WYKE, Roger (d.c.1467), of Bindon in Axmouth, Devon.
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Family and Education
yr. s. of William Wyke of North Wyke in South Tawton, Devon, by Katherine, da. and h. of John Burnell of Cocktree. m. by 1422, Joan Bingham (d.1462/3), gdda. of Sir Walter Romsey (d.1403), wid. of Thomas Cayleway,1 1s.
Commr. of inquiry, Dartmoor Jan., July 1416 (offences against the forest laws).
The Wykes of North Wyke claimed with considerable ingenuity to be descended from Robert, count of Meulan (d.c.1207), the son and heir apparent of the earl of Worcester. Although some of the family property in the parish of South Tawton was settled on Roger in 1404, the bulk of his holdings, including a moiety of the manor of Crooke Burnell in North Tawton, came to him from his mother, and it was no doubt for this reason that he soon abandoned the use of his father’s arms (ermine, three battle axes erect, sable) and adopted those of Burnell (a chevron ermine between three barnacle geese proper). In 1406 either by gift or purchase he acquired from Nicholas Bach the manor of Bindon in Axmouth, although, this, too, may have once pertained to the Burnells, for later that year he began a long lawsuit with William Burnell, the prior of Loders (Dorset), over lands in Axmouth and ‘Vastorne’. The oratory which Wyke built in his house at Bindon in about 1425 is still standing.2
In November 1406 Wyke shared with John Tretherf* of Cornwall a grant at the Exchequer of the wardship and marriage of Henry St. John’s heir, along with custody of his estates in Devon and Somerset. An important influence on his early career was the connexion formed in the late 14th century between his family and the Courtenays (a connexion which is most clearly revealed in the sphere of ecclesiastical preferment), and his colleague Tretherf also belonged to the Courtenay circle. Yet while there may be grounds for assuming that he sat for Plympton Erle in 1413 as a direct result of his association with the lord of the borough, Edward Courtenay, earl of Devon, the family tradition that he fought at Agincourt under this nobleman’s banner is demonstrably erroneous. There is clear evidence, however, that he did cross to France two years later for the conquest of Normandy, being then one of the men-at-arms attached to the company of Edward Courtenay, Lord Courtenay (d.1418), the heir presumptive to the earldom.3 It may have been Wyke’s continued friendship with the Courtenays which prompted his quarrel with their great rival, Sir William Bonville II* (afterwards Lord Bonville): in 1427 he petitioned Chancery for the appointment of a commission of oyer and terminer to try Bonville for assault, for breaking into his property at Axmouth, and for stealing goods worth £20. The feud between the Bonvilles and Courtenays, which eventually assumed serious proportions in 1451, may well have had something to do with the summons sent to Wyke in May that year to appear in Chancery, which he was bound to do under penalty of 500 marks; and in July 1454 he joined the Lords Clinton and Grey of Wilton in providing securities in Chancery that Thomas Courtenay, earl of Devon, would appear before the King’s Council, undertaking on the same occasion that Courtenay would curb his hostile behaviour towards Lord Bonville.4
Wyke’s marriage to Joan gingham brought him her father’s lands in Somerset, including the manor of Sutton gingham and the right of presentation to the church there (which he exercised eight times between 1422 and 1467).