MORE, Robert III (c.1377-1422), of Stinsford, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b.c.1377, s. and h. of Adam atte More of More in Marnhull, Dorset, by his 2nd w. Edith. m. (1) bef. 1402, Alice, 1 da.; (2) between Feb. 1402 and Feb. 1404, Joan (c.1380-2 June 1436), da. and h. of Richard Horne* of Britford, Wilts. by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Thomas St. Omer† of Bramshaw, Hants, wid. of John Syward the younger.
The family of More, which derived its name from a district in Marnhull, appears to have been of quite humble origin. Robert’s father died in 1384 when he was eight, leaving him property in More, Stour Provost and Bere in Shillingstone, although his mother occupied these as her jointure and was still alive in 1392. Together with his mother, who apparently took as her second husband Sir William Lucy, More owned lands in Tarrant Gunville. Within ten years he had acquired the manor of Bere and tenements at Winterbourne and Shaftesbury, properties which, together with his patrimony, were entailed on his issue by his first wife, Alice, and were valued at his death at £33 6s.8d. a year. Yet more extensive estates came his way in 1405 on the death of his second wife’s mother, Elizabeth St. Omer. These included the manors of Bramshaw (Hampshire), Britford, ‘Abingdon Court’ in Cricklade and Burton Grove (Wiltshire), the advowson of St. Sampson’s church in Cricklade and lands elsewhere in Wiltshire, as well as in Thatcham and Newbury (Berkshire). His wife had already inherited from her father the manor of Hinton Admiral and a house in Christchurch (Hampshire). Altogether, these had been valued in 1394 at as much as £94 a year. Through a former marriage, to John Syward, Joan held as jointure the manors of Winterborne ‘Wast’, Brockhampton and Swanage (Dorset) and the advowson of Winterbourne, which, after a dispute over titles, were awarded to her and More in 1407. In the same year they conveyed them to Sir Humphrey Stafford I* and his feoffees, in return for an annuity of 19 marks payable for the rest of Joan’s life. (Sir Humphrey subsequently granted the manors to Exeter cathedral for the foundation of Bishop Stafford’s chantry.) In 1412 the subsidy returns gave conflicting evidence for More’s annual income: the assessors in Dorset recorded a figure of £107 13s.4d. from 14 sources, with £63 from Wiltshire and 13 marks from Hampshire; whereas the Wiltshire assessors stated that he derived £120 from their county and 20 marks from Hampshire. But even at the lowest estimate, of about £180 in all, he ranked among the wealthiest landowners of the region. Subsequently, he acquired, but only temporarily as a feoffee, a tenement in Dorchester, and he made no more permanent acquisitions.1
It is curious that a man of this substance should have played no part in local government, either in Dorset or Wiltshire. Indeed, More seems to have led a secluded life, and to have had little to do with his neighbours. He did, however, attend the elections held at Dorchester prior to the Parliaments of 1407, 1410, 1413 (May), 1414, 1419 and 1421 (May). The j.p.s for Dorset included his name on a list of those best able to perform military service, in response to inquiries made by the King’s Council at the end of 1419, but there is no record of any such employment either at home or abroad.2
More died on 4 Mar. 1422, leaving as heir to his own estates his daughter by his first wife: Edith, wife of John Newburgh†, junior, of East Lulworth. He seems to have had no issue by his second wife, who subsequently sold a large part of her own inheritance, including the reversion of her manor in Cricklade, to Sir Walter (by then Lord) Hungerford*. She died in 1436 and was buried in St. Peter’s church, Dorchester.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Dorset Feet of Fines, 179, 261-2, 272; CIPM, xvi. 91; C136/81/31; C137/32/38, 50/34; CPR, 1405-8, pp. 345, 466; 1422-9, p. 390; J. Hutchins, Hist. Dorset, iv. 317; Materials for Hist. Cricklade ed. Thomson, 58-59; CCR, 1402-5, pp. 436-7; 1405-9, pp. 205-7; Feudal Aids, vi. 430-1, 437, 457, 534; Dorchester Recs. ed. Mayo, 201, 206.
- 2. C219/10/4, 5, 11/2, 3, 5, 12/3, 5; E28/97/93.
- 3. Hutchins, ii. 380; iv. 317; Hist. Cricklade, 59; C139/23/29, 79/6.