POLE, John de la (b.c.1385), of Hartington, Derbys. and Alstonfield, Staffs.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Derbys. Mar. 1406 (defections to Welsh rebels); to make arrests, Derbys., Cheshire May 1419 (deserters from the army in France),2 Staffs., Derbys. Nov. 1440; arrange for the transport of soldiers to France June 1413; of array, Derbys. Aug. 1436.
J.p Derbys. 16 July 1429-Apr. 1439.
Tax collector, Derbys. Jan. 1436.
Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 6 Nov. 1442-4 Nov. 1443.
Because he was still a minor when his father died in about 1397, John de la Pole’s inheritance was entrusted to the custody of his mother, Isabel, and her second husband, Sir Thomas Beek. On his coming of age, some nine years later, he sued the couple for failing to account for the revenues which they had enjoyed from land in Alstonfield and the neighbouring villages of Leek, Longnor and Narrowdale. He was at the same time himself accused with the notorious Staffordshire malefactors, John Ipstones and John Meverell*, of poaching and other crimes on the duchy of Lancaster lordship of the High Peak (where his father had been steward), although neither this youthful escapade nor his failure to appear in court when being prosecuted for it seem to have done any lasting harm to his career. Indeed, in May 1411, he obtained a royal pardon for outlawry incurred during the course of a lawsuit brought against him by the London draper, Walter Gawtron*, for a render of £6. He can hardly have claimed poverty as an excuse for his indebtedness, since his Derbyshire estates alone were then said to produce £20 p.a.; and much later, in 1436, his entire landed income was assessed at £65 a year.3
Having attended the Derbyshire parliamentary elections of April and November 1414, de la Pole was himself returned to the Commons two years later, his kinsmen, Ralph and Edmund de la Pole, being then present at the county court. He had by this date become embroiled in another round of litigation as a result of damage done to some of his game birds at Sedsall in Derbyshire, but with such little success that the case was dropped. Unlike his father, de la Pole was not actively involved in the administration of the neighbouring duchy of Lancaster estates, although in October 1416 he was granted, jointly with Henry Booth*, the custody of the land, person and marriage of Nicholas Fitzherbert, a minor whose wardship belonged to Henry V as duke of Lancaster. The two men agreed to pay 40 marks for the boy, having previously guaranteed to honour a settlement of property upon his three sisters. One of the parties to this agreement was de la Pole’s great friend, Thomas Okeover*, for whom he subsequently acted as a witness and trustee. Meanwhile, de la Pole was listed by the local j.p.s in December 1419 as one of the leading members of the Derbyshire gentry considered best able to perform military service for the defence of the realm. At about this date a man of the same name was awarded the two French lordships of Moyon and Maynasseron as a reward for his part in the war-effort; and in May 1421 he took out royal letters of protection pending his return overseas. It is, however, now impossible to tell if these references concern the subject of this biography, who was certainly at home in the spring of 1421 (when he attested the return of MPs for Derbyshire). De la Pole also took part in the parliamentary elections of 1422 and 1423, but little else is known about him during the early 1420s, and he may well have spent some time abroad.4
De la Pole again went to law in about 1428, when he arraigned a local man at Derby on an assize of novel disseisin, evidently without much chance of reaching a verdict. In the following year he was appointed to the county bench on which he served continuously until 1439. As well as holding almost all Thomas Okeover’s estates in trust, he also became a feoffee-to-uses for Sir Nicholas Montgomery II, his former colleague in the Parliament of 1416, who conveyed to him his manor of Cubley. Another of his more influential associates was the prior of Repton, on whose behalf he agreed to act as an arbitrator in the spring of 1441. But his most important connexion was with Sir Richard Vernon*, who retained him formally at a fee of 20s. a year, payable from the manor of Monyash, in or before 1429, and who doubled the figure in the following year. Both men were, in fact, in breach of the Statute of Liveries; and in 1434 de la Pole was indicted at the sessions of oyer and terminer at Derby, along with a number of other local gentlemen who had likewise been recruited by their more powerful neighbours. Despite the nature of his offence (and probably as a result of questionable conduct behind the scenes), his name was put forward for service on one of the two juries, but he was not empanelled. In other respects, however, de la Pole’s later years passed fairly quietly; and after completing a term as sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in 1443, he retired almost completely from public life. In May 1452 a quarrel between John de la Pole of Hartington and a clerk named John Torald was submitted to the mediation of the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, both parties offering securities of £200 as an earnest of their good faith. Perhaps the MP was then still alive, although the case may equally well have concerned his son or next of kin.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvi. 56.
- 2. DKR, xlii. 321.
- 3. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvi. 53, 56; Feudal Aids, i. 281, 282, 293, 295; vi. 414; CPR, 1408-13, p. 254; EHR, xlix. 632.
- 4. C219/11/3, 5, 8, 12/5, 13/1, 2; DL42/17, ff. 52v, 54-54v; E28/97/7; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvi. 54; Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, nos. 156-9, 1769, 2133-4; Rot. Gasc. et Franc. ed. Carte, i. 303; ii. 244.
- 5. CP25(1)39/45/27; JUST 1/1537 rot. 3; CCR, 1435-41, p. 468; 1447-54, p. 358; S.M. Wright, Derbys. Gentry (Derbys. Rec. Soc. viii), 66, 131-2, 189, 249.