MISSENDEN, Sir Edmund (c.1355-94), of Great Missenden, Bucks.

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



Family and Education

b.c.1355, s. and h. of Thomas Missenden (d.1369) of Great Missenden by Isabel, da. of Sir John Brocas (d.1365) of Windsor, Berks. m. bef. June 1369, Juliana (d. 25 Aug. 1407), 1s.1 Kntd. bef. Jan. 1382.

Offices Held

Coroner, Bucks. bef. Mar. 1392.


Missenden’s father was a self-made man of obscure background—perhaps born Thomas Marshall and adopting the name of Missenden from the place where he afterwards acquired a manor. He owed his rapid advancement to service as butler in Edward III’s household (where he was known as Thomas de Cophouse), and to his marriage to a daughter of another royal servant, Sir John Brocas, who in effect was master of the King’s horse. After distinguishing himself in the Crécy campaign, Thomas invested in land at home, and in 1354 obtained a grant as ‘King’s yeomen’ of free warren on his demesne lands at Great Missenden and Quainton, Buckinghamshire, Farley Chamberlayne, Hampshire, and Kelstern and Brackenborough, Lincolnshire. His integration into Buckinghamshire society then proceeded rapidly, helped no doubt by links he had made with Missenden abbey, and in 1363 and 1365 he represented the shire in Parliament.2

In June 1369 Thomas Missenden and his wife, Isabel, procured a royal licence to grant in tail to their son Edmund, aged about 14, and his wife, Juliana, their manor of Kelstern, presumably as a settlement on their marriage. Thomas died a few months later, and it would seem that for several years his widow retained possession of the bulk of his estates. Having married Sir John Golafre (d.1379), she lived on until 1391 or later, possibly dwelling in retirement in a convent. Despite the finding of official inquiries that certain of the Missenden properties were held of the King in chief by knight-service, young Edmund somehow escaped being made a royal ward; perhaps the influence at Court of his uncle, Sir Bernard Brocas*, had something to do with it. After being knighted, quite likely in the course of military campaigns overseas, Missenden stood surety at the Exchequer in January 1382 on behalf of Brocas and the King’s clerk, John Chitterne, and there can be no doubt that his relationship to Brocas meant much to him, for he named his first-born son Bernard. The boy’s godparents at his baptism in 1384 included the abbot of Missenden and Margery, Lady Moleyns—whose presence at Richard II’s court was four years later to provoke the hostility of the Lords Appellant. In the meantime, however, Missenden himself had seen service under one of those Lords, namely, Richard, earl of Arundel, in the force raised by Arundel as admiral in March 1387. He is not recorded as holding any royal offices, save for the coronership of Buckinghamshire, from which he was removed in March 1392 as having ‘no lands in the county whereupon he may dwell according to his estate’. (Presumably, his mother was still living and in possession of Great Missenden and Quainton.) Nevertheless, he was returned by Buckinghamshire to the Parliament summoned to meet in January 1393 at Winchester—a venue conveniently close to the Missenden manor at Farley Chamberlayne. His uncle, Sir Bernard Brocas, by then chamberlain to Queen Anne, joined him in the Commons as shire knight for Hampshire.3

A few months later, in June 1393, Missenden completed unusual arangements with regard to his landed holdings: he conveyed to John Knight, parson of Quainton, and John Samwell, junior, an annual rent of £60 from certain of his properties in Buckinghamshire and Hampshire for term of their lives; and on the same day he enfeoffed Knight, Sir Bernard Brocas and Walter Cramford of the manor and advowson of Quainton. Then, according to the testimony Cramford later gave in Chancery, on 4 Oct. 1394 he put these same three feoffees into possession of the rest of his Buckinghamshire lands. Quite clearly, Missenden’s health had failed, and these were preparations for his end: he died just eight days later. Brocas moved swiftly to protect the interests of the heir, Sir Edmund’s ten-year-old son Bernard, by securing on 4 Nov., for himself and Missenden’s widow, Juliana, custody of the boy’s inheritance; and then, after establishing that Farley Chamberlayne should alone be subject to royal wardship, in June 1395 he and Juliana made a flat payment of 200 marks to obtain custody of this manor, together with the boy’s marriage. Nevertheless, the arrangements devised by Sir Edmund regarding his Buckinghamshire estates roused, in official circles, strong suspicions that there had been collusion to deprive the Crown of its feudal rights: in fact, in July, a commission was set up to investigate concealments of Missenden’s property; and, on 22 Sept., only two days after Brocas’s death, John Worship*, an usher of the King’s chamber, was awarded custody of these estates, free of rent ‘in consideration of his great expense in recovering the King’s right to the premises’. Juliana, left without the support of Sir Bernard Brocas, then married Thomas Shelley*, who as steward of the household of the King’s half-brother, John Holand, earl of Huntingdon, was well placed to exert influence at Court on her behalf. Indeed, before the end of 1397 she and Shelley gained full possession of the Missenden inheritance.4 This was not, as it happened, the end of Juliana’s troubles, for Shelley was executed for treason in January 1400, and she proved able to recover from Henry IV only those Missenden lands situated in Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire; Farley Chamberlayne was granted in wardship to the new King’s councillor, John Frome*. Juliana’s death in 1407 was followed just two years later by that of her son, Bernard.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variant: Mussynden.

  • 1. CIMisc. iii. 838; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 394-5; M. Burrows, Fam. Brocas of Beaurepaire, 117-18, 473. Burrows follows Lipscomb in stating that Missenden’s wife Juliana was a da. of Lord Grey of Rotherfield, but no contemporary evidence of her family background has been discovered.
  • 2. Bucks. Rec. Soc. xvii. 350-5; CChR, v. 141, 208; Lipscomb, i. 394-5; VCH Bucks. ii. 348-9; iv. 94, 97, 99.
  • 3. CPR, 1367-70, p. 256; CIMisc. iii. 838; VCH Bucks. ii. 348-9; CFR, ix. 284; C137/64/79; E101/40/33 m. 1; CCR, 1389-92, p. 451.
  • 4. C136/84/30; Bucks. Rec. Soc. xvii. 350-5; CFR, xi. 130; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 343-4; 1396-9, pp. 112, 177; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 575, 619, 650.
  • 5. CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 154, 213-14; CIMisc. vii. 62; CFR, xii. 159, 203, 297; C137/58/19, 22.