CARLISLE, Robert I (d.c.1425), of Carlisle, Cumb.
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Family and Education
Collector of customs, Cumb. 19 Nov. 1392-16 Mar. 1401; controller, Carlisle and Cumb. 16 Mar. 1401-c.1405.
Commr. of oyer and terminer, Cumb. Nov. 1392 (evasion of customs); inquiry Sept. 1393, Aug. 1394 (claim of Maud, Baroness Lucy, to the lordship of Cockermouth), Feb. 1397 (smuggling into Scotland), July 1397 (illicit fishing in the river Eden), May 1415 (mines at Alston);1 to prevent the spread of treasonous rumours May 1402; of array Sept. 1403.
Mayor, Carlisle c. Oct. 1399-1401, 1402-3, 1406-7, 1409-10, 1414-15, 1418-20, 1422-3, 1424-5.2
J.p. Cumb. 18 Dec. 1405-d.
Bailiff of Bp. Whelpdale’s liberty of Dalston, Cumb. by 29 Oct. 1421.3
By far the most influential figure to represent Carlisle during our period, Robert pursued a busy administrative career not only in the city itself (where he served no less than ten terms as mayor), but also in the county of Cumberland. His appointments as a royal commissioner, customs officer and j.p. were, however, made some time after he last sat in Parliament, and little is known about him during the early years of his career when he was prepared to make the arduous journey to Westminster. In August 1387, by which time he had already attended three Parliaments, Robert was named as a juror at an inquiry held in Carlisle into proposals for the endowment of the cathedral. He served on another jury in 1394, this time to examine a petition by the earl of Northumberland and his wife, Maud, Baroness Lucy, for permission to set up a chapel in Cockermouth castle. Interestingly enough, he also sat on a royal commission of inquiry into the baroness’s claims to the lordship of Cockermouth during this period, which saw his increasing involvement in administrative affairs. The royal pardon accorded to Robert in June 1398 was probably a formality, although he was no doubt anxious to obtain protection in his capacity as a collector of customs in Cumberland. Moreover, from this date onwards, he was involved in a long and costly lawsuit with the prior of Carlisle, who arraigned him on an assize of novel disseisin in August 1398, and continued with his suit for another eight years at least. He was accused of retaining rents worth 20s. p.a. in Carlisle, and after protracted delays and evasions he was ordered, in 1404, to pay arrears of £10 to the prior. John More I* and William Stapleton* offered substantial sureties on his behalf, but he apparently failed to appear in court, as the same verdict was repeated two years later. By then Robert was himself a member of the county bench, so the affair clearly did him little harm.4
The years 1399 to 1425 were undoubtedly the busiest of Robert’s life, since besides his official commitments as mayor he was frequently in demand as a witness to conveyances of property in and around Carlisle. He himself owned at least one tenement in the city (in Abbey Street), and was probably a landowner on quite an impressive scale. His circle of friends reflected his position, including as it did Richard Skelton, sometime sheriff of Cumberland, for whom he offered sureties at the Exchequer, in 1420, when he became farmer of certain crown property in the north-west. But by far the most important of his connexions appears to have been Bishop Whelpdale of Carlisle, who made him bailiff of his liberty of Dalston in, or before, 1421.5 As might be expected, Robert put in a regular attendance at the parliamentary elections held in Carlisle, and is known to have attested the returns for the city at least 11 times between the spring of 1413 and 1425. On five of these occasions Robert Carlisle II was chosen as one of the representatives for Carlisle, and although his precise relationship with our Member is not known, they were clearly kinsmen, and may even have been father and son. Robert I probably died in about 1425, as no further references to him (as Robert Carlisle the elder) survive after this date.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CIMisc. vii. no. 519.
- 2. A. Caiger, ‘Pre-1835 Recs. Carlisle’ (London Univ. Dip. in Arch. Admin. 1964, rev. 1980), p. xiii; Cumbria RO, E. Mus. 137; CAD, iii. C3468; C219/11/4, 12/3, 13/1, 2.
- 3. Queen’s Coll. Oxf. God’s House deed 1670.
- 4. C67/30 m. 8; C143/406/11, 425/7; C260/120/26; JUST 1/1509 rot. 14, 1517 rot. 61.
- 5. Caiger, pp. 113-15; CAD, iii. no. C3468; God’s House deed 1670; E. Mus. 137; CFR, xiv. 340.
- 6. C219/11/1, 4, 8, 12/2-6, 13/1, 2/3.