HUSSEY, Ralph, of Oxton, Notts.
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Family and Education
m. by 1419, Margery, wid. of Robert Dethick (d. by c.1410), of Dethick, Derbys.
Hussey’s background and parentage remain obscure, but his election to Parliament in 1419 probably came about through the influence of his kinsman, Sir Hugh Hussey*, who actually attested the return. He was by then already embroiled in a particularly acrimonious quarrel with the Dethicks of Derbyshire, no doubt as a result of his marriage to Margery, the widow and executrix of Robert Dethick, the allocation of whose dower proved a matter of some contention. It was in 1421 that he accused Robert’s brothers and their friends of conspiring some three years before to secure his indictment on a false charge of assault and burglary, and, indeed, of having him imprisoned in Nottingham castle. The Dethicks countered these allegations by claiming that two separate arbitration awards had been made with regard to their dispute—one by the influential Derbyshire knight, Sir Thomas Gresley*—but that Hussey had categorically refused to accept the damages then assigned to him. (Since these amounted to 6s.8d.and a pipe of wine, whereas Hussey was demanding £600 in compensation, an impasse could hardly have been avoided.) Matters did not rest here, for in July 1423 Thomas Dethick was prevailed upon to offer a bond of £100 as a guarantee of his readiness to submit to yet another group of arbitrators, who on this occasion included the lawyer, Henry Booth*. Their ruling, which assigned to Hussey and his wife one third of the manor of Mattersey in Nottinghamshire and the whole manor of Whittington, together with rents worth £2 p.a. from Dethick in Derbyshire and costs totalling 20 marks, now proved quite unacceptable to Thomas; in 1427, after further evasions on his part, Hussey took him to court for the sum of £40 still outstanding on the confiscated bond. Nothing daunted, Thomas filed a suit for exactly the same amount, which he claimed was owed to him from his late brother’s estate. The situation thus remained as tense as ever, although by 1431, when he is last mentioned, Hussey was firmly in possession of the manor of Whittington, which brought him revenues of £5 p.a.
C219/12/3; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 38, 111, 115; Feudal Aids, i. 292; E. Powell, Kingship, Law and Society, 69.