SALKELD, Hugh I (d.1397/8), of Rosgill, Westmld.
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Family and Education
Dep. escheator, Northumb., Cumb., Westmld. by 7 June 1391-d.2
J.p. Westmld. 26 Nov. 1392-Dec. 1393, 15 May-c. 3 Dec. 1395.
Dep. sheriff, Westmld. by c. Nov. 1394-4 Dec. 1395.
Coroner, Westmld. to 3 Dec. 1395.
It is not always easy to distinguish this Member from his father and namesake, who represented Westmorland in the Parliaments of 1377 (Oct.) and 1381, served briefly as a tax collector in the county and, in 1379, helped to execute the will of his brother, Roger. The latter left 20s. to be shared between Hugh’s two sons, who must already have been grown men at the time. Indeed, Hugh Salkeld the younger, the subject of this biography, is first mentioned much earlier in 1362, when his father arranged a marriage for him with a local heiress, Christine Rosgill, thus securing for the family the lordship of the manor of Rosgill, where they already owned sizeable estates. For some years, Hugh the elder had pursued a policy of consolidation, both renting and buying properties in the vicinity of Rosgill and Shap, so he passed as a local landowner of some consequence. He, rather than his son, probably sat on the Westmorland bench between 1388 and 1390; but it was quite clearly the latter who, as ‘Hugh Salkeld the younger’, was returned to the second Parliament of 1388. He witnessed a deed at Skipton, Yorkshire, in the following year for Thomas, Lord Clifford; and had evidently succeeded his father by January 1390, when he once again served as a shire knight. Together with his colleagues from Northumberland and Cumberland, Salkeld then presented an appeal on behalf of the border counties, where the endemic problems of warfare, poverty and depopulation made the burden of taxation voted by Parliament far too onerous to bear. The royal response was sympathetic, and in the next Parliament, which met in November, Salkeld returned to Westminster to press home a complaint about excessive severity on the part of the Exchequer.3
Meanwhile, in February 1390, Hugh’s neighbour, Thomas Curwen, settled upon him property in Ormside and Shap, probably as part of a more important transaction completed in the following May. Hugh, Christine and their son, Hugh II, then agreed to support Curwen for the rest of his life in their home at Rosgill in a manor ‘befitting for persons of their station’. They also undertook to pay him an annuity of 50s. for as long as his property remained in their hands; and over the next two years he released to them, piecemeal, other holdings in Rosgill and at Asby also. Curwen’s motives for parting with his inheritance are open to a variety of interpretations, not all of which reflect well upon the Salkelds, who could prove extremely ruthless when their interests were at stake. We do not know when Hugh assumed office as sub-escheator of Cumberland, Northumberland and Westmorland, but in June 1391 he and the current escheator, Sir Walter Strickland*, were bound over in securities of £500 to appear before the King and council to answer certain unspecified charges, probably because of problems arising from the settlement of their accounts. Shortage of money, rather than fraud or other irregularities, seems to have lain at the root of their difficulties, but it can hardly have been coincidental that his overlord, Ralph, Lord Greystoke, was summoned with them to Westminster (under even higher securities of £1,000), along with three other members of the northern gentry. Salkeld, at least, must have escaped serious punishment, because he was back home by July to witness the first of a series of enfeoffments made by his friend, Sir William Threlkeld*. During the following year he was able to extend his estates even further by leasing farmland at Knipe and Bampton, jointly with his elder son, Hugh II, from one of their neighbours. The marriage of his daughter, Margaret, to Robert Cliburn’s* only son, John, helped to strengthen his connexions among the county gentry, and brought her a jointure in Cliburn and Bampton as well. Salkeld also appeared at this time as a juror at an inquiry into the alienation of property in Westmorland by St. Mary’s abbey, York; and he offered sureties in Chancery on behalf of a couple facing prosecution by the Crown in Hertfordshire.4
By the summer of 1395 Salkeld was once again in trouble with the authorities, although this time his offences proved so serious as to warrant his removal from the three major posts which he then occupied. In August he was ordered to surrender his seat on the Westmorland bench at once, almost certainly as a result of the increasing brutality of a vendetta being pursued by him against the abbot of Shap. (It is worth noting that his colleague, Sir Thomas Musgrave*, who was also deprived of office, then stood charged of complicity in the murder of William Soulby*.) His dilatory response to the royal command led to the issue of a sharp warning in the following December, by which date he was thoroughly in disgrace. Richard II’s decision to replace him as both coroner and deputy sheriff of Westmorland ‘for particular causes against him declared before the King and the council’ was clearly prompted by a series of formal complaints made by the abbot, who alleged that Salkeld and his son had waged a virtual war of attrition against the abbey. These armed assaults (which involved quite a number of local gentry, including Roland Vaux*) appeared all the more heinous in view of the fact that the abbey had temporarily passed into King Richard’s hands on the death of Thomas, Lord Clifford. On 1 Dec. Lord Clifford’s widow, Elizabeth, who was acting as hereditary sheriff of Westmorland, was instructed to arrest Salkeld and his son without further delay, while a specially constituted royal commission received similar orders regarding all those known to have been involved in the attacks. Given that a second commission in like terms had to be issued three months later, it seems unlikely that the miscreants were ever effectively disciplined. Indeed, rather than facing the well-deserved prospect of incarceration in Appleby gaol, Salkeld was actually called upon, in August 1396, to sit on a jury for the delivery of prisoners there.5
The January Parliament of 1397 saw Salkeld’s fifth and last appearance in the House of Commons. He died about a year later perhaps as a result of injuries sustained in early December during an affray at Tebay in Westmorland. Ironically, in view of his recent history, he was attempting to enforce the law on this occasion, since he had been ordered, as deputy escheator, to confiscate and sell the goods of an outlaw. The escheator, William Lowther I*, addressed a petition to Chancery on his behalf, claiming that he had been set upon by the man’s friends, whose blows may have proved fatal. At all events, his estates in Rosgill were partitioned by trustees, in March 1398, between his widow, Christine, and his elder son and heir, Hugh II. The latter’s marriage to Margaret Tymparon, which brought the Salkelds land in Greystoke and Stainton, Cumberland, had been contracted during his father’s lifetime.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xiv. 23-24, 44-47, ped. facing p. 62; xxviii. 250-2. The genealogy of the Salkeld family has been confused as a result of the mistaken assumption that Hugh Salkeld of Corby (d.c.1379) was the husband of Christine Rosgill and father of this MP (ibid. n.s. xxi. 70, 73; CIPM, xv. no. 140). In point of fact, the Salkelds of Corby had little to do with their kinsmen at Rosgill.
- 2. C1/3/120D.
- 3. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xiv. 23-24, ped. facing p. 62; CFR, viii. 192; ix. 149, 187, 338; Test. Karleolensia ed. Ferguson, 125-6; CPR, 1388-92, p. 408; RP, iii. 270-1, 280.
- 4. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xiv. 40-42; xix. 127; xxiii. 174-5; xxviii. 250-2; Recs. Kendale ed. Farrer and Curwen, ii. 311, 331; CCR, 1389-92, p. 101; CPR, 1389-92, p. 270.
- 5. CPR, 1391-6, pp. 654, 731-2; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 435, 439, 442-3, 445; JUST 3/70/1.
- 6. C1/3/120D; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xiv. 44-47, ped. facing p. 62.