HUGFORD, Robert (d.1411), of Emscote, Warws.
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Family and Education
?s. of John Hugford. m. by 1391, Joyce (d. 21 Oct. 1415), 1s. Thomas†, 1da.
Keeper of the household of Thomas, earl of Warwick, by Mich. 1395-c. July 1397; receiver-general of the estates of the earldom by Mich. 1400-c.1402; surveyor of same by Mich. 1405-aft. Mich. 1409.
Commr. to collect an aid, Warws. Dec. 1401.
J.p. Warws. 5 Feb. 1405-Jan. 1406.
Dep. sheriff, Worcs. (by appointment of Richard, earl of Warwick) 27 Nov. 1405-20 Dec. 1406, 14 Nov. 1409-19 Nov. 1410.
There is no evidence to connect Hugford with the important Shropshire family of this name. In fact, he made his own fortune through service to the earls of Warwick, rising to a position of great influence in the comital household and firmly establishing his family among the gentry of Warwickshire. Following his example, throughout the 15th century his descendants loyally served the successive holders of the Warwick estates—Beauchamp, Neville, Clarence and the Crown. From obscure antecedents Hugford had become by 1395 ‘clerk’ or keeper of the household of Earl Thomas, and only days before the earl’s arrest for treason in July 1397 he obtained royal confirmation of Warwick’s grant to him for life (dated 26 Dec. 1396) of an annuity of ten marks from the manor of Pattingham. When the earl’s goods were confiscated, he was found to have in his possession a set of Warwick’s vestments made of red baudekin and valued at five marks. As a precaution against prosecution as a supporter of a former Appellant he purchased a royal pardon in the following year.1
After Warwick’s release in 1399 Hugford promptly entered his employment again. In the will made by Earl Thomas on 1 Apr. 1400 he was named as an executor; and on 26 Apr. he was granted, not only for services already performed for his lord, but also for those he would do in the future for the latter’s heir, Richard, an annuity of £8 charged on the manors of Wick near Pershore and Little Comberton (Worcestershire). Furthermore, four days later he was formally retained for life to serve the earl and his son in peace and war, receiving £20 a year while on campaign. In the last year of Earl Thomas’s life Hugford served as receiver-general of his estates, and he continued to act in this capacity for Earl Richard at least until Michaelmas 1402 and probably for longer. The Beauchamp accounts of this period show him making several journeys on behalf of the new earl and his mother, Countess Margaret, notably to Ludlow and Shrewsbury in the marches (where Warwick was on campaign with the prince of Wales), to London, and to various of the earl’s manors in the Midlands and the north. Besides the assessment of the accounts of local officials and the supervision of sales of timber, his tasks included administrative matters connected with the late earl’s inquisition post mortem. In February 1402 he and another Beauchamp retainer secured at the Exchequer custody of the manors of Perry and Little Barr, which were part of the earl’s inheritance, for the few remaining months of his minority, and when Warwick came of age he granted the same properties to Hugford for life. This was evidently in exchange for Wick and Little Comberton, which shortly afterwards he transferred to another member of the Beauchamp affinity, John Shipston. That same year (1403) he acted as the earl’s feoffee in property in Staffordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire. He undoubtedly owed his return to the first Parliament of 1404 to the position of authority he enjoyed in his lord’s counsels. Hugford was twice appointed deputy sheriff of Worcestershire by Earl Richard, who held the shrievalty in fee; and in 1408 he and Thomas Crewe*, the chief steward of Warwick’s estates, were enfeoffed of nine of his manors in the Midlands. Three years earlier Hugford had relinquished the post of receiver-general in exchange for the no less exacting one of surveyor. The accounts of 1408-9 show him offering a loan of £33 6s.8d. towards the expenses of the earl’s household, sitting as a member of his council (as such being party to discussions about the sale of the marriage of the earl’s ward William Butler—heir to Sir Thomas Butler* of Sudeley), and making a journey with Crewe to the Beauchamp estates in Cornwall, whence they returned home via Southampton and London. Among those of the Beauchamp circle with whom he was often linked were Guy Spyne* and William Mountfort I*, and in 1410 he acted for the latter as a feoffee of his extensive Warwickshire estates.2
Even though Hugford was so busy about the earl of Warwick’s affairs, he was not one to neglect his own. In 1402 he had been associated with Sir Hugh Stafford (the earl of Stafford’s brother) in completing a small grant to Stone priory, and over the years he had set about becoming a landowner. In 1403 he had obtained a lease of properties at Gaydon and Burton Dassett (Warwickshire) and at Dunton (Leicestershire), which he subsequently purchased outright, only to exchange them in 1408 for the Warwickshire manor of Emscote in Milverton which belonged to his son-in-law Richard Revell (stepson of the mayor of Coventry). That he was able to persuade Revell to part with Emscote may have had something to do with the clearly unusual circumstances of the young man’s marriage to his daughter, which had been celebrated ‘en tut haste possible’. Hugford promptly obtained from St. Mary’s college, Warwick, a lease for 100 years of more lands at Milverton, and in December he secured a royal charter of free warren on his newly acquired demesnes. In 1410 he gave his daughter and Revell a house in the suburbs of Warwick near the bridge over the Avon. He attended the Warwickshire elections held in the town for the Parliament of that year.3
Hugford died on 12 May 1411 and was buried in Emscote church, where a monumental brass (since destroyed) apparently made reference to his exemplary service to the earls of Warwick. His widow died four years later.4 Thomas Hugford (b.c.1392), Robert’s son, soon took his place in the ranks of Beauchamp retainers, acting as councillor, receiver-general and executor for Earl Richard, and as constable of the castles of Warwick and Glamorgan for Richard’s son and heir, Duke Henry. He sat for Warwickshire in at least five Parliaments.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. A. Goodman, Loyal Conspiracy, 147; SC6/1123/5; Egerton Roll 8769; CPR, 1396-9, pp. 166, 479; CIMisc. vi. 306; C67/30 m. 16.
- 2. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel, i. f. 180; W. Dugdale, Warws. 278-9; Egerton Rolls 8770, 8772, 8484; CFR, xii. 152; VCH Warws. vii. 70; VCH Worcs. iv. 61, 170; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 171, 382; 1409-13, pp. 285-6; 1413-19, p. 431; Add. Ch. 20431; CPR, 1405-8, p. 241; E164/22 f. 154d; Warws. Feet of Fines (Dugdale Soc. xviii), no. 2462.
- 3. CPR, 1401-5, p. 47; CAD, iv. A8335, 8387, 8470, 10408; v. A12059; CCR, 1402-5, pp. 472, 474; 1405-9, pp. 384-5; 1409-13, pp. 82-83, VCH Warws. vi. 166; CChR, v. 441; Warws. Feet of Fines, nos. 2438, 2446; E164/22 f. 207d; C219/10/5.
- 4. C137/86/26; C138/12/33; Dugdale, 279; CFR, xiv. 146.
- 5. C.D. Ross, Estates and Finances Richard Beauchamp (Dugdale Soc. occ. pprs. xii), 8; M.C. Carpenter, ‘Pol. Soc. Warws.’ (Cambridge Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1976), 84, app. p. 102.