggeshall was first elected to Parliament in February 1388 he was known personally to the Countess Joan’s son-in-law Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester. Indeed, as a royal pardon he purchased some ten years later indicates, he had joined the forces of the duke in December for their march on London to seize power from the King and his favourites. His fellow shire knight and friend Gildesburgh was of Gloucester’s affinity, too, and it seems clear that both men were returned in the duke’s interest in order that they might lend him and the other Lords Appellant support in the Commons. Such a connexion accounts for Coggeshall’s election despite his lack of experience of local government. After this — the Merciless Parliament — his attachment to Gloucester and the duke’s adherents became even closer: among his co-feoffees of Gildesburgh’s estates in 1389 was the duke’s chancellor, Thomas Feriby; and in 1394 Gloucester himself made him a trustee of certain lands in Sussex. In February 1395, during Coggeshall’s second Parliament, he was named by the duke to serve as one of his attorneys during his absence in Ireland. (John Doreward, for whom Coggeshall was currently acting as a feoffee and with whom he was then sitting in the Commons, was similarly appointed.) That October Coggeshall was among those to whom Gloucester granted the wardship of the estates of his late son-in-law, Thomas, earl of Stafford. Finally, in July 1396, Coggeshall witnessed the grant by the duke and duchess which completed the endowment of their college of priests at Pleshey.4
During the 1390s Coggeshall was party to many transactions concerning property in Essex. He appeared as a feoffee of the estates of Sir Richard Sutton, whose sister was married to his nephew Bartholomew, Lord Bourgchier; he assisted Sir Richard Waldegrave in his conveyances and he witnessed deeds for Sir William Bourgchier*, another of Gloucester’s retainers. Along with the Countess Joan and others of her circle he acquired five manors which, as part of the Orreby estates, had descended to John de la Mare of London after the death of Mary, Lady Roos of Helmsley, and this involved them in litigation with rival claimants. Before 1393 he and his co-feoffees sold ‘The Leadenhall’ for 1,200 marks to the famous condottiere, Sir John Hawkwood (father-in-law of Coggeshall’s nephew, Sir William); and Sir John evidently trusted Coggeshall to take care of his other interests while he was in Italy, for he sent him letters instructing him in the event of his death abroad to sell some of his properties, establish certain religious foundations, and provide for his widow and son. In June 1397 Coggeshall was associated with the dean of St. Paul’s, Thomas Eure, in the purchase from the Crown of the reversion of a manor in Cold Norton, forfeited by judgement of the Merciless Parliament against the King’s favourite, Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford.5
Coggeshall and his fellow adherents of the duke of Gloucester found themselves in a perilous position in July 1397 when their lord was arrested and taken to Calais. On 28 Aug. he and Doreward both made loans to Richard II of 100 marks each, undoubtedly doing so under pressure from the King and Council. Gloucester’s estates were forfeited in the Parliament which assembled a month later, and about the same time Coggeshall and his fellow feoffees of the duke’s lands in Sussex were required to convey them to Guy Mone, who was shortly to be made keeper of the privy seal. In October Coggeshall had to provide securities that he would not harm one John Gladewyne in their dispute over property. In adversity, Gloucester’s retainers supported one another: Sir Gerard Braybrooke II* stood surety for Coggeshall, and a month later the latter himself provided guarantees for the good behaviour of William Marney* (another of the circle of Countess Joan of Hereford). Clearly recognizing the danger of his situation, Coggeshall purchased a royal pardon which granted him specific indemnity for his actions in support of the Appellants of 1387-8. He was subsequently required to serve on the commission ordered to raise £2,000 from the commonalties of Essex and Hertfordshire, a thinly disguised fine for local sympathy for the murdered duke of Gloucester. The King with some justification long retained doubts of Coggeshall’s loyalty: in April 1398 he was among the 30 or so prominent individuals ordered under penalty of £200 each to come before the Council for examination. A month later he purchased yet another pardon, and not long afterwards he renounced all claim to repayment of his loan to the King.6
There can be no doubt that Coggeshall welcomed with relief Richard’s deposition and the accession of Henry of Bolingbroke (the former son-in-law to the Countess Joan). He was returned to the Parliament which acclaimed Henry as King, and on 1 Nov. along with his fellow shire knight John Doreward, then acting as Speaker, he was made a member of the new King’s Council. Both men were to receive annual salaries of 100 marks. Thereafter, Coggeshall occasionally attended council meetings, and he was also among those summoned from Essex to the great council of August 1401.7 His new standing made him even more popular as a feoffee-to-uses: Aubrey de Vere, earl of Oxford, enlisted his assistance to set up trusts for his wife and children; and in 1400 his fellow councillor, Thomas, Lord Morley, employed him for transactions concerning the manor of Walkerne in Hertfordshire. Morley had been attached to Gloucester, too, and in the Parliament of 1399 had accused the earl of Salisbury of betraying the duke.8
Coggeshall did not live to enjoy his rise to prominence for much longer. He died shortly before December 1402, leaving a son, Thomas, as his heir. In 1408 the countess of Hereford and several of his old friends joined in making a donation to St. Mary’s abbey, Coggeshall, for the maintenance of a monk who would pray for his soul and for the welfare of his widow, Margaret. The latter died in 1419 followed by the younger Thomas in 1422, whereupon the wardship and marriage of the new heir were purchased by a syndicate which included such notable figures as Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, John Leventhorpe*, Lewis John*, Robert Darcy* and Richard Baynard*.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 4, 34, 43, 95, 127; CIPM, viii. 444; xi. 52; xiv. 104; P. Morant, Essex, ii. 14, 26; CPR, 1374-7, pp. 188, 369; CIMisc. v. 319; CCR, 1381-5, p. 101; E42/46, 105, 153.
- 2. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 197, 207, 244; CFR, xiv. 306; CCR, 1381-5, p. 219; 1385-9, pp. 423, 425-6; CPR, 1391-6, p. 130.
- 3. E101/32/20; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 334, 342; 1377-81, p. 373; 1381-5, pp. 98, 225, 394, 449; 1385-9, pp. 116, 420, 425; CP, ix. 486; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 203; Corporation of London RO, hr 108/85, 87.
- 4. A. Goodman, Loyal Conspiracy, 43, 97, 99; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 638, 645; 1392-6, pp. 238, 254, 258, 493; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 512, 533; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 220; R. Gough, Hist. Pleshey, app. p. 88.
- 5. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 219; CPR, 1396-9, pp. 2, 149; CCR, 1392-6, p. 398; 1396-9, pp. 57, 265; Corporation of London RO, hr 124/6; C66/345 m. 3d; CP, x. 174-5; Cal. P. and M. London, 1381-1412, pp. 258, 308-9.
- 6. CPR, 1396-9, pp. 179, 207; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 220, 277; Bull. IHR, xli. 6; C67/30 mm. 3, 23.
- 7. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 76; CFR, xii. 28; TRHS, (ser. 5), xiv. 43, 61; PPC, i. 158, 163; E404/16/550.
- 8. G.A. Holmes, Estates of Higher Nobility, 53, 131-3; CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 196, 307-8.
- 9. CPR, 1401-5, p. 180; 1405-8, p. 389; CCR, 1409-13, p. 170; CFR, xiv. 273, 306, 437; C138/38/34.