SACKVILLE, Sir Thomas I (c.1336-1406), of Fawley, Bucks.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b.c.1336, s. and h. of Robert Sackville of Fawley ?by his w. Maud. m. (1) 1s. d.v.p.; (2) Cecily (d. 20 May 1428), da. of William Halyngrugge of Checkendon, Oxon., wid. of John Rede*.1 Kntd. bef. Dec. 1358.
Commr. of arrest, Berks., Oxon. Oct. 1375, Herts. Dec. 1381, Oxon. June 1384, Bucks. Mar. 1393; inquiry Dec. 1376 (royal rights of wardship), Berks., Bucks. May 1384 (homicide), Beds., Bucks. May 1389 (forfeited estates), Bucks. Aug. 1392 (de Vere estates), May 1395 (Devereux estates), Sept. 1404 (insurrection); array Apr., July 1377, Mar. 1380, Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Sept., Oct. 1403; gaol delivery, Aylesbury July 1378, Aug. 1391, Oct. 1397, Wallingford castle May 1387;2 to put down rebellion, Bucks. Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; of weirs, Berks., Oxon. Jan., July 1383; oyer and terminer, Bucks. Sept. 1383, Sept. 1393; to hold assizes Feb. 1392.3
J.p. Bucks. 4 Mar. 1376-Nov. 1397.
Tax collector, Bucks. Mar. 1377, Dec. 1384; surveyor Aug. 1379.
Sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 25 Nov. 1380-1 Nov. 1381, 15 Nov. 1389-7 Nov. 1390.
Sir Thomas was a direct descendant of the Sackvilles who had held Fawley since the Conquest. Grandson of Thomas Sackville† who died before 1330, he was heir to Fawley by 1343, when his guardian, Mary, countess of Pembroke, acted as patron of the local church in his place. Having come of age before the end of 1358, he accordingly entered his inheritance which included the manors of Ascott in Wing, also in Buckinghamshire, ‘Sackville’s Court’ in Upper Clatford (Hampshire) and Helmingham and Marlesford (Suffolk). To these he subsequently added by purchase another manor in Wing.4
Sackville was to assert in later years that he had been ‘first armed’ in 1354, and had served in all of Edward III’s later campaigns in France. Few details of his military service have survived, although we do know that he was knighted in the 1350s, and that in the autumn of 1379 he made preparations for a voyage to Brittany. His noteworthy participation in local administration included 21 years on the Buckinghamshire bench, in the course of which period he represented the county in as many as 14 Parliaments. After being appointed as sheriff during his fourth Parliament in 1380, he was naturally given a leading role to play in the suppression of the Peasants’ Revolt. Sackville rode north in the summer of 1385 as a member of the royal army which invaded Scotland. While attending Parliament at Westminster in 1386, he appeared in the court of chivalry to lend his support to Lord Scrope in his dispute with Sir Robert Grosvenor, both of whom claimed the right to bear certain heraldic arms. In May 1392 he obtained a royal pardon for the fine of £5 incurred when a felon in his custody at Aylesbury gaol during his second shrievalty had failed to return after being allowed bail.5
Sackville was evidently well regarded in Buckinghamshire. In 1384 he was called on by Edmund Brudenell*, a lawyer in the Crown’s employment, to arbitrate in his dispute with Robert Lewknor* over the Oxfordshire manor of Wormsley, and eventually managed to persuade the parties to reach an agreement. He was frequently asked to witness deeds, including one sealed in 1391 on behalf of James Butler, earl of Ormond. His closest ties, however, were evidently with old family friends, the Stonors, and in particular with Edmund Stonor*, whom he asked to act as a feoffee of Fawley. In 1392 Edmund’s son and heir, Ralph, entered into recognizances undertaking to pay £500 to Sackville and his son, Thomas, and in the following year Sackville witnessed transactions concerning the Stonor estates. Such was their friendship that Sir Thomas was asked to be godfather to Thomas Stonor*, Ralph’s second son and eventual heir, and doubtless it was in connexion with the boy’s inheritance that in 1399 he received from young Stonor’s stepfather, Edmund Hampden*, and other godfather, Thomas Barantyn*, bonds in 100 marks. Sir Thomas was also associated in an amicable way with John James† of Wallingford and his son Robert James*.6
In 1393 on the death of Maud, Sir Edmund de la Pole’s* wife, Sackville put in a claim to the manor of Emmington (Oxfordshire) and two other manors in Essex, which she had held for life by the gift of her former husband, Sir Andrew Sackville† (d.1369). Sir Andrew’s estate had been settled on his illegitimate son, Sir Thomas Sackville II* of Sussex, but the latter’s right was now questioned by his namesake from Buckinghamshire, who claimed to be Sir Andrew’s true heir by tracing his ancestry back to the 13th-century Sackvilles of Emmington. (There appears to have been no foundation for his claim: the two families probably descended from different sons of the Domesday tenant of Fawley and since at least the early 12th century had been quite separate.)7 Sir Thomas of Fawley died at an unknown date between February 1406 (when he witnessed a deed for (Sir) William Moleyns*) and the next July. An inquiry then held following the death of Agnes Neville, one-time daughter-in-law of Sir Andrew Sackville, found the ‘right heir’ to Sir Andrew’s manor of Debenham (Suffolk) to be Thomas Sackville† of Buckinghamshire, our Sir Thomas’s grandson. However, as with Emmington, the manor passed to the Sackvilles of Sussex. In October following young Thomas, acting as his grandfather’s executor, took an oath in Chancery that a certain royal commission had never reached the hands of his deceased kinsman.8