RAYMOND, Thomas (d.1418), of Simpson in Holsworthy, Devon.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
s. of John Raymond by his w. Sibyl. m. by 1390, Joan, da. and h. of William Symston by his w. Sarah, 1s. Richard* d.v.p.
Recorder of Exeter Mich. 1383-d.1
Clerk of the peace, Devon 1391-3.2
J.p. Devon 4 Dec. 1391-22 Jan. 1392, 14 Nov. 1408-Oct. 1415.
Commr. of inquiry, Devon Oct. 1393 (feudal services due to Quarr abbey), Feb. 1394 (embracery), Aug. 1401 (murder); oyer and terminer Feb. 1396 (complaints by Sir Hugh Courtenay*), Aug. Sept. 1401, Sept. 1402, Aug. 1409, Dec. 1411.
Escheator, Devon 26-28 Nov. 1399, 24 Nov. 1400-8 Nov. 1401.
Steward of the abbeys of Tavistock, Buckland and Forde by 1407-aft. 1413.3
Justice of assize 1413.4
Raymond’s principal holdings centred on the parish of Holsworthy in north Devon, and comprised the manor of Simpson and land in Lakes, Burscott, Yellowland and Down, but he also held property elsewhere in the shire, for which he paid an annual rent of 24s. to John Blake, before the latter’s attainder in the Merciless Parliament. He was patron of the church of Ashreigney, from the income of which he and his son, Richard, were enabled by royal licence of April 1406 to grant ten marks a year to the collegiate church of St. Cross, Crediton, for the provision of daily mass for the souls of the Black Prince, Bishop Brantingham of Exeter and Sir John Sully. It may be that in his youth Raymond had seen service under either the prince or his retainer, Sully, who enjoyed the fee farm of the city of Exeter by his lord’s grant; but no evidence of such a connexion now survives.5 On his frequent visits to Exeter Raymond stayed at ‘Kelly’s Inn’, his house in the city.
In the course of his career Raymond, a lawyer of considerable ability, established many important contacts, but the most influential in its early stages was with Sir John Hill†, afterwards j.KB, from whom he took over as recorder of Exeter. He may well have been a junior member of the firm of lawyers of which Hill was the head, for the Exeter receivers’ accounts record payments of £2 13s.4d. to him as ‘Thomas, clerk of John Hill’ for attendance at the Parliament of 1382 (May). Perhaps it was Hill, too, who first brought him to the attention of a more powerful patron, Edward Courtenay, earl of Devon. In 1379-80, when Sir John received the substantial sum of £20 for services to the earl, Raymond, described as ‘the lord’s attorney’, was already the recipient of an annual fee of £1, and both were among the men of law who wore Courtenay’s livery in 1384-5. Raymond is often recorded performing various tasks for the earl and members of his family: in 1383 he had provided securities at the Exchequer for the dowager countess, Margaret; later he acted as attorney in the court of common pleas for Sir Hugh Courtenay and his wife Elizabeth in pressing their claim to part of the manor of Kingston; in 1396 he was named as a feoffee of the vast estates attached to the earldom; and later in the same year he was paid £6 13s.4d. expenses for a journey to London on the earl’s business. It is impossible to say to what extent this connexion influenced the burgesses of four Devon boroughs in their choice of a parliamentary representative, or, indeed, the citizens of Exeter in their choice of a recorder. The recordership, which Raymond occupied for 35 years, provided him initially with a fee of £2 and then of £3 p.a., together with a ‘reward’ of 20s. Extra payments were forthcoming for more unusual duties: in 1396-7, for example, he was paid 13s.4d. for staying at Westminster for a week to inspect Exchequer memoranda relating to a plea between the city and the Crown.6
Raymond’s clientele evidently increased during the last quarter of the fourteenth century. He is often recorded appearing in the central courts for Devonshire landowners, and several religious houses also employed him. On occasion he acted for Cowick priory (where he held a corrody) and for Tavistock abbey, while for some years he was steward, simultaneously, of three monasteries (Tavistock, Buckland and Forde).7Raymond also came to the attention of the Crown: in 1382 he was granted custody of certain tenements at Chilsworthy (which he retained until 1400) and six years later, in association with Robert Cary*, he obtained a lease at the Exchequer of a close and heath at Sheepwash and one third of the manor of West Gortleigh.8 In the last decade of the century he acted as feoffee and executor for William Pyl, a canon of Exeter cathedral, as trustee of the estates of William, Lord Botreaux (d.1391) and as attorney at the assizes for Richard II’s half-brother, John Holand, earl of Huntingdon.9 He may have had some difficulty in accepting Richard II’s deposition, for his appointment as escheator of Devon, made early in Henry IV’s reign, was cancelled almost immediately. However, after the deaths of both Richard and his half-brother he became reconciled to the new regime, and took on the escheatorship again in November 1400, this time for the full term. Among the influential figures to whom Raymond offered his services as a feoffee or executor in the later years of his life were the wealthy Sir William Bonville I* (d.1408), John Prescott* (d.1412) and William Wilford* (d.1413). Along with other notables of the shire he attended the parliamentary elections held at Exeter castle in 1407, 1413, 1414 and 1417.10
Raymond’s will, made on 8 June 1418 and signed on 3 Aug. following, was proved three weeks afterwards by Bishop Stafford. He left more than £55 in individual bequests out of an estate valued at £420. The religious provisions of the will were unusually extensive. He mentioned a large variety of ecclesiastical orders and institutions, including Holsworthy church (where he was to be buried), three abbeys, four priories, two friaries, two secular colleges and eight leper-houses. A requiem mass and special prayers were to be said in the collegiate church at Crediton on the day of his funeral, and the vicars choral of the cathedral were left eight marks to provide over a period of two years for a daily mass at Crediton for the souls of Edward III, Richard II and any man to whom Raymond had done an injury. Among his bequests were a silver ‘Agnus Dei’ a ‘Liber Gestorum Karoli Regis Francie’, a volume called ‘Nova Statuta de Lege’, and other law books. Two prominent lawyers were named among his executors: Thomas Norris II*, who had succeeded him as the earl of Devon’s attorney, and John Copplestone*, who was later to serve as the earl’s receiver-general. An interesting item was the donation of small sums of money to prisoners in the royal and episcopal gaols at Exeter. Raymond’s widow, to whom he left jewellery, the ornaments in the chapel at Simpson, and the crops awaiting harvest at Holsworthy, was still living at Holsworthy in December 1420.11