HOBILDOD, John (d.c.1421), of Tadlow, Cambs.
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Family and Education
prob. s. of Adam Hobildod (d.1383) of Swavesey. m. bef. Jan. 1408, Mary.2
Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 4 Nov. 1403-18 Nov. 1404, 30 Nov. 1407-15 Nov. 1408.
J.p. Cambs. 16 Jan. 1405-6.
Commr. of array, Cambs. May 1418, Hunts. Mar. 1419; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419.
Hobildod’s putative father, who served as a coroner in Cambridgeshire in the 1370s and early 1380s, probably held property at Tadlow, where he himself came to own a sizeable moated manor-house. This contained, from 1408, a private oratory allowed by special licence granted to John and his wife by the bishop of Ely. Nevertheless, Hobildod’s landed holdings at Tadlow were of comparatively little value: in 1412 they were estimated to provide him with an annual income of no more than £2, and it was the annuities earned by him in the service, first of John Holand, earl of Huntingdon, and then of Henry IV, which afforded him the expectation of being able to spend £20 a year more.3
Hobildod evidently first came to public attention for his prowess on the tournament field. In May 1388, already retained by Richard II as a ‘King’s esquire’, he was issued with a royal licence to sail with Lord Beaumont and Sir Peter Courtenay† to Calais, there to perform feats of arms against the French. Such activities earned him occasional rewards from the King, including a gift of £20 forfeited from the former Bealknap estate in 1392, but he was to benefit more in the long term from the patronage of Richard’s half-brother, the earl of Huntingdon. In January 1393 he was associated with certain of the earl’s followers from the West Country, among them Robert Cary*, in standing bail for John Windsor, executor of the will of William, Lord Windsor, who had been imprisoned in Newgate at the suit of his kinsman’s widow, the notorious Alice Perrers. This was no light undertaking, for the penalty for Windsor’s failure to appear in court was set as high as £8,000. Hobildod joined the King’s expedition to Ireland in April 1399 as one of those in the company of Holand, by then created duke of Exeter.4 He had already received from his patron an annuity of £20 for life, made up of 20 marks charged on the issues of Conway castle and ten marks payable by Holand’s treasurer. Having avoided involvement in the rebellion against Henry IV, which led to Holand’s death early in 1400, Hobildod soon offered his services as a soldier to the King, and on 2 Dec. 1401 he was granted £20 a year for life at the Exchequer in lieu of the fee he had received from his erstwhile lord. Indeed, a few days later he was granted £50 as an additional reward for good service in the royal armies in Scotland and Wales. Furthermore, in January 1402, he secured an annual rent of ten marks from the Cambridgeshire manor of Wendey, for the duration of the minority of a royal ward. It was thus as a ‘King’s esquire’ that Hobildod was returned to Parliament for the first time, later that same year. Subsequently, he attended the shire elections to the Parliament of 1407. After being twice appointed by Henry IV as sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, Hobildod secured an order during his second term, in February 1408, that payment of his annuity was to be made from the revenues of the local manor of Chesterton (a more convenient arrangement from his own point of view), and arrears funded from the money due to be collected by himself as sheriff.