HUSSEY, Sir Hugh, of Flintham, Notts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Commr. of array, Notts. Mar. 1392, Apr. 1418; inquiry Mar. 1406 (desertions to northern rebels), Notts., Derbys. July 1415, Dec. 1422 (illicit fishing in the river Trent).
The Hussey family settled at Flintham during the reign of Edward I, and soon established themselves as prominent members of Nottinghamshire society. Sir Hugh Hussey the elder was on friendly terms with Roger, Lord de la Warre, although he made little use of his influence so far as the acquisition of office or administrative responsibilities was concerned. His elder son, the subject of this biography, was evidently of age by October 1379, when Sir William Allington and his son, Thomas, offered him a bond worth £80; and at some point over the next seven years he received a knighthood, perhaps on his entry into the family estates. Sir Hugh appears as a trustee of the manor of Stanton in Nottinghamshire, although little else is known about his activities during this period. In February 1391 he leased out some of his land at Flintham to a local farmer, retaining the rest in his own hands. The river Trent marked the boundary of his property there, and it was as a result of his claim to a ferry across to the neighbouring manor of Bleasby that he became embroiled in a violent quarrel with no less an adversary than Thomas Arundel, the archbishop of York. In the following July a commission of oyer and terminer was set up to examine the archbishop’s indignant complaints that Sir Hugh’s men had destroyed his boats and threatened his servants. Peace was restored for a while, but ten years later Hussey resumed the offensive, and another commission met to investigate the charges of harassment and vandalism laid against him. This time, however, he was obliged to accept defeat, and by a collusive action brought at the Nottingham assizes in July 1401 the then archbishop, Richard Scrope, obtained full recognition of his title to the ferry, along with damages of 40s. which he graciously agreed to remit. Sir Hugh’s truculent disposition also provoked a confrontation with one John Bekyngham of Newark, for at the same date as his dispute with Archbishop Arundel he was bound over in securities of £300 (of which £200 was required of him personally) to keep the peace and refrain from any further acts of intimidation towards this, the second of his three adversaries.2
Some earlier, now unrecorded connexion probably led Sir Hugh to accompany John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, to France in 1395; and it was on 20 Mar. of that year, while they were at Bordeaux, that Gaunt retained him formally as a knight bachelor at a fee of £20 p.a., payable from the revenues of the honour of Leicester for life. At the time of his death, Hussey owned an estate in the Leicestershire village of Drayton, so he was clearly well placed to collect the money. On the confiscation of the duchy of Lancaster in March 1399, Richard II confirmed this annuity, while stipulating that Sir Hugh was not to serve anyone else. Understandably enough, however, the latter felt no special commitment to his new patron, and when Gaunt’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke, landed at Ravenspur in the following July to claim his inheritance, he raised a small force of armed men to accompany him as a bodyguard. He was promptly rewarded by the issue of letters patent under the duchy of Lancaster seal re-allocating his pension as a charge on the lordship of Higham Ferrers; and when Parliament met in September to ratify Bolingbroke’s claim to the throne, his retainers were again present as a royal escort. Although Sir Hugh was summoned to represent Nottinghamshire at a great council in 1403, and clearly now occupied a prominent position among the county gentry, he did not sit in the Commons for another four years, perhaps because of pressing personal commitments. The death of his first wife, Agnes, occurred not long afterwards, evidently when negotiations were under way for the marriage of their daughter to Henry Sutton*. Sir Hugh had previously gone bail for a local man who had been involved in a violent dispute with the Suttons, but his partisanship in supporting one of their enemies did not prevent the drawing up of a mutually acceptable contract. He was no less preoccupied with a suit for debt brought against him by another clerical antagonist, the abbot of Welbeck in Nottinghamshire. On this occasion, however, his standing in the community made it easy for him to avoid having to appear in court, and he was pardoned the attendant sentence of outlawry as a matter of course.3
A notable improvement in Sir Hugh’s fortunes occurred in about 1411, as a result of his marriage to Joan, the widow of the eminent crown servant, John Curson. She held as dower a third part of the manor of Kedleston in Derbyshire, and although Sir Hugh became involved in litigation for the recovery of debts charged upon Curson’s estates, the unavoidable inconvenience was a small price to pay for the increased wealth and influence which his second wife brought him. He took part in the Nottinghamshire elections to the Parliaments of 1411 and 1413 (May), and was again himself returned to the Lower House in the autumn of 1414. By then his circle also included Sir Thomas Chaworth*, Simon Leek*, Sir John Etton* (for whom he witnessed many deeds) and John, younger son of Robert, Lord Willoughby of Eresby (who numbered him among his trustees).4 His loyalty to the Lancastrian regime remained as strong as ever, and in 1415 he accompanied Henry V (who had previously confirmed him in his pension) to France. So far as we know, he took no part in the subsequent campaigns for the reduction of Normandy; and he was certainly present at Nottingham to witness the parliamentary returns of 1419, 1421 (Dec.) and 1422. (The Ralph Hussey who got elected on the first occasion may, indeed, have been one of his younger children, or perhaps a nephew, and clearly owed a good deal to the family relationship.) Sir Hugh’s son and namesake succeeded him before 1428, having reached an agreement with his stepmother whereby he was to pay her a pension of ten marks p.a. for possession of the estates which she would otherwise have retained as dower.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Hose(e), Hosy, Huzee.
- 1. R. Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, i. 253; Test. Ebor. i. 352-3; Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, no. 1505; CAD, iii. A5595; iv. A9164; Notts. RO, Staunton ms Bb7.
- 2. Thoroton, i. 353; Test. Vetusta ed. Nicolas, i. 75; CAD, iii. A5299, 5595; Staunton ms Bb7; CPR, 1388-92, p. 519; 1399-1401, p. 520; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 506, 508; JUST 1/1514 rot. 74, 74v.
- 3. Cam. Misc. xxii. 105; DL29/738/12098; DL42/15 ff. 70v, 91v; Test. Ebor. i. 352-3; PPC, ii. 88; CPR, 1396-9, p. 548; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 102; 1405-9, p. 497.
- 4. C219/10/6, 11/2; Derbys. Chs. no. 1505; CCR, 1409-13, pp. 337, 347-9; 1413-19, pp. 271, 367; 1419-22, p. 56; 1422-9, p. 315; CPR, 1408-13, p. 254.
- 5. C219/12/3, 6, 13/1; DL42/16 (1), f. 7; DKR, xliv. 564; N.H. Nicolas, Agincourt, 381; Feudal Aids, iv. 134-5; CAD, iv. A9164.