THORPE, Henry (d.1416), of Boscombe, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

yr. s. but event. h. of Sir John Thorpe of Boscombe by Katherine, da. of John, 2nd Lord Botetourt, wid. of Sir Thomas Berkeley of Uley, Glos.1 m. by 1400, Cecily (c.1367-20 Mar. 1422), da. and h. of John Burdon of Oldbury-on-the-Hill, Glos., wid. of Thomas Worfton, 2s. 1da.

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Wilts. July 1402, Sept. 1403; to arrange for the escheat of estates late of William Stourton* Sept. 1413.

J.p. Wilts. Nov. 1404-Feb. 1405, Feb. 1410-12, Jan. 1414-Nov. 1415.

Verderer, Clarendon forest, Wilts. until July 1406.2

Sheriff, Wilts. Mich. 1414-1 Dec. 1415.


Sir John Thorpe (who sat in Parliament for Gloucestershire and Wiltshire) died on 10 Dec. 1386, leaving as his heir his elder son Edward, aged 22, and a widow who died on 22 Jan. 1388. Edward’s inheritance included the manor of Boscombe and property in Allington and Newton Toney, all in Wiltshire, but he, too, died, probably soon after June 1391, and it was his younger brother, Henry, who succeeded to the family estates.3

Henry is first recorded in 1394 when, described as ‘of Gloucestershire’, he stood surety for Sir Richard Hoo of Kent. In May 1396 he was granted custody of lands in Didmarton, which had been forfeited to the Crown, at a rent of 10s. a year. His father and brother had both been connected with the Despensers (the former held two parts of the manor of West Winterslow, Wiltshire, for life by their grant), so it is not surprising that he sailed to Ireland in 1399 as a member of the retinue of Thomas Despenser, earl of Gloucester. But his association with Despenser was not to be of any advantage to his own fortunes, for he imprudently followed his lord in revolt against Henry IV early in 1400 and as a consequence was imprisoned in the Tower. However, on 5 Apr. he was set at liberty, on bail of 500 marks, and by the 26th had cleared himself sufficiently to be restored to his lands and goods. The latter had meanwhile been taken by ‘divers persons’ who were, naturally enough, reluctant to give them back.4

In June 1402 the grant returning Thorpe’s property was clarified, the places where he held land now being specified. By this time his holdings included the manors of ‘Burdon’s Ball’ in Ditchampton and Yatesbury, Wiltshire, which had come to him by marriage. Four years later, on the death of his father-in-law’s widow, other of the Burdon estates fell to him and his wife: in Devon the manor of ‘Burdonswere’ in Kingsteignton and the hundred of Teignbridge; in Gloucestershire the manor of Oldbury-on-the-Hill; and in Wiltshire the manor of ‘Burdon’s’ in Poulshot. In 1412 Thorpe’s estates in Devon and Wiltshire alone were estimated to be worth £52 a year.5 Following his rehabilitation, Thorpe undertook various administrative duties in Wiltshire, although he was disqualified from the office of verderer of Clarendon forest on the ground that he did not hold land within the forest bounds. He attended the Wiltshire elections to the Parliaments of 1407, 1413 (May) and 1415 (which last he himself conducted in his capacity as sheriff), in the meantime being returned to his only Parliament in 1411.6

Thorpe made his will on 11 Oct. 1416 at Ospringe in Kent (perhaps in the Maison Dieu there) and he died on the same day. To his daughter, Katherine, he left 120 marks and to his younger son, Ralph, £120 and his property at Poulshot. He wished to be buried in the parish church at Faversham, and named as his executors his wife, William Alexander* and Thomas Wyket, a servant. Eight days later the duchy of Lancaster steward in Wiltshire was ordered to assume into the King’s hands all his lands, and to take charge of his sons, Thomas and Ralph, wherever he might find them—either at home at Boscombe or at school at Winchester college. Subsequently, the keeping of the lands during Thomas’s minority was granted to a former duchy steward, Thomas Bonham*, but the boy died on 5 Oct. 1419 before attaining his majority, and it was Ralph who eventually succeeded their father, in May 1423.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: Richmond


  • 1. Sir Thomas Berkeley is incorrectly called Maurice in CP, ii. 234. See J. Smyth, Lives of the Berkeleys ed. Maclean, i. 257-8; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xxvi. 262.
  • 2. C242/8/11.
  • 3. CIPM, xvi. 461, 638-41; CCR, 1385-9, p. 391; 1389-92, p. 481.
  • 4. CCR, 1385-9, p. 503; 1389-92, p. 481; 1392-6, p. 251; 1399-1402, p. 78; CFR, x. 211; xi. 173; CPR, 1396-9, pp. 526, 530; 1399-1401, p. 261.
  • 5. CPR, 1401-5, p. 100; 1413-16, p. 252; CFR, xiii. 57; Feudal Aids, vi. 418, 541; C136/83/4; C137/53/21; VCH Wilts. vi. 41; vii. 122; Wilts. Feet of Fines (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xli), 220, 338; S. Rudder, New Hist. Glos. 585; W. Pole, Devon, 260.
  • 6. C219/10/4, 11/2, 7.
  • 7. PCC 36 Marche; C138/31/17, 63/24; C139/6/47, 8/76; DL42/17 f. 128d; CFR, xiv. 427, 436-7; CCR, 1422-9, p. 19.