MAPPERLEY, alias HOLT, Thomas (d.c.1415), of Nottingham.
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Family and Education
m. by Sept. 1380, Joan,1 2s. 1da.
Bailiff, Nottingham Mich. 1381-2; mayor 1402-3; recorder 1407-10.2
Under sheriff, Notts. by Mich. 1387-Nov. 1391.3
Commr. of inquiry, Notts. Oct. 1402 (liability to contribute to repairs to the bridges over the Leen at Nottingham).
Tax collector, Notts. Nov. 1404.
Early in his career known as Thomas Holt of Mapperley, Derbyshire, this MP later changed his surname to Mapperley, and it was after him that the Nottingham suburb was subsequently named. On 20 Apr. 1380 he was pardoned for all trespasses of vert and venison committed in the royal park of Bestwood and the forest of Sherwood, and six days later a servant of his was released from Nottingham castle on bail regarding the same offence.4 That year marked the start of Mapperley’s acquisition of property in the area: he then took out a lease of all the holdings in Nottingham and Radford formerly belonging to John Bridgford, undertaking to pay a rent of 66s.8d. p.a.; three years later he bought an interest in an estate at Kimberley; and his Nottingham properties subsequently included houses and gardens in several parts of the town, as well as land nearby at Snapedale. In 1396 he sued Sir Edmund Pierrepoint at the local assizes for disseisin of lands at Sneinton. The previous year it had been alleged in the borough court that Mapperley had built a house on common ground and, moreover, used stones taken from the town walls. Indeed, he clearly entertained grandiose building plans, for in 1405 he brought a plea for breach of a contract for extensive alterations to his mansion: an old house standing in the grounds had been demolished in preparation, and timber purchased, but the contractor had stopped work, the wood had rotted, and Mapperley, who claimed to have lost annual rents of £2 as a consequence of the delay, demanded 40 marks in compensation.5
Such schemes were evidently funded by Mapperley’s successful practice as a lawyer, in which he took fees from many clients for whom he acted in both the central and the local courts, before the King’s bench sitting at Nottingham in 1392 and 1396, and at the assizes. In 1376 he had appeared for the prior of Lenton and in 1395 he pleaded for members of the Claydon family of Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire, when they were defendants in a case brought by Roger Mortimer, earl of March. He was often briefed in ecclesiastical suits: for instance, in 1388 he provided securities for a suspect lollard, and on another occasion he was involved in an appeal in an action against the archbishop of York. That he himself had heretical leanings is hardly in question. Certainly, in April 1399 he and his wife obtained a papal licence for a portable altar.6 In the meantime Mapperley had served as under sheriff of Nottinghamshire for about four years, during which he was returned to his first two Parliaments for the shire town, in 1388 and 1391. He was charged in the King’s bench in 1392 with extortion and making false arrests by colour of his office, and it was also alleged that in the autumn of 1391 on separate occasions at Mansfield and at Sherwood he and his men had ambushed a wool merchant, Robert Sutton* of Lincoln, when on his way to Nottingham to do business. He was fined 20s. Then, in December 1400, a royal commission was set up to procure his arrest, with instructions that he was to be brought before the King’s Council.7 His most recent offences are not known, but they clearly had little effect on his local career in the long term for he was elected mayor of Nottingham two years later and subsequently became the borough’s first known recorder.
Mapperley was associated with several of the local gentry. In December 1396 he went surety at the Exchequer for Elizabeth, widow of Henry, Lord Grey of Wilton, and in the following year he was party with her and Sir John Dabrichecourt* to a bond of 1,000 marks made with Philip, Lord Darcy, whose son had married her daughter.8 He became friendly with Ralph Staunton esquire, who in 1394 granted him for life a house called the ‘Bercherie’ with a garden and orchard in his manor of Staunton, as well as the advowson of the church. (Thomas lost no time in presenting his kinsman, William Mapperley, to the living.) Shortly afterwards his daughter Margaret married, as his first wife, Staunton’s heir Thomas, it being agreed in 1402 that the young couple would be endowed with the manor of Bassingham, Lincolnshire. Mapperley’s son John who, between 1410 and his death in 1429, was sub-dean of York, became a feoffee of Thomas Staunton’s estates, and was acting similarly on behalf of his father in 1414.9 Another son, Thomas, had provided securities for his father in Chancery in 1407, and it was he who, as an esquire, was indentured for war service in April 1415 and was later involved in the conquest of Normandy, being empowered early in 1420 to take Pierecourt castle for Henry V.