HAMPDEN, Edmund (d.1419/20), of Great Hampden, Bucks.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
s. and h. of Sir John Hampden† (d.1375) of Great Hampden by Joan, da. of Sir Philip Aylesbury† of Milton Keynes. m. between Nov. 1394 and Oct. 1395, Joan (d. bef. 1419), da. of Sir Robert Bealknap, c.j.KB, wid. of Sir Ralph Stonor (d.1394) of Stonor, Oxon., es. John† and Edmund†, 1da.1
Sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 7 Nov. 1390-21 Oct. 1391, 9 Nov. 1395-1 Dec. 1396, 24 Nov. 1400-8 Nov. 1401, 22 Nov. 1405-5 Nov. 1406, 12 Nov. 1414-1 Dec. 1415.
Commr. of oyer and terminer, Bucks. Sept. 1393, Bucks., Herts. July 1403; weirs June 1398; array Dec. 1399, Sept., Oct. 1403; to make proclamation against sedition May 1402; of inquiry Feb. 1404 (oppressions, extortions), Beds., Bucks. June 1406 (concealments), Berks. Oct. 1409 (forfeited goods); to raise royal loans, Bucks. Sept. 1405, Beds., Bucks. June 1406, Bucks. Nov. 1419; of arrest May, Aug. 1408.
J.p. Bucks. 12 Nov. 1397-Feb. 1406, Feb. 1407-12, Mar. 1413-Feb.1419.
Escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 30 Nov. 1407-9 Dec. 1408,10 Nov. 1413-12 Nov. 1414.
Edmund’s family, which took its name from Great Hampden, traced its ancestry back to before the Conquest. The manor of Great Hampden, along with other property in Buckinghamshire came to him in 1375 on the death of his father, Sir John, the shire knight of 1351 and 1363. The Hampdens were well connected: as a consequence of the marriage of Edmund’s aunt, Isabel, to Sir Gerard Braybrooke† (d.1359), he was closely related as cousin to the brothers Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, and Sir Gerard Braybrooke I*; and this association with a family which was all but baronial in wealth and, being related to Richard II, was of high social standing and considerable political influence, was to have a profound effect on his career. By 1385 he had been formally retained by Bishop Braybrooke with an annual fee of £2, which he continued to receive for at least ten years, most likely as a member of his kinsman’s household. He was linked with the bishop and other members of the Braybrooke family in June 1390, when together they took possession of property in Essex, this being the first of many such recorded meetings.2
Along with Bishop Braybrooke, Hampden sailed for Ireland with Richard II’s army in September 1394, and was paid his wages at the King’s wardrobe until April following. It was evidently on his return to England that he sought the hand of the widow of Sir Ralph Stonor, one of his companions-in-arms, who had died a few weeks after the royal expedition had arrived in the province. Doubtless, he was assisted in his aim by Thomas Barantyn*, a friend whom he and Stonor had in common; for Barantyn had acted as attorney for them both during their absence overseas, his wife was Hampden’s kinswoman, and he was godfather to Stonor’s second son and eventual heir, Thomas*. By the time of Hampden’s return home, Barantyn had already secured custody at the Exchequer of two-thirds of the Stonor estates. of the Stonor estates. The remaining third, then held in dower by Sir Ralph’s widow, Joan, came into Hampden’s own possession after he and Joan, on 3 Oct. 1395, had paid £20 for a royal pardon for having married without royal licence. Joan’s dower lands in Devon, Hampshire and Middlesex alone were to have an estimated worth of £64 a year, when assessed for taxation in 1412; and besides these she retained property of unknown value in Oxfordshire, including the manor of Hoo in Watlington. Hampden was to enjoy an income from the Stonor estates for the rest of his wife’s life. The transaction whereby in June 1399 he joined with Thomas Barantyn in recognizances for 100 marks in favour of Sir Thomas Sackville I* was probably concerned in some way with the administration of these estates, or else with financial provisions for his stepson, Thomas Stonor.3
In the meantime, Hampden had been kept busy not only in royal administration (he was described as ‘King’s esquire’ shortly before his second appointment as sheriff in 1395), but also in private business on behalf of the Braybrookes. In 1396 he had been party with Bishop Braybrooke to a settlement of manors in Shropshire and Herefordshire permitting the bishop’s nephew, Sir Gerard Braybrooke II*, to obtain a reversionary interest. He provided mainprise at the Exchequer in February 1397 when the bishop and Sir Gerard I secured custody of the estates of Elizabeth, Lady Latimer and Willoughby; and, in July 1398, he himself shared with the bishop in a royal grant of 100 marks a year for the maintenance of Lady Latimer’s son and heir (a sum which, however, they were required to surrender within a year, following the bishop’s sale of the young man’s marriage). Hampden’s continued employment as a j.p. throughout the political crisis of 1399 indicates that he did nothing to offend either Richard II or Henry of Bolingbroke; perhaps he followed Bishop Braybrooke’s lead in acquiescing in Richard’s deposition and Henry’s usurpation of the throne without much hesitation. Elected to the Parliament which lent its authority to these momentous events, Hampden had as companion in the Commons—representing the neighbouring county of Bedfordshire—his kinsman, Sir Gerard Braybrooke II, who had most likely greeted Henry’s accession with enthusiasm. It was along with Sir Gerard and the latter’s father that Hampden was summoned from Bedfordshire to attend the great council of August 1401, this being during his third of five terms as sheriff. In October 1402, while attending his second Parliament, he was one of two men from Buckinghamshire to whom were addressed royal letters requesting benevolences. He attended parliamentary elections at Aylesbury in 1407 and May 1413.4
Hampden was always much in demand as a feoffee-to-uses and executor, in particular among his many kinsfolk—such as the Berkshire landowner, John Englefield*, Thomas Barantyn’s widow Joan, and his cousin’s son, Sir Thomas Aylesbury*. In conjunction with the Braybrookes he acted for many years as a trustee of property belonging to their relation, Sir John Trailly†; and in 1401 Trailly’s son, Sir Reynold (who was to die that same year), named him and Sir Gerard II among the feoffees of the manor and advowson of Northill, Bedfordshire. Subsequently, although Hampden acquired one of the Trailly properties for himself (the manor of Yelden, worth about £15 a year), he spent considerable time and energy trying to implement the Traillys’ wish that a college of secular priests should be founded at Northill in their name. Although the royal licences for this substantial endowment were readily secured in 1402 and 1404, the project was then subjected to protracted delays while papal permission was sought; indeed, the formalities were still not completed by 1411.5
Hampden’s ties with the Braybrookes drew ever closer with time. He was party with Sir Gerard II to a number of financial transactions carried out in 1401, and in October 1402, while both men were again sitting in the Commons, they and Braybrooke’s brother-in-law, Sir William Thirning, c.j.c.p., paid £100 to procure a royal licence allowing grants in mortmain to the college of Ottery St. Mary, Devon, for the provision of religious services for the soul of Hampden’s uncle, Master Nicholas Braybrooke, late canon of St. Paul’s, and for the welfare of Bishop Braybrooke and the diocesan, Bishop Stafford. Six months later, they obtained yet another such licence, this time for the foundation of a chantry at St. Mary’s altar in Bishop Braybrooke’s episcopal palace in London, adjoining the nave of St. Paul’s, which was to be similarly dedicated to the good estate of the bishop and the repose of Master Nicholas’s soul. In his will made that same year (1403) the bishop left Hampden one of his two best beds, and named him with Sir Gerard II among his executors. Subsequently, in 1406, the indefatigable pair began the process of establishing a chantry of three chaplains in the church of Chalgrave, Bedfordshire, in memory of the bishop and Sir Nigel Loring, the hero of the battles of Poitiers and Najera, for whom the bishop had himself acted as executor. This, too, proved difficult to achieve, so instead Hampden and his fellows petitioned the Pope for permission to endow Chalgrave church with the advowson of St. Mary Magdalen at Offley.6
By this time, Hampden’s wide circle of acquaintance had grown to include the prominent Buckinghamshire landowner and retired courtier, Sir Philip de la Vache* (d.1408). In 1405 he acquired, as a trustee, a reversionary interest in the manors of Bury in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, and Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, destined to fall in on the deaths of Sir Philip and his wife Elizabeth; later, he was party to transactions regarding de la Vache’s holdings in Hampshire, and in 1407 he was named as overseer of his will. By March 1409 he was the sole holder of the reversion of Hook Norton which he then, doubtless ‘to accomplish the intention of the said de la Vache’ conveyed to a body of trustees acting for Thomas Chaucer*. For at least five years Hampden had been closely associated with Chaucer, perhaps because the latter had taken over the wardship of the Stonor estates. Indeed, so amicable did their relations become that when, in May 1409, Chaucer instructed the feoffees of his estates to make entails of certain properties (notably the reversions of Hook Norton and Kidlington, together with land at Ewelme), Hampden and his heirs were named as the ultimate beneficiaries in the event of the failure of Chaucer’s own issue. In 1415 Hampden acted as a trustee of the castle and manor of Donnington, Berkshire, and other properties which Chaucer wished to settle on his daughter, Alice, and her husband, Sir John Phelip*. It was evidently through this connexion that he came into contact with Chaucer’s cousin, Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, for whom he had witnessed letters patent at Southwark in 1409.7
Little is recorded of Hampden’s own property transactions, although in 1408 he had enfeoffed Chaucer and others of those lands in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire he had inherited after the death of Agnes Bruyn. Perhaps with a weary recollection of the energy and time he had expended in carrying out the testamentary arrangements of friends and relations, his own will, made on 2 Dec. 1419, contained neither requests for chantry foundations nor grandiose schemes for ecclesiastical endowment. All he asked was to be buried in the chancel of Great Hampden church next to his wife, Joan (the funeral to cost, save for alms for the poor, no more than £1), and that, within a year of his death, a small white stone be placed upon his grave, bearing the simple inscription ‘ye that thys see, pray ye for charyte for Edmundes soule and Janes a pater noster and an ave’. It seems likely that he died very soon after, for having been included on a royal commission for loans dated November 1419, his name was omitted from an otherwise identical commission issued at the end of January following. Probate was granted on 29 Apr.8
Edmund was succeeded at Great Hampden by his elder son, John (d.1458), who strengthened their links with Thomas Chaucer by marrying a kinswoman of Chaucer’s wife, and by entering the service of his son-in-law, William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk. His younger son, Edmund (knighted in 1449), was destined to serve as chamberlain to Edward, prince of Wales, only to die fighting at his lord’s side at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.9