TIPTOFT, Sir Payn (c.1351-c.1413), of Burwell, Cambs.

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



Jan. 1404

Family and Education

b.c.1351, s. of John, 2nd Lord Tybotot (1313-67), by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Robert Aspall of Aspall, Suff. m. Agnes (d. bef. Oct. 1413),1 da. of John Wroth* (d.1396) of Enfield, Mdx. and sis. of Sir John Wroth* (d.1407), 1s. Sir John*, 1da; 1s. illegit.2 Kntd. bef. Mar. 1387.

Offices Held

Commr. to put down rebellion, Cambs. Mar., Dec. 1382; of oyer and terminer Sept. 1384, July 1404; array Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403; inquiry Apr. 1401 (poaching on crown land), May 1401 (arson); to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402; raise forces for military service in Wales Aug. 1402; combat the northern rebels, Cambs., Hunts. May 1405; of sewers, Norf. June 1406; weirs, Cambs., Hunts. Mar. 1410.

J.p. Cambs. 9 Nov. 1399-Jan. 1405, 27 Jan. 1406-d.

Surveyor of the King’s warrens, Norf., Suff., Cambs. 5 Mar. 1401-?d.3

Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 8 Nov. 1401-14 Feb. 1402,4 18 Nov. 1404-22 Nov. 1405.


Payn was named after his grandfather, the first Lord Tybotot, who had been slain at Bannockburn. As the child of his father’s second marriage, to Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Waweton of Wimbish, Essex, he was neither heir to the title (which went to his half-brother) nor to the bulk of the Tybotot estates. In about 1365, however, his father made a settlement in tail-male designed to ensure that he would eventually come into possession of the manors of Harston and Burwell in Cambridgeshire. Accordingly, five years after Lord Tybotot’s death in 1367, the young man obtained Burwell, and his mother also let him have her manor of ‘Lovetotes’ in Bramford (Suffolk) although she retained Harston until she died in 1390. Payn’s inheritance made him a landowner of some substance in Cambridgeshire, enjoying an annual income of at least £61, as assessed for the purposes of taxation in 1412.5 He himself made no further additions to these properties, with the exception of a manor in Eversden which he purchased in reversion in 1409. His marriage into the wealthy family of Wroth apparently brought him little personal benefit in material terms, although on the failure of the main Wroth line in 1413 (probably after his own death) the widespread estates of his in-laws were to serve in the further enrichment of his son, Sir John.6

Having come of age by July 1372, Tiptoft then entered into recognizances with his father’s executor, Philip Chamberlain, who no doubt needed certain securities before he was prepared to transfer part of the family estates to the young man. In the spring of 1373 he made arrangements to join the major expeditionary force then about to sail for France under the command of the duke of Lancaster, but in May a neighbour of his named Thomas Swafham complained that, in total disregard of his own royal letters of protection, issued to safeguard his property while on the same campaign, Tiptoft had broken into his close at Burwell where he had assaulted him and carried off his goods. The matter was to be investigated by commissioners of oyer and terminer, but there is no evidence that Tiptoft was thereby prevented from joining John of Gaunt’s company and enduring its gruelling march across France from Calais to Bordeaux. Nothing more is heard of him until 1382, when he was appointed to royal commissions for the restoration of order in Cambridgeshire in the aftermath of the Peasants’ Revolt. The court of common pleas outlawed him a year or so later for failing to appear to render 20 marks to the widow of a London mercer, but he obtained the King’s pardon in November 1384.7

By that time Tiptoft had in all probability already entered the service of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, to whom he was to remain closely attached until Arundel’s condemnation and execution for treason in 1397. In March 1387, by then a knight, he joined the large force which the earl was to command at sea, doing so as a member of the admiral’s immediate entourage, and when, at the end of the year, his lord, in league with the duke of Gloucester and earl of Warwick, rose in arms against the King’s unpopular favourites, he was at their side. Arundel thought so highly of Sir Payn as to grant him for life the manor of Beeston on the Norfolk coast, and having originally failed to procure the necessary royal licence to make the gift, supplied this defect in May 1388 when, as one of the Lords Appellant, he shared in their control of the royal administration. Later that year, Tiptoft was made a trustee of Arundel’s manor of Kenninghall so that it might be settled on the earl’s daughter, Elizabeth, and her second husband, Thomas Mowbray, the Earl Marshal (a junior Appellant); and, subsequently, he was also enfeoffed of the Fitzalan lordships in the marches of Wales and of a number of other properties which he and his fellows were to hold to Arundel’s use. When Earl Richard made a will on 4 Mar. 1393, not only did he leave Tiptoft two of his best horses and a silver goblet, but he also named him among his executors, ‘les queux je pri, dentier coer sur le graud affiance q jay en eux et en chesun de eux, quils vuillent prendre ladministracion de mes biens et les mettre en loial execucion sytoft come ils purrount’ Three years later Tiptoft took on an additional trusteeship, namely that of the castle and lordship of Abergavenny, a third part of which pertained to the earl’s wife, Philippa, as her dower from the estates of the earldom of Pembroke. As a trusted retainer of the earl of Arundel, Sir Payn naturally found himself in serious danger following the earl’s arrest by Richard II in the summer of 1397, for on 15 Sept., just a few days before Arundel was due to be tried and executed, a royal serjeant-at-arms was ordered to find him for interrogation by the King’s Council. It may well be the case that he was held prisoner for a time. Then, on 3 Apr. following, he and 27 others were commanded, each under penalty of £200, to present themselves immediately before the council at Westminster ‘to answer what shall be laid against them’ He was no doubt forced to pay a heavy fine to obtain the royal pardon issued to him at the end of the month.8

Tiptoft’s whereabouts during the remainder of Richard II’s reign are not recorded. The catastrophe befalling the house of Fitzalan had left its followers in an invidious position where they might be slandered with impunity, but Tiptoft still had one champion, at least. A well-wisher of his named John Elington was so incensed when he heard a certain apostate Carmelite publicly defaming Sir Payn that he attacked him with a stick, only to meet his own death in the ensuing brawl. Clearly, Tiptoft must have welcomed the accession to the throne of Henry of Bolingbroke, especially as his son, John, had been a member of Henry’s household before he was sent into exile. It is quite likely that they both gave John of Gaunt’s heir active military support after his landing at Ravenspur in the summer of 1399. Sir Payn secured election for Cambridgeshire to the assembly of estates which, having deposed King Richard and acclaimed Henry as King, re-assembled a few days later as the latter’s first Parliament. He seems not to have re-established his links with the Fitzalans, for in the week after Parliament was dissolved he and his co-feoffees obtained a royal licence to relinquish their interest in the Abergavenny lordships to William, Lord Beauchamp, son-in-law of the late Earl Richard, and is not thereafter recorded in association with any member of the Fitzalan family. That he had demonstrated his wholehearted support for the new regime, however, is clear from his early selection as one of just 12 men called upon to serve as knights of the King’s chamber and hall, a privileged position which he shared with his son, John, who, it may be noted, had been knighted on the eve of Henry’s coronation. It was this younger member of the Tiptoft family who found most favour with Henry IV, by whose bounty he enjoyed over the next few years a plethora of important grants of land and offices. Sir Payn himself stayed in a somewhat subordinate position, serving King Henry as a loyal subject but in return for no reward beyond his fees and livery at the Household. He received personal summonses to attend great councils both in August 1401 and again about two years later, and it was he and just one other who in October 1402 were given responsibility for collecting benevolences in Cambridgeshire to help finance the cost of the garrisons in South Wales. As a henchman of the King, he was naturally expected to act in a military capacity when insurrection threatened the security of the dynasty: in the previous August he had been specially commissioned to raise an armed force to join the royal army at Shrewsbury and, from there, to advance into Wales against the rebels under Glendower; and in May 1405, during his occupation of the shrievalty of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, he and his son, Sir John, were ordered to assemble with all speed the knights, esquires and other fencible men of the region to help provide the King with sufficient strength to put down the Percy rebellion in the north of England. Sir Payn remained a member of Henry IV’s close entourage at least until the autumn of 1406, when his son, the Speaker of the Commons then in session, was appointed treasurer of the Household.9

Few details survive about Tiptoft’s private affairs during this period, although he is known to have acted on behalf of his kinsmen, the Harlestons, as a feoffee of property in Essex. While attending the Parliament of January 1404 he had taken the opportunity to secure a royal pardon of outlawry for failing to answer the suit of two London saddlers for debts amounting to £18 6s. In 1407 he was party to a transaction whereby his brother-in-law, Sir John Wroth, was bound in recognizances in 1,000 marks to him and Sir John Tiptoft among others, including the prominent Lancastrian retainer, (Sir) John Pelham*. No doubt this was a family business arrangement, the background to which, however, remains obscure.10

Tiptoft is not recorded after his re-appointment to the Cambridgeshire bench following the accession of Henry V in March 1413, and he probably died soon afterwards.

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. VCH Hants, iv. 628 gives the date of Agnes’s death as 1396, but without reference. She certainly died before her niece, Elizabeth Wroth, wife of Sir William Palton†: C138/5/53.
  • 2. Sir Payn’s daughter married a son of John Danceys*. His illegitimate son, William, was the child of Joan Grace: CP25(1)30/94/62; T. Blore, Rutland, 61-62.
  • 3. J.H. Wylie, Hen. IV, iv. 142.
  • 4. He did not account for this shrievalty.
  • 5. CP, xii (pt. 2), 94-98; CIPM, xii. 171; CIPM Hen. VII, i. 21; CCR, 1364-8, p. 343; 1369-74, p. 565; VCH Cambs. viii. 180; Feudal Aids, vi. 406.
  • 6. CP, xii (pt. 1), 746; VCH Cambs. v. 61; CFR, xiv. 43.
  • 7. CCR, 1369-74, p. 445; Reg. Gaunt 1371-5, no. 50; CPR, 1370-4, p. 314; 1381-5, p. 461.
  • 8. E101/40/33 m. 1; CPR, 1385-9, p. 440; 1391-6, pp. 697-8; 1396-9, pp. 72, 242; CP25(1)168/179/186; CCR, 1396-9, p. 277; 1422-9, p. 221; CIMisc. vi. 233; Lambeth Palace Lib. Reg. Arundel, i. f. 186v; C67/30 m. 2.
  • 9. CPL, v. 207; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 265; 1401-5, p. 138; 1405-8, p. 66; E101/404/21, f. 44d; PPC, i. 158; ii. 74, 76, 87; Harl. 319, f. 46.
  • 10. CPR, 1401-5, pp. 332, 340; P. Morant, Essex, ii. 558-9; CCR, 1405-9, p. 264.