RYMAN, William (d.1443), of Appledram, Suss.
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Family and Education
m. (1) prob. by. Nov. 1408, Elizabeth (d.1430), da. of William Colville of Arncliffe, Yorks., wid. of Roger Elmham; (2) Alice (d.1459), ?da. of John Topclive, wid. of John Beaufitz of Gillingham, Kent, 2s.
Controller of customs and subsidies, Chichester 21 Mar. 1413-28 Feb. 1416.
Apposer, upper Exchequer c. Mar. 1413-bef. May 1426.1
Jt. auditor of accounts of royal officials, N. Wales and Chester from 16 July 1414, Wales from 27 Oct. 1414, duchy of Cornw. from 16 June 1415, N. Wales and Chester 1 Sept. 1422-c. Dec. 1426, from 4 Mar. 1427.
Commr. to compel tenants and officers of the late earl of Arundel to pay their dues, lordships Bromfield, Yale, Oswestry Feb. 1416; raise royal loans, Suss. Nov. 1419, Surr., Suss. Mar. 1431; of sewers, Suss. Feb. 1422; inquiry Feb. 1422 (counterfeiting), May 1438 (smuggling), Surr., Suss. July 1439 (concealments); array Jan. 1436, Mar. 1443; to assess contributions to a tax Jan. 1436.
Ryman is first recorded, in London in April 1400, acting as a feoffee of property in Old Fish Street belonging to a widow named Margaret, who later married his lifetime friend John Ardern, esquire. He was always to retain interests in the City and in all likelihood received some training there, either in the law or in estate management. He was not necessarily a Londoner by birth, however, for there are grounds for supposing that he hailed from one of the Welsh lordships of the Fitzalan earls of Arundel; certainly, he was to devote many years of his life to the service of Earl Thomas and his family, providing continual and loyal support from 1400 (if not before) until his own death, in the administrative and financial ordering of the estates of the earldom. As early as September 1400 Ryman’s signature appeared on a document drawn up at Oswestry in which the earl made a grant to one of his retainers, and in later years he served in the earl’s garrison at Oswestry castle. In February 1405 he was one of the messengers whom Arundel sent to the King’s Council in London with an urgent plea for reinforcements in order that the safeguard of the Welsh marches might be maintained. It was doubtless as a member of the Fitzalan entourage that Ryman first came to Sussex, where the earl held substantial estates centred on the castles of Arundel and Lewes; and he was first described as ‘of Sussex’ that same spring. When, at Arundel castle in September 1406, Earl Thomas placed a large part of his landed holdings in the hands of trustees, Ryman was among those nominated. In the following year he was associated with other Fitzalan retainers, including the brothers Robert Corbet* and Roger Corbet*, in completing a gift of a house to St. Peter’s abbey, Shrewsbury, in aid of its maintenance.2
Ryman chose to make his home in Sussex. In 1410 he acquired property at Appledram on the coast near Chichester, and his land there, together with his manor of North Stoke, was assessed at £20 a year shortly afterwards. (Part of the house he built at Appledram, including a three-storied solar wing constructed in stone quarried in the Isle of Wight, still stands.) In later years he bought more land nearby at Itchenor and Birdham, as well as property at Tangmere to the east of Chichester. By some now obscure means he also acquired the manor of Kitchin in Pulloxhill, far away in Bedfordshire, only to lose it after litigation in 1433.3 Ryman’s first wife, Elizabeth, was the widow of a ‘King’s esquire’ in the service of Richard II and Henry IV, who, being herself a former member of the royal household, enjoyed on her own account an annuity of £20 from the issues of Norfolk. She clearly found favour with the earl of Arundel, too, for in 1408 he had agreed to pay 100 marks as dowry for her daughter’s marriage to John Stapleton II*, and also to foot the bill for the wedding. Ryman was party to the settlement. Elizabeth came from a northern family, and in 1419 she and Ryman brought a suit in the common pleas to obtain possession of four Yorkshire manors, claiming under the terms of an entail allegedly made on the right heirs of her grandfather, Sir William Colville. However, the judges, after inspecting the relevant documents, found the Rymans’ claim to be unfounded in law.4
Ryman’s master, the earl of Arundel, was made treasurer of the Exchequer immediately after the accession of his friend, Henry V, in March 1413. Free to dispense patronage to whom he pleased, he promptly placed Ryman in the Exchequer post of apposer, and also warranted his appointment from the very first day of the reign as controller of customs in Chichester. He was to retain both lucrative offices until after Arundel’s death. Then, in July, the earl awarded him and Richard Wakehurst* (another of his retainers) the farm of the English estates of the alien abbey of Seés, and three months later he gave Ryman a share in the custody of Wareham priory, Dorset. Ryman’s service as special auditor of the accounts of various royal ministers, notably those in Chester and North Wales, began in the following year. In this work he was associated with the brothers Roger and Richard Appulton, both official auditors at the Exchequer, who accompanied him on journeys to the Welsh marches, to Calais and to Cornwall, on royal business. While away from London, he usually received a daily wage of 6s.8d., as well as an annual fee of either £10 or £13 6s.8d., depending on the task involved.5
In May 1415, while making preparations to accompany the King in his invasion of France, Earl Thomas obtained a royal licence to entail certain of his estates in Surrey and Sussex on himself and his wife, Beatrice. Ryman was once more named as a trustee, and as such he figured prominently in the will made by the earl on 10 Aug., just before his embarkation, then receiving instructions as to the disposal of Arundel’s lands and chattels. As reward for his long and faithful service, Ryman had already been given one of the Fitzalan manors to hold for life, as well as property at Up Marden as a permanent gift to him and his heirs; and now Earl Thomas promised him a bequest of 100 marks. He remained in England looking after the earl’s affairs, until Arundel returned from Harfleur suffering from dysentery, from which disease he died on 13 Oct. Ryman’s wife helped nurse him and, for her devotion ‘tam tempore dicte infirmitatis mee quam antea’, the earl made her a gift of 50 marks, and also instructed the trustees of his manors in Kent (who included her husband) to make sure she received an annuity of £10 for her lifetime. On his deathbed the earl asked Ryman himself, whom he named as an executor of his will, to go on pilgrimage on foot from London to Canterbury to make offerings for his soul.6
For many years afterwards a major preoccupation of Ryman’s life was the settlement of the late earl’s affairs. An immediate problem was the payment of wages to Arundel’s soldiers returned from France; Ryman obtained a royal commission authorizing him to compel tenants on the Fitzalan lordships in Wales to pay their arrears of rent to that end. As a trustee of the estates, he became involved in a number of lawsuits, such as that brought in Chancery early in 1416 by the prior of St. Mary Magdalene, Tortington, for redress of a grievance. That April he was instructed to hand over to the widowed Countess Beatrice various jewels, gowns, furs and other goods of which he had taken custody by royal command, but with his co-feoffees he was subsequently sued by the countess, who alleged she had been denied her full entitlement of dower. Litigation on this matter dragged on for five years. In 1418 Ryman acted as a feoffee-to-uses on behalf of Henry V for the completion of his purchase of the Fitzalan lordships of Chirk and Chirksland. Naturally, he had various matters to settle with the late earl’s sisters and coheirs: Margaret, wife of Sir Roland Lenthale (to whom he and his fellow feoffees demised a number of manors in Shropshire and Sussex), and Elizabeth, duchess of Norfolk, and Joan, Lady Beauchamp of Abergavenny, who in 1419 both brought suits against the Fitzalan trustees, on this occasion allied with Countess Beatrice. Earl Thomas’s next male heir, and the de jure new earl of Arundel, namely, his cousin, John Arundel, Lord Mautravers, found Ryman indispensible in the complicated business of the assignment of his due share of the estates; and he soon saw fit to make him a feoffee of his own lands in Somerset for the performance of his will. Mautravers died at Arundel on 21 Apr. 1421, just before Ryman went up to Westminster for his second Parliament. At the end of the session he obtained at the Exchequer, with John Persons*, custody of all the Mautravers estates for the duration of the minority of the young heir, paying therefor 500 marks a year.7
For the next ten years Ryman continued to be involved in the administration of the former Fitzalan estates in two different guises: as a trustee by nomination of Earl Thomas, and as joint custodian of the wardship by virtue of royal grant. In 1423, in the former capacity, he and his co-trustees paid £200 to the Crown for licences both to complete the foundation of Arundel college (begun by Earl Richard) and to finish the endowment of Earl Thomas’s hospital at Arundel. Later transactions concerned the feoffees’ sale to the late earl’s nephew, John, duke of Norfolk, of the reversion of certain manors in Norfolk and Suffolk. It would appear from the transfer in 1426 of Arundel’s London residence, ‘Pulteney’s Inn’, to a new group of trustees, who included Ryman and his friend John Ardern, that Ryman may have intended purchasing it for himself. Furthermore, by 1429, he was the sole surviving feoffee of the reversion of certain properties in Calais, of which he was then given livery in Chancery. A few years earlier John Persons had assigned his share of the farm of the Mautravers’ estates to Sir John Cornwall (afterwards Lord Fanhope), so it was with Cornwall that Ryman received further accretions of lands on the death of Margaret Lenthale, to hold until the young heir reached his majority; and from April 1425 they were permitted to withhold payments to the Crown so that Sir John might obtain the wherewithal to pay the ransom of his stepson, the earl of Huntingdon. John, Lord Mautravers, and de jure earl of Arundel, came of age in 1429, and in a will made in the following year he made arrangements for clearing debts to Ryman, represented by separate bonds for £77 and 230 marks.8
Meanwhile, at the time of Ryman’s first known return to Parliament in 1420 (a session in which he also acted as proxy for the bishop of St. Asaph), his wife, Elizabeth, had been in Paris at Henry V’s command, to attend on the queen, Katherine de Valois. She returned to England with the royal party early in 1421, and that June, when the King was once more on the point of departure for France, he made her an unusually generous gift of the manor of Old Shoreham, Sussex—worth at least £10 a year—to hold for life. Elizabeth then waited on Queen Katherine as a nurse and midwife until, in May 1422, the queen, leaving to join Henry V in France, entrusted the five-month-old prince, Henry of Windsor, to her care. She remained as nurse to Henry after his accession as King until ‘infirmity, old age and weakness’ compelled her to petition the Council for relief in November 1424, whereupon she was permitted to retire with an extra pension of £20 p.a. to add to the one she already enjoyed. Her husband, who had probably kept his post at the Exchequer all this while, had otherwise benefited from royal patronage in a less direct way. As well as the lucrative farm of the Mautravers estates, he enjoyed from June 1422 a lease for 12 years of the subsidy of alnage in Kent. Moreover, Henry VI’s council continued to employ him on occasion as a special auditor of the accounts of royal ministers, a task with which he was probably still engaged at the time of his election to Parliament in 1427. Old Shoreham was transferred to his keeping in February 1430, following his wife’s death, and although he was required to pay £10 a year for the lease, he retained it until 1441. Ryman seems never to have gone to France, but he took some part in organizing supplies for the royal armies there (in 1432, he and John Hody*, the future chief justice, obtained a licence to export grain to Rouen), and he contributed £40 towards the fitting out of the duke of York’s expeditionary force in 1436.9
Many of those with whom Ryman was closely connected had been his fellow retainers of Earl Thomas of Arundel, or were otherwise associated with members of the earl’s family. They included Thomas Harling, canon of Chichester, who in 1423 made him a bequest of a dozen antique silver plates and asked him to be his executor; Thomas Poynings, Lord St. John of Basing (sometime husband of the earl’s stepmother), who made him a feoffee of his estates in Sussex and Kent and also named him as overseer of his will in 1428; and Sir John Bohun (d.1433), who placed him in similar positions of trust. Then, in 1441, Ryman was party to the foundation of a chantry in Holy Trinity church, Arundel, in memory of Thomas Salman, another former Fitzalan retainer.10 Others who called on his services included a second canon of Chichester—Simon Northew—and also his Exchequer colleagues, the Appleton brothers.11
Ryman’s last years were troubled by a dispute with William Flete* of Rickmansworth, a London mercer of unusually quarrelsome disposition. Flete made a complaint against him in a bill to the King, causing him to be summoned before the Council in November 1441. The matter was still not cleared up when Ryman died on 11 May 1443, and his executors were subsequently called to answer in his stead. He was survived by two young sons, William and John, and by his widow, Alice, who later married Sir John Paschle (d.1452). In her will in 1459 she asked to be buried in Appledram church, where prayers were to be said for Ryman’s soul.12
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. PRO List ‘Exchequer Offs.’ 82.
- 2. Corporation of London RO, hr 141/25, 36; Add. 30319, f. 18d; PPC, i. 247; CCR, 1402-5, p. 500; CPR, 1405-8, p. 339; 1452-61, p. 203.
- 3. Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxx. 155; VCH Suss. iv. 138-9, 238; Feudal Aids, vi. 522; Suss. Feet of Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), nos. 2885, 2888, 2912, 2960; VCH Beds. ii. 378; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 350.
- 4. CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 245, 502; CP40/635 m. 613d; Shrewsbury Lib. deeds 2800, 2803.
- 5. E403/612, 14 July, 614, 19 Feb., 617, 19 July, 619, 5 Dec.; CFR, xiv. 34, 36; CPR, 1413-16, pp. 228, 247, 338.
- 6. CPR, 1413-16, p. 336; Reg. Chichele, ii. 71-78; CCR, 1435-41, p. 402.
- 7. CPR, 1413-16, p. 344; 1416-22, pp. 172, 238; 1422-9, pp. 282-3; 1436-41, p. 446; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 304, 520; 1419-22, p. 34; 1422-9, p. 105; 1435-41, pp. 17, 317, 323, 327, 422; Glos. RO, Sudeley ms 429; CFR, xiv. 419; Procs. Chancery Eliz. I ed. Caley and Bayley, i. p. xxxv.
- 8. CPR, 1422-9, pp. 115, 116, 291; CFR, xv. 63, 210; CCR, 1422-9, p. 221; 1429-35, pp. 1-2; London hr 154/50; Reg. Chichele, ii. 474, 543.
- 9. SC10/47/2310; CPR, 1416-22, p. 368; 1422-9, pp. 52, 85, 254, 403; 1441-6, p. 6; CFR, xiv. 432; xv. 190, 306, 327; xvi. 312; PPC, iii. 222; iv. 322; DKR, xlviii. 290.
- 10. Reg. Chichele, i. 267-8; ii. 246-7, 388; Suss. Feet of Fines, no. 2931; Suss. Arch. Colls. xx. 12; CPR, 1436-41, p. 525.
- 11. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 451, 458, 471-2; 1429-35, pp. 59, 236; Reg. Chichele, ii. 401-2.
- 12. PPC, v. 168, 172; Suss. N. and Q. iii. 170; PCC 17 Stokton; Arch. Cant. lxi. 171; lxxiv. 37.