VEER, Robert (d.1420), of Thrapston, Northants. and Lubenham, Leics.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Robert Veer (d.c.1369) of Great Addington and Thrapston by his w. Elizabeth. m. bef. June 1390, Amy or Anne (c.1357-bef. 1404), da. and h. of Sir Thomas Malesours† of Milton Malzor Northants. and Lubenham, wid. of Sir Roger Perwych*, 1da.
Tax collector, Leics. Jan. 1392.
Commr. of arrest, Leics. May 1393; weirs June 1398; to raise royal loans Sept. 1405; hold special assizes, Northants. c. Apr. 1410.
Sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 11 Nov. 1394-9 Nov. 1395.
Robert came from a cadet branch of the noble house of Vere, descended from a younger son of Aubrey de Vere (d.1141) great chamberlain to Henry I, whose eldest son was the first earl of Oxford. However, his line of the family, which held Great Addington and Thrapston from the mid 12th century, had long lost contact with its illustrious relations by the time these manors came to Robert’s father some 200 years later. The eldest of three sons, Robert was a minor when his father died in about 1369, and he is not known to have ever occupied Great Addington, which was still in his mother’s possession as late as 1400. However, Thrapston (an important property where he was entitled to hold weekly markets and two annual fairs), together with land at Little Addington and Woodford, gave him an income estimated at £30 a year when assessments were made for the purposes of taxation in 1412; while another part of his inheritance, the manor of Hockinghanger in Kimpton (Hertfordshire) was then valued at £10 p.a.1 Through marriage to Amy Malesours, Veer acquired Milton Malzor, also in Northamptonshire (valued at £22 p.a. in 1412, when in a stepson’s possession), as well as Lubenham in the neighbouring county of Leicestershire. Thus, the total annual income derived from his landed holdings must have been in the region of £80. During his wife’s lifetime he was not troubled in his possession of the Malesours estates, although the Crown continued to press for patronage of a moiety of the churches of Milton Malzor and Collingtree, as it had done when her former husband, Sir Roger Perwych, had been alive.2
Veer’s public career began early in 1392, when he was ordered to act as a collector of parliamentary subsidies in Leicestershire. But later that year he found himself in serious trouble: in May, having been in the custody of Sir Thomas Gerberge*, steward of Edmund of Langley, duke of York, he was escorted to York castle at Richard II’s command, there to be kept prisoner. Veer’s disgrace was evidently caused by a quarrel with one of the ‘King’s knights’, Sir Edmund Noon*, because on 30 May while he was still in prison, he and his associate, John Preston, entered into obligations to Sir Edmund, backed by bonds for £100. As he was an outlaw, Robert’s goods and chattels were declared forfeit, but in July they were granted by the King to his brother, Baldwin Veer, and Sir John Sutton† of Wivenhoe. The date of Veer’s release has not been discovered, although his rehabilitation had clearly taken place by May 1393 when he was appointed as a royal commissioner again. Moreover, in February 1395, a few months after the beginning of his term as sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire, Veer presented himself at the Fleet prison with a document of Noon’s releasing him from all further legal actions. He was thus enabled to obtain a royal pardon of outlawry for failing to pay the King his ransom for the trespass done to Noon, although the pardon was conditional on his making such payment.3
During the early years of Henry IV’s reign Veer encountered difficulties with his troublesome stepsons, William and John Perwych, who following their mother’s death tried to oust him from the manor of ‘Esthall’ in Lubenham, which he was entitled to hold for life. In January 1404 John succeeded in entering the property, and legal proceedings instigated by Veer for its recovery were to be protracted for several years before he won a favourable judgement. It may have been with the intention of prosecuting his case that Veer sought election to the House of Commons in the autumn. During the Parliament of 1410, of which he was not, apparently, a Member, he was named as a commissioner to hold a special assize in Northamptonshire regarding tenure of the manor of Hinton, after serious charges had been laid against John, Lord Lovell, for evicting the rightful owners.4 Veer was on good terms with several of the gentry of the region, most notably with the Greens of Drayton (Ralph Green* was a trustee of his estates), and his only daughter, Margaret, was married to a Leicestershire man: Thomas, son of