GREYNDORE, Robert (d.1443), of Clearwell castle in Newland, Glos.

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

Family and Education

s. and h. of Sir John Greyndore* by his 1st w. m. between Apr. 1419 and Apr. 1420, Joan (19 Dec. 1404-17 June 1484), da. and event. h. of Thomas Rugge of Charlcombe, Som. and Cricklade, Wilts. by Katherine, da. of Sir John Bytton, 1da.

Offices Held

Commr. of arrest, Glos. Dec. 1417; array May 1418, Mar. 1419, Jan. 1436; to raise royal loans Jan. 1420, Feb. 1436, Mar. 1439, Mar., Aug. 1442; of inquiry, Herefs. Feb. 1422 (false weights), Glos. May 1429 (disruption of corn supplies to Bristol), Cornw., Wales Apr. 1434 (goods belonging to Norman merchants), Glos. May 1440, June 1441 (concealments); to assess contributions to subsidies Apr. 1431, Jan. 1436; distribute tax allowances Dec. 1433; administer the oath against maintenance Jan. 1434; treat for payment of a tax Feb. 1441.

Jt. steward, with Stephen Hatfield, of Chepstow, Mon. and Tidenham, Glos. 14 Feb. 1433-?d.

Steward and constable, Forest of Dean and St. Briavels castle, Glos. Sept. 1435-May 1436.

Biography

Robert is first mentioned, in May 1415, as standing bail for a defendant at the Chepstow assizes, where his father was a magistrate. Within two years he received seisin of his substantial inheritance concentrated on the Forest of Dean and including the office of chief forester. His properties in Gloucestershire had earlier been estimated to be worth £40 a year, but this was almost certainly an undervaluation.1 Through his marriage to Joan Rugge, Greyndore obtained inter alia the manors of Charlcombe and Norton Malreward and a moiety of Shurton, in Somerset, the manors of Hanham and Nass, in Gloucestershire, and property in Cricklade, Wiltshire. The land at Shurton was held of the honour of Dunster, but throughout their lives the Greyndores neglected to pay the 50s. relief due to the lord at Joan’s inheritance. Greyndore also held the manor of Netherley in Westbury-on-Severn (Gloucestershire), which he possibly acquired through purchase. At the time of his death his landed holdings were valued at over £136 a year.2

Very early on in his career Greyndore formed an acquaintance with Thomas, Lord Berkeley, who shortly before his death in July 1417 acted as a feoffee of Greyndore’s manors in Gloucestershire, for the purpose of effecting an entail, and who had asked Greyndore to become a trustee of his own extensive estates in order to fulfil his will. In June that year Greyndore’s ship, La Trinite of Chepstow, sailed from Bristol to Southampton for use in the transportation of Henry V’s army to France, but it is unlikely that he himself took part in the expedition, for he was elected to Parliament for the first time only four months later. In these early years he did, nevertheless, follow in his father’s footsteps as a soldier to a limited extent: he served on commissions of array in 1418 and 1419, and in January 1420 his name appeared on the list sent by the Gloucestershire j.p.s to the Council recommending those best able to undertake military duties. In February he was making preparations to go to France in the company of Edmund, earl of March, but he cannot have served abroad for very long, for he was back home in time to be elected to the Parliament convened in December. Then, on 9 May 1422, he indented to serve in France for a further nine months, but whether he remained to finish his contract after Henry V’s death is not known.3

This, save for one later commission of array, was the end of Greyndore’s military service. After 1422 his activities centred on his estates in the marches. Something of his standing is suggested by the papal licences granted him in 1424 and 1427 permitting him to have a portable altar, to choose his own confessor and to have indulgences at the hour of death. In April 1427 Greyndore was present at Newport castle when Humphrey, earl of Stafford, recently come of age, confirmed a charter granted by his grandfather, and it seems likely that he was already acting as one of the young earl’s councillors. He continued this connexion at least until February 1432 when Stafford, then absent in France, appointed him to hold judicial sessions in his lordship of Newport. Meanwhile, at the Gloucestershire elections of 1429 Greyndore had acted as mainpernor for Sir Maurice Berkeley of Uley. He regularly served on royal commissions; and six months before his last Parliament in 1433 he was appointed as joint steward of Chepstow and Tidenham, in the marches, and two years later as sole steward and constable of the Forest of Dean and St. Briavels castle, only to be removed from the latter offices in May 1436.4Earlier that year he had been asked to contribute a loan of £40 towards the duke of York’s expedition to France. The same amount was sought from his fellow Gloucestershire esquires, John Greville*, Robert Poyntz* and Guy Whittington*, but unlike them Greyndore may have had a personal connexion with the duke, for his friend Richard Dixton (who in his will in 1438 was to leave him ‘my serpe of silver and my cheyne of goold’ and his wife a covered cup of silver and a gold bracelet) was one of the duke’s retainers. More certainly, he was connected with James, Lord Berkeley, the nephew and heir-male of Lord Thomas, Greyndore’s early patron, who at about this time granted him and his wife for their lives an area known as ‘Shobbenasshe Park’ near Berkeley.5

It might be expected that a man of Greyndore’s standing in such a turbulent area as the Welsh marches would occasionally be the subject of allegations about maintenance and the abuse of power. Thus, in 1425 or thereabouts, a widow claimed that he had disinherited her of land in St. Briavels; and at some date between 1432 and 1443 the ‘debate and stryfe’ between him and William Turner over Greyndore’s reported seizure of the manor of ‘Brokenborough’ in Down Hanham was brought to the attention firstly of the chief baron of the Exchequer and then of the chancellor. Nothing is known of the details of a suit in about 1433 between Greyndore and the Crown, in which the King’s attorney, John Vampage, ‘entirely prevailed’ against him. However, it may be suspected that given Vampage’s partisanship in the dispute over the Berkeley estates (he being a retainer of Richard, earl of Warwick, one of the interested parties, while Greyndore apparently favoured Warwick’s opponent, James, Lord Berkeley) their clash in the courts may have had a wider significance than would at first appear.6

Greyndore secured for his only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, marriage into the ranks of the titled nobility: some time before his death she was married to Reynold West, 6th Lord de la Warre. Greyndore died on 19 Nov. 1443 and was buried in the parish church of All Saints in Newland. His widow, Joan, subsequently embellished the south chancel of the church, placing a fine brass over his tomb, and founded ‘Robert Greyndore’s chantry’ where services were provided for the souls of Greyndore and members of his family, as well as for her own kinsfolk. Joan insisted that the chaplain be eruditus in arte sive sciencia grammaticale and that he and his assistant should instruct scholars coming to Newland for education. In the course of the many years before her death in 1484 at the age of nearly 80, Joan had to alter the terms of the foundation in order to take account of marriages and deaths within the family: her own marriage, in about 1448, to Sir John Barre of Rotherwas and Barre’s Court, Herefordshire (whose daughter was to become countess of Devon); her daughter Elizabeth’s second, prestigious marriage to John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester; and Elizabeth’s death in childbirth in 1452. After this last event the heirs to the Greyndore estates were Robert’s half-sister Joan, widow of Sir William Lichfield, and her issue by her first husband William Walwyn†.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger

Notes

  • 1. T.B. Pugh, Marcher Ldships S. Wales, 64; CP25(