HOGHTON, Sir Richard (c.1342-c.1422), of Hoghton, Lancs.
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Family and Education
Commr. of array, Lancs. Dec. 1368, Feb. 1384, Mar. 1400, Aug. 1402,2 June 1405, Apr. 1418;3 inquiry Feb. 1374 (goods of an outlaw), May 1376 (extortions), July 1397 (wastes at Lancaster priory),4 Jan. 1401 (goods belonging to the Friars Minor at Lanvas), Jan. 1412 (persons liable for taxation); to make arrests July 1375, June 1410, May 1415; prevent the spread of treasonous rumours May 1402; assemble and lead men against the northern rebels May 1405, against the Welsh Aug. 1405; hold an assize of novel disseisin Jan. 1406.
Escheator, Lancs. 12 Dec. 1374-12 Nov. 1375, 10 Dec. 1376-28 Feb. 1377, 6 Mar. 1379-8 Apr. 1385.5
J.p. Lancs. Mar. 1385, July 1394, Mar. 1400, Feb. 1402, Feb. 1404, July 1412, Mar. 1418.6
Sheriff, Lancs. 30 Sept.-19 Nov. 1399.
Chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster estates, Lancs. 19 Nov. 1399-22 Feb. 1417; parker of Leagram in the duchy, Lancs. 21 Apr. 1402-10.7
Collector of an aid on the marriage of Princess Blanche, Lancs. Jan. 1402.8
The Hoghtons traditionally played a leading part in Lancashire society, so it was natural that Richard, the subject of this biography, should follow the example of his father and grandfather, both of whom had pursued busy administrative careers, serving as j.p.s, crown commissioners and shire knights. Much of their influence derived from the ownership of extensive estates, which comprised the manors of Hoghton, French Lea, English Lea, Chipping Withnell, Charnock Richard, Ravensmeols and Grimsargh, each with widespread appurtenances, as well as various substantial holdings in Ashton, Hothersall, Whittle-le-Woods, Whittingham, Alston, Dilworth and at least 12 other Lancashire villages, mostly in the neighbourhood of Preston. The family also acquired land in Mollington, Cheshire, some of which was settled—along with the manor of Chipping and property in Hothersall, Alston and Dilworth—upon Richard’s younger brother, Henry. Sir Adam Hoghton (who, in 1337, had secured with his father a royal charter permitting them to enclose a park of 500 acres at Hoghton), fought in the French wars of Edward III and, during the latter part of his life, held office for the King’s son, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, as master forester of Quernmore, Amounderness, Wyresdale and Myerscough. This connexion proved most important to Richard, since from a comparatively early age he was closely involved in his father’s affairs. His claim to have been born in 1342 and to have assumed the profession of arms at the age of may not be entirely accurate, although he had certainly achieved his majority by 1367, when he offered a bond worth £30 to the Black Prince in his capacity as earl of Chester and feudal overlord of Mollington. He served on his first royal commission in the following year, being subsequently associated with his father on at least two such bodies, and, in June 1377, receiving with him royal letters of pardon. Sir Adam’s position as one of Gaunt’s master foresters did not prevent him and his kinsmen from poaching game in the woods and chases it was his duty to protect, and by 1380 he and his sons stood charged with many such offences. For the sum of £80, however, Gaunt agreed to excuse his ‘chers et bien amez’ servants; and it may well be that Richard had by then joined his father as a member of the ducal retinue. Certainly, in April 1381, two of Gaunt’s retainers, Sir John Boteler* and William Hornby, helped to arbitrate in a dispute between him and William Aghton, who had reputedly withheld rent from him during the time that he had been farmer of the church of Northmeols. The award was favourable to Richard, who was now able to exploit powerful reserves of patronage on his own account. Gaunt had already chosen to employ him as escheator of Lancashire, a post which he still occupied in February 1383, when no doubt thanks to the combined influence of the duke and his own father, he first took a seat in Parliament. It was, moreover, in 1383 that Richard acquired from Maud, widow of William Whittingham, the marriage and wardship of John Singleton, which he exchanged with John Bailey for part of the Singleton estates in Whittingham.9
A further mark of favour was shown to Sir Adam and Richard Hoghton in the following year, with the award by Gaunt of the wardship and marriage of Sir Henry Keighley’s young son, Richard, the heir to a sizeable patrimony in Lancashire and Yorkshire. A few months later, however, in August 1384, the Hoghtons found themselves at odds with the duke over a claim to rents of 100 marks p.a. from the manor of Wheelton, which Guant had confiscated on the death of the earl of Ormond. They had little choice but to submit the matter to his arbitration, although he, in turn, allowed them to collect the money until a decision could be reached. The dispute was evidently settled quite amicably, for in the summer of 1385 Richard showed himself willing to serve under his patron’s banner during the King’s unsuccessful expedition to Scotland. Sir Adam died at about this time, leaving almost all his property to Richard, whose appearance as a party to various recognizances for debt was probably connected with his administration of the deceased’s estate. He agreed, in May 1387, to settle the manor of Ravensmeols upon his brother, Henry, during the life of their widowed stepmother, since his landed income was now sufficiently great to permit such acts of generosity. This marked improvement in his finances enabled him to negotiate a marriage between his daughter and John, son of Sir Thomas Southworth of Samlesbury in Lancashire, another of Gaunt’s retainers. The duke himself recognized Richard’s entry into his inheritance with an award permitting him to enlarge the family park at Hoghton even further. We do not know precisely when Hoghton was knighted, although he had assumed his new rank by December 1386, at which date depositions were taken at Lancaster parish church into the contested claims of Richard, Lord Scrope, and Sir Robert Grosvenor to bear the same coat of arms. Sir Richard gave evidence on behalf of Scrope; and in the following January he himself was commissioned to examine other deponents in the same case in the north west.10
Sir Richard’s associates included the abbot of Cockersand, for whom he acted as a surety in 1388, but it was Gaunt who commanded his unswerving allegiance. The duke showed his appreciation of Hoghton’s loyalty in the following year by granting him the custody of another of his wards, and also, at some later point, settling upon him an annuity of 40 marks, payable for life from the revenues of Lancashire. Having served Gaunt for so long as a retainer, Sir Richard was eminently qualified for the place on the ducal council which he assumed in, or before, 1392, at an additional fee of ten marks a year. He and a small group of other Lancastrian retainers, including Sir Nicholas Haryngton* and Sir Robert Urswyk*, were largely responsible for managing their patron’s affairs in the palatinate: in 1396, for example, they took charge of the election of a new coroner in the county court, making the choice on their own authority alone. During this period, Hoghton used his wealth and status to consolidate his position as one of the leading figures in the Preston area. Thus, in 1394, he leased the manor of Fishwick from a local farmer; and by 1397 his name had come to dominate the roll of foreign burgesses in the guild merchant of Preston. His brother, now also a knight, likewise belonged to this institution, and for the next 20 years the two men continued to enjoy a place of honour there, along with other members of their powerful family. It is therefore hardly surprising that in March 1398 King Richard offered Hoghton a fee of 20 marks charged upon the issues of Yorkshire, although if he hoped thus to weaken his attachment to the house of Lancaster he was doomed to disappointment. Throughout the political vicissitudes of the late 1390s Sir Richard remained a committed supporter of Gaunt’s son and heir, Henry of Bolingbroke, whose seizure of the throne in 1399 brought with it a new round of preferment.11
Notwithstanding the brevity of his term as sheriff of Lancaster, Hoghton was able to exploit his position to secure the return of his own brother to the first Parliament of the new reign. He relinquished office on 19 Nov. 1399, to assume the chief stewardship of the duchy of Lancaster estates in Lancashire (at an annual fee of no marks), being rewarded on that very day with a new pension of 100 marks p.a. in place of the smaller one previously paid by Gaunt. Additional manifestations of royal gratitude included custodial rights (shared with Roger Flore*) over the estates and person of Sir Robert Pleasington*; the gift of a tenement in Liverpool; the parkership of Leagram in Lancashire, an extremely favourable lease of all the lands and possessions confiscated from the alien priory of Lancaster; and two royal licences, issued in May 1406 and June 1407, permitting Sir Richard, as a knight of the King’s body, to endow a chantry at the parish church of Ribchester with property to the value of £14 13s.4d. p.a. from his own estates. The necessary arrangements were all effected within Sir Richard’s own lifetime; and in April 1417 the archdeacon of Richmond drew up a series of ordinances for the running of the chantry, where prayers were to be said for the soul of the late Henry IV. In every respect, Sir Richard proved a notable adherent of the new regime, joining with his brother in the summer of 1400 to lead a large contingent of men on King Henry’s campaign against the Scots, attending the great council which met at Westminster in August 1401, representing Lancashire again in the Parliament of 1402, and helping the King to mobilize troops against the Welsh and northern rebels. The autumn of 1404, for instance, saw him on garrison duty at Berwick-upon-Tweed, although he must by then have been well over 60 years old.12
Sir Richard’s last known spell of active service occurred in May 1412, when he was summoned to attend Henry IV as a member of his retinue. His various fees and appointments were confirmed at the beginning of Henry V’s reign, along with the arrangements concerning the estates of Lancaster priory, for which he still undertook to pay £100 a year rent, although the additional annual increments were somewhat reduced. The longevity of Sir Richard’s stepmother, Ellen (who subsequently married Sir Henry Conway and later became the wife of Gilbert Keighley) proved extremely trying because of the depredations committed by her on the estates in Alston and Dilworth which she held in dower as widow of Sir Adam Hoghton. At some point before 1412, Sir Richard successfully brought an action of waste against her, and recovered damages of £181. Three years later, she and Keighley made over to him a life interest in these properties, so at last most of his late father’s estates were re-united in his possession. Sir Richard meanwhile attended the Lancashire parliamentary elections of October 1414, being present on this occasion because a major dispute between Sir Thomas Gerard* and Ralph Standish over the advowson of Wigan church then claimed his attention as an arbitrator. Despite his advancing years, he continued to perform administrative duties as a j.p. and royal commissioner until the spring of 1418, when he also made his last appearance as a feoffee-to-uses of property in Lancashire.13
Sir Richard died at some point before July 1422, having named (Sir) John Stanley* as one of his executors. He had at least two sons, the younger of whom, Edward, received a fee of £10 p.a. from the Crown in 1405, and was living near Preston ten years later. The elder, Sir William, predeceased his father, so it was to his son, Richard, that most of the Hoghton estates descended. A settlement of these properties made during Sir William’s lifetime suggests that they were worth at least £200 a year, not including other land set aside for the marriage of Sir Richard’s only surviving daughter, Ellen. Over the years Sir Richard had added appreciably to his patrimony, so his young grandson (who had been in possession of Charnock Richard since 1410) consequently entered an even richer inheritance.14
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. VCH Lancs.<