COMPTON, William, of Hawton, Notts.
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Family and Education
Commr. of array, Notts. Apr. 1418.
The parentage and background of this MP are now obscure, although we know that the estates which he owned in Hawton had previously belonged to one Robert Compton, who may perhaps have been his father. His property in Nottinghamshire was valued at £20 p.a. for taxation purposes in 1412, so he clearly ranked among the upper reaches of the local gentry. He is first mentioned in May 1409, when a royal pardon was accorded to him, somewhat inauspiciously, for ‘all treasons, insurrections, rebellions, felonies, misprisons, offences, impeachments and trespasses’ committed by him before the previous January. A similar document was obtained at this time by Alice Hayward, the wife of Thomas Compton, so it seems possible that she was both his kinswoman by marriage and his partner in crime. Both pardons were confirmed by royal letters patent in May 1411 because of a technicality regarding the date on which the originals were sealed. Compton attended the Nottinghamshire elections to the Parliaments of 1411, 1413 (May) and 1414 (Nov.), and was therefore a familiar enough figure in the county community when he himself was returned to the House of Commons in 1416. He had, moreover, a powerful associate in Robert, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, whose younger son’s Lincolnshire estates he and Sir Hugh Hussey* then held in trust. Another of his friends was Simon Leek*, for whom he acted as a witness in February 1417, but on the whole he avoided involvement in the affairs of his neighbours, and was reluctant to play more than a token part (as a commissioner of array in 1418) in the business of local government. He was, however, again present at the parliamentary elections of 1419 and 1421 (May); and in December 1419 his name appeared on the list of Northamptonshire gentry considered able to defend the realm against invasion by the French. From then on he lived in virtual retirement, and is last mentioned in 1428.1
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Feudal Aids, iv. 132; CPR, 1408-13, p. 286; C219/10/6, 11/2, 5, 12/3, 5; E28/97/23; E179/159/48; CCR, 1419-22, p. 56.