MACKNEY, William (d.1415/6), of Mackney in Brightwell, Berks.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Sir William Mackney of Mackney by his w. Ellen. m. 1s.
Keeper of the inner household of Richard, earl of Warwick c.1407-8.1
As heir to land in Brightwell which had been in the family since the late with century, William Mackney succeeded his father, Sir William, in or before 1371, and in June 1383 he gave his mother a receipt for five marks, half of a legacy mentioned in Sir William’s will. He was probably the person who by 1412 had possession of the manors of Bere and Houghton Drayton in Hampshire, then said to be worth £20 a year, but there is no record as to how he had obtained them.2
Having entered royal service, in December 1390 Mackney received as a ‘King’s esquire’ a grant of an annuity of £10 for life, charged on the farm of the royal mills at Oxford. Then, in July following, he obtained custody of lands worth about ten marks a year from the estate of the late William Noble of Buckinghamshire, together with the marriage of a ward, on condition that he recovered the property at his own expense. These lands (in Kingsey and Great Kimbell) he was to hold until 1410, when the heir, John Hampden*, came of age.3 Like his father before him, Mackney was on good terms with their neighbours, the prominent James family of Wallingford. His friendship with John James† (d.1396), on whose behalf he both witnessed deeds at home and acted as a trustee of property in London, brought him into contact with Sir Edmund de la Pole* (father-in-law to James’s son, Robert*), who in October 1392 made him keeper of the forests of Shotover and Stowood as his deputy. Alongside de la Pole he acted from 1397 as a feoffee of Robert James’s estates, continuing to do so until his death. Mackney was also regarded as trustworthy by three Oxfordshire knights who were all leading figures at the court of Richard II: Sir John Golafre (d.1396), a knight of the King’s chamber and constable of Wallingford castle, named him as an executor of his will, as also did Sir Richard Adderbury I* (d.1399), Richard’s former tutor and councillor; and Sir Baldwin Berford, the keeper of the royal mews, asked him to be a feoffee of his property in London, and later, in 1401, of estates (in seven counties) then settled in reversion on Berford’s coheirs.4
At the parliamentary elections held in Berkshire in 1399, Mackney provided securities for his friend, Robert James. His royal annuity was confirmed by Henry IV on 7 Nov. following, and it may well be that his return to Parliament for Oxfordshire in 1404 owed a good deal to his status as a ‘King’s esquire’, for although he had many connexions among the gentry of the shire, and lived close to the county border, his only known financial interest there was this same fee charged on the mills at Oxford. At what precise stage in his career he was taken up by Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, is not known, although he clearly proved his worth to the earl before 1407, for by then Warwick had made him a grant for life of the manor of Grafton Flyford, Worcestershire, and was shortly to appoint him keeper of his inner household. In December 1411 Mackney obtained royal letters patent of exemption from holding offices, from being compelled to take up knighthood, and from further election to Parliament, yet he was still prepared to serve Warwick. In the autumn of 1414 he crossed over to France in the earl’s retinue as captain of Calais, and may well have journeyed on with him to Constance to attend the General Council of the Church, returning to Calais in his train before the following summer. Warwick then wrote to the chancellor, Bishop Beaufort, requesting that those nine members of the garrison (including Mackney) who received ann