RODY, Nicholas (d.1458), of Warwick.
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Family and Education
s. of John Rody of Warwick, goldsmith, by his w. Alice; prob. er. bro. of John*. s.p.
Steward of Warwick (by appointment of Richard, earl of Warwick), by 1428-?d., of St. Mary’s college, Warwick by Apr. 1448-d.
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 26 Nov. 1431-5 Nov. 1432, 6 Nov. 1442-4 Nov. 1443.
Dep. sheriff, Worcs. (by appointment of Richard, earl of Warwick), 26 Nov. 1437-3 Nov. 1438.
Nicholas was a member of a leading Warwick family. He became the tenant of a large stone house called ‘Miles Place’ and of the Swan Inn in the town, and from his father he was to inherit (after 1435) three more messuages and a garden there and another dwelling not far away at Whitnash. In 1436 his property was estimated to be worth £13 a year. His career was assisted in its early stages by his father’s standing in the local community; John Rody was present at Nicholas’s elections to Parliament in 1413, 1419, 1421 and 1422. Furthermore, in the Commons of 1421 (Dec.) and 1437 he had as his companion John Rody junior, who was probably his brother. A lawyer, he is almost certainly to be identified with the member of Lincoln’s Inn of 1424 called by this surname.1
It is not known precisely when Rody joined the affinity of the lord of the borough, Richard, earl of Warwick, but he had certainly done so before May 1427, for then, as one of a band of Warwick’s retainers, he was accused of breaking into property at Snitterfield belonging to the earl’s aunt by marriage, Joan, Lady Beauchamp of Abergavenny, with whom his lord had recently quarrelled. In the following year he acted as surety for two of the earl’s leading councillors, John Verney, clerk, and John Throckmorton*, whose advice was no doubt of considerable value to Rody himself, since he was then involved in the administration of the earl’s estates, in the capacity of a legal advisor and steward of courts held in Warwick. It was by Earl Richard’s appointment that in 1437-8 he discharged the post of deputy sheriff of Worcestershire, for the earl held the shrievalty in fee. That Rody was a trusted and intimate member of Warwick’s circle is clear from the earl’s choice of him to be one of his executors. As such, after Warwick’s death, in 1439, he shared responsibility for securing a royal licence to grant lands worth £40 a year to the dean and chapter of the collegiate church of St. Mary, Warwick. Among those with whom he was frequently associated at this time was Thomas Hugford†, another Beauchamp retainer and co-executor of Earl Richard’s will. Rody’s services were retained by the young Earl Henry (by 1446-7 he was receiving a fee of ten marks a year from the Beauchamp estates) and also by the next earl of Warwick, Richard Neville, who reappointed him as steward of Warwick.2
Rody’s baronial connexions made him a figure of some importance in Warwickshire at large. His name appeared on the parliamentary indentures recording the outcome of the shire elections in 1420, 1425, 1429, 1432, 1442 and 1449 (Nov.); and in 1434 he was sworn among the notables of the county to abstain from maintaining anyone who broke the peace. He was twice appointed a royal escheator. Towards the end of his career St. Mary’s college employed him as steward and rewarded him for his counsel.3 Not surprisingly, Rody’s will, made on 27 July 1458 and proved on 25 Oct. following, included several bequests to St. Mary’s, where he wished to be buried. He asked that his grave be marked with a stone of black lias bearing the inscription ‘Pray for the sowle of Nicholas Rody sumtyme steward of this towne’, and that a priest be employed to sing masses for his and his parents’ souls at the Trinity altar for seven years or longer ‘if that my godes wollen streche therto over my dettes paied’. Rody’s many bequests to friends and servants included his ‘gode haburjon’ to Thomas Hugford, and his ‘gode harpe’ to Master John Gerveys, former treasurer of St. Mary’s. Evidently dying childless, he instructed his executors (Hugford and William Berkeswell, dean of St. Mary’s, both of whom had been his fellow executors of Richard Beauchamp’s will) to sell his property in Warwick and Whitnash to the then earl of Warwick for 300 marks.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. C1/29/497; LI Adm. i. 5; E179/192/59; Ministers’ Accts. St. Mary’s Warwick (Dugdale Soc. xxvi), pp. liii, 128.
- 2. CPR, 1422-9, pp. 423, 480; 1436-41, p. 429; CFR, xv. 225; CCR, 1441-7, p. 485; F. Blomefield, Norf. vi. 53-54; vii. 294; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 251; PCC 19 Rous; Egerton Roll 8775; M.C. Carpenter, ‘Pol. Soc. Warws.’ (Camb. Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1976), app. pp. 24, 97, 103, 112; E368/220 m. 109; Warws. Feet. of Fines (Dugdale Soc. xviii), no. 2633; Warws. RO, CR895/8/16 m. 2.
- 3. C219/12/4, 13/3, 14/1, 3, 15/2, 7; CPR, 1429-36, p. 385; Ministers’ Accts. 23.
- 4. E40/4653; Ministers’ Accts. pp. xliii, 15, 48; Warws. Feet of Fines no. 2658; C1/29/497.