DETHICK, Sir William (d.1408/10), of Dethick and Radbourne, Derbys. and Mattersey, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1384
Jan. 1397

Family and Education

s. and h. of John Dethick (d. by c.1373) of Dethick and Mattersey. m. Alice, at least 7s. (1 d.v.p.). Kntd. by Oct. 1386.1

Offices Held

Collector of a tax, Derbys. Nov. 1377, Dec. 1384.

Commr. to make arrests, Derbys. June 1380, Feb. 1388, Nov. 1391; of oyer and terminer Nov. 1387 (attacks on the property of John of Gaunt); array June 1388; inquiry Nov. 1390 (upkeep of the highway at Baslow), Oct. 1395 (wastes at Bolsover castle).2

J.p. Derbys. 14 Apr. 1386-July 1389.


This MP belonged to a family which had lived at Dethick (whence it derived its name) from the mid 13th century onwards if not before. A number of his ancestors had been able to make lucrative marriages and thus extend their position as landowners; and William himself inherited a sizeable estate when his father died in about 1373. His patrimony comprised land in and around the villages of Mattersey, Lea, Dethick, Wakebridge and Tansley, then occupied by trustees holding to his use. At a later date, perhaps through marriage, he obtained further property in Radbourne and Mugginton; so that by 1402, when an inquisition ad quod damnum was held to see if he might alienate holdings worth £5 p.a. (recently acquired through an exchange with Peter de la Pole*) to Breadsall priory, his remaining possessions in Derbyshire alone were valued at £66 p.a.3

Although he became a trustee of land in Chesterfield in 1376 and was named as a local collector of the poll tax in the following year, little else is known about Dethick’s career before his appointment, in July 1380, as an attorney for William Fitzherbert, who was about to leave England in the retinue of Thomas of Woodstock, earl of Buckingham. Not long afterwards his activities as a feoffee-to-uses were extended to include estates in both Mattersey and the Derbyshire village of Rowsley; and in 1383 he again took charge of Fitzherbert’s affairs, this time while the latter took part in the ill-fated Flemish crusade of the bishop of Norwich. By the date of his first return to Parliament Dethick must have been a well-known, if not particularly outstanding, member of the local community; but over the next two years he obtained more substantial recognition in the form of a knighthood and a seat on the county bench. On the whole, however, his life passed without major incident until, in July 1394, he was arraigned at Derby on an assize of novel disseisin by the influential Nottinghamshire landowner, Sir William Chaworth. From then on he became increasingly preoccupied with litigation, suing a local woman for trespass in 1397, and bringing an action for debt against Sir John Daunesley a few months later. Neither defendant appeared in court, but both were able to escape the consequences of outlawry by securing royal pardons. Dethick was even less fortunate in his dealings with the Crown, for in March 1399 he and two others were arrested by the sheriff of Nottingham and conveyed as prisoners to the Tower of London. The reason for their detention is not known, although it is certainly worth noting that not too long before, in August 1398, Dethick had been accorded a royal pardon specifically for the support which he had given to the King’s former enemies, the Lords Appellant of 1388.