PYMPE, Reynold (c.1371-1426), of Nettlestead and Pympe's Court in East Farleigh, Kent.
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Family and Education
Commr. of array, Kent Jan. 1400, Sept., Nov. 1403, July 1405, May 1406, May 1415 Apr. 1418; inquiry Jan. 1414 (lollards).
Tax collector, Kent Mar. 1404.
Sheriff, Kent 4 Nov. 1409-29 Nov. 1410.
Escheator, Kent and Mdx. 10 Dec. 1411-3 Nov. 1412.
J.p. Kent 12 Mar. 1418-July 1420.
Possibly the grandson of Philip Pympe, five times knight of the shire for Kent between 1330 and 1340, Reynold was undoubtedly the son of Sir William Pympe, who died in 1375 during his third term as sheriff of the county, for as son and heir to the deceased sheriff he received a royal pardon in June 1377. Reynold, then apparently still a child, inherited Sir William’s estates, which, apart from Pympe’s Court, where the family had lived for over a century, included the nearby manor of Nettlestead, held of the earls of Stafford. Nettlestead became his chief residence, and there he built a new manor-house. His minority was most likely spent in wardship to Hugh, earl of Stafford, and before long he was married to the sister of his neighbour, John Freningham, Stafford’s trusted retainer and executor. After coming of age, in May 1392 he took possession of his lands, which were to be assessed in 1412 for the purposes of taxation at 100 marks a year.2
It was not until after the accession of Henry IV and the promotion of Pympe’s brother-in-law, Freningham, as a member of the King’s Council, that he himself began to receive appointments to royal commissions. In 1401 he was a feoffee for the settlement of property in Dartford on Freningham and his wife, arranging for the remainder to be amortized for the upkeep of the newly-constructed stone bridge at Rochester. Before his death in 1410 Freningham made Pympe’s elder son, John, heir to a substantial part of his manorial holdings in Kent.3 But despite his own not inconsiderable income from land, and the sound prospects of his son, Pympe was often in financial difficulties. Sued in the London courts in 1407 for a debt of £8 16s.owed to a tailor and a skinner of the City, he was subsequently outlawed for failure both to answer these creditors and to pay another sum of £2 recovered against him at law. He was granted a royal pardon in December 1408, albeit only after surrendering himself at the Fleet prison. Such indebtedness did not apparently affect his career: in the following year not only was he chosen to act as an arbiter in a local dispute touching title to the rectory of Aylesford, but he was also appointed as sheriff, the county’s leading law officer. Two years later, just a few days before the dissolution of his first Parliament in 1411, he was made escheator in Kent and Middlesex. Despite Pympe’s appointment as a j.p. in Kent in the spring of 1418, in November following the sheriff was ordered to certify before the Council, under pain of £100, whether or not he was an outlaw and to submit all particulars. This second outlawry may have resulted from Pympe’s failure to answer a suit for a debt of £10 owed to William Nutbeam, his fellow knight of the shire of a few years back, but if so he did not receive a royal pardon until May 1421, at the same time as he was excused his outlawry in London, where two vintners had unsuccessfully prosecuted him for a debt of £2. Having again surrendered to the Fleet, he had satisfied Nutbeam of the sum owed together with damages, but his pardon was made conditional on paying the Crown a fine for having repudiated a bond, which was produced in court.4
Pympe was elected to his second Parliament, in 1422, in company with Geoffrey Lowther, the duke of Gloucester’s lieutenant warden of the Cinque Ports. He was perhaps himself connected with Gloucester, for his elder son, John (who had died in the previous autumn), had served in the duke’s retinue in France on the campaigns of 1415 and 1421. Reynold Pympe died shortly before 28 Aug. 1426, leaving as his heir a grandson who had been named after him. Young Reynold was to die while still a minor in 1435, whereupon his brother, John, became heir to the Pympe and Freningham estates.5