DUCKETT, Richard (d.1448), of Grayrigg, Westmld.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of John Duckett (d. by Dec. 1396) of Fillingham, Lincs. by his w. Margery (c.1355-aft. Jan. 1399), 3rd da. of Alexander Windsor (d. by Feb. 1343) of Grayrigg and Haversham, Westmld., sis. and coh. of William, Lord Windsor (d.s.p. 15 Sept. 1385). m. (1) 2s.; (2) a da. of Sir Richard Redmayne* by his 2nd w. Elizabeth.1
Commr. of array, Westmld. May 1415, Apr. 1418, July 1434.
The Ducketts were originally a Lincolnshire family, whose fortune was made by the marriage of John Duckett to Margery, the sister and coheir of Sir William Windsor. The latter was elevated to the peerage in 1381 as a reward for his long and distinguished record of service to the Crown, marred only by certain allegations of malpractice and extortion while he was governor of Ireland. He died childless in 1385, and although a protracted and bitter struggle ensued between his nephew, John Windsor, and his widow, Alice Perrers (sometime mistress of Edward III), for possession of his estates in the south, his extensive holdings in Westmorland were partitioned between Margery and her two elder sisters without more ado. On the death of the eldest, Isabel, who was unmarried, a further division was made, so that by October 1398 Margery’s feoffees were seised of the manors of Burton, Dillicar, Heversham and Holme, while her son, Richard, the subject of this biography, had already been granted part of her fifth manor of Grayrigg, which became a family seat. Margery had by then been widowed for at least two years, and was still alive in January 1399, when she made a quitclaim to Ralph, earl of Westmorland, of her sister Christine’s manor of Elvington in Yorkshire.2
It was almost certainly as a result of disagreements over the sharing out of the spoils that Richard became involved in a violent quarrel with John Windsor’s brother, Roger, and other members of the Westmorland gentry, including several of Sir John Beetham’s* young kinsmen. He himself was supported by John Lancaster I*, along with an equally hot-blooded rabble of adherents; and before long the countryside was in turmoil. In November 1398 orders went out for their arrest and imprisonment, but, so far as we can tell, nothing much was done to punish their ‘unlawful assemblies, consequent murders, insurrections and riots’. Not surprisingly, in view of his apparently unassailable influence as a local landowner, Richard was returned to Parliament in January 1404, this being the only known occasion on which he represented Westmorland in the House of Commons. A few months later he served as a juror at an inquisition post mortem held at Kirkby in Kendale on Sir William Parr. No more is heard of him however, until in October 1411 he discharged a similar duty following the death of Philippa, dowager countess of Oxford. He attended the elections for Westmorland to the Parliament of 1416 (Mar.), witnessed a conveyance of the manor of Thurland in Lancashire in the following year and occasionally held office as a royal tax collector, but otherwise his participation in local affairs seems to have been fairly limited. This may have been because of his absence overseas from 1417 onwards as a member of the second expeditionary force mounted by Henry V against the French. He had certainly taken to the field by December 1420, when he received royal letters of protection for one year as a member of the earl of Suffolk’s retinue at Avranches.3
Back home by November 1422, Richard witnessed the return for Westmorland to the first Parliament of Henry VI’s reign. We do not know the precise date of his marriage to one of the two daughters of Sir Richard Redmayne, the Speaker of the Commons in 1415, although it probably took place some years before Sir Richard died, in 1426, leaving his young grandson to inherit substantial estates in Yorkshire and Westmorland. In 1427, Duckett and Thomas Redmayne took on the farm of the boy’s property in Yorkshire at a rent of 20 marks, payable during his minority, which lasted for the next ten years. Duckett’s relationship with the Redmaynes continued to be very close. In 1430, for example, he was chosen to act as an arbitrator in a dispute between one of Sir Richard’s younger sons and Thomas Strickland II* over the ownership of holdings in Hincaster. Although not as influential as his late father-in-law, he none the less occupied a fairly prominent position among the Westmorland gentry, serving, for instance, as a juror at sessions of gaol delivery at Appleby, in 1431. By 1436, he and his elder son, Richard, who must have been the child of a much earlier marriage, could between them rely upon a landed income of at least £26 p.a., which by local standards appears quite impressive. The young man married one of Sir Roger Bellingham’s daughters at about this time, as Duckett then began a collusive suit in the court of common pleas to confirm their joint title to his manor of Grayrigg. He was also busy suing two husbandmen for trespass on his farmland there, but the defendants simply refused to appear in court and were eventually pardoned the sentences of outlawry passed upon them. Richard Duckett the younger sat on the jury at an inquisition post mortem held in Westmorland, in 1437, on the estates of John, duke of Bedford; and in the following year his father went surety for Sir Thomas Parr as keeper of these properties. By now, however, Richard Duckett the elder was ready for retirement and happy to leave his son in control of the family’s affairs. He died in, or just before, the autumn of 1448, some three years after Richard’s appointment as coroner of Westmorland. He is generally believed to have been the father of Andrew Duckett, president of St. Bernard’s college, Cambridge, which was refounded as Queen’s college in April 1448 by Henry VI’s consort, Margaret of Anjou.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Doket, Douket, Dukette.
- 1. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. tract. ser. vii. 142-3; CP, xii (2), 876-80; CIPM, xvi. nos. 162-74; Recs. Kendale ed. Farrer and Curwen, i. 215; CAD, i. B1388. The genealogy of the Duckett family is confused by G.F. Duckett, Duchetiana, 16-17, and Herald and Genealogist, vi. 216-17, where the MP is said to have married Mabel, da. of Sir Roger Bellingham. She was, in fact, his son’s wife. It is also evident, on chronological grounds, that at least one of his sons, and probably both, were the issue of an early, undocumented, marriage.
- 2. CIPM, xvi. nos. 162-74; CP, xii (2), 876-80; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 575; CAD, i. B1388; Recs. Kendale, i. 215.
- 3. CPR, 1396-9, p. 503; Recs. Kendale, i. 34, 38; C219/11/8; Duckett, 23, 164.
- 4. C219/13/1; CFR, xv. 159; xvii. 37-38, 74; xviii. 96; JUST 3/70/6; Recs. Kendale, i. 43; ii. 174; Duckett, 157, 162-3; CPR, 1436-41, p. 4; Biog. Reg. Univ. Cambridge to 1500 ed. Emden, 190. According to Herald and Genealogist, vi. 216-17, Duckett had another son, named William, but this cannot be proved.