PEMBRIDGE, Sir Fulk (d.1409), of Tong castle, Salop.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Sir Robert Pembridge† by his w. Juliana. m. (1) bef. Aug. 1363, Margaret (21 May 1348-10 June 1399), da. and h. of Sir William Trussell, yr. bro. of Sir John Trussell of Kibblestone, Staffs. by Ida, da. of William, Lord Boteler of Wem, and his 2nd w.; wid. of Nicholas Whiston of Weston-under-Lizard, Staffs., s.p.; (2) bef. Oct. 1405, Isabel (d. Dec. 1446), da. of Sir Ralph Lingen of Wigmore, Herefs., wid of Sir Thomas Peytevyn† and Sir John Ludlow of Hodnet, Salop, s.p. Kntd. by Oct. 1367.
Tax collector, Salop Nov. 1377, May 1379.
Commr. of inquiry, Staffs. Nov. 1383 (murder at Acton Trussell); array, Oxon. Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403.
By 1364 Pembridge had inherited from his father the manor of Tong and advowson of Greet in Shropshire, the manor of ‘Gyllehogh’ in Herefordshire, the manor and advowson of Aylestone in Leicestershire (which last had been in the family for over a century) and a claim to the advowson of Weston-under-Edge in Gloucestershire.1 To these widespread properties he made substantial, although even more far flung, additions through his first marriage, to Margaret Trussell. Margaret was an heiress of some note: from her father, who died in July 1363 when she was only 14 but already a widow, she inherited Bruscebury in Kempston (Bedfordshire), and Eton Hastings and Shottesbrook, two important advowsons and other properties in Berkshire. No doubt because of the distance of these estates from their Shropshire home, the Pembridges first leased and then (in 1383) disposed of the Bedfordshire manor to Sir Hugh Segrave, the treasurer of the Exchequer; and they sold a life interest in Eton Hastings to Chief Justice Sir Robert Tresilian† for 600 marks, of which half had been paid by the time of Tresilian’s execution in 1388.2 In the meantime, in 1375, on the death of Margaret’s maternal uncle, Edward Boteler, clerk (the only surviving son of Lord Boteler of Wem by his second wife), the part of his estates in Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Shropshire and Cheshire which Lord Boteler had settled on his second family had been divided into four parts between Edward’s sisters or their descendants, who included Margaret. In the following year her aunt, Denise Cokesey, another of the Boteler coheirs, also died, whereupon her cousin, Sir Walter Cokesey†, sued the Pembridges for a moiety of a fourth part of the manor of Malpas in Chester. Pembridge and Cokesey paid a relief to John of Gaunt for the manor of Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire, but although the Pembridges granted their share of this manor to Cokesey in 1383, five years afterwards the latter sued them for warranty of this or another fourth part.3 It was from her cousin on her father’s side, Sir William Trussell, that Margaret inherited her most substantial properties. In 1371 Sir William had settled one of his manors, Acton Trussell (Staffordshire), on the Pembridges for life, but their title was made more permanent when he died in February 1380 and was not long survived by his grand daughter and heir, Elizabeth. (It was no doubt in connexion with his wife’s inheritance of the Trussell estates that in 1383 Pembridge entered into recognizances for £40 with the princess of Wales, who had now lost the wardship as a consequence of Elizabeth’s death.) The Trussell estates thus acquired included four manors, the bailiwick of the east gate of the city of Chester and land in the forest of Delamere, all in the county of Chester and valued at £83 a year; Kibblestone, Acton Trussell and a fifth part of Weston-under-Lizard in Staffordshire; Sheriff Hales on the Staffordshire-Shropshire border; three manors in Northamptonshire, and Gilmorton in Leicestershire.4 As dower from her previous husband, Margaret Pembridge also possessed another fifth part of Weston-under-Lizard, which with the Trussell portion was leased to Sir Adam Peshale*.5 Margaret died without issue in 1399 and was buried at Shottesbrook. The Trussell estates ought then to have passed to another William Trussell* (grandson of Margaret’s uncle, Sir Warin), but because of jointures made during his wife’s lifetime Pembridge was enabled to retain them for life. Furthermore, in 1407 Trussell generously agreed that Sir Fulk’s second wife might keep possession of his Berkshire and Oxfordshire inheritance for 20 years after Pembridge’s death. (Perhaps the latter had some financial hold over the young man’s affairs.)6 Sir Fulk’s second wife, Isabel, held dower portions from two previous marriages, which included the Ludlow manor of Westbury (Shropshire) and land in Herefordshire. By the time of his death he therefore possessed estates in nine counties, which were then valued at £127 a year, a conservative estimate which took no account of those in Buckinghamshire and Chester.7
Pembridge’s status as a wealthy landowner is not reflected in his public service, which consisted of no more than five royal commissions, two of them in Shropshire, two in Oxfordshire and one on his wife’s holdings in Staffordshire. Even so, his career is not without interest. In February 1364, not long after his first marriage, he obtained the King’s licence to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He travelled via Avignon where, on 21 Apr., Pope Urban V granted him and his wife plenary remission at the hour of death on condition that he went in person to the aid of the people of the Holy Land in their fight against the Turks. Pembridge’s crest (a Saracen’s head with long plaits of hair) recalls this period of his life, and he was knighted within three years of his return home. His pilgrimage and experience as a crusader no doubt contributed to his later role as a prominent member of the Palmers’ guild at Ludlow. Shortly before April 1369 he was about to sail to Aquitaine on royal business, only for his letters of protection to be revoked. However, six years later he was mustered as one of the retinue of Edward, Lord Despenser, then embarking for Brittany.8 In January 1377 Pembridge and Sir Giles Daubeney†, who both held manors in Kempston, were to be compelled by the sheriff to contribute towards the expenses of the Bedfordshire MPs in the previous Parliament (the Good Parliament), they having refused to do so and, furthermore, having hindered their tenants from making payment, although only peers and the shire knights themselves were exempt. In March 1378 Sir Fulk joined the company of William Montagu, earl of Salisbury, for further campaigns overseas. Three years later, on 24 July 1381, Richard II granted him a licence to crenellate his manor house at Tong, and this may have been for other services to the Crown. It was in Richard’s last Parliament, that of 1397 (Sept.), that Pembridge made his only known appearance in the Commons.9
After Henry IV’s accession Pembridge was employed on two commissions of array in Oxfordshire. He seems to have had some connexion with the new King’s half-brothers, Bishop Henry Beaufort and Sir Thomas Beaufort, who were both to be remembered in his foundation of Tong college, along with the King himself and Master John Prophet, the keeper of the privy seal. Sir Fulk died on 24 May 1409. His widow and feoffees (principally William Mosse, Robert Say and Walter Swan, all parsons on the Pembridge estates) long retained possession of the Trussell inheritance (with the exception of the properties in Chester), a situation which gave rise to the violent disputes of the 1440s and beyond between the true heir, William Trussell (kinsman of Pembridge’s first wife), and the heir to his own lands, Sir Richard Vernon* of Haddon (grandson of his sister Juliana).10 In the year after her husband’s death, Isabel Pembridge obtained a royal licence to acquire the advowson of Tong from Shrewsbury abbey and to establish a college consisting of a warden, five chaplains, two clerks and 13 almspeople, whose principal function was to intercede for the souls of Sir Fulk and his relations, and for those of Isabel and her two former husbands. Leave was given to endow the college further with the advowson of Orlingbury (Northamptonshire), lands in Sharnford and the reversion of the manor of Gilmorton; and in 1415 the endowments were enlarged by the addition of the possessions of the dissolved alien priory of Lapley (Staffordshire). Sir Fulk’s widow was chiefly instrumental in building the magnificent church at Tong, and responsible for erecting the fine alabaster monument to him which remains there. She survived him by 37 years.11
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. C137/73/45; VCH Leics. iv. 415-16, 418; CIPM, vi. 675; xi. 589; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 101; Reg. Stretton (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. ser. 2, viii), 80; Reg. Mascall (Canterbury and York Soc. xxi), 174.
- 2. CIPM, xi. 533; CFR, vii. 265; CPR, 1364-7, p. 331; 1370-4, p. 118; 1381-5, p. 360; VCH Berks. iii. 165, 169; iv. 529; VCH Beds. iii. 299; CCR, 1381-5, pp. 400, 413; 1389-92, p. 5.
- 3. CIPM, xiv. 100, 251; xv. 1027; CCR, 1374-7, p. 410; Reg. Gaunt, 1379-83, ii. 1169; VCH Bucks. ii. 368; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 136, 151; xv. 11; (ser. 3), iv. 341; CP, ii. 232-3.
- 4. DKR, xxix. 59-60, 62, 65; xxxvi. 377; CHES 29/86 m. 15d; CCR, 1381-5, p. 402; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), ii. 152; iii. 191; xi, 180, 195, 206-8; Peds. Plea Rolls, 93, 223; VCH Staffs. v. 13; CIPM, xvi. 453.
- 5. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), i. 347-58; ii. 54-60, 77; xi. 212-13; VCH Staffs. iv. 171-2.
- 6. DKR, xxix. 62, 65; xxxvi. 378, 478; C137/3/15; CPR, 1405-8, p. 336; CFR, xii. 52-53; Mon. Brasses ed. Mill Stephenson, 26.
- 7. Feudal Aids, iv. 253, 255, 259; vi. 399, 499; VCH Salop, viii. 313; C137/73/45; Belvoir Castle, deed 537.
- 8. CPR, 1361-4, p. 472; CPP, i. 490; Wm. Salt. Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), ii. 78; VCH Salop, ii. 136; CCR, 1364-8, p. 394; 1369-74, p. 15; E101/34/3.
- 9. CCR, 1374-7, p. 414; C76/62 m. 19; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiv. 224; CPR, 1381-5, p. 31.
- 10. C137/73/45; DKR, xxxvi. 378, 478; CCR, 1419-22, p. 32; 1447-54, p. 12; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), iii. 161, 188-92.
- 11. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), vi. 201; viii. 172; C139/125/9; G. Griffiths, Hist. Tong, 30-37; CPR, 1408-13, p. 280; 1413-16, pp. 334-5; VCH Salop, ii. 131; Belvoir Castle, deeds 583, 620.