GRAFTON, Robert, of Shrewsbury, Salop.
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Family and Education
s. of Richard Grafton of Shrewsbury by his w. Cecily. m. bef. Dec. 1378, Benedicta, 3s.1
Auditor, crown lands, Wales and Chester from 5 Feb. 1378; estates lately belonging to the King’s mother from 12 Dec. 1386.
Tax collector, Shrewsbury Dec. 1380.
Commr. to settle disorder, Shrewsbury 1384, Salop May 1387.
Bailiff, Shrewsbury Sept. 1390-1, 1401-2; assessor 1395-6, 1398-9.2
Robert’s forebears took their name from the hamlet of Grafton (six miles from Shrewsbury), where his father still held lands in 1386, but his immediate ancestors had established themselves as burgesses of Shrewsbury at the beginning of the 14th century.3 Early in his career Robert was connected with the administration of the crown lands in Wales, for in 1378 he was named as one of the auditors there, his colleague being Richard Stokes, a baron of the Exchequer. He probably also held office on the Welsh estates of Richard II’s mother, Joan of Kent, for not only was it by her request that, in March 1384, he obtained exemption for life from holding royal office against his will, but, following her death (and two weeks after attending the first session of the Parliament of 1386) he was appointed auditor of the accounts of her receiver in Wales.4
In the meantime Grafton had taken some part in the government of Shrewsbury: in December 1380 he had replaced his father as one of the local collectors of the poll tax; the following March he was commissioned to see to the peaceful administration of the town following riots there, and in July 1384, on payment of an entry fine of £5, he was formally admitted as a burgess. He was frequently called upon to witness local conveyances. Following his second return to Parliament, the borough paid him 36s.7d. towards his expenses; and he shared with his fellow Member, Hugh Wigan, a further re-imbursement of £3 4s. In August 1389 he was elected as one of the council of 12, and about a year later as bailiff. Although he obtained further royal letters of exemption from office, he went on to serve as bailiff for one more term and was twice nominated to the body of assessors.5 On 24 Aug. 1395 Grafton and his wife received a royal grant of ten marks annually for term of Benedicta’s life. He probably died soon after his final bailiffship (1401-2). Although an insertion into the guild merchant roll of 1384 recorded that the MP left no heirs, in fact he was survived by three sons.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), ii. 283-5; iii. 363-4; Shrewsbury Guildhall, box II 67, f. 41; Shrewsbury Lib. deed 3843.
- 2. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 1), iii. 240-1; Shrewsbury Guildhall, box II 67, ff. 10-11.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), ii. 283-5; iv. 232; CP25(1)195/18/34.
- 4. CPR, 1381-5, p. 382.
- 5. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), iii. 77; v. 37, 40; vi. 386; Add. 30321, ff. 47, 55, 75, 94, 115; Shrewsbury Guildhall, box VIII 350; CPR, 1391-6, p. 482; 1396-9, pp. 472-5.
- 6. CPR, 1391-6, p. 703. An account of his descendants is in Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), ii. 283-5; iii. 363-4.