CUDDINGTON, Ralph (d.1421), of Cuddington, Surr.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Tax collector, Surr. Dec. 1384; controller Mar. 1404.
Commr. of array, Surr. Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399; inquiry, Hants, Surr., Suss. Dec. 1399 (goods held by Richard II in the castle and lordship of Portchester), Mar. 1400 (concealments), Surr. June 1400 (dispute over the manor of Woking).2
Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 23 Jan.-24 Nov. 1400.
It was in 1203 that King John granted the manor of Cuddington to William St. Michael, whose descendants changed their name to that of the family seat. Sir Simon Cuddington, Ralph’s father, was an extremely influential local figure. He served two terms as sheriff and one as escheator of Surrey and Sussex, sat on many royal commissions and represented Surrey in at least 11 Parliaments.3 Ralph was Sir Simon’s second son by his first wife, Katherine, and as such was granted the reversion of land in Ewell, Surrey, on his father’s remarriage in, or before, March 1371. The eldest son, William, who was heir to the manor of Sutton, appears to have predeceased his father, so that when Sir Simon died Ralph acquired a title to this property as well. Both holdings were occupied by his stepmother, Idonea, until her own death at some point after 1395, by which time she had made two further marriages, first to Richard Fitzgriffin (with whom she administered Sir Simon’s estate), and second to John Trevarthian. The manor of Sutton (then known as ‘Halle’) was in Ralph Cuddington’s hands by 1407, when a distraint of 2s.6d. was ordered on his goods because he had failed to pay a relief on the property. Idonea also received tenements in London worth 11 marks p.a. as part of her dower, and these eventually reverted to him too, at a now unspecified date.4 Less serious delays occurred over the manor of Cuddington, which was confirmed to Ralph and his wife by his feoffees (including Thomas Kynnersley*) in June 1377, some three years after his father’s death. The MP added piecemeal to these estates, acquiring farmland in Cuddington and Cheam from a local couple in 1395, and purchasing property in Kingston-upon-Thames, Long Ditton and Chessington in 1408. Not all his transactions were sanctioned by the law: in 1397, for example, either Nicholas Wilcombe* or his eldest son and namesake charged him and his kinsman, Laurence Cuddington, with seizing their Sussex manor of Wappingthorn `forti manu', and of stubbornly refusing to relinquish it. Cuddington’s Surrey estates were said to produce £40 a year in 1412 — an income which probably remained fairly steady until his death, nine years later.5
Not much evidence has survived about Cuddington’s career during the years immediately after he succeeded his father. He obtained a royal pardon in February 1382, but there is no reason to suppose that this was any more than a formality. He was returned to Parliament for the first time in 1391, having gained some experience of local government as a tax collector, and in February 1393 he was distrained for failing to accept the knighthood for which he was qualified as a landowner. The MP’s association with Laurence Cuddington (who lived in the same part of Surrey and may well have been his stepbrother) continued after their eventual eviction from the manor of Wappingthorn. In 1402 they shared the farm of the Sussex estates confiscated from Thomas, duke of Norfolk; and four years later they entered joint obligations in £33 payable to John Clitheroe, the future bishop of Bangor.6 Cuddington’s appointment as sheriff of Surrey and Sussex in January 1400, together with his inclusion on the commission of inquiry set up to list Richard II’s possessions at Portchester castle, suggests that he had fairly strong Lancastrian sympathies, and this no doubt explains why some of Norfolk’s estates were granted to him. He none the less seems to have retired from public affairs after sitting in his fourth and last Parliament, and henceforward he lived quietly at home, only occasionally concerning himself with the activities of friends and neighbours. In September 1408 he stood surety for John Bentley* in Chancery, and in August 1418 he made one of his apparently rare appearances as a feoffee-to-uses, being involved in the conveyance of certain estates around Ockley in Surrey. It must have been towards the end of his life that he gave evidence in a dispute between Nicholas Carew* and other feoffees of the earl of Arundel, but we do not know when he himself became involved in a quarrel with Merton college, Oxford, over grazing rights in the Surrey village of Malden. Both parties eventually accepted a settlement guaranteed by mutual securities of £100, which were renewed by Cuddington’s sons when they entered their inheritance.7
Cuddington died in the autumn of 1421, possibly after a long period of ill health, and was buried at the church of St. Mary, Cuddington. His wife, Alice (or Amy) and his friend, Nicholas Carew, acted as his executors, together with his eldest son, Simon. The latter died within the next seven years and was succeeded by his younger brother, Thomas, who also inherited property in the Sussex village of Shipley from his sister, Agnes.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Cotyngton, Cudynton, Godyngton. What relation, if any, Simon Cuddington (d. 1407), citizen and harness-maker of London (Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/2, f. 101v), and Henry Cuddington, master in Chancery (to 1380), were to our MP remains a matter of conjecture. Henry Cuddington, who became prebendary of Southwell minster, dined with Bishop Wykeham at Winchester in June 1393 together with ‘his brother’, but the latter’s name is not given (Winchester Coll. muns. Bp. Wykeham’s household roll).
- 1. VCH Surr. iii. 267; CCR, 1369-74, p. 598; 1374-7, p. 549; 1377-81, p. 129; 1429-35, p. 247; Reg. Chichele, ii. 229; Reg. Wykeham (Hants. Rec. Soc.) 1896-9), ii. 214.
- 2. The commissions of Dec. 1399 and Mar. 1400 did not reach Cuddington (CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 517, 555).
- 3. VCH Surr. iii. 267; PRO List ‘Escheators’, 163; ‘Sheriffs’, 136.
- 4. O. Manning and W. Bray, Surr. iii. 482, 599; CCR, 1369-74, p. 598; 1377-81, p. 129; Reg. Wykeham, ii. 214; CPR, 1388-92, p. 11; Arch. Jnl. xliv. 65.
- 5. CP25(1) 231/67/61; CAD, i. B1170; CCR, 1374-7, p. 549; Feudal Aids, vi. 517; Suss. Arch. Colls. liv. 40-41; VCH Surr. iii. 267.
- 6. C67/29 m. 13; E401/589; CCR, 1405-9, p. 90; CAD, i. B1164, 1171.
- 7. CCR, 1405-9, pp. 408-9; 1429-35, pp. 53-54; Add. Ch. 18702; Sel. Cases in Chancery (Selden Soc. x), 122.
- 8. Reg. Chichele, ii. 229; CCR, 1422-9, p. 389; 1429-35, p. 247; CAD, i. B1165-6.