DINGLEY, Robert II (c.1377-1456), of Wolverton, Hants.
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Family and Education
b.c.1377, 1st. s. of Robert Dingley I*. m. by 1415, Joan, da. of Sir Bernard Brocas of Beaurepaire, Hants, 2s. 3da.
Commr. of inquiry, Hants Feb. 1421 (disseisin), Hants, Wilts., Oxon., Berks. July 1427, Hants July 1439 (concealments); to assess contributions to a subsidy Apr. 1431; of oyer and terminer Nov. 1433; array May 1435, Jan. 1436, Mar. 1443, Sept. 1449; gaol delivery, Winchester castle Nov. 1442, July 1445; sewers, Berks. Feb. 1452.
Verderer, Pamber forest, Hants bef. Nov. 1433.
Sheriff, Hants 3 Nov. 1434-7 Nov. 1435.
Robert was aged about 18 when his father died in 1395. It was he who inherited the family lands in Hampshire and Wiltshire, although his mother, who lived on until at least 1429, retained an interest in them. The property in Surrey passed to James Dingley, presumably Robert’s brother or half-brother, but in 1397 James stabbed a man to death and, having claimed benefit of clergy, was imprisoned in the bishop of Winchester’s gaol. His lands were forfeited, but early in 1402 Robert was granted custody of the inheritance of his wife, Ellen (daughter and coheir of John Comyn), which included a fourth part of the manors of Morton Underhill (Worcestershire) and Newbold Comyn (Warwickshire), together valued at £5 a year. James escaped from prison shortly afterwards, but he was subsequently pardoned and these properties were restored to him in 1406, only to be conveyed two years later to Roland Dingley (Robert’s brother), and then to Robert himself, who sold them in 1420. In the same year he also disposed of some of the family lands in Surrey, which had passed to him at James’s death, four years previously. Meanwhile, in 1404, Robert had settled an annual rent of £5 from property in Oakley (Hampshire) on yet another brother, John, for seven years. In 1413 he had acquired a lease from Winchester priory of the manor of ‘Fabians’ in Wootton St. Lawrence, though elsewhere he was apparently selling land, for in 1419 he and his mother relinquished their rights to holdings at Waltham Holy Cross in Essex. Between 1427 and 1429 the two of them were engaged in various transactions for the exchange of two-thirds of the manor of ‘Hakneston’ and estates at Fittleton and Combe in Wiltshire for the manor of Wokfield in Stratfield Mortimer and lands in Englefield, Sulhampstead and elsewhere in Berkshire, which belonged to William Darell† and his wife. For Dingley this had the effect of concentrating his holdings in the Kennet valley, and he also acquired property in Stanford ‘Dingley’ the other side of the river on the slopes of the downs. In 1433 he was removed from the verderership of Pamber on the ground that ‘he dwelt so far from the forest that he might not conveniently exercise that office’; so it would seem that he had already ceased to live at Wolverton, which was close by. Dingley’s landed possessions in Hampshire were assessed for the purposes of taxation in 1436 as worth £60 p.a.1
Dingley’s marriage brought him into intimate contact with William Brocas*, his wife’s brother, whose seat was at Beaurepaire, near his own manor of Wolverton. He often acted as a witness to Brocas’s deeds; he was associated with his kinsman, William Warbelton† of Sherfield, as a co-feoffee and fellow arbiter of local disputes; and on one occasion he acted in a lawsuit on behalf of another brother-in-law, Robert de la Mare* of Aldermaston. Together with Brocas, Dingley appeared on the list of 20 men sent to the Council by the j.p.s of Hampshire in the winter of 1419-20, as being the best able from the shire to perform military services.2
Although Dingley was returned to Parliament just once, in the spring of 1421, thereafter he attended the Hampshire elections to nine Parliaments before 1442, as sheriff officiating at those of 1435. In the previous year he had been among the gentry of the shire required to take the general oath not to maintain breakers of the peace, but two suits in Chancery cast doubt on his integrity in this respect, for in one it was alleged that he had menaced, bribed and maintained jurors in a plea regarding the manor of Norton (Hampshire), and in the other (in 1448) the court found that he had deceitfully refused to relinquish rents from the manor of Stratfield Turgis, to which, in all conscience, he had no right.3
Some time before 1437 Dingley settled Wolverton on his eldest son, William (shortly to be made a ‘King’s esquire’) and the latter’s wife, Margaret, but he retained the rest of his estates until his death, which occurred on 2 Apr. 1456, when he was nearly 80. He had made his will on 2 Mar., requesting burial at his old home at Wolverton, where a chaplain was to pray for his soul and those of his parents for three years. Among those who were to receive bequests were his three daughters, two sons named William (the eldest of whom, his heir, was now over 40 and was to act as executor) and his nephew, another Robert Dingley†. The will was proved on 9 Sept.4