HUNT (HONTE), Ranulph (d.c.1407), of Tavistock, Devon.

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
Feb. 1388

Family and Education

s. of John Hunt of Tavistock by Christine, da. of Walter Coula of Tavistock. m. Idonea.1

Offices Held

Forester of east Dartmoor Mich. 1374-5, 1376-7, 1386-9, north Dartmoor 1375-6.2

Commr. of arrest, Plymouth Oct. 1396.


Hunt’s father had been portreeve of Tavistock in 1345-6, and he himself, although never in an official capacity, witnessed deeds in the town between 1379 and 1407.3 In the 1370s he was listed among the tinners of the local stannary, and evidently found tin mining a profitable occupation. He served for several years in the administration of the duchy of Cornwall as a forester of Dartmoor, and in 1377 joined his three fellow foresters in petitioning Richard II for exoneration from fines for trespass imposed on them by Hugh Courtenay, earl of Devon. He was probably a forester for much longer than the surviving records reveal: certainly many years later, in 1439, when Robert Sanford was granted the office of forester in ‘le north baylly’ the patent stated that he was to hold it in the same way as Hunt had done. In October 1380 a commission of oyer and terminer was set up on the petition of Thomas Creedy, a serjeant-at-arms, that Hunt, along with John Pasford* and others, had broken his arrest on the highway at Chagford, wounded him, carried away his possessions, assaulted his bailiff and held him captive until he paid them £2. And it was in connexion with another breach of the peace that Hunt appeared in Chancery in April 1385, on this occasion acting as surety for the abbot of Tavistock, who with a number of his servants had manhandled and evicted the vicar of Tavistock parish church. At the elections to the first Parliament of 1397 Hunt provided securities for William Whitham, one of the Tavistock representatives.4

Hunt acquired a considerable amount of property in Tavistock and land on the nearby manor of Hurdwick, including a house near ‘la Fyschlake’, two parks in Whitham and a third in ‘Traynchardeslond’. For ‘Twing’s Park’ in Whitham he paid the abbot of Tavistock only a quit rent of one red rose every Midsummer, while the abbot and convent paid him 16d. a year for his garden, ‘Hontehay’, which they held on a 100-year lease.5 In the summer of 1407 he made various settlements of his property, perhaps in preparation for his death, which occurred before 1409. He granted to Thomas Wabell in perpetuity an annual rent of 6s.8d. from the ‘Smythehous’, to the abbey a garden and a fulling mill, and to the wardens of the light in the parish church a garden by the ‘millebroke’. He enfeoffed the vicar of Tavistock and William May*, his kinsman, of all his remaining properties in Tavistock and in the hundred of Roborough.6 At his death he left chattels worth about 100 marks. He was most likely buried in Tavistock parish church, where obits for himself, his parents and his wife were kept up for several years.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Devon RO, Bedford ms D2/98; Tavistock Parish Recs. ed. Worth, 8.
  • 2. SC6/812/14, 18, 818/12, 819/1, 827/13.
  • 3. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxix. 149; Tavistock Parish Recs. 71-72; Bedford mss B117/3, 6, D2/78.
  • 4. E179/95/31, 32; E101/263/20, 264/3; SC8/107/5311; CPR, 1377-81, p. 570; 1436-41, p. 319; CCR, 1381-5, p. 622; Reg. Brantingham ed. Hingeston-Randolph, i. 565; C219/9/12.
  • 5. Bedford mss D2/90, 99, D84/22, S21 f. 95.
  • 6. Ibid. D2/91, 92, 100, 210, B117/7, 482A/PF35.
  • 7. Bedford ms Add. 4/3; C1/6/92; Tavistock Parish Recs. 8.