MALLORY, Sir Giles (d.1403), of Weedon Pinkeney and Litchborough, Northants.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Sir Peter Mallory† of Weedon Pinkeney and Litchborough. m. (1) by Sept. 1374, Joan, wid. of Sir Richard Baskerville (d. Mar. 1374) of Eardisley, Herefs., ?1s.; (2) Marina. Kntd. between Mar. 1378 and Mar. 1380.1
Commr. of inquiry, Glos. July 1379 (felonies and trespasses); to make an arrest, Northants. Mar. 1390; survey the possessions of the Lords Appellant of 1388, Beds., Bucks., Leics., Northants., Rutland, Warws., Worcs. Oct. 1397; of kiddles, Northants. June 1398; array Dec. 1399; oyer and terminer July 1401 (attack on the property of Ralph Green*).
Chief steward of Thomas, earl of Warwick, to 28 Sept. 1397.2
Sheriff, Northants. 29 Nov. 1402-d.
Through his paternal grandmother, Margaret Wale, Mallory was heir to an impressive estate centred upon the manor of Weedon Pinkeney, as well as other property in Litchborough which had been in the hands of his ancestors since the early 14th century if not before. In accordance with his position as a landowner, his father, Sir Peter, played an active part in local administration, representing Northamptonshire in the Parliament of 1351, and serving as sheriff almost immediately afterwards. His failure to pay the arrears of his account led, however, to a period of incarceration in the Fleet prison, and he was again committed to gaol in September 1364, this time because of his refusal to hand over damages of £300 to the judge, Sir Henry Green (who was one of his near neighbours). His son, Giles, the subject of this biography, was imprisoned with him in Newgate, since both men had also been convicted by a panel of London jurors of some unspecified act of trespass against Sir Henry. They were detained together until the following December when, thanks to the timely intervention of King David II of Scotland (who had been a hostage in the Tower for some years and probably became friendly with Sir Peter then), the two of them were accorded a royal pardon and released on bail for a month, after which the question of damages was to be settled by the royal council. Sir Peter returned to Newgate in February 1365, his final discharge being made conditional upon the satisfaction of Chief Justice Green’s demands.3 Understandably enough, both father and son chose to live quietly out of the public eye for the next few years, and we hear no more of them until September 1374, by which date Giles had married the recently widowed Joan Baskerville. The next heir to the Baskerville estates, which comprised the manor and castle of Eardisley, together with extensive farmland in Herefordshire, was then no more than a baby, and the King saw fit to entrust the wardship of those properties not already held by Joan as her dower to the couple, who were to pay a rent of 40 marks p.a. for them until the boy came of age. Sir Peter Mallory, meanwhile, had cause to regret his readiness to offer securities on their behalf at the Exchequer, for although they were pardoned in the following year for marrying without a royal licence and attempting to recover certain holdings which had belonged to the late Sir Richard Baskerville, Giles and his wife subsequently found themselves in serious trouble as a result of the wastes and depredations committed by them on these estates. The two royal commissions set up in March 1380 and May 1381 to examine the extent of the damage were probably appointed in response to the complaints of one Edmund Brugge, who had for some time been attempting to obtain the wardship himself. Be this as it may, Mallory lost control of his valuable prize at about this time, and had to make do with a reduced income of 20 marks a year from his wife’s share of the Baskerville inheritance.4
The MP is next mentioned in June 1383, when he acted as a mainpernor at the Exchequer for a London tradesman. His intransigent behaviour gave cause for concern again two years later, and although we are not told why orders were given for the arrest of a group of Northamptonshire men including himself and Sir Warren Lucien† as the ringleaders, the fact that they were to be brought before the King and Council suggests some serious misdemeanour on their part.5 This and his other brushes with authority do not appear to have done Mallory’s career much harm, however, and a few months later he was returned to Parliament for the first time. It is now impossible to tell exactly when he became a retainer of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, but some connexion clearly existed between them by February 1388, the date of Mallory’s second appearance in the Commons. As one of the leading Lords Appellant, Warwick needed supporters in the Lower House, and he may well have used his influence to secure the election of a group of retainers and well-wishers to the Merciless Parliament. This supposition is borne out by a reference of November 1389 to Mallory’s interrogation before the royal council in the company of Sir Henry Green* (the judge’s son) and Sir Alfred Trussell*, both of whom were then noted adherents of the Beauchamp family, on a charge of participating in some local affray. By the autumn of 1395, if not before, he was being paid an annuity of £13 6s.8d. by the earl, who had perhaps already made him his chief steward. Over the year ending at Michaelmas 1397, Mallory devoted a considerable amount of time to official business, and was often away from home on errands for his employer. Warwick’s forfeiture and exile on 28 Sept. 1397 left him in an extremely difficult position, and he immediately sued out a royal pardon as protection from any further acts of vengeance by the court party. In point of fact, Richard II was prepared to entrust him with the task of collecting various goods and chattels on the earl’s behalf, and some silver plate remained in his hands for over a year. Yet he was still, inevitably, regarded with some suspicion, and in April 1398 securities of £200 were taken from him as a guarantee that he would again appear before the Council ‘for particular causes specially moving the King’. In common with many other past supporters of Richard’s enemies Mallory was obliged to pay heavily for political rehabilitation, which took the form of a second pardon, accorded to him in the following June, specifically as an erstwhile supporter of the Appellants.6
From this point onwards Mallory seems to have accommodated himself easily enough to changing circumstances. Perhaps he was helped by the King’s half-brother, John Holand, duke of Exeter, with whom he had served in France during the early part of 1395. Moreover, despite his old quarrel with Chief Justice Green, his relations with the latter’s son and namesake were evidently cordial, and may likewise have proved useful in regaining the King’s confidence. In November 1398, for example, Sir Henry Green, who was then one of the most powerful commoners in England, advanced him a loan of £24, possibly towards the cost of his pardon. Although Mallory did not accompany Richard II to Ireland in the summer of 1399, he agreed to act as an attorney in England for John, Lord Lovell, while the latter was taking part in the ill-fated expedition. The King’s departure gave Henry of Bolingbroke an eagerly awaited opportunity to return from exile at the head of a small army, and it is surprising to discover that Mallory, as an erstwhile supporter of one of Bolingbroke’s political associates, took up arms against the ‘invasion’.7 On 12 July 1399, an assignment of £15 12s. was made to him from the Exchequer to cover the expenses of two men-at-arms and 18 archers whom he had recruited to defend the realm from attack. His support proved short-lived, however, and he soon threw in his lot with the winning side. In December 1399 he and Sir Nicholas Lilling*, another of Warwick’s former retainers, served together on a commission of array in Northamptonshire, and in August 1401 the two men were summoned to represent the county at a great council at Westminster. The electors of Northamptonshire were once again anxious to return Mallory to Parliament, and he sat consecutively in both 1401 and 1402. The Commons was still in session when, in July 1402, Henry IV granted him the farm of the hundred of Fawsley in Northamptonshire, to hold at an annual rate of £16. His appointment as sheriff followed soon afterwards, although he did not live to render his final account—a duty which was performed by his widow and executrix, Marina.8
Throughout his life, Mallory was closely involved in the affairs of local landowners, and his name appears frequently among the witnesses to Northamptonshire deeds. He was also active as a trustee, most notably for his neighbour, Sir John Trussell*, another member of the Beauchamp affinity, who shared his somewhat truculent disposition. In January 1399 the two men were bound over in substantial sureties to do no harm to John Harrowden*, against whom they appear to have been waging a private vendetta. On other occasions he employed more conventional means for the settlement of personal differences. Although not unduly litigious by the standards of the age, Mallory was often caught up in property disputes at the Northampton assizes, partly because of his commitments as a feoffee, but also as a result of his attempts to consolidate his own possessions in both Litchborough and Farthingstone. He also brought at least two actions for debt (in 1399 and 1402 respectively) in the court of common pleas, but neither of these was successful.