DAUBENEY, Giles (1370/1-1403), of Kempston, Beds. and South Petherton, Som.
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Family and Education
b.1370/1, s. and h. of Sir Giles Daubeney† (d. 24 June 1386) of Kempston and South Petherton by his w. Eleanor (d. 6 Aug. 1400), da. of Sir Henry Willington (d.1349) of Fawton, Cornw. and Umberleigh, Devon. m. prob. by 1392, Margaret (d. 30 June 1420), poss. da. of Sir John Beauchamp, 3s. inc. Giles,† 3da. Kntd. Oct. 1399.1
(Collector and controller of a tax, Beds. Mar. 1404.)2
The house of Daubeney was an ancient and distinguished one, and the subject of this biography belonged to a branch of the family which settled at South Ingleby, Lincolnshire, while retaining the siegneury of Landal in Brittany. Sir Elias Daubeney, Giles’s great-grandfather, was created Lord Daubeney in 1295, although none of his immediate descendants held this title, and it was not until 1486 that the family was again elevated to the ranks of the peerage. Even so, Lord Daubeney’s successors were rich and influential landowners who continued both through marriage and investment to build up a complex of estates spread across southern England. Giles’s father, for example, bought the manor of Kempston and thus, in 1379 became sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, as well as representing Somerset (where much of his property lay) in at least three Parliaments. At the time of his death, which took place in 1386 on his Somerset manor of Barrington, Sir Giles Daubeney the elder left his son an impressive inheritance which also comprised the manors of South Petherton and Chillington in the same county, and of Polruan, Fawton, Essey and Trenay in St. Neots together with the bailiwick of the hundred of West in Cornwall. The above-mentioned manor of South Ingleby was, however, still charged with an annuity of 50 marks, payable to Mary, the widow of Sir Ralph Daubeney (Giles’s grandfather), who had previously agreed to surrender her dowry in return for a fixed pension. Mary was then married to Sir John Bussy*, who rose in the late 1390s to become one of the chief agents of Richard II’s absolutist policies, although the young Giles Daubeney showed no inclination to make use of either this or any of the other connexions at his disposal. Dower had also to be assigned his mother, Eleanor, who lived on for another 14 years, retaining one-third of the Daubeney estates. According to the inquisitions held on her death, in 1400, this third was said to produce just £40 a year, but other, more reliable, sources reveal that she received almost £50 p.a. in rents from the South Petherton area alone. Three years later Giles’s entire patrimony was even more seriously undervalued: the figure of £110 p.a. then set upon it seems particularly unrealistic when compared with the Somerset tax returns of 1412, at which date the family’s (unchanged) holdings in just this one county were worth at least £120 a year. Consequently, whatever the precise value of his inheritance, we can safely regard this MP as one of the richest men to represent Bedfordshire in Parliament during our period, even though his mother was still in possession of her dower when he first entered the Lower House.3
Daubeney was still a minor at the time of his father’s death, and for the next six years the wardship of his estates and person was farmed out by the Crown to a variety of people. Sir Giles had only been dead for two days when the King’s esquire, Thomas Lee II*, received the boy’s marriage as a gift. In the following October, Margaret, countess of Devon, offered a cash sum of £100 and promised to pay an additional rent of £60 p.a. for the farm of all the property in Somerset not already held as dower by the recently-widowed Eleanor Daubeney. Four months afterwards, in February 1387, John, Lord Montagu, became keeper of two-thirds of the Daubeney estates in Cornwall; and exactly one year later Eleanor herself took on the lease of the manor of South Ingleby while her son remained under age. A dispute immediately arose as to whether the late Sir Giles had settled this property upon feoffees, but Eleanor was unable to avoid meeting the annuity which, as we have seen, was then claimed by Mary Bussy. The upkeep and support of the heir himself seems to have merited rather less attention, and in December 1390 Richard II gave Giles £20 from the issues of his lands towards his expenses. This sum was evidently inadequate, for a few weeks later the King made him a second grant of the countess of Devon’s yearly rent of £60 so that he might maintain a reasonable standard of living. Giles claimed to have reached his majority in November 1391, but since his actual date of birth was also a matter of some contention, he was obliged to pay the Crown a token fine of 20 marks for special livery of his estates.4
Although he was blessed both with considerable wealth and a range of influential connexions, Daubeney seems either to have avoided or else to have been deliberately excluded from the administrative offices and responsibilities which would, in the normal course of events, have fallen to his lot. He performed no public service other than sitting in the two Parliaments of 1395 and 1401; and, paradoxically, the one royal commission ever to be addressed to him was issued in error several months after his death. Whatever interest he may have shown in the affairs of neighbouring landowners did not evidently extend to active participation as a witness, mainpernor or trustee: and we are thus left with very few scraps of evidence about his personal life. In July 1396 he settled his Cornish estates upon a group of feoffees, including his two brothers, Thomas and William. The former was later chosen by him to execute his will, while in November 1397 he granted the latter an annuity of ten marks, payable for life from the manor of South Petherton. Giles was almost 30 years old when Henry of Bolingbroke seized the English throne. That he supported the Lancastrian usurpation tacitly if not actively is clear from his inclusion among the 46 knights dubbed by Bolingbroke on the eve of his coronation, but he did not otherwise derive much benefit from the change of regime. His will, which he drew up on 1 June 1400 while his mother was still alive, reveals a close personal connexion with Bedfordshire, and suggests that he spent most of his time at Kempston, where he wished to be buried. He left £5 for repairs to the local church, and a further £25 for the celebration of masses there. Each of his five younger children were to receive 40 marks in cash, while his executors were enjoined to set aside the rest of his estate for the compensation of ‘all men complaining that they had harm or injury’ from either his father, mother or himself. He lived on for another two years, during which time his mother died, leaving him briefly in possession of the remaining third of the Daubeney estates. His own death occurred on 22 Aug. 1403, when his eldest son, John, was said to be just over nine years old.5 For the second time in 17 years, the Crown intervened to assert its rights of wardship; and in less than a week Henry IV made his queen, Joan of Navarre, keeper of the land, marriage and person of the next heir. John died in September 1409, shortly after a marriage had been arranged between him and Elizabeth, the daughter of Roger, late Lord Scrope of Bolton. He was succeeded by his younger brother Giles, who proved his age in 1416 and subsequently took as his first wife a younger daughter of Philip, Lord Darcy. The widowed Margaret Daubeney meanwhile discharged her duties as executrix of her late husband’s will. In 1411 she paid 50 marks for a royal licence to marry again at will, although we do not know if she ever did so. Like his father before him, Giles Daubeney lost a substantial part of his revenues through the allocation of dowries, for although his mother died in 1420, his widowed sister-in-law lived on until 1440 retaining her share of the family estates.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CP, iv. 93-100; C137/14/54, 35/23; C138/50/83; CIPM, ix. no. 218; xvi. nos. 364-74; Som. Rec. Soc. xvi. 4-5; Chrons. London ed. Kingsford, 48.
- 2. This commission was issued posthumously.
- 3. CP, iv. 93-98; C137/14/54, 35/23; C143/328/6; VCH Beds. iii. 298-9; CIPM, xvi. nos. 364-74, 680; Feudal Aids, vi. 506; CPR, 1358-61, p. 138; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 171-2, 514; 1399-1402, pp. 169-70.
- 4. CPR, 1385-9, pp. 223, 553; 1388-92, p. 355; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 251, 410, 526-7; CFR, x. 153, 171, 281; CIPM, xvi. nos. 364-74.
- 5. C137/14/54, 35/23; Som. Rec. Soc. xvi. 4-5; Chrons. London, 48; CPR, 1396-9, p. 263; CFR, xii. 74-75; CC