WALEYS, Sir William (d.c.1408), of Glynde, Suss.
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Family and Education
2nd s. and h. of Sir John Waleys† (d.1376) of Glynde by his 1st w. Nicola, da. of Sir Andrew Mestede of West Firle, Suss. m. Margaret, da. of Sir John St. Cler† of Jevington, Suss., 2s. 2da. Kntd. bef. Sept. 1380.
Tax collector, Suss. Mar. 1377, May 1379, Mar. 1380.
Commr. to put down rebellion, Suss. Dec. 1382; of array Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392; inquiry, Surr., Suss. Jan. 1386 (wastes, Wilmington priory), Mar. 1393 (concealments); oyer and terminer, Suss. Feb. 1393.
Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1 Dec. 1383-11 Nov. 1384, 9 Nov. -9 Dec. 1395.
Bailiff of the abp. of Canterbury’s manor of Ringmer, Suss. by 1402.1
The Waleys family had been lords of Glynde and Patching since the late 12th century, and by the mid 14th had also acquired the manors of Hawksden and Bainden (Sussex) along with Thanington and rents from the vill of Newenden in Kent. A few days before his death in January 1376, the aged Sir John Waleys placed all these properties in the hands of trustees, who were instructed to put his eldest son, Sir Andrew, into possession on his return from overseas. After two years had elapsed without Sir Andrew coming home, it was assumed that he had died abroad, whereupon a new trust was established allowing for the manorial profits to be paid to Sir John’s second son, William, and for the latter to be given seisin after a further two years’ delay.2 Waleys could expect to derive a quite substantial income from his inheritance: Thanington alone might be leased for £20 p.a., while Glynde and Patching were to be later assessed at £46 13s. annually. He resided mainly at Glynde, where, as his household accounts of 1382-3 reveal, he sometimes entertained local dignitaries such as the dean of Chichester.3
Waleys began serving on royal commissions a yeas after his father’s death. Early in 1379 he was fined for failure to take up the estate of knighthood as required by royal proclamation, but he evidently decided to comply with the order before the end of September 1380, for it was as Sir William Waleys that he then obtained the King’s licence to travel to Rome. Most likely he postponed his departure in order to attend the Parliament summoned to meet at Northampton a few weeks later. Election to two more Parliaments was followed by Waleys’s appointment in 1383 as sheriff of Surrey and Sussex. He was thus the official given responsibility in the summer of 1384 for keeping Sir Edward Dallingridge* under arrest, pending trial on charges brought by John of Gaunt. Waleys’s own attitude to the dispute between the knight and the duke may have been ambivalent, for in an encounter in the court his father-in-law, Sir John St. Cler, was challenged by Dallingridge to single combat; yet, on the other hand, his kinsman, Sir Philip Mestede, was a close friend and accomplice of the defendant. Indeed, he himself was very likely a supporter of Lancaster’s opponent Richard, earl of Arundel, who numbered both Dallingridge and Mestede among his retainers: in the summer of 1385 he rode north in the earl’s company to join the King’s army intended to invade Scotland, obtaining official exoneration from a commission of array in Sussex in order to do so. In October that year Waleys took out letters patent of exemption from further royal service against his will, but he was evidently prepared to sit in Parliament again, and, indeed, accompanied Dallingridge to Westminster for the Merciless Parliament of 1388, which met after Arundel and his fellow Lords Appellant had seized power. That Sir William was then numbered among those Lords’ adherents is clear from the terms of the royal pardon he was to purchase later. Not long afterwards a suit was brought against him in the common pleas by Sir John St. Cler’s widow, concerning her dower in certain lands in Northamptonshire he was holding in trust. In court he conceded the widow’s entitlement, and vouchsafed to warranty his brother-in-law, Sir Philip St. Cler. Waleys was re-appointed sheriff in 1395, only to be removed from office just a month later, having possibly made use of his formal exemption to secure release. He was employed on no commissions whatsoever in the last years of Richard II’s reign, and, in April 1398, a few months after the earl of Arundel’s condemnation and execution for treason, both he and his younger son, William, sought the King’s mercy for their own offences. It is of interest to note that Sir William was subsequently engaged by the late earl’s brother, Archbishop Arundel, as his bailiff of Ringmer, and that his sons, John and William, both became retainers of the new earl, Thomas.4
Waleys’s last years were troubled by litigation and family quarrels. First, in 1396, John Pelham*, the constable of the duchy of Lancaster castle at Pevensey, brought various actions against him and his wife (although the plaintiff subsequently made a formal renunciation); then, that autumn, Waleys sued for execution of a recognizance for more than £150 entered into at the Staple at Chichester, despite a claim by the defendants (who included William Rydelere I*) that he had promised to cancel the bond if they kept certain covenants—which they asserted they had done; and in June 1398 he was required to find sureties in Chancery under pain of £200 as guarantee that he would keep the peace in yet another local dispute.5 In the same month as this last restraint, Sir William settled on his elder son, John, and the latter’s new wife, Joan, the daughter and heiress of the wealthy Sir Robert Turk* of London and Hertfordshire, his principal manors at Glynde and Patching. But father and son soon started bitter arguments over the arrangement: in November 1402 the former was reduced to petitioning the lying for remedy against the ‘injuries and oppressions’ which John had done to him ‘and still does from day to day’, whereupon an order was sent for both men to appear before the Council (taking due consideration of Sir William’s ‘age and feebleness’), and they were bound in mutual recognizances of 400 marks to keep the peace. Nevertheless, their underlying differences were not resolved until the summer of 1406, when the priors of Lewes and Michelham, acting as arbiters, awarded that Sir William should have Glynde and Patching for life undisturbed by his son, who was permitted to take possession of the other Waleys estates on condition that he bore the charges of upkeep of the premises and paid 40 marks towards the marriage of his sister.6
Sir William, still living in September 1407, died before February 1410, the date that John allowed his widowed mother an annual rent of £2 from Glynde.7