LEE, Thomas I, of South Bache in Diddlebury, Salop.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
s. of John Lee. m. ?Sibyl, 1s.
J.p. Salop 26 May 1380-June 1384, 2 Dec. 1385-July 1389, 18 June 1394-July 1397, 12 Nov. 1397-Feb. 1408.
Commr. to put down rebellion, Salop Mar., Dec. 1382; of gaol delivery, Bridgnorth Dec. 1385, Shrewsbury Aug. 1391; oyer and terminer, Salop Feb. 1387, Feb. 1389, Mar. 1404; inquiry Oct. 1389 (oppression), Salop, Staffs. Mar. 1395 (false weights), co. Chester July 1395 (concealments), Salop Oct. 1398 (murder), Nov. 1400 (illegal enfooffments of the Strange estates), Sept. 1401 (treasons and insurrections), May 1407 (heresy); to deliver Mold castle, Wales, to the countess of Salisbury Aug. 1391; make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well, Salop May 1402.
Dep. justiciar of Chester 12 Feb. 1389-c.1390.1
Sheriff, Salop 11 Nov. 1394-9 Nov. 1395.
Tax collector, Salop Mar. 1404.
Despite his active career on judicial commissions in the service of the Crown, and his ability as a lawyer (evidenced by his frequent involvement in conveyances of land), Lee remains an obscure figure. He may have been the man who in 1366 obtained an episcopal licence to have an oratory at Leigh in Shropshire. More certainly he may be identified with the Thomas Lee who lived at South Bache in the same county (although not to be confused with a second namesake of South Bache who died shortly before 1382), and with him who, as son of John Lee, was closely associated with Thomas Skinner* of Shrewsbury, notably as co-tenant of property in Skinner’s home town which had once belonged to Reynold Perle†. In 1400 he leased the demesne of ‘Leebotwood’ in Condover from Haughmond abbey. There can be little doubt that Thomas was related to William Lee I*, another lawyer, with whom he was frequently associated in business transactions.2
Lee’s career began in 1366 when he was engaged by Sir Robert Corbet† of Moreton Corbet to assist in the entail of his estates on his sons, Fulk and (Sir) Roger*. He subsequently acted as surety for the former at the Exchequer, and retained this connexion even after Fulk’s death in 1382 by appearing as an attorney for his daughter and heir, Elizabeth Mawddwy, in the suits she brought in Chancery against her uncle Roger and her aunt Joan, wife of John Darras* Elizabeth’s husband, John Mawddwy, lord of Dinas Mawddwy, appointed Lee as a feoffee of his Welsh lordship.3 Lee was chosen one of the proxies for the abbot of Shrewsbury in the Parliaments of 1381, 1382 (Feb.), 1383 (Oct.) and 1386, in the meantime sitting in the House of Commons as a knight of the shire in 1385. He was often asked to be a mainpernor in the Exchequer and Chancery, and to witness local deeds; while among those for whom he acted as a trustee were Hugh, Lord Burnell (with regard to the manor of Ashby-de-la-Zouche in Leicestershire and two manors in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, which had all once belonged to Sir Hugh Zouche, whose heir was Burnell’s wife), and Ankaret, Lady Talbot (of her lordships of Whitchurch, Blackmere and Dodington). In these transactions he was usually associated with Thomas Skinner and William Lee and, like the latter, he was called upon by the burgesses of Shrewsbury in 1400-1 to give them legal advice (for a fee of 20s.).4
Lee’s public service was impressive: he served as a j.p. in Shropshire for over 20 of the years between 1380 and 1408, in later times as one of the quorum; and besides his many other commissions he was appointed deputy justiciar of Chester in 1389, officiating in that capacity at least until after his second Parliament in the following year, and receiving from the justiciar, Thomas, duke of Gloucester, a fee of 40 marks. Lee also discharged a term as sheriff (1394-5) during which he held the Shropshire parliamentary elections. There was no break in his employment by the Crown at Henry IV’s accession, and, indeed, he was one of those who, sitting on a commission to investigate treasons, first heard indictments against Owen Glendower, which led to the latter’s proclamation as a traitor in the Parliament of 1402.5
Lee probably died late in 1407 when he abruptly vanishes from the records. An old associate, Thomas Skinner, remembered his son in his will in 1411.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. DKR, xxxi. 216.
- 2. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), ix. 241-2; xii. 327; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 141; CCR, 1385-9, p. 104; 1392-6, p. 508; Reg. Stretton (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. ser. 2, viii), 31; CP25(1)195/17/58; VCH Salop, viii. 102.
- 3. CP25(1)195/17/9, 39; CPR, 1370-4, p. 2; CIPM, xv. 474; CFR, ix. 85; CCR, 1381-5, p. 20; 1389-92, p. 256; Powysland Club Colls. i. 89.
- 4. SC10/34/1674, 35/1702, 1716, 36/1784; CCR, 1381-5, p. 559; 1392-6, p. 374; 1399-1402, p. 144; 1402-5, p. 71; 1405-9, pp. 244-5; CPR, 1401-5, p. 170; CFR, ix. 349; E326/8383; Shrewsbury Guildhall, bailiffs’ accts. box VIII, 353; Huntington Lib. San Marino, Hastings mss, HAD 207/3428-30; HMC Hastings, i. 281.
- 5. DKR, xxxvi. 285; C219/9/11; RP, iv. 377; Salop Peace Roll ed. Kimball, 25.
- 6. PCC 34 Marche.