WARYN, Robert, of Offord Darcy, Hunts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by 1375, Katherine.1
Commr. to raise a subsidy for national defence, Hunts. Mar., July 1360; of inquiry Dec. 1363 (repairs to Huntingdon bridge), Beds., Hunts. Nov. 1377 (bridge repairs), Hunts. Dec. 1379 (impugners of the King’s right to present to the church of Hemingford Abbots); to make an arrest May 1365; of oyer and terminer July 1367 (attack on property at Leighton); to enforce labour services July 1381 (estates of Ramsey abbey); suppress the rebels of 1381 Mar., Dec. 1382; deliver Ramsey gaol Nov. 1385.2
J.p. Hunts. 28 June 1362-Nov. 1374, 29 June 1376-Nov. 1377.
Tax collector, Hunts. Mar., June 1371, Dec. 1372, Dec. 1373, Nov. 1374, Dec. 1380.
Coroner, Hunts. bef. 1 June 1372-aft. 3 Feb. 1391.3
Justice of assize for the abbot of Ramsey, Hunts. 1 June 1381.4
Verderer of the forests of Sapley and Weybridge, Hunts. to 3 July 1407.
Nothing is now known about this Member’s family background save for the fact that one of his immediate ancestors evidently purchased the manor of Broughtons in Offord Darcy at some point during the early 14th century. Although not specifically described as such, Waryn may well have been a lawyer, since most of the evidence which has survived to illuminate his career concerns his involvement in the affairs of various local landowners. Despite an attempt to remove him from office in 1372 on the ground that he lacked the necessary qualifications, his appointment as coroner of Huntingdonshire certainly suggests a legal training of sorts; so too does his period of service on the county bench, and his appearance among the justices of assize chosen in 1381 by the abbot of Ramsey to hear pleas of the Crown within his liberty. Throughout his life, Waryn was active as a feoffee-to-uses for his friends and neighbours, among whom were several members of the influential Styuecle family, whose estates he held in trust for many years. He was particularly close to John Styuecle*, being a party with him in December 1391 to the endowment of Sawtry abbey.5 This was not the only occasion on which Waryn helped to secure the grant in mortmain of property either to the Cistercians of Sawtry or other neighbouring religious houses. In 1379, for example, he and his associates obtained permission from the Crown to settle land in the Huntingdonshire village of Stilton upon the prior and convent of Bushmead, Bedfordshire, although it was not until 1392 that royal letters patent actually sanctioned the award. Waryn was then also acting as a feoffee for Robert Beville*, who authorized him to convey part of his estates in Wood Walton to Sawtry, but his main preoccupation at this time was with a series of transactions designed to consolidate the Huntingdonshire estates of Ramsey abbey.6 Our Member’s connexion with this particular monastery appears to have been a strong one, for besides serving in 1381 as a commissioner for the enforcement of labour services on the abbey estates and holding court in the abbot’s liberty, Warwyn was chosen to appear as a proxy for the abbot in the Parliaments of 1377 (Oct.), 1379, 1380 (Nov.), 1382 (Oct.) and 1394.7 Curiously enough, he was not himself returned to the House of Commons on any of these occasions, although he did represent Huntingdonshire in no less than six Parliaments between 1376 and 1390. Waryn had other friends among the clergy, most notably Richard Croxton, canon of Lincoln (d.1383), and John Swynlegh, archdeacon of Huntingdon (d.1385/6), both of whom chose him to execute their respective wills. He was, moreover, friendly with the priors of Swavesey (Cambridgeshire) and St. Neots (Huntingdonshire); and in 1389 he agreed to collect rents of 50s. on behalf of the abbess of Barking.8
Waryn’s circle did, however, include a number of distinguished laymen, such as Sir Thomas Dengaine (d.1367), who made him a trustee of his estates in Huntingdonshire and Hertfordshire, and also, in August 1364, entrusted him with the task of supervising his affairs in England while he was abroad. Another of Waryn’s friends was the distinguished soldier, Sir William Moigne*, for whom he witnessed several deeds. Together with Robert Lovetot*, he was one of the securities named by Moigne during the complex financial transactions which led, in 1391, to the latter’s purchase of the manor of Sawtry Beaumes (Huntingdonshire), although both men were shrewd enough to obtain substantial guarantees from the knight to cover their own pledges.9 From time to time Waryn acted as a mainpernor at the Exchequer, as, for example, in 1377, when he performed this service for both John Kernell, the newly appointed farmer of land in Grantham, and the prior of Ogbourne St. George, who had been made custodian of the alien priory of St. Neots. Some years later, in 1390, he went bail for three Huntingdonshire men then summoned as defendants in the court of Chancery. Throughout his life he attested many local property transactions, as well as becoming a trustee for yeomen farmers and other, small scale landowners who lived near his home at Offord Darcy.10
In contrast to his busy public career, the more personal side of Waryn’s life is sparsely documented. From 1364 onwards, if not before, he lived at Offord Darcy; and at some point over the next 11 years he acquired an interest in other holdings in the nearby villages of Grafham and Hail Weston, which he and his wife then settled upon feoffees. He was later confirmed in possession of his manor of Broughtons, but there is no evidence to suggest that he was tempted to follow the example of his friends and speculate in the land market himself. Although he appears to have been so ill in 1379 that the sheriff of Huntingdonshire received orders to replace him as coroner, his indisposition did not permanently damage his career, and he retained the post for another 12 years, if not longer. He must have been in his late 60s at least, when, in July 1407, similar orders were issued for his removal from the post of verderer of the royal forests of Weybridge and Sapley, this time on the dual grounds that he was both too aged and too sick to discharge his duties effectively. Even so, he was still alive in December 1414, the date of a grant made to him and a clerk named William Weston by Henry V. The two men were to farm the temporalities of the nunnery at Stowe, although it is not known if Waryn lived long enough to enjoy the profits of this award. He may have been the father or uncle of Henry Waryn, who represented Huntingdonshire in the Parliament of March 1416, but we cannot be certain about this.11
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Hunts. Feet of Fines (Cambridge Antiq. Soc. xxxvii), 87.
- 2. C66/320 m. 19v.
- 3. Add. Ch. 34172.
- 4. Add. Ch. 39700.
- 5. CCR, 1369-74, p. 381; 1374-7, p. 230; 1377-81, pp. 120-1; CPR, 1391-6, p. 3; Add. Chs. 33513, 33516, 33891, 34066, 34117, 34171; Hunts. Feet of Fines, 83, 90; C143/414/10; Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. xvii. 142-3.
- 6. C143/394/29, 413/23; CAD, i. B1557; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 72, 107; CIPM (Rec. Comm.), iii. 18; Add. Chs. 33919, 33922, 33926, 34172.
- 7. SC10/32/1563, 33/1609, 1636, 34/1679, 39/19