HAUGHTON, Humphrey (d.1420), of Haughton, Staffs.
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Family and Education
m. after June 1410, Isabel (d. Mar. 1436), da. and coh. of John Grey (d.1403) of Sandiacre and Sutton-in-the-Dale, Derbys. and Hickling, Notts. by his w. Emily (d.1435); wid. of John Walsh of Sibsey, Lincs., s.p.1
Commr. to make arrests, Staffs. Dec. 1411; raise a royal loan Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420.
Sheriff, Staffs. 23 Nov. 1419-d.
Although his immediate ancestry remains somewhat obscure, it seems likely that Haughton was a grandson of Sir Thomas Haughton (d. by 1369), and therefore the nephew, or perhaps even the younger son of the Humphrey Haughton who died in 1387, seised of estates in Haughton and High Offley in Staffordshire. The property was farmed out at an annual rent of £10 by Richard II during the minority of Haughton’s son, Thomas, but at some point over the next 11 years it came into the hands of the subject of this biography.2 Marriage even more than inheritance helped to establish the shire knight as a figure of consequence in the north Midlands, since his wife, Isabel Walsh, was joint coheiress with her sister, Alice (the wife of John Leek*), to a substantial patrimony. Her father, John Grey, sometime sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, owned land in both counties, although it was from her long-lived mother that Isabel eventually inherited the holdings in Harston, Leicestershire, Horncastle and Gunthorpe, Lincolnshire, and Crowneast Court and Rugg’s Place, Worcestershire, which she occupied for barely a few months before she herself died in 1436. According to the tax returns of 1412, Haughton even then enjoyed a landed income of £20 from Derbyshire alone, so he had probably married by this date.3
Very little is known about Haughton’s career, which evidently passed without incident until December 1411, when he served on his first royal commission. Not long afterwards he was involved as an accessory to the murder of William Crofts, a crime for which he was indicted at the beginning of Henry V’s reign. During the Easter term of 1414, Thomas Dunston sued him for cattle-stealing, but the action proved no more successful than one which Haughton himself brought two years later against a local man for poaching on his free warren at Forbridge, Staffordshire. He was again summoned to appear in court at Easter 1419, being fined on this occasion for his complicity in the theft of crops from a neighbouring farmer.4 But not all his energies were given over to litigation, and Haughton was sometimes caught up in the affairs of other landowners. In 1414, for example, he stood bail for Thomas Swynnerton, and he is known to have acted as a feoffee-to-uses, most notably for the latter’s kinsman, John Swynnerton*, various members of the Knightly family of Northamptonshire and the King’s esquire, John Hampton the elder.5 In March 1418 Haughton and Sir Robert Francis* were commissioned by the attorneys of Sir William Bourgchier* and his wife, Anne, dowager countess of Stafford, to assign dower to Thomasina Chetwynd. One of these attorneys was Roger Flore* of Oakham, the chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster, who may possibly have used his great influence in Staffordshire to secure Haughton’s election as a shire knight in the Parliament of March 1416.6
In March 1420, Haughton made a personal contribution towards the loan of £2,873 raised by the Crown to finance the war with France. He died on 29 Aug. of that year, during his term as sheriff of Staffordshire. His widow was almost immediately sued by Nicholas and Isabel Rickhill for possession of her husband’s manors of Haughton, High Offley and Doxey, although since the Rickhills claimed to be heirs to the property the action may well have been collusive. Isabel Haughton died in March 1436, hardly a year after her mother’s estates had finally come into her possession. Since she was still childless, these and all her other holdings passed to her sister, Alice Leek, who was eventually succeeded, in 1459, by a young grandson.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Halghton, Haloghton, Haloughton.