TRACY, William (d.1440), of Toddington, Glos.
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Family and Education
Escheator, Glos. and the marches 16 Nov. 1420-20 May 1422.
The family historians in concentrating on the supposed illustrious descent of the Tracys from Charlemagne, Anglo-Saxon royalty and Henry I, have neglected to isolate the separate careers of four William Tracys active between 1390 and 1460. The task of identification is made more difficult by the fact that although they were landowners of substance (their Gloucestershire manors of Toddington, Doynton and Southwood gave them an estimated annual income of £60 in 1412, and they also owned Worminghall in Buckinghamshire), none of their properties was held in chief of the Crown—Toddington being held of the Sudeleys and their descendants the Butlers of Sudeley castle, and Doynton of the earls of Stafford.2
The career of William Tracy the MP, in so far as it may be disentangled from those of his father and his son of the same name, was uneventful and lacking distinction. There can be no doubt that it was he and not his more prominent father who was sent to the Commons in 1419 and appointed as escheator in the following year, for on both occasions he was called ‘junior’ Perhaps his father’s position on the Gloucestershire bench had something to do with both the election and the appointment. Both father and son attended the Gloucestershire elections to the Parliaments of 1422 and 1423. The date of William senior’s death is not known, and it is unclear whether it was William the MP or his son who as ‘William Tracy the younger’ took, in 1434, the generally prescribed oath not to maintain breakers of the peace. It seems likely, however, that it was the Member who, as ‘lord of Doynton and Toddington’ presented to the chantry at Doynton in June the same year, and who witnessed the Gloucestershire elections to the Parliaments of 1435 and 1437. In 1439 he acted as a feoffee of the manors of Great Rissington and Sapperton on behalf of John Greville, his parliamentary colleague of 20 years before.3
Tracy died shortly before August 1440, when his eldest son, William, did homage to Humphrey, earl of Stafford, for part of the family estates. He was returned to Parliament for Gloucestershire in 1442 and, in contrast to his father, became very active as a royal commissioner between then and 1460, as sheriff (1443-5 and 1450-1) and as a j.p. After his death the heir to the Tracy estates was his brother, Henry (d.1501).4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. His father, who was the s. of Sir William Tracy (the sheriff of Glos. in 1394-5), would appear to have been he who m. (2) by 1401, Alice, da. and coh. of Guy Spyne* of Coughton Warws., and wid. of Edmund Giffard of Norton near Weston, Glos., by whom he had a son named John Tracy, the heir to Alice's estates when she died in 1441. He played a more prominent part in Glos. affairs than his son, being summoned to a great council in 1401, serving as j.p. May 1401-July 1406, May 1419-July 1423, as sheriff 1416-18, and as commr. of array Mar. 1419 and to treat for royal loans in Nov. 1419. It was also he whose name was put forward for military service in Jan. 1420: PPC, i. 160; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 576; VCH Warws. iii. 80-81; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xi. 319-20; Feudal Aids, ii. 300; CP25(1)79/90/86; C1/22/139; CFR, xvii. 166, 205-6; xxi. 496; C139/102/22; E28/97/11.
- 2. Glos. IPM (Brit. Rec. Soc. Index Lib. xlvii), 34; S. Rudder, New Hist. Glos. 770-1; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. lxxxviii. 127-72; VCH Bucks. iv. 126; C115/K2/6682, ff. 37d-39.
- 3. C219/13/1, 2, 14/5, 15/1; CPR, 1429-36, p. 373; 1436-41, pp. 289, 429; Reg. Sede Vacante (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1887), 415.
- 4. NLW, Peniarth ms 280 f. 10; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 454; CIPM Hen. VII, ii. 495. In HP ed. Wedgwood 1439-1509, Biogs. 864-5, the MPs of 1419 and 1442 are presumed to have been the same man.