SEBROOKE, Sir Laurence, of Filton, Glos.
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Family and Education
m. between May 1381 and Jan. 1386, Margaret, da. and h. of Thomas Steward† of Gloucester, wid. of Edmund Blound (d.1381) of Filton, 1s. Kntd. by Sept. 1388.
Commr. of array, Glos. Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392; inquiry May 1389 (wastes on Caen abbey estates), Glos., Worcs. Dec. 1391 (salmon poaching); oyer and terminer, Glos. June 1390.
Sheriff, Glos. 1 Dec. 1388-15 Nov. 1389.
J.p. Glos. 10 Nov. 1389-June 1394.
Sebrooke was on one occasion described as resident in Hampshire, but whether his family originally came from that couny is not known. It would appear that his landed interests in Gloucestershire dated only from the time of his marriage to a local heiress. He was already an ‘esquire’ when first recorded, on 27 Mar. 1374, as putting to sea with his own sizeable retinue of 39 men-at-arms and 40 archers under the command of Sir William Neville, the admiral of the norther fleet. He served under Neville at least until disembarkation at Sandwich on 22 July. But this cannot have been the first occasion that he took up arms, and, indeed, it seems likely that before 1369 he had campaigned abroad in the company of the famous Sir John Chandos, since, in March 1377, he stood surety in Chancery for John Humbleton, clerk, formerly Sir John’s receiver, who had failed to render accounts for the administration of the late commander’s will. There is also good reason to believe that for some unknown period Sebrooke was a member of the household of Chando’s friend, the Black Prince. In May 1381 he was associated with Sir John Beauchamp† of Holt (a favoured knight of the King’s chamber) and Henry Bruyn* of Worcestershire, in recognizances for £200 offered to the chancellor and the two chief justices, in connexion with a suit brought against the abbot of Evesham for false imprisonment. The dispute hinged on whether the prisoner was one of the abbot’s villeins or a free man—a delicate issue, and one of many similar conflicts which were to assume serious proportions barely a month later when the Peasants’ Revolt broke out.1
Sebrooke was returned for Gloucestershire to his first Parliament in the autumn of 1382, and it would appear that the marriage through which he acquired lands in the county had already taken place. His wife Margaret, the only daughter of a former bailiff and MP for Gloucester, had inherited from her father property in that city together with the manor of Alvingtong in Saltmarsh (then charged with an annual pension of 20 marks for Christine Steward, her mother or stepmother), and held as dower from the estate of her former husband, Edward Blount, moieties of the manors of Bitton, Filton and Harry Stoke. These holdings were later (in 1412, after Sebrooke’s death), estimated to be worth £40 a year. As the widow of a tenant-in-chief, Margaret had been required in May 1381 to take an oath not to remarry without the King’s licence, but Richard II evidently approved of her match with Sebrooke, and the marriage took place well before 1386, when Sebrooke acted as an executor of Christine Steward’s will.2
Sebrooke had retained his connexions with the Court, hinted at by the records of his associations with Chandos, Neville and Beauchamp. But not until June 1385 does his position as a member of the household of the King’s mother, Princess Joan of Wales, stand revealed. Then, he and 12 others, including several of the Black Prince’s former retainers such as Sir Lewis Clifford, Sir Richard Stury, Sir Thomas Latimer† and Sir Philip de la Vache* (a group perhaps better known for their allegedly heretical, lollard beliefs), were ordered to remain close to the princess’s person, giving especial attention to her comfort and security, instead of accompanying the King on his expedition against the Scots. Whether Sebrooke remained at Court after the princess’s death only two months later, is not known. He was knighted before the meeting of his second Parliament, in 1388, and thereafter became more active in Gloucestershire as a royal commissioner, j.p. and sheriff. His contacts among the local gentry remained few, but did include William Heyberer, who had been a close friend of his wife’s father and was to sit for Gloucester in the Parliament of January 1390, in which Sir Laurence represented the shire for the third and last time. A year afterwards Sebrooke was performing the function of Heyberer’s executor.3
Sebrooke died at an unknown date between 1394 and 1402. His heir was his son, Lionel, who before Christmas 1416 entered the service of Thomas, Lord Berkeley, as steward of his household. Sir Laurence’s widow, who retained Alvington until her death, was still living in 1419.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Sebrooke, Seybrok.
- 1. E101/33/15; CCR, 1374-7, p. 524; 1377-81, p. 515.
- 2. CIPM, xv. 303-4; Gt. Red Bk. (Bristol Rec. Soc. iv), 241-2; Gloucester Cathedral Lib. St. Peter’s Abbey ch. I/9; Reg. Wakefield (Worcs. Hist. Soc. n.s. vii), 429; C115/K2/6682, ff. 37-39.
- 3. CCR, 1381-5, p. 553; CPR, 1389-92, p. 407; K.B. Mcfarlane, Lancastrian Kings, 171.
- 4. Feudal Aids, ii. 301; CP25(1)79/85/48; JUST 1/1525 m. 14; Reg. Sede Vacante (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1887), 403; Cat. Muns. Berkeley Castle ed. Jeayes, no. 584.