LANGHAM, Robert, of Wymondham and Gopsall, Leics.
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Family and Education
s. of Thomas Langham of Wymondham. m. bef. June 1386, Felicity, 1s.
Commr. to seize heretical writings, Leics. May 1388; of weirs June 1398; to collect an aid Dec. 1401.
J.p. Leics. 15 July-Nov. 1389, 12 Nov. 1397-9.
The Langhams had owned land in and near Gopsall from before 1296, to which Robert’s grandfather added property in Wymondham and Edmondthorpe. His uncle William’s land at Coston was forfeited to the Crown in 1345, and it was not until November 1381 that Robert, as his heir, was able to regain it. He had probably come of age some ten years earlier, for in 1371 he had acquired the manor of ‘Basset Houses’ near Normanton Turville, and it was there that he had been residing when the first poll tax was levied in 1377. Langham’s title to the manor of Gopsall would appear to have been under dispute in 1395, for when he and his son Reynold conveyed land in Lindley to Thomas Bosevile of Nuneaton it was on condition that, if they should lose Gopsall by judgement in the lawcourts, they might repossess the land so granted.1
Certain aspects of Langham’s career suggest that he was a lawyer by training, although no positive evidence to this effect has been found. From 1378 until after 1391 he acted as a trustee of the manor of Peckleton and of moieties of those of Sapcote and Stoney Stanton, on behalf of Sir William Moton, the wealthy coheir of the estates of the late Lord Basset. He may have been of the affinity of John of Gaunt, for in 1380 the duke instructed his steward of Northamptonshire to deliver to Langham’s feoffees seisin of certain properties in Ashby St. Ledgers, it having been proved to the duke’s satisfaction that ‘le quel Robert en ad droit’. Certainly, on more than one occasion he was associated with Lancastrian retainers: for example, he joined with Sir William Bagot* in providing securities at the Exchequer in 1381 on behalf of the keepers of the alien priory of Beckford; and he was also a feoffee of Sir Alfred Sulney’s† manors of Normanton and Pinxton (Derbyshire) from the following year. That he was a close friend of Sulney is evident from his undertaking in 1391 that, in the event of Sulney’s daughters’ failure to found a chantry at Newton Solney for the souls of Sir Alfred and his son, Sir John†, he or his heirs, in association with Thomas Foljambe*, would complete the foundation, using the income from the Sulney manors in their keeping. At the Leicestershire elections to the Cambridge Parliament of September 1388 Langham stood surety for the appearance there of Sir William Flamville.2
The date of Langham’s death has not been discovered. However, he is not recorded after May 1402, when he secured possession of certain lands in Kilby, of which he had been a trustee for several years. His son Reynold (the escheator of Warwickshire and Leicestershire of 1402-3) was active as his executor by January 1406.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Leics. Village Notes ed. Farnham, iv. 313; Leics. Med. Peds. ed. Farnham, 29-30; Quorndon Recs. ed. Farnham, 175-6; CIMisc. iv. 63; CCR, 1381-5, p. 26; HMC Hastings, i. 100.
- 2. CCR, 1381-5, p. 111; 1389-92, pp. 342-3; 1392-6, p. 201; Reg. Gaunt 1379-83, i. no. 203; CFR, ix. 238; C219/9/5.
- 3. Huntington Lib. San Marino, Hastings mss, HAD 47/741-3; Leics. Med. Peds. 30. It was probably his grandson Robert, who as ‘of Barlestone, Leics.’ became a member of the Holy Trinity guild at Coventry: Dugdale Soc. xiii. 67.