HOPTON, Thomas, of Rockhill, Salop.
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Family and Education
Escheator, Salop 12 Feb.-5 Nov. 1430.
Sheriff, Salop 28 Aug.-5 Nov. 1430.1
Receiver of the estates of John, late earl of Arundel, Salop 11 July-Nov. 1435.
Commr. to audit the accounts of officials on the earl of Arundel’s estates, Salop, Wales Feb. 1436.
?Verderer, Morfe forest by June 1452.
It seems likely that the Bridgnorth MP of 1411 was the Thomas Hopton who lived at Rockhill (a hamlet some two miles from Hopton castle near Clun), for his namesake, the eventual heir to the estates of the Hoptons of Hopton, was then still a minor. However, the only connexion between him and the parliamentary borough so far discovered is that he served at some stage as a feoffee of the property there belonging to John Bruyn*.2
Described simply as ‘of Shropshire’, in 1409 and 1413 Hopton found sureties in Chancery and the Exchequer, respectively, on the former occasion doing so on behalf of the parson of Warndon, Worcestershire, and on the latter for the abbot of Wigmore. He certainly attended the Shropshire elections of 1420 and 1437 (being then designated ‘of Rockhill’ to distinguish him from Thomas Hopton of Hopton, who was also present), but whether it was he or his namesake who was similarly recorded on the electoral indentures of 1426, 1427, 1429, 1433, 1442 and 1447 remains unclear. Hopton of Rockhill witnessed conveyances for the prominent Shropshire lawyer, William Burley* of Broncroft, in 1425 and 1428, and was made Burley’s co-feoffee of land in the shire in November 1430.3 For much of that year he had been serving as royal escheator in Shropshire and the adjacent marches of Wales, and when, in August, the sheriff, Hugh Burgh*, died, he was appointed to fill the vacant shrievalty as well, albeit only for two months. Hopton was made receiver of the late earl of Arundel’s estates in the area by royal appointment in 1435, but failed to render account for the revenues, with the consequence that some of his property and land at Rockhill was confiscated by the sheriff in November 1437, and not restored to him until he had duly completed his task in February following. Here, again, his career overlapped with that of Thomas Hopton of Hopton, for a royal commission of June 1440 appointing a Thomas Hopton (simply so called) to hold inquiries about the Arundel estates resulted, because of inaction, in the confiscation in 1443 of land at Fitz and Eaton Constantine—places where he of Hopton was a prominent landowner.4
Hopton of Rockhill acted as a trustee of the manors of Cressage, Shropshire, and Arley, Staffordshire, which Richard, duke of York, settled on his retainer William Burley in 1448, and is perhaps last recorded in October the following year, when the transaction was finally completed, although he may have been the man said in June 1452 to be too sick and aged to continue to exercise his office as verderer of Morfe forest.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
It is difficult to distinguish the MP from Thomas Hopton of Hopton, who inherited estates at Fitz, Sandford and Burwarton in Shropshire and at Staunton-on-Arrow, Herefordshire. That Thomas would appear to have been the 2nd s. of Walter Hopton, esquire, who was murdered at Ludlow in 1412, and h. to his bro. Walter, then left a minor in the wardship of Thomas Fitzalan, earl of Arundel. He came of age bef. 1420 and m. Eleanor, da. of Sir Walter Lucy of Newington, Kent, and Richard’s Castle Herefs. by whom he had 1s. (Walter, who, a retainer of the duke of York, was to inherit a moiety of the Lucy estates in 1460 but die a year later) and 1da. (Elizabeth, afterwards w. of John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester). Thomas was also kinsman and h. of William Burley (d.1445) of Birley Herefs. - not to be confused with he of Broncroft. Which of the two served as