LANE, Richard (d.1438), of Bentley and the Hyde, Staffs.
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Family and Education
s. of John Lane of Wolverhampton, Staffs. (d. by 1413). m. (1) by Sept. 1398, Katherine, prob. da. of John Ruycroft of Hilton; (2) by Mich. 1414, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Ralph de la Hyde (d. by 1397) of the Hyde, 1s.1
Commr. of inquiry, Staffs. July 1406, May 1417, May 1426 (felonies and rebellions), Salop July 1428, Staffs. Nov. 1436; to raise a royal loan Apr. 1431; of gaol delivery Oct. 1437.
J.p. Staffs. 16 Nov. 1413-d.
Escheator, Staffs. 4 Nov. 1418-23 Nov. 1419, 24 Jan.-17 Dec. 1426, 15 Feb.-Apr. 1430.
Guardian of the temporalities of the bp. of Coventry and Lichfield 15 Feb.-Apr. 1420.
The Lane family was well known in Wolverhampton, having lived there from the late 13th century onwards, if not before. Andrew Lane, Richard’s grandfather, was steward of the neighbouring manor of Tattenhall for the Crown and the owner of land in Wednesfield which Richard recovered after litigation begun at common law in the Trinity term of 1413. He also inherited property in Compton and the town of Wolverhampton itself, but again he was obliged to go to court to implement his title. It was probably as part of their marriage settlement that Lane and his wife, Katherine, were confirmed in possession of land and rents in Hilton, Essington, Shareshull and Little Saredon, Staffordshire, by John Ruycroft in September 1398.2 Katherine died within the next 16 years, leaving Lane free to make a second, and far more lucrative, marriage to Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of Ralph de la Hyde, who eventually brought him the three manors of Bromhall, Coven and the Hyde, as well as some of the former Bagot estates in Blymhill and other more scattered holdings in the area around Chillington and Gunstone, Staffordshire. Also through his wife Lane appears to have acquired land in the Hem, Shropshire, as this was included in the general settlement of her patrimony made by him many years later in 1434. The Lanes did not gain control of these estates without a struggle, although by 1420 de la Hyde’s widow, Elizabeth, had conveyed a substantial part of them to the couple.3
Most of the surviving references to Lane’s career concern appearances in court, made both on his own account and through his involvement in the affairs of others. The likelihood that he was a lawyer is borne out by his long period of service on the Staffordshire bench and his three terms as escheator, although he is nowhere specifically described as a member of the legal profession. His longstanding connexion with John Swynnerton*, his neighbour, began in 1404, when the latter appointed him an attorney for the conveyance of his manors of Hilton and Essington. These were later settled upon Lane as a feoffee-to-uses, which he remained for the next 18 years. In July 1406 he served on his first royal commission, and not long afterwards he stood bail for a local man who was being sued in the court of common pleas. At this time he was party to several other enfeoffments and collusive actions regarding property held by him in trust, and in February 1408 one of the canons of Wolverhampton engaged him as an attorney. Together with Sir Richard Vernon*, his colleague on the Staffordshire bench, he appeared among the arbitrators chosen in March 1418 to settle a quarrel between the abbot of Burton-upon-Trent and Thomas Okeover*.4 Meanwhile, he attended the county elections in the autumn of 1414, and subsequently witnessed the returns in 1432 and 1433.5 His connexion with the see of Coventry and Lichfield was also growing at this time: in 1415 he stood surety at the Exchequer for John Catterick, who was then bishop; three years later, Thomas Stretton, dean of Lichfield, chose him as his counsel to arbitrate in a dispute; and in 1420 he was made one of the four guardians of the temporalities of the see, pending the consecration of a new bishop. Perhaps as a reward for loyal service performed over the years, he obtained the lease of the bishop’s manor of Hatton, Shropshire, in May 1428, and was thus able to consolidate his holdings in the area. The association between Lane and successive bishops of Lichfield continued until shortly before his death, for as late as November 1436 he sat on a royal commission appointed to investigate an attack on the cathedral.6
By the time of his first entry into Parliament in May 1421, Lane had acquired a considerable amount of administrative experience as an escheator, royal commissioner and j.p. He had also become involved in a number of financial undertakings which later resulted in litigation: at Easter 1408, for example, he entered into recognizances of 40 marks, probably on behalf of John Hampton the elder of Stourton, whose feoffee he then was, and whose territorial interests he was subsequently called upon to protect at law. During the Hilary term of 1420 he himself was being sued for a debt of 100 marks which he and other Staffordshire landowners owed Thomas Blount II*, and over which he faced arrest because of his refusal to appear in court. His relations with Blount cannot have deteriorated too badly, however, since the two men continued to act together with Henry Booth* as trustees of the manor of Potlock in Derbyshire. In the following year the prior of Repton successfully recovered the manor from them at the local assizes, together with damages of £10. A somewhat litigious man, Lane used his own knowledge of the law to confound his adversaries: he brought at least two actions for debt, in 1415 and 1421 respectively, and in 1428 we find him suing a group of Wolverhampton men for conspiracy and fraud. Two years later he was again in court, this time in an attempt to recover the wardship and marriage of a young tenant.7
Lane’s parliamentary career was over when Thomas Griffiths sold him the manor of Bentley in Staffordshire, together with the bailiwick of the adjacent park and farmland worth about £2 7s.6d. a year. The transaction took place in 1430, although it was not until 1433 that he received royal letters of pardon for acquiring the property without licence.8 In the following year he was included among the leading residents of Staffordshire who were required to take the oath not to maintain persons breaking the peace. Being by then quite advanced in years, he made arrangements for the descent of his wife’s property, conveying a life interest to his son, John, who was also heir to the manor of Bentley.9 According to an undated retinue list of either Edmund, Lord Ferrers of Chartley (d.1435), or his son and heir, William, Lane received an annuity of £2 from the Ferrers estates, probably in return for his services as a lawyer. That he remained active until his death, in January 1438, seems clear from a deposition made by Sir John Gresley† and his wife, in which they claimed to have been imprisoned in August 1437 by one Richard Lane, who held them captive at Abbot’s Bromley, Staffordshire. Whatever the truth behind these allegations Lane continued to serve on the bench, dying in his 25th year as a j.p.10
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Loire, atte or in the Lone, Loue, Love, Lowe.
- 1. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. i. 324-6; Wm. Salt Lib. Stafford, D1790/A/3/79.
- 2. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 44, 85, 88, 94, 106; 1910, pp. 141-52; Wm. Salt Lib. Stafford, D1790/A/3/79.
- 3. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. i. 324-5; xi. 244; xviii. 50, 53; 1910, pp. 141-52.
- 4. Wm. Salt Lib. Stafford, D1790/A/3/82, 85, 87-89, 92-96; CCR, 1405-9, p. 55; CPR, 1405-8, p. 456; 1408-13, p. 92; Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, 250-1; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvi. 57, 72, 76; xvii. 95; 1937, p. 160; E. Powell, ‘Settlement by Arbitration’, Law and Hist. Rev. ii. 30.
- 5. C219/11/5, 14/3, 4.
- 6. CFR, xiv. 127, 326; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 62; 1910, p. 150; CPR, 1436-41, p. 84.
- 7. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 55, 57, 72, 78, 95, 120, 129; JUST 1/1524 rot. 18.
- 8. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1910, pp. 150-1; CPR, 1429-36, p. 268; CFR, xvii. 45; C139/86/29.
- 9. CPR, 1429-36, p. 400; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 244.
- 10. C139/86/29; E163/7/31 (1); Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1910, p. 152. Lane’s son, John, allegedly married Margery, the daughter of Ralph Egerton of Wrinehill, Staffs. A Richard Lane, perhaps his brother, was described in June 1451 as ‘a lernede monne in the lawe’ (ibid. 154-5; 1928, pp. 147-8).