SELMAN, William II, of Loughtor in Plympton St. Mary, Devon.

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



May 1421
Dec. 1421

Family and Education

s. of Walter Selman of Plympton. m. bef. 1428, Joan Beauchamp (?mother of Sir Robert Chalons*).1

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Devon Feb. 1429 (homicide); to effect the restoration of a ship to its rightful owners, Cornw. Oct. 1441.


In 1412 John Smith of Exebridge, Devon, was pardoned his outlawry for failing to appear in the central courts when sued by William Selman for a debt of £4. Smith was also a debtor of Sir Hugh Courtenay* of Haccombe, and it is quite possible that Selman’s connexions with the Courtenay family had been established by this date, and well before his first return to Parliament for a borough of which the Courtenays were lords. On 10 Dec. 1421, probably while his third Parliament was in progress, he stood surety at the Exchequer for Michael Archdeacon, the treasurer of Exeter cathedral, John Copplestone* and John Arderne (afterwards a baron of the Exchequer) when these three were granted custody of the temporalities of the bishopric of Exeter during the vacancy caused by Bishop Edmund Stafford’s death. His associations at this time also suggest that he was involved in some way with the administration of the estates of the earldom of Devon during the minority of Earl Edward. Copplestone became joint steward of these estates with Nicholas Radford*, and it was in conjunction with the latter that Selman twice appeared in the Exchequer in 1423 to provide further securities for Arderne. Then, too, he performed a similar service for William Jewe, esquire, the lessee of the manor of Whitwell, Devon, which pertained to the earl’s inheritance.2

In February 1432 Nicholas Carew* of Beddington (Surrey) enfeoffed Selman and others of his estates in Kent, Berkshire and Surrey for the purpose of effecting an entail, but Carew’s death shortly afterwards resulted in several lawsuits in which our MP was obliged to give evidence. Carew’s will was challenged by his son, and on 15 Nov. following Selman was ordered under a penalty of £40 to bring the document to Chancery so that the chancellor himself might examine it. Several years later, the deceased’s grand daughters also brought actions against him as the only surviving feoffee, on the ground that he had failed to transfer the property to them when they came of age.3 There is a strong case for identifying him with the ‘William Selman of Wyke, Middlesex, gentleman’, who in 1437 stood surety at the Exchequer for Walter Portman*, one of the lessees of the Luttrell estates, for the same person again appeared in the Exchequer in 1438 and 1439 on behalf of John Arderne (the associate of the Devonshire Selman of earlier years); and in 1439, described as ‘of Loughtor, Devon, gentleman’, he served as a mainpernor of Bishop John Stafford of Bath and Wells and Sir Philip Courtenay of Powderham when they were granted two thirds of the same estates during the minority of the heir. He was still living in 1457,4 but died before 1464.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. CP25(1)46/81/54.
  • 2. CPR, 1408-13, p. 337; 1416-22, p. 403; CFR, xv. 32, 49, 55.
  • 3. CCR, 1429-35, p. 189; 1435-41, pp. 129, 260, 262-5, 269; C1/9/469-70, 18/36, 19/258-9.
  • 4. CFR, xvi. 21, 108, 112; xvii. 5, 99; CPR, 1452-61, p. 316. Selman’s interest in the Luttrell inheritance raises the question whether he was the man of this name who from 1439 acted as a feoffee of the estates in Wales, Salop and Mdx. belonging to Richard, Lord Strange of Knockin and Mohun, who exerted a claim to it (CPR, 1436-41, p. 307; CCR, 1435-41, pp. 358, 362; 1447-54, pp. 155-6), but the connexion is tenuous.
  • 5. CCR, 1461-8, p. 250. The William Selman who was living in Devon in 1470 and died in 1485 (CCR, 1468-76, no. 554; CFR, xxi. 3), was probably the MP’s son. His descendants continued to enjoy a substantial income from property in Plympton: J.B. Rowe, Plympton, 362-3.