TYNDALE, Robert, of Devizes, Wilts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Yeoman of Queen Joan’s beds by Sept. 1404-aft. May 1409, of her robes Dec. 1417-c.1419, of Henry VI’s robes by July 1426-aft. 1429.
Parker of Devizes by Mich. 1405-c.1421.1
Commr. to repair Devizes castle Apr. 1410.
Amober and woodward in the commotes of Isaf and Uchaf, Caern. 1 July 1426-8 Feb. 1435.
A professional royal servant of unknown origin (although possibly a kinsman of John Tyndale* of Northamptonshire), Robert began his career in the service of John of Gaunt, who at some date before 1399 granted him a messuage in Pontefract, Yorkshire, worth 10s. a year. On the accession of Gaunt’s son as Henry IV, Tyndale entered the royal household, and on 23 Feb. 1400 he received a pension of 6d. a day for life from the Exchequer. Four years later he obtained a further grant, of land and property at Rainham, Essex, which, valued at 17s. a year, had been forfeited to the Crown. By 15 Sept. 1404, when he was given the sum of £5 due to the King for the escape of a felon, Tyndale had been transferred to the household of Henry IV’s consort, Joan of Navarre, as yeoman of her beds, and by Michaelmas 1405 she had appointed him as parker of her estate at Devizes. Apparently whenever possible he exercised both offices in person, being resident at Devizes castle in 1406, for example, when he took delivery from John Bird*, the queen’s bailiff in Wiltshire, of a bed and hangings which had fallen to her on the death of an outlaw. In September 1408 the queen awarded him the parkership for term of her life, at a wage of 4d. a day, with an additional ½d. for every beast pastured in the park; and in May following the King, while confirming this grant, made it applicable until Tyndale’s own death. In April 1410 Tyndale and Bird received a royal commission to take labourers and carts for the refurbishment of rooms within Devizes castle, in preparation for a visit from the queen. As a reward for his great labours and expenses in this task, he subsequently received 68s.7d., this sum being raised by the sale of old timber from certain ruined houses and towers within the castle precincts. In December 1412 he obtained the grant of his property at Rainham, formerly held during royal pleasure, for life; and in the following year Henry V confirmed his annuity.2
Tyndale was still parker of Devizes when he was elected for the local borough to the Parliament of 1417, the only non-burgess known to have been so returned during this period. Two days before the end of the session, on 15 Dec., Queen Joan appointed him yeoman of her robes, with a wage of 6d. a day in addition to his other perquisites.3 He was again returned as a Member of the Commons in 1419—to that Parliament summoned to meet in October, just a few days after his royal mistress had been placed in close confinement under suspicion of necromancy. While the House was sitting, all Queen Joan’s dower, including the park of Devizes, was seized into the King’s hands, not to be restored until the end of the reign. Tyndale was not among the small group of attendants permitted to wait on the queen during her years of captivity. Furthermore, at some point during this period of Joan’s eclipse, in 1420 or early 1421, he was removed from the post of parker by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, acting in his capacity as keeper of forests south of Trent, on the grounds that he had sold, wasted or otherwise destroyed the vert and venison in the park (which had always been reserved to the Crown). In July 1421, however, Henry V commissioned Sir William Sturmy* and others to investigate these charges, as the King did not, in view of Tyndale’s long service to the royal family, wish him to be relieved of his office without just cause. The findings of the commission are lost, but it is clear that Tyndale was never restored.4
Yet Tyndale continued to be employed by the Crown. In January 1423, when his royal pension was confirmed, he was referred to as ‘King’s serjeant’, and by July 1426 he had been promoted yeoman of the robes to the infant King, Henry VI. It was in the latter capacity, and also in consideration of his many years as a crown servant, that he petitioned the King’s Council for the offices of amober and woodward of two commotes in Caernarvonshire, which were stated to be worth £10 p.a. Three years later, in October 1429 (at which time he was still a yeoman of the King’s chamber), he received yet another grant of 6d.a day, this one being from the issues of Lincoln. However, in February 1435, Tyndale surrendered both this pension and his sinecures in Wales so that they might be given to Thomas Bateson, cofferer to Katherine, the queen mother, and some four years later (before July 1439) he also gave up his property in Rainham and his annuity at the Exchequer, similarly to Bateson’s advantage.5 He probably died soon afterwards, for no more is heard of him thereafter.
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. SC6/1092/16.
- 2. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 265; 1401-5, pp. 333, 419; 1408-13, pp. 81, 83, 224, 459; 1413-16, p. 134; E404/18/309; SC6/1062/25 m. 4, 1093/1 m. 17.
- 3. SC6/1062/27.
- 4. Bull. John Rylands Lib. xxiv. 262-84; xxvi. 82-100; CPR, 1416-22, p. 389; VCH Wilts. iv. 409.
- 5. CPR, 1422-9, pp. 49, 347; 1429-36, pp. 24, 242, 449; 1436-41, p. 299; PPC, iii. 199; E404/55/337.