HUSSEY, Sir Henry (1361-1409), of Harting, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1401
1402

Family and Education

b. Nov. 1361, s. of Sir Henry Hussey (d.1383) by his 2nd w. Ankaretta (d.1389). m. bef. 1387, Margaret, 1s. Sir Henry. Kntd. bef. Mar. 1387.

Offices Held

Commr. to determine an appeal in the constable’s ct. Nov. 1396; of inquiry, Surr., Suss. Mar. 1402 (concealments); to make proclamation of Hen. IV’s intention to govern well, Suss. May 1402; of array July 1402, Nov. 1403.

J.p. Suss. 16 May 1401-Feb. 1403.

Tax controller, Suss. Mar. 1404.

Biography

Since before 1154 the Husseys had been seated at Harting, which they had made into a handsome estate boasting two parks. The shire knight was the fifth Sir Henry to hold the manor in succession from the mid 13th century. Both his great-grandfather, who died in 1332, and his grandfather, who died in 1349, had received peronal summonses to Parliament, but his father was not so called to the Upper House, doubtless because of the unusual circumstances of his inheritance of the family estates, for he was not the last Lord Hussey’s true heir. Lord Hussey’s eldest son, Sir Mark, had died during his lifetime leaving a son named Elenry, but Hussey then entailed his manorial holdings to favour his own younger sons, thus disinheriting the boy. The deaths respectively of Lord Hussey in 1349, his third son, Richard, in 1361 and his widow in 1376, brought all the Hussey manors to Sir Henry, following whose own demise in 1383 they descended to the future shire knight. The MP’s patrimony included a moiety of Sapperton and property at Broad Rissingdon (Gloucestershire), Hascombe (Surrey), Standen (Wiltshire), and South Moreton (Berkshire) as well as three other manors besides Harting in Sussex. It is uncertain whether he ever possessed the family property in Kent and Hampshire, but nevertheless he could still expect an annual income probably in excess of the £105 at which his lands were assessed at his death.1

Hussey’s manorial profits were temporarily reduced while his mother kept possession of her dower portion, and in 1389 he brought an action in the common pleas against her and her second husband, claiming damages of 1,000 marks for their wasting of his inheritance. He alleged that at Harting they had sold 80 oaks, 80 beeches and some fruit trees, and had demolished two gate houses, a dairy, a grange and certain habitations of bondmen. The defendants denied the charges, though admitted felling timber to repair a drawbridge. Hussey’s mother died later that year, but owing to an administrative error it was not until June 1391 that he secured full possession of her dower lands.2

The Husseys had long been closely connected with the Fitzalan earls of Arundel, from whom they held Harting by knight service. Indeed, the second Lord Hussey had been married to the aunt of Earl Richard (d.1397). Not surprisingly, Sir Henry enlisted for service in the retinue of the earl in March 1387, when the latter as admiral of England assembled the fleet which achieved great success in the narrow seas, and later that year he gave Arundel his armed support by joining him and the duke of Gloucester at Haringay at the start of their bid to take power. At that time Hussey was being sued in the common pleas for a debt of £9 6s.8d. incurred in London, but by mistake his cousin Henry (son of Sir Mark) was summoned to answer. The latter, of course, already bore a serious grudge against his kinsman: in 1393 he began legal proceedings to obtain a third part of Harting and, after a postponement in 1395 while Sir Henry finished his military service at Sangatte castle (Pas-de-Calais), the court awarded the dispossessed man an annuity of marks to be paid in perpetuity from the manorial revenues. Save for Sir Henry’s appointment to a judicial tribunal to determine an appeal from the constable’s court in 1396, he was noticeably absent from royal commissions in the last years of Richard II’s reign. This is hardly surprising given his close connexion with the earl of Arundel, following whose execution he purchased a royal pardon, in April 1398. Hussey seems then to have attached himself to the King’s half-brother, John Holand, duke of Exeter, who had hastened to secure possession of the forfeited Fitzalan estates; certainly, when required to offer sureties for good behaviour a month afterwards, he called on the duke’s retainers, (Sir) Thomas Shelley* and Robert Cary*, to act on his behalf. It was not until after his first election to Parliament, in 1401, that Sir Henry was appointed as a j.p. in Sussex. Some indication of his standing in the locality is, however, provided by the summonses he received to great councils held in August that year and again about two years later.3

In 1406 Hussey was a witness at Arundel castle when Thomas, earl of Arundel, completed an important settlement of his estates. His intimacy with other members of the earl’s entourage is further suggested by the gift he made to Arundel’s retainer, John Tauk, of his manor in Surrey to hold for life. However, Tauk may have been a relation of his, certainly Robert Tauk* and two of his brothers were the only men he trusted to be feoffees of his property. Hussey died on 5 May 1409. His widow met with harassment from her son Henry (c.1387-1450), who, one Sunday while she was at the parish church attending high mass, entered the manor-house at Harti