LONG, Robert (d.1447), of South Wraxall, Wilts.
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Family and Education
s. of Thomas Long. m. (1) bef. 1417, Margaret,1 4s. inc. Henry†, John† and Richard†; (2) by 1428, Margaret (b. 1 May 1400), da. and event. h. of Sir Philip Popham† of Barton Stacey, Hants, wid. of John Cowdray and of William Wayte of Draycot, Wilts.
?Dep. marshal, KB by Jan. 1408-aft. Feb. 1414.2
Alnager, Som. 27 Oct. 1409-Nov. 1413.
Commr. of inquiry, Wilts. July 1421 (wastes, Devizes park), Oxon., Berks., Wilts., Hants July 1427 (concealments), Wilts. June 1433 (post mortera), Sept. 1440 (arson), Apr. 1442 (theft of wine); to raise royal loans, Wilts. May 1428, Feb. 1441; assess a parliamentary levy June 1433; distribute a tax allowance Dec. 1433; administer oaths against maintenance Jan. 1434; of array Jan. 1436, Mar. 1443; gaol delivery, Old Sarum Jan. 1440.
J.p. Wilts. 12 Feb. 1422-d.
Foreign apposer at the Exchequer 20 May 1426-21 Nov. 1431.3
Bailiff of the bp. of Salisbury’s liberty, Salisbury by 1427-aft. 1440.4
Escheator, Hants and Wilts. 4 Nov. 1428-12 Feb. 1430.
The founder of an important Wiltshire family, Long was apparently of quite lowly origins, being the son of one ‘Long Thomas’, described a century later as ‘a stoute felaw ... sette up by one of the old Lordes Hungrefordes’.5 Throughout his career Robert himself was closely connected with the Hungerford family, being frequently employed by members of it as a trustee and legal advisor. It was, no doubt, the Hungerford connexion which was the key to his successful career as a lawyer and landowner, a career which enabled him to build a mansion at South Wraxall and eventually become influential enough to have three of his sons (two of them possibly under age at the time), elected with him to the Parliament of 1442.
A Robert Long was acting as deputy marshal in the King’s bench by 1408, and this may well have been the future MP, for his career had already begun. In 1409 he bought a farm at Rode, Somerset (a few miles south of Bradford-on-Avon), and in that year he obtained at the Exchequer the right to farm the subsidy of cloth in Somerset. By this time he had probably already settled at South Wraxall, some two miles north of Bradford. Certainly, by 1416 he had been named as a feoffee by Constance, widow of Sir Henry de la River*, of the neighbouring manor of Great Chalfield. In 1420 Long was associated with William Darell†, Nicholas Wotton† and William Alexander* in undertaking to answer for the issues of Amesbury priory, at that time disputed between the prioress and the Crown. Meanwhile, he had been returned to the Leicester Parliament of 1414 for Old Sarum, along with another Hungerford servant, William Chesterton, the two of them quite probably owing their election for this ‘rotten borough’ to the fact that Sir Walter Hungerford*, as sheriff of Wiltshire, Wiltshire, was responsible for making the returns. Long attended the Wiltshire elections to the Parliament of 1417, to which he was himself returned for Calne, one of the nearest boroughs to his home, and he soon became sufficiently important to be chosen as knight of the shire, and to be appointed, in 1422, as a j.p. Thereafter he was regularly re-appointed to the commission of the peace for Wiltshire until his death.6
In 1422 Long became a trustee for Sir Walter Hungerford of estates in Somerset, and between then and 1444 he acted regularly as a Hungerford feoffee, frequently in the company of such local men as William Darell, Richard Milborne*, John Giles*, Roger Trewebody and Thomas Tropenell†. In the course of this period Long held in trust for the Hungerfords several properties in Wiltshire, as well as estates in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and premises in London. It was to Sir Walter’s patronage as treasurer of the Exchequer that Long owed his post as foreign apposer, which he occupied from 1426 to 1431. He acted as a mainpernor for various members of the Hungerford family, besides witnessing their transactions in land.7 It is not surprising that Long and his fellow feoffees are often found helping one another in their own private affairs. Thus Long served as a feoffee for Milbourne, and in 1431 he and Trewebody (then Lord Hungerford’s steward of the manor of Chippenham), came to the assistance of John Carter (Hungerford’s receiver-general) when he bought an estate at Rushall. At other times he took on the role of trustee for Giles and Tropenell and did service for Darell as a mainpernor. In return Darell and Milbourne were feoffees for Long. The latter did not, of course, only put his expertise at the disposal of friends and servants of the Hungerfords: in 1425 and 1428 he assisted in the conveyance of the estates of John Frank, clerk of the Parliaments, and in 1430 he offered a similar service to both David Cervyngton and a fellow lawyer, William Gore. The latter afterwards bequeathed to him a gilt maser.8
In 1426 Long had complained that Sir Walter Beauchamp* and others had attacked him at Bromham, Wiltshire, but the reason for the assault remains obscure. He was again returned as knight of the shire in 1429 and 1433, on the latter occasion petitioning through the Commons for a licence to exchange some land in South Wraxall and Atworth for property in the same area then belonging to Shaftesbury abbey. Long attended the county elections of 1435, and was then able to get his eldest son, Henry, who may have been no more than 18 years old, returned for Old Sarum. He seems to have commanded considerable influence locally, although he was involved in a Chancery case during this period which suggests that he sometimes used his power quite unscrupulously. Edmund Ford* of Swainswick complained that Long had encouraged one William Juet to dispossess his feoffees of property in Melksham, and having ‘maintained’ Juet in the local courts, had then taken the rent as a fee for his services. Ford claimed that he could get no redress at common law ‘by cause of grete power, consideration, unlawful maytenance and aliance of the sayd Robert Longe in the sayde shyre by menys of embrasyng and other unlawful demenyng’.9
In February 1436 Long was asked to contribute £40 towards a royal loan being raised to equip a new army to be sent to France. He was last returned to Parliament six years later, on this occasion for the city of Salisbury. He had held a prominent position there for the previous 15 years as bailiff of the episcopal liberty, initially under Bishop Neville and now under Bishop Aiscough. And his influence in the county generally was now enough to ensure the return of three of his sons for different Wiltshire boroughs: Henry (aged about 25) for Devizes, John (aged about 20) for Cricklade and Richard (younger still) for Old Sarum.10
Over the years Long had added to his holdings, and thus to his local standing. His properties were mostly in west Wiltshire, between Chippenham and Bradford, and included the manor of Atworth (bought in reversion in 1431 from Agnes, widow of Thomas Bourton and subsequently wife of Thomas Tropenell), and lands and tenements in Broughton Gifford, Monkton Farleigh, Box, Calne, Yatesbury and Devizes. In Somerset he owned a small estate near Frome. Long’s second marriage, to Margaret Popham, brought him the manors of Dummer and Barton Stacey in Hampshire and Hartridge in Berkshire, and her manor of Draycot Cerne in Wiltshire was eventually to pass to Long’s son John, after the latter was wedded to his stepsister, Margaret Wayte. Long’s marriage would also appear to have brought him the valuable property in Southampton known as ‘West Hall’, which he sold in 1428-9 to the borough for £120. The negotiations proved lengthy and expensive for the purchasers: on one occasion Long rode into town with no fewer than 12 servants in attendance, and it cost the authorities a large sum to entertain him and his retinue during their stay.11
In July 1446 Long was listed among those for whose welfare prayers were to be said in a chantry founded in Calne parish church. He died on 31 Mar. following.12
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. W. Chitty, Hist. Fam. Long, 49-50. There is no contemporary evidence that his 1st w. was Alice, a da. of Reynold Popham of North Bradley, Wilts. as given in Burke’s Commoners, iii. 212.
- 2. Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), pp. xx, 178, 222.
- 3. PRO List ‘Exchequer Offs.’ 82.
- 4. J.C. Hoare, Modern Wilts. (Salisbury), 698; Tropenell Cart. ed. Davies, i. 230-1, 260; Salisbury RO, ‘Domesday bk.’ 3, ff. 106, 111, 114, 117, 123, 126, 130.
- 5. J. Leland, Itin. ed. Toulmin Smith, i. 133-4.
- 6. Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 32; CFR, xiii. 165; Tropenell Cart. i. 262-7; CP25(1)256/60/24, 27; VCH Wilts. vii. 22-23; CCR, 1413-19, p. 525; 1419-22, p. 92; C219/12/2.
- 7. Tropenell Cart. ii. 104-8; CP25(1)257/61/11, 23, 38, 62/2; Som. Feet of Fines, 59, 182; CPR, 1422-9, pp. 70, 111-12, 269, 526; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 395-7; 1429-35, pp. 43-44, 50-51, 53-55, 163, 248; 1435-41, pp. 50, 52, 61, 218; CAD, iv. A6994, 7007-8, 7682.
- 8. CCR, 1422-9, p. 403; 1435-41, p. 98; Som. Feet of Fines, 64, 67, 72; Wilts. Feet of Fines (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xli), 411, 414, 416, 422, 445, 447, 453, 458; SC6/1049/18, 1119/9; CFR, xvi. 48; Tropenell Cart. i. 122-3, 318; Reg. Chichele, ii. 624.
- 9. CPR, 1422-9, p. 401; SC8/26/1290; RP, iv. 467; C219/14/5; C1/9/466.
- 10. PPC, iv. 326; HP ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509, Biogs. 550-2, is erroneous in stating that Henry was Robert’s 2nd s.
- 11. VCH Wilts. vii. 17, 22-23; Feudal Aids, ii. 344, 364, 373; Tropenell Cart. i. 101, 115; Wilts. Feet of Fines, 414, 416, 422, 461, 477, 497, 510, 563; C1/11/542; SC8/26/1290; CPR, 1429-36, p. 79; 1436-41, p. 346; Som. Feet of Fines, 185; VCH Hants, iii. 358; iv. 418-19; Stewards’ Bk. (Soton Rec. Soc.), i. 11, 31, 33; C. Platt, Med. Southampton, 170, 270; HMC 11th Rep. III, 82; CCR, 1441-7, p. 190; C138/7/15, 44/9; C139/133/12.
- 12. CPR, 1441-6, p. 459; C139/126/16; CFR, xviii. 68-69.