GLOUCESTER, Thomas (d.1406), of Whitchurch, Oxon.
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Family and Education
Marshal of Henry of Bolingbroke’s household by May 1390-Oct. 1399, of the King’s hall c. Oct. 1399-d.
Escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 26 Nov. 1399-24 Nov. 1400.
Gloucester was of humble birth. There is no evidence that he inherited any land; indeed, he seems to have owed his entire livelihood to the patronage of Henry of Bolingbroke. He first appears as marshal of the latter’s household, receiving wages of 8d. a day, when at Calais in May 1390; and as such accompanied him on both his major expeditions overseas, in 1390-1 and 1392-3. On one occasion Henry made him a gift of 53s.4d. In addition, Gloucester received a fee of ten marks a year payable from the revenues of the Lancastrian lordship of Bolingbroke, by a grant made by Henry’s father, John of Gaunt, on 12 Nov. 1391; another ten marks a year from the duchy of Lancaster manor of Hinton Waldrist, Berkshire, which appears to have been first paid in 1395-6; and a separate annuity of five marks, which also dated from the 1390s or earlier. It seems very likely that he journeyed with his lord into exile in 1398, for he was still then a member of Henry’s immediate entourage.1
All Gloucester’s annuities were formally confirmed by Bolingbroke following his accession to the throne, and he was now promoted to be a marshal of the King’s hall, an office which entitled him to £2 6s.8d. a year for robes and a number of other perquisites besides his keep at court. Well-placed to secure a share in the bounty of the new King, on 19 Nov. 1399 Gloucester was granted the manor of Whitchurch and property in London and Westminster, valued altogether at £27 13s.4d. a year, holdings which had previously belonged to William Serle, keeper of the robes to Richard II and executor of the deposed King’s will. He encountered considerable trouble in gaining entry into Serle’s property at Ebury, but no doubt eventually earned a substantial income from the estate, especially when, immediately after Serle’s execution for treason in 1404, he added to his possessions rents from the traitor’s lands at Alton.2
When returned by Berkshire to Parliament for the only time in 1401, Gloucester was, therefore, in receipt of an annual income from fees and land which amounted to at least £47, for all of which he then had to thank Henry IV. Although none of this income was derived from land in Berkshire, save for the ten marks’ annuity from Hinton Waldrist, he cannot have been a complete stranger to the community, for his escheatorship of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, which ended just a few weeks before his election to Parliament, must have introduced him to many of the local gentry, who no doubt when considering his candidacy bore in mind his easy access to the King. Subsequently, in December 1403, Gloucester and William Brokesby*, his fellow marshal of the King’s hall, were granted certain estates which Sir Ingram Bruyn’s widow had held in dower, each of them being permitted to keep 20 marks a year from the revenues during the minority of the heir. Following the King’s enforced suspension of payment of annuities in 1404, Gloucester’s grants were reviewed favourably at Pontefract in August 1405, all being then formally confirmed ‘en encrete de son estat’. But he was not to enjoy them for much longer: at Michaelmas 1406 his duchy annuities ceased to be paid ‘quia mortuus est’.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Derby’s Expeds. (Cam. Soc. n.s. lii), 16, 119, 129, 134, 266, 291; DL28/1/10, ff. 31d, 35, 3/4, 4/1, f. 7; DL29/738/12096; DL42/15, f. 45d, 16 (pt. 1), ff. 38, 140d.
- 2. E101/404/21; Harl. 319, f. 46; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 97; 1401-5, p. 97; 1401-5, p. 475; CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 351-2, 541.
- 3. CPR, 1401-5, p. 334; DL28/27/1; DL29/738/12098, 12102; DL42/16, f. 140d. The Thomas Gloucester who was retained by Henry V in 1413, became a household official like his namesake, and in Henry VI’s reign was made receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall, was quite likely a relation, perhaps son, of the shire knight.