HOTOFT, Richard (d.c.1434), of Leics.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Richard Hotoft (d.1375) of Humberstone by his w. Agnes. m. 2s. inc. Richard†.
J.p. Leics. 1 Dec. 1414-June 1418.
Tax collector, Leics. Dec. 1421, Oct. 1422.
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 26 Nov. 1427-4 Nov. 1428.
Commr. to assess a subsidy, Leics. Apr. 1431.
The Hotoft family had been settled at Humberstone from before 1288 and had since then acquired property near the High Cross in Leicester (about two miles away) as well as land at Hathern and Shepshed in the north of the county. In 1375, at the time of the death of his father, then a coroner of Leicestershire, Richard was a minor; and his marriage was then claimed by John, Lord Grey of Codnor, who alleged that the boy’s mother and brother-in-law, John Folville of Rearsby, had taken him away from Humberstone contrary to his wishes.1 He may have come of age by Michaelmas 1388 when the overlord of Humberstone, John, duke of Lancaster, brought an action against him in the court of common pleas for a debt of 58s.; but even so his career did not properly begin until after the accession of Lancaster’s grandson as Henry V. Hotoft attended the Leicestershire elections to the first Parliament of the reign, secured election himself in the autumn of 1414, and served for nearly four years on the local bench. In 1416 Thomas Ashby of Quenby named him as an executor of his will, at the same time making a bequest of 20 marks to his younger son, Thomas, but following a disagreement between Hotoft and his fellow executors over the administration of Ashby’s estate, the bishop of Lincoln appointed the archdeacon of Leicester as receiver of the deceased’s effects. This did not prevent Bartholomew Brokesby* from suing Hotoft for a debt of £100 incurred by his late friend. Another lawsuit was instigated by Hotoft himself in 1420 against the master of St. John’s hospital, Leicester, for alleged breach of an agreement made by a former master with the MP’s kinsman, Richard Witeby, concerning the foundation of a chantry.2
Under Henry VI Hotoft attended the Leicestershire parliamentary elections of 1423 and 1427, served a term as escheator and, described as ‘the elder’, performed his last duties as a royal commissioner in the spring of 1431. By that time his son, Richard, was well established in his career as a lawyer, and it had probably been he who, as ‘of Leicestershire, gentleman’, had provided securities in the Exchequer in 1429 on behalf of John Brome† of Warwickshire. The young man proved to be of higher calibre than his father: he rose to be feodary of the honour of Leicester, duchy of Lancaster bailiff of Leicester, councillor to Humphrey, duke of Buckingham, and Member of eight Parliaments between 1437 and 1455. In the 1470s, following the deaths of that Richard Hotoft and his brother Thomas, their property was claimed by the descendants of our shire knight’s sister, Iseult Folville.3