KYNNESMAN, Simon, of Loddington, Northants.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Joan Kynnesman (d. aft. 1431).1
The subject of this biography was a great-grandson of Richard Christian and his wife, Sibyl, through whom, in 1427, he laid claim to the manor of Great Oxendon in Northamptonshire. His own home, however, was at Loddington, where he lived from 1420 onwards, if not before. It was then that he obtained permission to celebrate mass within his ‘mansion house’ there, instead of having to worship at the local church.2 We know nothing about his early life and immediate background, although he was probably either the son or grandson of the Richard Kynnesman of Loddington who was involved in various local transactions during the 138os. His family seems to have been both prolific and influential, for one of his relatives, named William Kynnesman, was active in Northamptonshire as a tax collector, while another, Stephen Kynnesman of Arthingworth, sat with him in the Parliament of December 1421 as member for the borough of Northampton. Simon and Stephen may well have been brothers, since they often appeared together. In July 1401, for example, the two of them witnessed a conveyance of three Northamptonshire manors, and at a much later date, in 1419, they were both among the leading figures in the county named by the j.p.s as being capable of bearing arms against the French.3
Although Kynnesman never held any administrative post in Northamptonshire he was evidently quite well known there. In April 1421 he attested the return of shire knights made at Northampton, and in the following December he himself took a seat in the House of Commons. He often acted as a feoffee-to-uses, as, for example, in 1423, when he and Roger Flore* obtained a royal pardon for acquiring various properties in trust from Sir Thomas Aylesbury’s* widow without first seeking the King’s permission. His name figures quite frequently among the witnesses to local deeds, notably in the neighbouring villages of Draughton and Maidwell.4 Much of his time during the 1420s was taken up with a protracted and acrimonious dispute over the ownership of the manor of Great Oxendon, which he claimed as part of his maternal inheritance. The manor was occupied by Thomas English and his wife, Joan, the widow of Henry Mulsho, whom he took to court in the summer of 1427. The suit dragged on for almost four years until Humphrey, earl of Stafford, intervened to reconcile the two parties. Given that various members of the Mulsho family had been or were then connected with the Staffords, it seems likely that the earl was disposed to favour the defendants. At any rate, by a deed of February 1431 Kynnesman agreed out of ‘respect for Humphrey, earl of Stafford’ to make peace with English and his wife, and surrender all his claims to their property in return for a rather niggardly cash payment of 20 marks.5
Kynnesman was still alive in April 1439, but no more is heard of him after that date. A reference of August 1458 to a plot of land in St. Margaret’s parish Leicester ‘late of Simon Kynnesman’ may well concern him, but no other evidence has survived to suggest that he owned land outside Northamptonshire. His property there remained in the hands of the family for many years, and it seems likely that the Robert Kynnesman who died seised of the manor of Loddington in Richard III’s reign was one of his children or grandchildren.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 332; CCR, 1429-35, p. 109.