HAUTE, Sir Nicholas (1357-c.1415), of Wadden Hall in Waltham, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Sept. 1357, s. of Sir Edmund Haute (d.v.p) of Petham, Kent by Benedicta (d.c.1391), yr. da. and coh. of John Shelving of Bourne Place in Bishopsbourne. m. (1) bef. 1392, Alice (d. 11 Mar. 1400), da. of Sir Thomas Couen† of Ightham, wid. of Richard Charles (d.1387) of Icklesham, Suss. and Palstre, Kent, 4s. inc. William*; (2) Eleanor (d. 29 Mar. 1422), da. and h. of Edmund Flambard of Shepreth, Cambs., wid. of Walter Tyrell of Avon, Hants. Kntd. bef. Nov. 1379.
Commr. of array, Kent Mar. 1392, Jan. 1400, July 1405, May 1406.
Sheriff, Kent 9 Nov. 1395-1 Dec. 1396.
Abp. Arundel’s reeve of Reculver, Kent Mich. 1396-7.1
Tax collector, Kent Mar. 1404.
Haute was descended from an old Kentish landholding family that had long been settled in the adjoining parishes of Waltham and Petham, a few miles south of Canterbury, and enjoyed by royal charter dated 1354 the privilege of holding markets and fairs at their manor of Elmstead. These properties, together with at least five more manors in Kent and another in Sussex, Nicholas inherited from his grandfather, Sir Henry Haute, in 1370. He was still a minor and his lands were committed in July that year to his mother Benedicta (by that time left a widow by the third of her four husbands, Sir Thomas Uvedale† of Titsey, Surrey), who four months later agreed to pay 40 marks a year at the Exchequer for their custody, as well as a flat sum of 100 marks to have her son’s marriage. The archbishop of Canterbury was given the wardship of Wadden Hall, of which he was the chief lord. Haute made proof of age in 1379, by which time he had attained knighthood, but even then he did not secure full possession of his inheritance, for his mother kept, until her death in about 1391, a substantial part of the Haute estates—including the manor of Blackmanstone near Romney which brought in rents of £30 a year—as well as retaining her own properties at Bishopsbourne and elsewhere. However, by the time of his election to Parliament in 1395 Haute had come into his own. Clearly among the more wealthy of the shire knights of the period, his annual income from land in Kent amounted to as much as £122 6s.8d., according to the assessors of the subsidy of 1412, and this was probably an undervaluation.2 Furthermore, this assessment did not take account of the estates which Haute’s first wife, Alice, had held as her dower and jointure from her previous husband, Richard Charles. These, comprised of a number of manors in Kent and Sussex, were in Haute’s possession until Alice’s death in 1400, when they were estimated to be worth at least £32 6s.8d. a year.3
In January 1385 Thomas Garrington of Well in Ickham, a neighbouring landowner, made Haute a trustee of his goods and chattels. Two months later he and his brother Edmund leased all their property in Nackington to William Ellis* of Canterbury, at an annual rent of £4 3s.4d. Sir Nicholas’s only election to Parliament, early in 1395, was followed by his appointment to the shrievalty of Kent later in the same year, but after the end of his term he was not given further official employment in Richard II’s reign. One reason for this may be that he was considered politically unreliable because of his acquaintance with John, 3rd Lord Cobham of Cobham (for whom he had witnessed an important transaction in 1395), and of his service to Archbishop Arundel as reeve of Reculver at the time when, in September 1397, Arundel was sent into exile by judgement of Parliament.4
Haute’s second wife, Eleanor, mother of the future Speaker, John Tyrell*, brought him the manor of Avon in Hampshire, together with other properties in the New Forest which she held as dower, as well as her own landed inheritance in Cambridgeshire. It was through her that he came into close contact with some of the leading landowners of Essex, where the TyreIls resided. Thus, in 1408 he was associated with Joan de Bohun, countess of Hereford, Sir William Bourgchier* and others in an application for a royal licence to make a grant in mortmain to St. Mary’s abbey, Coggeshall, in memory of Thomas Coggeshall*. In the same year died Haute’s brother Edmund, then sheriff of Kent, and Sir Nicholas took on the executorship of his will. Subsequently, he was a benefactor of the Domus Dei (hospital) at Dover, and also of St. Margaret’s church, Canterbury, giving to the former certain rents in the suburbs of Dover to keep a lamp burning before the high altar, and to the latter a garden adjoining the church to be used for enlarging the graveyard. In the spring of 1412 he was admitted to the fraternity of Christ Church priory, Canterbury, in company with Hugh Stafford, Lord Bourgchier.5
In May 1415 Haute acted as a co-patron of the perpetual chantry in Waltham church which his grandfather had founded. He may already have started to make preparations to join Henry V’s army for the invasion of France, for on 16 July he was mustered with his own company of three men-at-arms and nine archers in the retinue of the King’s brother, Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. Quite possibly he died on the campaign, for he is not recorded alive thereafter, and his eldest son,