BRADSHAW, Roger (d.c.1431), of Milwich, Staffs.
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Family and Education
yr. bro. and h. of Nicholas Bradshaw (d.c.1417) of Stafford. m. by Mich. 1405, Elizabeth (b.1383), da. and coh. of Sir Ralph Meynell (d.1388) of Langley Meynell, Derbys. and Hints, Warws., wid. of William Crawshawe (d. aft. 1400), at least 1s.1
Rider and ranger of Ashdown forest, Suss. for the duchy of Lancaster, 1 Apr. 1395-9; master forester 23 Jan. 1399-1406.2
Chamberlain of the household of Edmund, earl of Stafford, by Mich. 1400-aft. Mich. 1401.3
Commr. to take an inquisition post mortem, Notts., Derbys. Nov. 1417, June 1418; raise a royal loan, Derbys. Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420; of inquiry Feb. 1422 (falsifiers of weights).
Although described by the Staffordshire antiquary, Chetwynd, as a nephew of the crown servant and landowner, Nicholas Bradshaw, there can be little doubt that the subject of this biography was in fact Nicholas’s younger brother and eventual heir. The former’s position in the north Midlands owed much to his long association with the earls of Stafford, whose receiver-general he became in 1390, and from whom he obtained several impressive grants of property. Roger Bradshaw was closely involved in his brother’s affairs throughout his life, and had him to thank, at least indirectly, for the more important items of preferment which came his way. The first known reference to him occurs in August 1391, when John of Gaunt awarded him an annuity of five marks payable for life from the honour of Tutbury. This was followed in December 1393 by a second ducal grant, also for life, of lands and tenements worth 59s.3d. a year in Turnditch, Derbyshire. Two years later Bradshaw was made ranger and rider of the duchy of Lancaster forest of Ashdown in Sussex, being promoted in January 1399 to the rank of master forester. Within three days of receiving the last award, Bradshaw had Gaunt’s letters patent inspected and confirmed in Chancery. He was retained in office by Henry IV, and was probably still an employee of the duchy when he first entered Parliament in 1406. By this date he may well have enjoyed the second fee of five marks a year which was his in 1412, although it was not until later that his annual pension from the Crown rose to £8 or more.4 In view of his connexion with Henry IV and his father, Bradshaw may perhaps be regarded as a royal placeman in the Commons of 1406. The King certainly had need of such support at this difficult period in his reign, and the return of one of his office-holders and annuitants cannot but have pleased him. On the other hand, Bradshaw was himself sufficiently well established as a local landowner and figure of consequence to be elected without interference from outside.
Bradshaw’s landed income, which was substantial, came mostly from the estates of his wife, Elizabeth, one of the four daughters and coheirs of Sir Ralph Meynell, and niece of Sir William Meynell*. From her father she inherited holdings in Langley Meynell, Yeldersley and Allenton, Derbyshire, Kingsley in Staffordshire, and Sagebury in Worcestershire, which, by a fine levied in the Michaelmas term of 1405, Nicholas Bradshaw, her principal trustee, settled upon her and Roger jointly for life. One year later, however, her widowed sister, Joan, sued her and her two other sisters (each of whom had by then married sons of Sir William Dethick*) on the ground that they had refused to make a full partition of the Meynell properties. The action may, perhaps, have been collusive, as the case was soon abandoned.5 Elizabeth was the widow of William Crawshawe, and it seems likely that the Derbyshire manor of Wingerworth, together with messuages in Chesterfield and Derby (which she held in the winter of 1406), were dower properties originally settled upon her by him. In 1412 Bradshaw’s annual revenues from this county alone were assessed at 40 marks, most — if not all — of which must have come to him through marriage.6 Although they did not compare in size with his wife’s, Bradshaw’s own estates were not inconsiderable. The land in Stafford given to him and his brother by Edmund, earl of Stafford, in 1399 probably formed part of the property and rents worth £13 a year which passed to him on Nicholas’s death in 1417 and which reverted to the Staffords when he himself died. Over the years, Bradshaw appears to have acquired other holdings in the borough of Stafford, although since he and Nicholas often acted as feoffees-to-uses, some doubt must remain as to the extent of his purchases. It was perhaps from his brother that Roger inherited the manor of Milwich in Staffordshire, which was in his hands by 1417 (when he settled it in trust upon Sir Thomas Gresley*), and which became his home in later life. His other possessions in the county were confined to Rushton, where he farmed on a small scale.7
There can be little doubt that Bradshaw’s appointment as chamberlain to Edmund, earl of Stafford, in, or before, 1400, was made on his brother’s recommendation, since the latter had supervised the administration of the Stafford estates for the previous ten years at least. Roger was responsible not only for the smooth running of the earl’s household, but also for the disbursement of large sums of money, which, in 1401, for example, came to almost £600. He evidently fought beside Earl Edmund at the battle of Shrewsbury in July 1403, since the earl of Douglas, who was taken prisoner during the battle, spent the next 27 days in his custody. He had, however, to wait almost two years before the expenses of £30 which he sustained at this time were finally assigned to him from the Exchequer. His employer’s death on the field seems to have brought his formal association with the house of Stafford to an end, although in October 1410 he was party to an indenture by which his brother was allowed to recover a debt of £1,197 due to him as receiver-general of the family’s estates. Roger himself died owing £100 to Humphrey, earl of Stafford, who may perhaps have employed him at some time or another.8
Meanwhile, in March 1401, Bradshaw joined with the mercer, Richard Whittington*, to stand bail of 100 marks for one Richard Greneway, who was then a prisoner in the Tower. His relationship with his brother, Nicholas, grew even closer during this period: in February 1402 they and others obtained a royal licence to settle land on Stone priory, and two years later they were both active as feoffees-to-uses of John Delves’s† property at Doddington in Cheshire.9 By Michaelmas 1406, the MP had been made collector of rents due from part of Nicholas’s Staffordshire estates, and was also appointed keeper of his household. Together with Roger’s wife, Elizabeth, the two men were admitted to the influential guild of the Holy Trinity at Coventry, but the date of their entry remains unknown. As Nicholas died intestate, the task of administering his estate fell upon his brother, who, during the Hilary term of 1418, began various suits for the recovery of debts owed to his late kinsman.10
Bradshaw was present at the Derbyshire elections to the Parliaments of April 1414 and 1419. He retired from public life in 1422, after serving on a royal commission of inquiry, and is said to have died in 1431. He was certainly dead well before October of that year, when one of his executors obtained a royal pardon for outlawry incurred through his failure to appear in court and defend an action for debt. The manor of Milwich descended to a William Bradshaw, who was almost certainly our Member’s son.11
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Bradechaw, Bradschawe, Bradshagh.
- 1. CP25(1)39/42/13; Staffs. RO, D1721/1/8 f. 459; D641/1/2/54 m. 2d, 55 m. 2; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 77; CIPM, xvi. nos. 715-16; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 224; xvi. 55; n.s. xii. 160-3.
- 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 380, 620.
- 3. Staffs. RO, D641/1/6 m. 9; C. Rawcliffe, Staffords, 195.
- 4. CPR, 1396-9, p. 478; CCR, 1396-9, p. 368; Feudal Aids, vi. 413; DL 29/402/6451, 738/12100.
- 5. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 224; xvi. 55; CIPM, xvi. nos. 715-16; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 77.
- 6. CP25(1)39/42/13; Feudal Aids, vi. 413.
- 7. Staffs. RO, D1721/1/8 ff. 455-6, 458-9; D641/1/2/54 m. 2d; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xv. 56; n.s. xii. 161-3.
- 8. Staffs. RO, D1721/1/1 ff. 93-95; D641/1/2/6 m. 9; Issues ed. Devon, 301; E404/20/206; CCR, 1429-36, p. 159.
- 9. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 262; CPR, 1401-5, p. 47; DKR, xxxvi. 51, 144.
- 10. Staffs. RO, D641/1/2/47; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 61-62; Reg. Holy Trinity Guild Coventry (Dugdale Soc. xiii), 52, 68.
- 11. CPR, 1416-22, p. 423; 1429-36, p. 159; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. xii. 161-3. One of the Stafford family cartularies contains a rough note on Bradshaw and his descendants in a 16th century hand. This gives the MP’s death date as 1431/2, and describes him as the father of William Bradshaw and the grandfather of Elizabeth Reynold of Bradley, Staffs. (Staffs. RO, D1721/1/8 f. 459).