LICHFIELD, alias SWINFEN, Roger, of Worcester.
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Family and Education
Escheator, Salop, Staffs. and the adjoining Welsh march 16 Nov. 1397-30 Sept. 1399.
Alnager, Staffs. 17 Oct. 1399-?Apr. 1410.
The family of Taverner adopted the name Lichfield during the lifetime of Roger’s father Thomas, for it was at Lichfield in Staffordshire that the main branch was by then well established. However, Thomas himself settled in Worcester, the borough which he represented in the Parliament of 1369, while serving as town bailiff for the first of four terms. When, at Worcester in November 1387, he was formally handed by his receiver a set of accounts, his son Roger was in attendance. The latter was bequeathed some silver plate and the sum of ten marks in his father’s will, dated March 1394, but the testator’s property in Worcester was to be retained by his widow, Roger’s stepmother, and only following her death was it to be partitioned between him and his sister, Agnes Hibaud. Roger’s share was to include the family home in the High Street. His father’s lands in Staffordshire, comprised for the most part of the inheritance of his second wife, were to pass at her demise to Roger’s half-brother, William†.2
Lichfield’s parliamentary service for Worcester took place entirely within his father’s lifetime, and clearly owed much to the latter’s influence in the town, for not only was Thomas bailiff at the time of Roger’s first election in 1382, but was also holding office when he was returned again in October 1383 and February 1388. Shortly before his earliest appearance in the House of Commons, Roger had found mainprise in Chancery for a Warwickshire cleric accused of rape. Although then described as ‘of Worcestershire’, he did own property over the county border in Staffordshire, for in the following year he brought an action in the central courts against a man who had trespassed on his land at Lichfield, and he subsequently provided securities for a defendant in a local lawsuit. It was simply as Roger Swinfen that (after his father’s death) he was appointed escheator in Staffordshire, an office he was to retain for two consecutive years until the deposition of Richard II, but when, in October 1398, during his escheatorship, he took out a royal pardon, this described him as Roger Lichfield alias Swinfen ‘of Worcester’. It also indemnified him specifically for anything he had done in support of the Lords Appellant in the years 1386-8, presumably as a Member of the Merciless Parliament. His final term of office as escheator coincided with his uncle Aymer’s shrievalty, and there can be little doubt that the latter assisted him in his career, but although the older man was dismissed on Henry of Bolingbroke’s assumption of power, in August 1399, Roger himself was able to secure from the new regime the alnagership of Staffordshire. In March 1405 he obtained from the Exchequer a joint lease of the manor of Cranford, Northamptonshire, but evidently failed to pay the annual farm of £10 13s.4d., as less than a year later he was pardoned payment of arrears amounting to £14. In addition, at Easter 1406, he was summoned before the justices of the common pleas at the suit of the Crown for failing to render a reasonable account for a period when he had been ‘receiver of the King’s money’ in Staffordshire. It may be that he had already been removed from the alnagership, although a replacement was not to be formally appointed until 1410.3 Lichfield probably died before August 1409, by which date his half-brother, William, had been named as heir to the estates of their uncle Aymer.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Swinfen is two-and-a-half miles from Lichfield.
- 1. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel, i. f. 176. Thomas’s second wife was Maud, gdda. and coh. of Ralph Grendon of Shenstone, Staffs., and wid. of John Swinfen of Swinfen, whose da. and h. Margery was still a minor in 1379: Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 157, 161, 186; xvii. 296.