RODNEY, Sir Walter (c.1370-1413), of Stoke Rodney, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Tax collector, Som. Mar. 1404.
J.p. Som. 16 Feb. 1405-7, May 1410-d.
Sheriff, Som. and Dorset 5 Nov. 1406-30 Nov. 1407.
Commr. to raise loans, Som. June 1410; of inquiry Jan. 1412 (contributors to a subsidy).
In 1400 Rodney inherited from his father six manors, two advowsons (Backwell and Saltford), and other property in Somerset, but a third part of these estates remained in the hands of his stepmother, Alice, wife and then widow of Sir William Bonville I*, until her death in 1426, long after his own. To these properties he added, probably through marriage, the manors of Badgworth and Lovington as well as lands in Wedmore and Congresbury. Rodney’s public work in Somerset began only after the death of his father but as befitted a man of his social and landed status. He continued the connexion established by Sir John with the dean and chapter of Wells, for whom he witnessed several deeds, and in 1402 he and his wife received from Bishop Bowet of Bath and Wells a licence to have oratories in any of their houses. Rodney was well enough regarded in the community of the shire to be chosen to sit on the jury in the celebrated dispute over the lordship of Dunster, after the Commons of 1406, with Sir Walter as one of their number, had promoted the petition of Sir Hugh Luttrell, his fellow Member, to be confirmed in possession of the property. He was appointed sheriff of Somerset and Dorset during the last session of the Parliament, and by virtue of his office held the parliamentary elections at Dorchester and Wells on 3 Oct. and 7 Oct. 1407, respectively. During his shrievalty he was also required to serve summonses on certain defendants in a suit in the court of common pleas, but failed to do so. On being ordered in consequence to appear before the court in person, he sent a certificate excusing himself as being so infirm and ill that he could not travel to Westminster without imperilling his life. On 14 June 1410 he and Bishop Bubwith, Sir Hugh Luttrell, Sir Walter Hungerford* and Sir Richard Poynings were commissioned to raise royal loans in Somerset, and on the 25th they joined in forwarding 500 marks to the Exchequer, as ‘from themselves and divers persons of the county’, for national defence.2
Rodney died on 10 Oct. 1413. His heir was his son John, probably already married to Agnes, daughter of Sir John St. John* of Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, who himself died soon after making his will on 22 July 1417. The Rodney estates then passed to the MP’s grandson, Walter’, who was still a minor in the wardship of Sir Walter Hungerford (whose daughter he married) at the time of the death of Alice Bonville.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. C137/22/32; C138/4/51; Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xix), 302; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 383.
- 2. CFR, xiv. 49-50; H.C. Maxwell-Lyte, Hist. Dunster, 86; Reg. Bowet (Som. Rec. Soc. xiii), 28; Some Som. Manors (ibid. extra ser. 1931), 149; HMC Wells, i. 326; ii. 652, 657; CCR, 1402-5, pp. 486, 522; 1409-13, p. 334; C219/10/4; CPR, 1408-13, p. 208.
- 3. C138/4/51; PCC 51 Luffenham; C139/24/34.