FITZWARYN, Sir Ivo (1347-1414), of Caundle Haddon, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Feb. 1383
Sept. 1397

Family and Education

b. and bap. Blunsdon St. Andrew, Wilts., 30 Nov. 1347, s. and h. of Sir William Fitzwaryn KG, of Whittington, Salop, by Amy, da. and h. of Sir Henry Haddon of Caundle Haddon and ‘Ilebrewers’, Som. m. by licence dated 20 Jan. 1372, Maud (b.c.1353), da. and coh. of Sir John Argentine of Halesworth, Suff. and Steeple Bumpstead, Essex, and wid. of Sir Richard Merton of Chipping Torrington, Devon, 2da. (1 d.v.p.) Kntd. by 1371.1

Offices Held

Commr. to make proclamation against unlawful assemblies, Som., Dorset June 1381; of inquiry, Wilts. Aug. 1381 (thefts at Mere), Dorset Nov. 1386 (concealments), Feb. 1394 (Hamond estates), Glos., Berks. (Fitzwaryn estates), Som. Feb. 1400 (insurrections), Nov. 1400 (assaults), Wilts. July 1401 (wastes at Mere and concealment of possessions of rebels);2 arrest, Hants Aug. 1382, Som. Dec. 1385, July 1387; array, Dorset Apr. 1385, Som., Dorset Sept. 1386,3 Dorset Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, July 1402; sewers, Som. June 1387; to determine an appeal from the ct. of admiralty, June 1391; of weirs, Som. June 1398; oyer and terminer Apr. 1401; to raise royal loans, Dorset Sept. 1405.

Keeper of Mere castle, Wilts. 26 Aug. 1381-c. Mar. 1386, of Whittington castle, Salop 12 Feb. 1394-c.1407.

J.p. Wilts. 4 July 1391-4, Som. 6 Feb. 1405-7, Dorset 22 Feb. 1405-7.

Gov. Southampton 30 Jan. 1400-c.1401.

Ambassador to France 1400.


Fitzwaryn’s father, probably a younger son of Fulk, Lord Fitzwaryn, who died in 1349, was a member of an important family whose estates centred on Whittington (Shropshire) and Wantage (Berkshire). The head of the family had been summoned to Parliament as a baron since 1295, and Sir William Fitzwaryn was himself called to the great council of 1342. He and his son remained close to the main line, and their arms were those of Fitzwaryn of Whittington with a difference. Sir William died of the pestilence in 1361, having through marriage added lands in Somerset and Dorset to his own not insubstantial inheritance. For his services to Edward III in the 1330s he had been granted the town of Wilton, an annual rent of £2 from Barford (Wiltshire) and the farm of the manor of Powerstock in Dorset, to hold in tail-male, so these too formed part of Ivo’s patrimony. Ivo, a minor at his father’s death, was at first one of Queen Philippa’s wards, but in 1362 she granted custody of his estates to others, for 1,100 marks. He proved his age before the sheriff of Wiltshire at Salisbury in February 1369 and took possession of lands and rents at Wantage, the town of Wilton and other properties in Wiltshire, the manors of ‘Ilebrewers’, Pitney and Wearne in Somerset, and Winterbourne Houghton, Up Cerne, Caundle Haddon and other properties in Dorset, his inheritance from the combined estates of his parents. Through his wife Fitzwaryn acquired the manor of Newton Ferrers in Devon, her dower from her former husband, and also laid claim to the extensive Argentine estates which had belonged to her father. He was able to secure part of the Argentine property in Surrey, Essex and Cambridgeshire after a formal partition between his wife and her sisters or their heirs, but then met with opposition from William Argentine* (her illegitimate brother) whose seizure in 1383 of the title deeds from the prior of Wymondley near Newmarket not only disrupted the obsequies of Fitzwaryn’s father-in-law, Sir John Argentine, but also weakened his claim to other parts of the estate. Even so, despite his failure to prove his wife’s title to property in Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Suffolk, Fitzwaryn was a prominent landowner, and his subsequent military and public career marks him out as a man of importance in both local and national affairs.4 Fitzwaryn’s parliamentary service for three different counties is only a partial reflection of the widespread nature of his landholdings. In 1412 his estates in Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Surrey alone were said to be worth over £163 p.a., and this was by no means a complete survey, for at his death he was holding properties in six more counties as well, including those at Steeple Bumpstead (Essex), Clopton (Cambridgeshire), and the advowson of Sutcombe (Devon). Furthermore, his daughter Eleanor’s inheritance from him included moieties of manors in Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire and the reversion of a manor in Northamptonshire.5

Between his coming of age and his first appointment to a royal commission in 1381 Fitzwaryn’s career was not uneventful. A licence for one of that name to go to Prussia with an esquire, six yeomen, six horses and the sum of £100 in November 1367 may refer to him or to another Ivo Fitzwaryn, an older member of the family (probably his uncle) who had seen service in France with our MP’s father in the Crécy campaign. A journey to Prussia by a young man of 20 is not unlikely, and although his namesake was a knight the licence makes no use of the title. Ivo himself was knighted not long afterwards, certainly before 1371, when he served at sea with Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford. From June 1373 until April 1374 he was abroad in the company of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, in the forces led by John of Gaunt. Then, on 8 Oct. 1377 he took out royal letters of protection as about to put to sea in the retinue of John, Lord Arundel, the marshal of England; and early in 1381 he was in Brittany, a member of the army commanded by Thomas of Woodstock. While he was absent on the last occasion the justices were ordered to suspend any assizes pending against him. This may have been in connexion with an assault he and others had made at Limington (Somerset) in March 1377 on one John Umfray, clerk (afterwards parson of Marnhull, Dorset), an affair which was to have repercussions right up to 1388. The assault was connected with a dispute with Bishop Erghum of Salisbury, from whom Fitzwaryn held land at Caundle Marsh and elsewhere in Dorset. The precise cause of the quarrel is not known, though Sir Ivo’s claim that Umfray was his ‘nief’ (bondman) was one of the issues involved; it had resulted in him and 20 confederates including several people from Caundle being excommunicated by the bishop for ‘manifest offences’ and, remaining obdurate for 40 days, they had been certified as such to Chancery on 1 Apr. following. Fitzwaryn thereupon appealed to Rome and Canterbury, and his excommunication was suspended while the case was being heard. Ten years later, in November 1387, Sir Matthew Gournay, Sir Bernard Brocas* and others went surety in the huge sum of £4,000 for his future good behaviour towards the bishop, and similar sureties were provided for Erghum. A recognizance of 500 marks by Gournay and others and Fitzwaryn’s own undertaking not to harm Umfray followed a few months later.6

As much because of his landed status as on account of his military service, in 1381, after his return from Brittany, Fitzwaryn had been appointed keeper of the castle of Mere on the Wiltshire and Dorset border, the appointment being for life and rent free. Two days before assuming office he had been commissioned to inquire ‘touching the carrying away of timber, stone, lead and iron’ from Mere. The castle does not seem to have been one of great strategic importance or material strength, though possibly of use as a base against any further peasant uprisings, and Fitzwaryn gave up the post before the spring of 1386. He may have done so because of military commitments elsewhere: on 17 June 1385 he had been paid £22 at the Exchequer for the wages of himself, six men-at-arms and six archers retained to go in Richard he was a knight of the royal chamber, and later, from September 1394 to April 1395, he served the King in Ireland with a small company of three esquires and four archers, receiving £74 11s. from the Wardrobe for their wages. The award to him, earlier in 1394, of the keepership of the manor and castle of Whittington must have come about largely as the result of family connexions and, designed to last only during the minority of Sir Ivo’s kinsman, Fulk Fitzwaryn, to whom the castle belonged, must have ended, therefore, at Fulk’s death in 1407. In June 1395 Sir Ivo was allowed £40 out of the annual rent of £60 due from Whittington ‘because he was retained for life to stay with the King’ and in order that he might pay for repairs to the stronghold. This concession was renewed by Henry IV in November 1399. On 19 Mar. 1404 Fitzwaryn and all the men of the lordship of Whittington received royal protection so long as they remained loyal, a provision made necessary because the King’s men had looted there during Glendower’s revolt. Less than a month later he was made quit of the remaining £20 rent due from Whittington ‘in consideration of the wasting ... by the rebels, so that he can receive no profit from it, and his great expenses on the safe custody of the castle’. Such was the lot of even a loyal marcher landowner.7

Fitzwaryn had shown his support for Richard II as late as 1395, most notably in the military sphere. But there is nothing to indicate his continued allegiance right up to the crisis of 1399. Indeed, on 3 May 1398, he took the precaution of obtaining a general pardon for any crimes he might have committed before 31 Jan. (the last day of the Parliament at Shrewsbury, of which he had been a Member); and it was not long after this that he was associated with Henry of Bolingbroke as co-feoffee of certain estates within the liberty of Tyndale, held to the benefit of Henry’s retainer, Sir Hugh Waterton. Fitzwaryn was unquestionably useful to Bolingbroke, who brought him from local to national importance. At his coronation the Argentine dispute was renewed, Fitzwaryn claiming, unsuccessfully however, to act as chief cupbearer in right of his wife, but this set-back had little effect on his career. In the following January, indeed, he was made governor of Southampton, with instructions to make haste to fortify the town walls in case of invasion from France; and at some unknown date later that year he accompanied the earls of Northumberland and Rutland on one of the new King’s earliest embassies, that to treat with the French at Bourbourg. In July 1400 the King exempted Fitzwaryn from service on his campaign in Scotland on account of illness, and later in the year, on being summoned to attend a meeting of the Council before Christmas, he wrote excusing himself because he was ‘si graundement diseise de tresg(r)aunde maladie et enfermite de corps’ that he was unable to ride. Fitzwaryn expressed his willingness to come to the Council as soon as he was able and to do whatever might be required of him to the honour and profit of the King, and suggested that the Council send any urgent messages back through his esquire. He was well enough, however, to represent Dorset at the great council of August 1401 and to attend two more Parliaments, those of 1406 and 1407.8

A man of such wide estates would naturally have considerable local influence, and this was especially true of Fitzwaryn in Dorset and Somerset, where lay the bulk of his holdings. He frequently acted in positions of trust as feoffee, surety or witness for the more substantial of his neighbours. In particular he had strong ties with the war-veteran, Sir Matthew Gournay: the two men often acted as surety for each other and were involved together in transactions over land as well as in more obscure affairs as when, for example, in June 1391 they were bound to pay 2,000 marks to the church of St. Martin-le-Grand. In August 1402 Fitzwaryn made arrangements whereby certain of his estates in Somerset and Wiltshire should pass to his daughter, Alice, and her husband, Richard Whittington*, the wealthy London merchant, and the rest of his holdings to his other daughter, Eleanor, at that time the wife of John Chideock* of Chideock, and later wife of Ralph Bush*. By now it must have been clear that he would produce no male children; and in April 1403 Henry IV granted to his own son John (later duke of Bedford) the reversion after Fitzwaryn’s death of those estates in Wiltshire and Dorset (at Wilton, Barford and Powerstock) which he held by royal grant in tail-male. Alice Whittington was ill in 1409 and died shortly afterwards, leaving her sister Eleanor Chideock as sole heir to the remainder of their father’s estates.9

Fitzwaryn made his will on 6 Nov. 1412 and died almost two years later on 7 Sept. 1414 at the age of 65. The will, a long document, included over 50 specific bequests and a settlement of lands for the foundation of a chantry in the parish church of Wantage, where his father and other members of the family were buried. A little over £85 was distributed to the churches or clergy on his estates at Caundle Haddon, Up Cerne, Burcombe, Blunsdon, Lydlinch, Caundle Marsh and Winterbourne Houghton and to the two Doset abbeys of Milton and Cerne. His poor tenants on 12 manors each received a small sum amounting in all to £8 13s.4d. To his household servants he left bequests in cash according to status (thus each gentleman received £2, each valet £1 and each ‘garcon’ 6s.8d.), and a further £20 to be shared between them. Fitzwaryn mentioned his sister, Philippa, a nun at Wilton, and his two sons-in-law, Whittington and Chideock, but not his wife, who had died before this date. He made arrangements for his burial at Wantage, where his executors were directed to shun the pomp of this world and avoid great expense in the funeral services, giving instead 4d. each to 200 poor people to pray for his soul. One hundred masses each were asked of the Benedictine monks of Cerne and Milton, and prayers from the friars of Dorchester and Wilton and the master of St. Giles’s hospital at Wilton. Vestments, minutely described, two missals, two psalters and an alabaster tablet showing the Five Joys of the Virgin formed part of his possessions, most of which went to the churches at Wantage and Caundle Haddon, though his ‘great missal’ covered with red and black baudekin was given to Salisbury cathedral. The sum of £2 was left to mend the way between the lordship of Caundle and Lydlinch. Sir Ivo’s household was to remain at Caundle for six months after his death, being supported from the issues of his estates. His executors included Sir Thomas Stawell* and Richard Whittington, and after Whittington’s own death prayers in memory of Fitzwaryn and his wife were long recited in the mercer’s almshouses and college in London. Fitzwaryn’s memorial brass still remains at Wantage, showing a knight in plate armour, which contrasts somewhat strangely with the tone of his will. A turbulent youth, in which he had been excommunicated for disrespect to the diocesan bishop, had seemingly given way to a pious old age.10

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


Variants: Yon, Youn.

  • 1. CIPM, ix. 106; xi. 83; xii. 375; CPR, 1370-4, p. 166; CFR, xiv. 89; Reg. Chichele, ii. 653; C138/9/38; J. Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 150.
  • 2. E143/19/6.
  • 3. C76/71 m. 19.
  • 4. CP, v. 495, 512; CIPM, xi. 83, 92; xii. 375; xiii. 42, 268; xv. 672, 896-905; CCR, 1369-74, p. 135; 1381-5, pp. 361, 378-9; 1385-9, pp. 69-70, 361; CPR, 1334-8, p. 320; 1343-5, pp. 478-9; 1361-4, pp. 105, 142; 1370-4, p. 166; 1377-81, p. 62; 1381-5, pp. 260, 341; CFR, x. 11-12, 29, 103-5, 149.
  • 5. C138/9/38; Reg. Bowet (Som. Rec. Soc. xiii), 76; Reg. Stafford (Exeter) ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 212; Feudal Aids, vi. 430, 507, 517, 534.
  • 6. Crécy and Calais ed. Wrottesley, 207, 210; CPR, 1367-70, p. 57; 1374-7, p. 492; CCR, 1374-7, p. 542; 1377-81, p. 504; 1385-9, pp. 451, 618; Hutchins, iv. 141, 220; C85/147/37; C76/61 m. 22; SC8/93/4607; E101/31/5, 32/39.
  • 7. E403/508 m. 13; E101/402/20, f. 34; CPR, 1381-5, pp. 37, 77; 1388-92, pp. 577, 579; 1399-1401, p. 126; 1401-5, pp. 380-1, 417; CFR, xi. 111; CCR, 1402-5, p. 387; Sel Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), p. xxxv.
  • 8. R. Holinshed, Chrons. (1807-8 edn.), iii. 2; J. de Waurin, Chrons. ed. Hardy, ii. 51; PPC, i. 161; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 94; SC1/43/103; C67/30 m. 23.
  • 9. CPR, 1377-81, p. 442; 1388-92, pp. 157-8; 1401-5, p. 226; 1405-8, p. 468; CCR, 1381-5, p. 578; 1389-92, pp. 353, 539; 1396-9, p. 214; 1413-19, pp. 219-20, 259; CFR, x. 34; xi. 40; CAD, i. C734; vi. C6977; J.H. Wylie, Hen. IV, iii. 65.
  • 10. C138/9/38; Reg. Chichele, ii. 18-22, 32; Mon. Brasses ed. Mill Stephenson, 30.