PESHALE, Sir Adam (d.1419), of Peshale and Shifnal, Salop, and Weston-under-Lizard, Staffs.

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



Jan. 1377
Nov. 1380
Feb. 1383

Family and Education

yr. s. of Adam Peshale (d.1346), of Horsley, Staffs. by Joan, da. and h. of John Eyton of The Wildmoors, Salop; bro. of Sir Richard and Hamon*. m. (1) c.1362, Elizabeth (d.c.1366), da. and coh. of Sir John Weston of Weston-under-Lizard, wid. of Sir John Whiston of Whiston in Penkridge, Staffs., ?1ch. d.v.p.; (2) Sept./Oct. 1369, Elizabeth (c.1339-1384), da. and event. h. of Sir Philip ap Rees of Talgarth ‘English’, Herefs. and Shifnal, wid. of Sir Henry Mortimer of Chelmarsh, Salop, 1ch. d.v.p.; (3) by May 1389, Joyce (d. 12 Aug. 1420), da. and event. coh. of John, 2nd Lord Botetourt of Weobley, Herefs., wid. of Sir Baldwin Freville of Tamworth, Warws., 2da. Kntd. by Nov. 1380.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Staffs. 14 Nov.-8 Dec. 1480, Salop 3 Nov. 1397-30 Sept. 1399, 4 Nov. 1418-d.

Commr. to put down rebellion, Staffs. Mar. 1382; of inquiry Feb. 1383 (murder), Salop Oct. 1398 (murder), Jan. 1414 (lollards); array, Staffs. Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392, Salop Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403; to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well, Warws. May 1402; supervise musters, Salop Aug. 1402; of oyer and terminer Feb. 1403; to raise royal loans, Staffs., Salop, Herefs. 1410;1 of arrest, Staffs. Aug., Dec. 1411.

Keeper of the forests of Morfe and Shirlet, Salop 27 Nov. 1384-Mar. 1396, of Dawley castle 24 Apr.-c. Sept.1399.

J.p. Salop 22 July-Nov. 1397.

Tax collector, Salop Mar. 1404; controller, Warws. Mar. 1404.


Peshale’s father, who sat for Staffordshire in 1341, was described four years later as a ‘common malefactor’, and his arrest was ordered for homicide and other crimes. He was slain early in 1346 on Caynton Heath, Shropshire, allegedly while resisting arrest, and his lands in Sondon, Eccleshall and Horsley (Staffordshire) were confiscated. They were eventually restored to his second son, Richard (d.1388), and the latter’s issue. Richard took after his father in ‘bearing himself tyrannously to mean men’, indulging in extortion and assault and starting brawls, most notably with Sir John Ipstones*, son of the man who, in his view, had murdered his father.2 Adam, his younger brother, was of similar temperament, as the many violent episodes in his career well attest, and he was often hauled before the courts to answer for felonies committed in Shropshire and Staffordshire, though he always escaped severe penalty. In 1358, for example, John, Lord Botetourt, caught him and Richard poaching and hunting on his land at Mere, and in 1373 Sir William Trussell complained that the Peshale brothers had driven away his livestock at Shifnal, assaulted his servants and held some of them to ransom. On the latter occasion, Hugh, earl of Stafford, was appointed to head a commission to try the miscreants, but he is unlikely to have been impartial, for Adam and his other brother, Hamon, were probably already his retainers; certainly in later years Adam received a life annuity of £10 charged on the Stafford manor of Barlaston. It is possible that the earl was influential in securing Adam’s election to Parliament for Shropshire later in 1373 and his return for Staffordshire to four Parliaments between 1377 and 1383. Without doubt the Peshale brothers took a major share of the representation of these two counties in the early 1380s, for Sir Richard sat once for Shropshire and twice for Staffordshire between 1380 and 1383, and Hamon sat for Shropshire in 1386 (although this last election took place during Earl Hugh’s absence abroad and clearly cannot have been directly influenced by him). On 28 Feb. 1377, during his second Parliament, Adam was party to recognizances for £1,000 with John Beverley of Penkridge, among his associates being Sir Nicholas Stafford*, an important retainer and kinsman of the earl.

Peshale was knighted in about 1380, possibly for service overseas, and in February 1384 he took out royal letters of protection as about to sail to the Côtentin in the retinue of William, Lord Windsor, the captain of Cherbourg. By this time he had evidently come to the closer attention of the royal court: on 3 June that same year, at the supplication of Queen Anne, Richard II pardoned him all felonies committed before 14 Dec. 1381 and remitted his fines; and in November he granted Peshale custody of the forests of Morfe and Shirlet for life. (During his tenure of the office Peshale was responsible for supplying 12 massive oaks for the vaulting of Worcester cathedral.) Despite the veneer of respectability bestowed by royal office, Sir Adam continued in his old ways: in 1385 he and his kinsmen were attached for harbouring murderers at Shifnal, but, as always, they escaped punishment. Peshale was described as a ‘King’s knight’ on 19 Oct. 1390, when Richard II granted him an annuity of £20 and retained him for life in peace and war, and the reasons why he was removed from the keepership of Morfe six years later in favour of a ‘King’s esquire’ Richard Chelmswick*) are not explained. Certainly there are no other signs of royal displeasure, and, indeed, Peshale was appointed sheriff of Shropshire in November 1397 at a politically critical time when the King was filling the shrievalties with his proven loyal supporters. There is just a hint of a connexion between Peshale and Richard, earl of Arundel (from whom he held a knight’s fee in Weston-under-Lizard and for whom he had once witnessed a deed), in that after the earl’s execution an inquiry showed that he and Arundel’s steward at Oswestry had conspired with the keeper of the earl’s stud to sell certain horses worth £96 13s.4d. for their own profit. However, as sheriff, Peshale carried out his duties in delivering other of Arundel’s forfeited goods to the Exchequer, and that Richard II believed him loyal is clear from the award to him for life of the farm and custody of Dawley castle made in April 1399, only shortly before the King’s departure for Ireland (though it should be noted that the place had little strategic value).3 Dawley was returned to the Fitzalans by Henry IV, and Peshale’s royal annuity was never confirmed by the new King. Nevertheless, the change of dynasty had little effect on Peshale’s appointments to royal commissions, although he never served again as a j.p. He was one of the four men summoned from Shropshire to the great council of August 1401, and along with a fellow councillor, Sir William Hugford*, he was commissioned a year later to supervise musters of the shire levies for service in Wales under Henry of Monmouth. Sir Adam was elected to two more Parliaments, and his influential position in Shropshire and Staffordshire is evident from his conciliar appointment in 1410, along with the bishop of Hereford, the earl of Arundel and the abbot of Shrewsbury, to raise a loan of 1,000 marks in those two counties and Herefordshire.4

Peshale’s high standing in the locality owed much to his substantial landed holdings, accumulated over the years through three profitable marriages, coupled with the same aggressive determination to keep hold of properties to which he had little right in law as had been shown by his late father. He began life with very little, apparently inheriting none of the family holdings apart from Peshale itself (where he had a private oratory),5 but this state of affairs did not long continue. Through his early first marriage, to Elizabeth Weston, he acquired a portion of the manor of Weston-under-Lizard, to which he added substantially over the years. The history of the devolution of the five shares of the manor (as divided up on the death of Elizabeth’s father) presents many difficulties, but it is clear that all five parts came ultimately to Peshale or his descendants as a result of a deliberate policy on his part to reunite the manor. The many and complex transactions involved in his scheme would be tedious to relate: suffice it to say that the ‘Whiston’ share was part of his wife’s inheritance; the ‘Foljambe’ share, held by his wife’s daughter-in-law, Margaret Trussell, widow of Nicholas Whiston and by 1363 married to Sir Fulk Pembridge*, was first leased to Peshale and then formally relinquished to him by the next heir, John Giffard of Chillington, in exchange for lands elsewhere; the ‘Champion’ and ‘Fouleshurst’ shares he purchased in reversion, and the ‘Trumwyn’ share was leased to him for life by the Pembridges. By the time of his death all but the last mentioned fifth were held by him in fee simple. In 1383 Peshale applied to the Crown (unsuccessfully) for a view of frankpledge in ‘his’ townships of Weston and Blymhill, and three years later he made a settlement of what was described as the whole manor of Weston. Peshale’s first marriage also brought him Newton in Blithfield. After his wife’s death (c.1366) he tried to retain possession of the manor of Whiston, which she had held in dower, by refusing entry to the heir, Sir John Whiston’s sister Agnes, wife of Edmund Giffard; and the abbot of Burton had to intervene as overlord. Here Sir Adam met with some success, for the Giffards conceded a life interest to him, and he leased the manor to Walter Pryde, clerk, forcing the latter to pay him rent even though the Giffards’ son, John, later evicted him.6

Peshale’s second marriage was to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Philip ap Rees, who, when her father died in August 1369, shared the inheritance of his lands with her sister Mabel, wife of Sir Hugh Wrottesley KG. This inheritance comprised the town and lordship of Talgarth ‘English’ in Herefordshire and the market town of Shifnal in Shropshire, which latter boasted a deer park as well as a market and fair and was later valued at £4 a year. Some time between the inquiry about the ap Rees estates held on 9 Sept. following and that held on 22 Oct., not only did Elizabeth marry Peshale but Mabel and her baby died. Wrottesley claimed a purparty of the estates ‘by the courtesy’, and after the death of Sir Philip ap Rees’s widow in the following year the Peshales agreed that he might hold their third and the widow’s third of Talgarth for life, in return for annual payments of £40. Naturally, violent disputes soon arose over the implementation of this agreement. In Richard II’s first Parliament, that of 1377 (Oct.), Peshale complained that Wrottesley had placed a company of armed men on the highway to ambush and murder him as he was riding home after attending the King’s coronation, and that he had so intimidated Peshale’s tenants at Shifnal that merchants were afraid to come to trade at the fair. Wrottesley filed a counter-petition alleging that the Peshales had broken their agreement over Talgarth, that their men had viciously attacked his servants at the fair at Albrighton, and that Adam, with the assistance of his two brothers, had assembled a gang of 300 armed men, forcing Sir Hugh to protect himself with a similarly large retinue. The quarrel ended only with Wrottesley’s death in January 1381, whereupon his share of the ap Rees estates passed to the Peshales. Adam also enjoyed possession of his wife’s Mortimer dower, consolidating his tenure by obtaining from the Exchequer the farm of the rest of her former husband’s holdings, at Chelmarsh and elsewhere, for 50 marks a year. This he apparently retained until the death in 1391 of his elder stepson, who was an idiot, and his subsequent characteristic refusal to hand it over to his younger stepson, (Sir) Hugh Mortimer, led to violence between them, too.7

Sir Adam’s third marriage (which had taken place by May 1389, when he was fined £5 for marrying without the King’s licence, and involved the participation of John, Lord Clinton, in the sealing of the contract) was to Joyce, one of the daughters of the last Lord Botetourt. At Botetourt’s death (four years previously), his heir had been his grand daughter, another Joyce, wife of Hugh, Lord Burnell. When she died childless in 1407, leaving three aunts or their representatives as her heirs, the barony fell into abeyance, while her very considerable estates were retained for life by her husband. Burnell settled on the Peshales their third of the manors of Newport Pagnell and Linford (Buckinghamshire) in 1408 and Bobbington (Staffordshire) in 1415, and although Sir Adam made an attempt to disseise him of Weobley castle they seem later to have been on fairly amicable terms. On Burnell’s death Joyce Peshale stood to inherit a third part of three manors and an advowson in Worcestershire, three manors and advowsons in Staffordshire, and two manors and a view of frankpledge in Warwickshire, but in 1419 she and her husband decided to sell their reversionary interest in these Botetourt estates to Joan Beauchamp, Lady Abergavenny, for perhaps as much as 1,000 marks. Lady Abergavenny also apparently purchased certain valuables from them, including the ‘grete Maser, covered’, which she later mentioned in her will.8 Thus, few of the Botetourt properties ever came into Sir Adam’s possession. He did, however, hold for the rest of his life his wife’s dower and jointure on the Freville estates, consisting of some nine manors in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Warwickshire and worth over £65 a year. As always, he became involved in litigation over these properties, first quarrelling with his stepson, Baldwin Freville, who alleged that he had squandered his inheritance, and then, over the wardship of the Freville heir, with the King’s half-brother, Sir Thomas Beaufort.9 Besides the estates brought to him by marriage and, for the most part held only for his own lifetime, Sir Adam acquired by purchase the reversion of the manors of Tamhorn and Rugeley in Staffordshire, which he passed on to his heirs.10

Peshale’s third wife was a member of the fraternities of Lilleshall abbey in Shropshire and the Holy Trinity guild at Coventry, both of which Sir Adam also joined. He is last recorded on 23 Sept. 1419 when, as sheriff, he conducted the Shropshire elections at Shrewsbury. He died on 26 Oct. following and was buried at Weston-under-Lizard. The ap Rees estates belonging to his second wife then passed to Maud, wife of John Talbot, Lord Furnival, and Joan, wife of Sir Hugh Cokesey, the daughters and heirs of Thomas Neville, Lord Furnival, to whom Henry IV had granted them in reversion. When Sir Adam’s widow died in the following year his other landed holdings (apart, of course, from the Freville estates) were divided between his daughter, Joan, wife of (Sir) William Birmingham*, and a young grandson, William, son of his other daughter, Margaret, by Sir Richard Mytton.11

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


There were not, as suggested in Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), x. 184-5 and xi. 1-2, two MPs of this name.

  • 1. PPC, i. 344.
  • 2. CPR, 1345-8, pp. 30, 33, 35-37, 123, 153, 181; 1348-50, pp. 158, 162, 586; 1350-4, p. 364; 1370-4, p. 180; CIMisc. iii. 72; C131/36/5; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 9, 51, 105.
  • 3. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xii. 157; xiv. 239; xvi. 25-26; CPR, 1370-4, p. 310; 1381-5, pp. 440, 482; 1388-92, p. 316; Staffs. RO, D641/1/2/36, 42, 44, 49; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 526, 538; 1385-9, p. 343; CIMisc. vi. 235-6; Kalendars and Inventories ed. Palgrave, iii. 303.
  • 4. CPR, 1396-9, p. 540; PPC, i. 162, 344.
  • 5. Reg. Stretton (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. ser. 2, viii), 62.
  • 6. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. i. 335-60; (ser. 2), ii. 50-110; xi. 227; xiii. 20, 58, 77, 79, 142, 148, 155, 157, 203; xv. 56; VCH Staffs. iv. 166-7, 171-2, 175; v. 124; CIPM, xiv. 212; CCR, 1374-7, p. 161; C143/402/3.
  • 7. CFR, viii. 46-47, 100-1, 180-1; ix. 245; CIPM, xii. 313; xiii. 8; xv. 446; CCR, 1369-74, pp. 162-3; 1388-92, p. 531; CPR, 1370-4, pp. 65-66, 68; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. i. 352-4; (ser. 2), vi. 141, 144-9; xiii. 106, 140; SC8/146/7269-71.
  • 8. CP, ii. 233-5, 435; CPR, 1388-92, p. 37; 1416-22, pp. 305-6; VCH Staffs. iv. 105; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 78-79; CAD, ii. C2398; Warws. Feet of Fines (Dugdale Soc. xviii), 137; W. Dugdale, Baronage, 731.
  • 9. CCR, 1385-9, p. 587; 1399-1402, pp. 346-7, 381, 539; 1402-5, pp. 39-40; C138/49/79; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xv. 65; Warws. Feet of Fines, 86-87, 107.
  • 10. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 204, 215; VCH Staffs. v. 155-6.
  • 11. VCH Salop, ii. 76; C219/12/3; Reg. Holy Trinity Guild Coventry (Dugdale Soc. xiii), 4, 6, 101; C138/41/64, 49/79; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. i. 359; CCR, 1419-22, p. 32; 1422-9, p. 81; 1435-41, p. 85; CFR, xiv. 322, 356, 373.