COWBRIDGE (COUBRIGGE), Geoffrey, of Marston Meysey, Wilts. and Down Ampney, Glos.
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Family and Education
Probably a member of the lesser gentry, and sometimes described as a husbandman, Cowbridge is first heard of in 1414, when he attended the election at Wilton of the Wiltshire knights of the shire to the second Parliament of that year. In July 1415 he may well have been in trouble with the government, for at that time a royal commission was ordered to arrest ‘one Coubrigge’, with Walter Charlton and Robert Newman* (both from north Wiltshire) and bring them immediately before the King in person. The nature of their offence is not known, but if Geoffrey Cowbridge was the person meant, it did not prevent him from attending the Wiltshire election in October following.1
Though he apparently lived two or three miles north of Cricklade, Cowbridge was a proper burgess of the town, holding, as he did, a burgage tenement there, for which, in 1425, he was paying 2s. annual rent. At the same time he was also leasing, from Queen Joan, widow of Henry IV, and for £20 a year, the manor of Marston Meysey, and while resident there he was pardoned a sentence of outlawry in 1428, following his failure to answer a plea of debt for £4 owing to William Darell†, then sheriff of Wiltshire. In 1433, now described as of Down Ampney (a village adjacent to Marston Meysey), he received a similar pardon, this time following litigation over a debt of £24 owing to Queen Joan and John Foxholes, who had been her receiver-general when Cowbridge had originally leased Marston Meysey. Cowbridge was to be summoned to Chancery in about 1440 to answer the petition of Agnes, widow of Robert Andrew II*, who alleged that he had illegally put her out of certain properties in Cricklade and Chelworth.2