HOGHTON, Sir Henry (d.1424), of Chipping, Lancs.

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

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

2nd s. of Sir Adam Hoghton (d.1385) of Hoghton by his 1st w. Margaret; bro. of Sir Richard*. m. Oct. 1403, Joan (b.c.1379), da. and h. of Richard Radcliffe (d.1380) of Ordsall by his w. Sibyl (d.1414), da. and h. of Richard Clitheroe (d.1370) of Salesbury and Clayton-le-Dale. 1s. illegit. Kntd. by Feb. 1393.1

Offices Held

Bailiff of the wapentakes of Staincliffe and Friendless in the duchy of Lancaster, Yorks. bef. Feb. 1399-8 May 1421; keeper of the duchy chases of Pendle, Rossendale, Trawden and Bowland, Lancs. by 30 Nov. 1402; steward of the duchy estates in Tottington, Rochdale, Penwortham and Blackburn hundred, Lancs. 22 Aug. 1403-d; master forester of Bowland and Blackburn in the duchy 22 Aug. 1403-d.2

Commr. to raise and lead men against the northern rebels, Lancs. July 1403; of inquiry, Yorks. Mar. 1406 (defections to the Welsh), July 1415 (escape of a royal prisoner); to make arrests, Lancs. June 1410, 1417;3 of array, Yorks. May 1415; to hold a muster, Southampton July 1417;4 treat for a royal loan, Lancs. Nov. 1419; levy archers, Lancs., Yorks. May 1421.

J.p. Yorks. 6 July 1415-Dec. 1416.

Biography

Although he was a younger son, and thus heir to only a small part of the family estates, Henry Hoghton’s forbears were landlords on such a large scale as to make his patrimony more than sufficient. In addition to holdings at Mollington in Cheshire, he stood to inherit the manor of Chipping and fairly extensive property in the Lancashire villages of Alston, Hothersall and Dilworth. These he entered in 1385, being permitted not long afterwards by his elder brother, Sir Richard, to retain the manor of Ravensmeols during the life of their widowed stepmother, who survived for another 30 years at least.5 Not much is known about Henry’s activities before this date, since he was very much overshadowed by his father and brother. Notwithstanding Sir Adam’s appointment as one of the duke of Lancaster’s master foresters, he and his sons made free in the duchy woods and chases, and were indicted on several charges of trespass. In September 1380, the duke agreed to pardon them in return for a substantial fine of £80, which suggests that they were serious as well as persistent offenders. Relations between Lancaster and the Hoghtons were otherwise extremely cordial; and before long the two brothers had both donned the ducal livery, Henry being retained at a fee of ten marks p.a., payable for life. He thus established a connexion with Lancaster’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke, whom he accompanied to Prussia in 1390 on a crusading venture in collaboration with the Teutonic Knights. His services were further rewarded in February 1393, when the duke increased his annuity to £20, perhaps in consideration of his recent knighthood. A few days later, Sir Henry was able to intervene personally with the King to secure a royal pardon for a Yorkshireman convicted of murder, so he clearly enjoyed some prestige at Court, if only by virtue of his standing with Richard II’s uncle. The date of his appointment as bailiff of Staincliffe and Friendless is not recorded, but these offices, too, lay in Lancaster’s gift, and were intended as an additional mark of preferment. Partly as a result of patronage, but also because of the great influence enjoyed by his own family, Sir Henry had now come to occupy an important position in the local community; and it is interesting to note that by 1397 he and his brother were leading members of the guild merchant at Preston. Having exiled Bolingbroke and confiscated the estates which ought to have descended to him on Lancaster’s death in February 1399, Richard II sought to re-assure the duke’s leading retainers by confirming or even increasing their fees. But although Sir Henry and his brother were both assured of the King’s favour, neither waivered in his allegiance to the Lancastrian cause. Bolingbroke’s triumphant return to England and subsequent coup d’état consequently led to a further upswing in their fortunes.6

As newly appointed sheriff of Lancashire, Sir Richard Hoghton was responsible for holding the elections to the Parliament which met in October 1399 to ratify Henry IV’s seizure of the throne; and he undoubtedly had a hand in securing his own brother’s return to Westminster. The two gave a practical expression of their loyalty in the summer of 1400 by raising a sizeable force of local men, whom they led, under the King’s banner, against the Scots. It was not, however, until April 1402 that orders were given for the payment of the £44 which Sir Henry had spent on wages while based at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He had, meanwhile, joined with the bishop of Bath and Wells in offering securities of £450 guaranteeing the prompt surrender of the castle of Fronsac by Richard Ashton, his involvement in this transaction being little more than a formality required by the government. Of greater concern to him at this time were ‘certain strifes and dissensions’ with the Radcliffes of Osbaldeston, whose persistent defiance of his authority as keeper of four parks on the duchy of Lancaster estates around Bowland gave rise, in November 1402, to the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry. Sir Henry, himself a poacher turned gamekeeper, acquired even greater authority in the following year when he became master forester of Bowland and Blackburn and steward of extensive property belonging to the duchy in the Blackburn area. Given that his own estates lay in this part of Lancashire, a lease made to him by Henry IV in February 1403 of grazing rights throughout Blackburnshire and Salfordshire appears particularly generous, even though he was obliged to pay an increment of 40 marks over and above the existing rent.7 Sir Henry’s decision to marry at this time may well have been dictated as much by the somewhat tortuous nature of his personal affairs as by the need to consolidate even further his burgeoning territorial influence. His choice of wife fell upon Joan Radcliffe, who was not only his kinswoman (being the grand daughter of Sir Adam Hoghton’s sister, Sibyl), but also a former mistress. The need for a papal indult setting aside this obstacle to matrimony was all the greater in view of Sir Henry’s previous liaison with another of Joan’s relatives, who may have been the mother of his illegitimate son, Richard. A suitably penitential request for permission to make use of a portable altar was accorded soon afterwards, in October 1403, and probably marks the date of the wedding. Joan was heir through her mother, Sibyl (whose third and last husband was the judge, Sir Roger Fulthorpe), to the Lancashire manors of Salesbury, Little Pendleton and Clayton-le-Dale, as well as substantial holdings in Clitheroe, Oswaldtwistle, Preston, Ribchester and Dulton. The total value of these properties is now hard to determine, but since Salesbury alone produced over £40 a year the inheritance was clearly very valuable. After Sibyl’s death, in 1414, Sir Henry and his wife, who remained childless, conveyed these estates to trustees in the hope that they might thus manage to break an existing entail and settle the title upon Sir Henry’s bastard son, Richard. Sir Henry had already persuaded his elder brother, Sir Richard, to relinquish the parkership of Leagram in favour of his natural son, but the young man’s illegitimacy placed insuperable legal barriers in the way of this even greater act of paternal generosity.8

In the meantime Sir Henry attended the Gloucester Parliament of 1407, being involved during the session in two items of business with his Lancashire neighbour, John, Lord Harington, for whom he went surety as farmer of the Fitzwaryn estates, and on whose behalf he and his fellow MP, Sir Alan Pennington, offered bonds worth 500 marks to the Winchester merchant, Mark le Faire*. Both Sir Henry and his brother were in attendance upon the King in May 1412, by which time a dispute had arisen between the former, in his capacity as bailiff of Staincliffe, and the heads of several monastic houses with property there. The abbot of Furness actually complained to the Parliament of 1411 about the malicious suits of debt and trespass being brought by officials of the duchy of Lancaster, and five years later another petition drew attention to continued abuses of authority. Financial irregularities, too, seem to have occurred, but at first Sir Henry escaped serious reprisals. Indeed, not long after his accession, in March 1413, Henry V granted him £40 p.a. and confirmed him in his various appointments. Together with his brother, Sir Henry was present in October 1414 to attest the return for Lancashire to the second Parliament of that year; and he later took a seat on the Yorkshire bench.9 Grants were, furthermore, made to him by the Crown of the wardship and marriage of Richard Dynelay, a royal ward with property in Clitheroe (for which he agreed to pay £46 13s.4d.), and of the tenancy of part of the manor of Reedley Hallows. Notwithstanding the protests noted above, Sir Henry was also allowed, in September 1418, to farm the wapentake of Staincliffe for the next 12 years, although at that very same time his indebtedness to the Crown was under investigation and distraints had already been made upon him. These proceedings resulted in a fine of £80, payable in two instalments, and another of £24 with which he purchased a general release of all actions for ‘trespass, debt, outstanding accounts, unsatisfied demands, concealments of revenue and evasions’ in the bailiwick of Staincliffe. That his malpractices were soon overlooked is evident from an award of tenements in Harfleur, which the King gave to him shortly afterwards.10

By now a comparatively old man, Sir Henry did not himself fight in France, but he at least made provision, in May 1422, for one Robert Greenacre of Lancashire to serve in his name with a retinue of four men. He died in November 1424, still without a legitimate heir, and his share of the Hoghton estates duly reverted to his brother’s grandson, Richard. Controversy soon arose over the fate of his late wife’s property, since his natural son was challenged in possession by John Talbot, the rival claimant. Talbot not only advanced a strong legal title, but also proved a determined and powerful adversary. In August 1425 both parties undertook under heavy securities to accept the arbitration of (Sir) John Stanley*, whose award left Sir Henry’s son with the manor of Little Pendleton and revenues of £20 p.a. from Salesbury. Although they had received by far the larger share, the Talbots were still dissatisfied with this arrangement, and by the mid 15th century they had forced the latter to make further concessions.11

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.

Notes

  • 1. VCH Lancs. vi. 254, 393; vii. 62; CPL, v. 578; Chetham Soc. xcv. 105; xcix. 12-13; Cam. Misc. xxii. 105.
  • 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 500, 507, 527.
  • 3. Chetham Soc. n.s. xcvi. 90, 92-93.
  • 4. Gesta Hen. V ed. Williams, 268.
  • 5. VCH Lancs. iii. 49; vii. 27, 62; G. Ormerod, Pal