PIGOT, Baldwin (b.1352), of Cardington, Beds.

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

Constituency

Dates

Jan. 1390
Sept. 1397

Family and Education

b. 24 June 1352, yr. s. and h. of Sir John Pigot (c.1313-Apr. 1361) of Doddington, Lincs. and Cardington by his 2nd w. Isabel (d. Dec. 1373). m. by July 1397, Margery, at least 2da. Kntd. by June 1391.1

Offices Held

Commr. to suppress the rebels, Beds. Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; of array Apr. 1386, Mar. 1392, Aug. 1402, Sept., Nov. 1403, May 1418; inquiry July 1397 (repairs to the bridge at Harrold); oyer and terminer Aug. 1416 (attack on Roger Hunt’s* manor of Chawston). J.p. Beds. 16 Apr. 1385-July 1388.

Tax collector, Beds. Apr. 1404.

Sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 15 Nov. 1408-4 Nov. 1409, 10 Dec. 1411-3 Nov. 1412.

Biography

Pigot’s ancestors had longstanding connexions with Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, although it was not until 1318 that his grandfather, who twice represented the former county in Parliament, acquired the family seat at Cardington. His initial prospects were not very hopeful, since he was the younger son of his father’s second marriage, and thus had little to expect by way of inheritance. The Lincolnshire manors of Doddington and Thorpe-on-the-Hill were entailed upon his half-brother, Sir John, while his elder brother of the whole blood (also named John) held a reversionary interest in all the Bedfordshire estates. On the death of their father, in 1361, the latter property remained as a jointure in the hands of their mother, Isabel, but John did not live long, and when Isabel eventually died, in 1373, the manor of Cardington and part of the advowson of Houghton Conquest descended immediately to Baldwin, who had just come of age. Administrative delays seem to have prevented him from obtaining seisin of his inheritance for over a year, however, and he had to wait until February 1375 before the local escheator finally surrendered it. The early deaths of his half-brother and the latter’s widow, Elizabeth, left Baldwin the undisputed head of the Pigot family, for although the couple had a son (orphaned in August 1383 at the age of ten), the boy was clearly far too young to challenge his uncle’s authority. Three of Baldwin’s sisters had, moreover, taken the veil: one at the Benedictine house of Elstow, in Bedfordshire, and the other two at the Gilbertine priory of St. Mary, Sempringham (Lincolnshire). A fourth (who received some family property in Cardington) married Thomas Wake, and was the mother of the Northamptonshire MP of that name.2

As the owner of an estate which, in 1412, bore a valuation of at least £40 a year, Pigot was certainly well placed to take an active part in local government. His feudal tenants included Sir Henry Green* and his son, Ralph* (at Colworth), and Reynold Ragon* (at Ravensden); and he was also possessed of a ninth share of the barony of Bedford, which he himself held of the Mowbrays, Earls Marshal. His administrative career had not yet begun when, in July 1380, he and three associates were granted the keepership of the Bedfordshire manors of Marston Moretaine and Tilsworth which had previously belonged to Sir John Moretaine’s widow, Elizabeth. The award was confirmed in the following February, although the farmers were then instructed to surrender any surplus profits to Elizabeth.3 Baldwin served on his first royal commission (for the suppression of the Peasants’ Revolt in Bedfordshire) in December 1381, and from then onwards he continued to be involved in the public service, sitting briefly on the local bench and also discharging two terms as sheriff. His sudden removal from the Bedfordshire commission of the peace in July 1388, suggests that he may well have been regarded with some suspicion by the Lords Appellant, who had just secured the overthrow of King Richards’ leading advisors. In this event, his Membership of the second 1397 Parliament, in which the King finally revenged himself upon his old enemies, assumes particular significance, although he none the less considered it expedient to sue out royal letters of pardon in June 1398, and evidently had little difficulty in reconciling himself with the Lancastrian regime once Richard had been deposed. Meanwhile, in June 1391, Pigot (who had by then been knighted) drew up a will in which he made bequests totalling almost £50, several of which were to local churches and religious houses. His daughter, Elizabeth, stood to inherit £20, the reversion of which he settled upon Cardington church for the upkeep of a chapel and the making of a stained-glass window. Although their services were not, in fact, to be required for some time, Sir Baldwin appointed an impressive group of executrixes, among whom were his sister, Maud Wake, the above-mentioned Elizabeth Moretaine and Katherine, the widow of Sir Robert Luton*, for whom he was then acting as a trustee.4

At some point over the next three years Pigot gave permission for one of his tenants at Wootton to alienate part of his holdings to Harrold priory. He may already have been made a feoffee-to-uses of Robert, Lord Willoughby’s estates in Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire, a service which he performed jointly with his neighbour, Sir Gerard Braybrooke I* (another patron of the priory), and the latter’s brother, Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London. After Willoughby’s death, in 1396, the trustees became involved in a dispute with the Crown over the ownership of these various properties, but although King Richard’s agents were at first instructed to confiscate them all, in February 1397 Pigot and his associates were restored in possession, albeit on a purely temporary basis until the case had been tried at law. Whatever the outcome, Sir Baldwin remained on close terms with Willoughby’s stepson, John, Lord Latimer, who also chose him as one of his feoffees. In the summer of 1406, Latimer paid 100 marks for royal letters patent permitting him to settle land in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire on a body of trustees including Pigot, Sir Gerard Braybrooke II*, John Hervy* and Sir Edmund Hastings*. One year later he obtained a similar licence with regard to his manor of Islehampstead in Buckinghamshire, which likewise passed into Pigot’s hands.5

Some idea of Sir Baldwin’s position in the local community may be gained from the fact that, in October 1402, he was one of the two Bedfordshire men (the other being the lawyer, John Hervy) who were approached by Henry IV for a benevolence or royal loan. He and his wife, Margery, had already, in July 1397, received a licence from the bishop of Lincoln to celebrate mass at a private chapel at Cardington, and they continued to do so until well after September 1420, when the licence was renewed. Although he did not apparently sit in the House of Commons after 1401, Pigot attended the county elections to the Gloucester Parliament of 1407, and was subsequently twice made sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, retiring from public life in about 1418, the date of his last royal commission. He evidently lived on in retirement to enjoy a ripe old age, for as late as April 1430 he sued out royal letters