LOVELL, Robert (aft.1373-1434), of Rampisham, Dorset and Clarendon, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1373, 2nd s. of John, 5th Lord Lovell of Titchmarsh, by Maud, da. and h. of Robert Holand, and gdda. and h. of Robert, 2nd Lord Holand. m. c.1390, Elizabeth (c.1383-3 July 1437), yr. da. and coh. of Sir Guy Bryan by Alice, da. and h. of Robert Bures of Suff., and gdda. and coh. of Guy, Lord Bryan, 1da.1
Clerk of works, Clarendon 24 May 1410-July 1413; lt. of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, at Clarendon by 1419-aft. Feb. 1424.2
Commr. to take musters, Southampton Apr. 1420; of array, Dorset June 1421.
J.p. Dorset 12 Feb. 1422-c. Dec. 1430.
A younger son of Lord Lovell by Baroness Holand, Robert was married while still a minor to one of Lord Bryan’s grand daughters and coheirs. His wife, Elizabeth Bryan, and her elder sister Philippa (widow of Sir John Devereux, Lord Devereux’s heir and from 1399 wife of Henry, Lord Scrope of Masham), were also the heirs of their uncles, Sir Philip† and Sir William Bryan, and their inheritance consisted of extensive estates in Wales, the West Country and Kent: in Wales, the lordships of Laugharne and Walwyns Castle; in Gloucestershire, the manors of Oxenhall and Oakley Grandison; in Devon, the Isle of Lundy and the manors of Torbryan, Slapton, Northam and Dartmouth; in Somerset, eight manors; in Dorset, ten; and in Kent, four. It was not until 1400 that Elizabeth Lovell attained her majority and sued out livery of her share, but in 1406 her sister died childless whereupon the other moiety of the Bryan estates also fell to her and to Lovell, jure uxoris. They allowed Lord Scrope to retain three manors in Somerset (worth £60 a year) for his lifetime. In 1412 Lovell was assessed as holding estates in Devon worth £40 a year, in Dorset worth £43, and in Kent worth £60, but the assessors did not include the Bryan properties in Wales and Gloucestershire, nor the inn in Vintry Ward, London, which were also of considerable value. Elizabeth later inherited from her mother, Alice Bures, four manors in Suffolk and two in Essex, although these were only to pass to her in 1435 after her husband’s death.3
Lovell’s career began in the autumn of 1394 when he sailed for Ireland in the retinue of the chancellor of the province, Alexander, bishop of Meath. He returned to Ireland again in May 1396 (also in the bishop’s company), and for a third time a year later (in the retinue of the lieutenant, Roger, earl of March). He probably stayed there after March’s death in 1398, because, had he been in England, he would doubtless have accompanied his father and elder brother, both of whom crossed with Richard II in the spring of 1399. Lord Lovell had been closely attached to the curialist party, yet was one of the first to join Henry of Bolingbroke at Chester. He was also among the royal councillors approved by Parliament in 1404 and 1406. By the former date Robert had joined the company of Henry of Monmouth, for he was a member of the prince’s retinue in the Welsh marches by July 1404. He took out royal letters of protection for further campaigning in Wales on 18 Mar. 1406 and renewed them that October. Lovell probably owed his attachment to the prince to his kinship with Monmouth’s personal friend, Lord Scrope; indeed, the connexion between him and Scrope was maintained even after the death of his sister-in-law. Scrope became treasurer of the Exchequer in 1410 when power shifted from Archbishop Arundel to the prince and the Beauforts, and it was to the new regime that Lovell owed his appointment as clerk of the works at Clarendon, where he seems to have taken up residence (remaining there as lieutenant of the prince’s brother, Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, until after 1424). Probably his friendship with Scrope accounts for the fact that on 30 July 1410 a meeting of the Council (attended by Prince Henry, Bishop Beaufort and Scrope among others) was held in his inn near Old Fish Street in London. Lovell’s connexions with members of the Council were of some use to him in his dispute over the manor and hundred of Frome, Somerset, with Edmund Liversedge, an increasingly acrimonious affair which had started in about 1407 and went on until late in 1411. In November 1410 the Council ordered Liversedge to leave the property, but it seems that he had the better claim, for after the matter had been taken up in Chancery and in the Exchequer, and in the wake of ‘divers riots, homicides and maimings’ he eventually regained possessions.4
It is clear that Lovell was close to the person of the prince of Wales. On 9 Dec. 1410 payment of £200 was made to the prince at the Exchequer ‘by the hand of Robert Lovell, his esquire’ for the wages of forces engaged in Wales, and on 4 Apr. 1411 he received £300 in the same way. He was also connected with the prince’s kinsman, Thomas Beaufort, the chancellor and admiral of England, to whom later that spring he delivered £133 6s.8d.for wages of his retinue on a voyage. More details of his proximity to Henry of Monmouth are provided by a petition presented to Parliament in 1427 but relating to the same period of Henry’s ascendancy and the first two years of his reign. In this petition Lovell said that on Prince Henry’s behalf he had been bound in separate recognizances amounting to 1,400 marks to Sir Hugh Waterton, Robert Thorley, treasurer of Calais, and John Norbury*. In the case of Norbury, he had been sent to recover from him a crown given as security for a loan, but Norbury had refused to return it without further collateral, which he had been compelled to supply. He had stood surety for payment of debts owed to other of the prince’s creditors, in sums amounting to a further £1,396. These debts, contracted by Lovell on the prince’s behalf and at his command, included one of 800 marks due to Richard Whittington*, another of £200 to Drew Barantyn*, and a third of 200 marks to Hugh, Lord Burnell. It must be the case that he was then occupying an important position in the prince’s household, and that later when Henry became King, from pressure of financial circumstances, he was unable, or unwilling, to indemnify him. Colour is lent to this conjecture by Lovell’s mention of an ‘account’ between him and Henry. The latter’s accession seems to have brought further discomfiture in the promotion to the office of treasurer of the Household of Master Richard Courtenay, by whose ‘ontrewe ymaginacion and besy labour’ Lovell’s accounts were allegedly embezzled and, so Lovell said, ‘he y put underwarde and y kept there unto the tyme he had be cohercion aliened [my] castel of Werdour’ (Wardour, Wiltshire), and rents of 200 marks a year. The castle and rents were settled upon Robert’s brother, the 6th Lord Lovell, in return for £1,000, which Courtenay promptly appropriated to the King’s use. This enforced ‘sale’ took place in 1413. (It is, however, hard to see what title Robert Lovell had to Wardour and the other properties concerned, for they had belonged to his father and should in the normal course of events have automatically passed to Lord John, in 1408.) Probably to the Parliament of 1414 (Nov.) should be assigned a petition Lovell made to the King complaining that he could not be expected to pay the huge sums he owed to the Crown unless his own debtors (notably John Wyse, captain of Carmarthen castle) honoured their obligations.5
Lovell was apparently not implicated in Lord Scrope’s treason revealed on the eve of Henry V’s first expedition to France, although it may be conjectured that his nearness to the traitor irrevocably coloured his subsequent relations with the King. On 29 Apr. 1415 he had undertaken to provide two men-at-arms and six archers for the campaign, and on 9 Aug., the day before embarkation, he enfeoffed Sir Humphrey Stafford II* of Hooke and others of some of his properties. He stayed with the royal army, fought at Agincourt and returned to England via Dover in November. In 1417, suffering from acute financial embarrassment, no doubt arising from the reverses suffered earlier in the reign, he mortgaged certain of his estates for 1,000 marks (an undertaking quite possibly connected with his earlier ‘sale’ of Wardour). Six years before he had promised to pay £800 to John White, clerk, and Henry London, mercer, but had failed to do so. Now White obtained livery of his manors of Rampisham and Chilfrome (Dorset), Kingsdon and Somerton Erleigh (Somerset) and Slapton and Torbryan and the borough of Dartmouth (Devon), altogether extended at £151 13s.4d. p.a., until the debt should have been paid off. Two years later Lovell was granted a royal pardon of outlawry for failing to appear in the lawcourts to defend himself in suits for debts amounting to some £640; and in 1420 and 1426 he was similarly pardoned again. His debts taken altogether totalled over £1,800. One of the pleas for which Lovell was in exigent was for the sum of 100 marks owed to the duke of Gloucester and for failure to render account as his receiver (probably of the duke’s property at Clarendon). In April 1420 he was appointed to supervise the musters of the duke of Bedford’s army in France, and must have himself accompanied the duke, for a commission to check the roll of his own men was issued at Sens in June. He probably returned to England with the King in February 1421, and in March he was elected to Parliament for Dorset. His fellow Member was Sir Humphrey Stafford, whose son, Sir Richard†, had married his only child, Maud. On 28 May, during the session, Lovell stood surety for William Ryman, one of the knights for Sussex, who was granted wardship of the estates late of John Arundel, Lord Mautravers. The heir, John, de jure earl of Arundel, later married his daughter when she was widowed by Sir Richard Stafford’s death.6
In 1422 Lovell granted the right of presentation to the church at Laugharne at the next vacancy to John Merbury*, chief justice of South Wales, and others. He was again going abroad in July 1423, when troubles with creditors no doubt gave him cause to welcome the safety from prosecution offered by royal letters of protection. In 1426 he entered into recognizances for £200 with Robert, Lord Poynings, and another for £100 with Alice Philip (probably the widow of Thomas Philip, the mercer to whom he had owed twice that amount), undertaking to pay the latter £60 within the next ten years. In the next Parliament (1427) he presented the petition showing how Henry V had been indebted to him to the extent of £2,330. It was sponsored in the House of Lords by the duke of Gloucester himself (which suggests that Lovell was still his lieutenant at Clarendon, and that their earlier differences had been resolved), but even so it is doubtful whether Lovell secured redress.7
Lovell died, an outlaw, on 31 Aug. 1434, and his chattels were confiscated. These, including silver vessels, beds with silk hangings, wine and household utensils from Rampisham, were valued at over £125. His widow made her will on 3 July 1437 and died the same day. The heir to the Bryan and Bures estates was then their grandson, Humphrey, son of the earl of Arundel, but he died a minor whereupon the inheritance passed to their grand daughter Avice (daughter of Maud Lovell by her first husband, Sir Richard Stafford). Avice married Sir James Butler, the eldest son of the earl of Ormond, who was created earl of Wiltshire in 1449. Lovell may have been buried either in the chapel of St. Helen at Chilfrome, where prayers were afterwards said for his soul, or, like his widow, in the Bryan chantry at Slapton, the endowment of which he had himself augmented several years before.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Authors: J. S. Roskell / L. S. Woodger
- 1. CP, ii. 361-2; vi. 531-2; viii. 219-21; J.M.W. Bean, Estates Percy Fam. 116-17.
- 2. E404/40/179; Hist. King’s Works ed. Brown, Colvin and Taylor, ii. 1046.
- 3. CIPM, xvi. 959; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 185, 377, 525; 1399-1402, pp. 77, 86, 155, 302-3; 1405-9, pp. 160, 245; Feudal Aids, vi. 419, 426, 428, 477, 508; VCH Som. iii. 114, 136; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 25.
- 4. CPR, 1391-6, pp. 595, 712; 1405-8, pp. 159, 260; 1408-13, pp. 176, 214, 303; PPC, i. 350-1; ii. 4-5; CCR, 1409-13, p. 149; CIMisc. vii. 358.
- 5. E403/606 m. 8, 608 m. 4; E404/26/366; SC8/121/6016, 188/9374; PPC, ii. 149; Dorset Feet of Fines, 244, 274.
- 6. E101/46/12, 69/4/388, 69/5/440; E404/31/339; DKR, xlii. 389; xliv. 263; Coll. Top. et Gen. vi. 361; CCR, 1413-19, p. 453; CPR, 1416-22, pp. 229, 233; 1422-9, p. 312.
- 7. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 48, 151, 190, 273; DKR, xlviii. 226.
- 8. C145/312/5; PCC 22 Luffenham; C139/87/46; CP, i. 248; CCR, 1429-35, p. 333; 1435-41, p. 154; CPR, 1408-13, p. 404; 1436-41, p. 500.