PAYNELL, Sir Thomas (c.1343-c.1403), of Buscot and Ufton Robert, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b.c. 1343, s. and h. of John Paynell of Buscot. m. bef. Oct. 1380, Margery or Margaret, 1s. 1da. Kntd. by June 1371.

Offices Held

Tax collector, Berks. Mar. 1377; assessor, Oxon. May 1379.

Commr. to put down rebellion, Oxon. Mar., Dec. 1382; of oyer and terminer June 1388, July 1389, Northants., Oxon. Sept. 1391.

J.p. Oxon. July-Dec. 1382, July 1389-Feb. 1394, Apr. 1399-May 1403.


Paynell was a minor when his father died, and in 1351 Sir Gilbert Chasteleyn, who had purchased his wardship from the Black Prince, leased to Sir John Trillow custody of his property in Buscot for an annual rent set at 20 marks for the first three years of the lease and then at 24 marks for the remaining ten. Subsequently, the boy became heir to his uncle, another Thomas Paynell, custody of whose lands in Snowswick and Westwick (also in Buscot) were sold in 1362 by Prince Edward to his yeoman, Thomas Catewy of Harwell; and it was from his uncle, too, that Paynell inherited the manor of Ufton Robert.1

By 1372 Paynell was evidently in financial difficulties, for he then sold to his former guardian, Catewy, some of his land in Buscot, and eight years later conveyed to him his manor there, known as ‘Paynel’s Court’, in return for an annual payment of £20 to him and his wife for term of their lives. In the meantime, in 1375, he had witnessed Catewy’s purchase of another manor nearby called ‘Michael’s Court’. Although his service on royal commissions in Oxfordshire began in 1379, he is not known to have acquired landed holdings in the county until ten years afterwards, when together with his wife and their daughter, Agnes, he obtained a lease for their lives of a number of properties situated to the west of Woodstock, at North Leigh, Wilcote, Charlbury and elsewhere.2

It may well be the case that Paynell saw military service in his youth in the campaigns led by the Black Prince. He was knighted before the summer of 1372, and in February 1378 he took out royal letters of protection as going to Brest in the retinue of Sir Richard Adderbury I*, one of the late prince’s henchmen. Having been mustered at Brest in July, he probably then remained with the garrison until the captain returned to England a year later. In January 1383 he made an acquittance to Richard Ravenser, archdeacon of Lincoln, and John Ravenser, clerk (then keeper of the hanaper) for 100 marks, this being half the sum in which they had been bound to him by recognizance; then, six months later, he formally released the Ravensers from all legal actions arising from debt or contract. Sir Thomas was on good terms with John, Lord Lovell (who held land as his tenant at Ufton Robert), and in 1384 and 1386 he witnessed deeds on his behalf. His appointment to a royal commission of oyer and terminer in 1391 arose out of Lovell’s complaint of ambushes and assaults directed against himself and his men in north Oxfordshire. Paynell was serving on the county bench when returned to his only Parliament in 1393.3

Paynell was empanelled as a juror at Oxford castle in January 1400 for the trials for treason of Sir Thomas Blount* and other rebels following the discovery of the Epiphany Plot to murder Henry IV. The removal of his name from the list of j.p.s two years later probably indicates that he had recently died, for it was his son, Thomas Paynell esquire, who exercised patronage of the living at Ufton Robert in 1406.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Authors: Richmond / L. S. Woodger


  • 1. CAD, vi. C3942, 4496; Reg. Black Prince, iv. 423-4; VCH Berks. iii. 441; iv. 515; A.M. Sharp, Ufton Court, 31-32.
  • 2. CAD, vi. C3852, 4970; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 216-17; CP25(1)12/75/11, 191/24/8.
  • 3. Rot. Gasc. et Franc. ed. Carte, ii. 123, 127; E101/37/2; CCR, 1381-5, pp. 240, 386, 427; 1385-9, p. 297.
  • 4. E37/28; Sharp, 31-32. The younger Thomas himself died bef. 1410 when his widow, Alice, presented to the church. Her holdings at Ufton Robert were valued at £5 p.a. in 1412, but the bulk of Sir Thomas’s lands passed to William Perkins*. Reg. Hallum (Canterbury and York Soc. lxxii), no. 169; C1/12/36; Feudal Aids, vi. 401.