TRUSSELL, Sir Alfred (or Avery) (b.bef.1349), of Nuthurst, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1349, illegit. s. of Sir Theobald Trussell† of Flore, Northants. by his mistress and later w. Katherine; er. bro. of Sir John*. m. (1) Katherine (d. bef. 1380), da. and h. of Sir William Trussell of Kibblestone, Staffs., 1da.; (2) 1s. Kntd. by Nov. 1377.
Commr. of array, Northants. Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403, Warws. Mar. 1419; inquiry May 1403 (disseisin), July 1411, June 1412 (concealments), June 1412 (reversion of certain estates after the death of William, Lord Beauchamp of Abergavenny); to make proclamation for resistance to the Percy rebellion, Warws., Leics. July 1403; hold special assizes, Northants. 1410; of oyer and terminer, Worcs. Oct. 1411; to assess contributions to subsidies, Warws. Jan. 1412; raise royal loans Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420.
Sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 29 Nov. 1402-5 Nov. 1403.
Tax controller, Warws. Mar. 1404.
J.p. Warws. 13 Feb. 1407-Jan. 1414.
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 2 Nov. 1407-9 Dec. 1408.
Alfred’s grandfather, Sir William Trussell (c.1280-c.1346), was the person who, as ‘proctor of the whole realm of England’, had informed the captive Edward II that magnates and commons alike renounced their allegiance. A deeply committed servant of the house of Lancaster, after 1330 he entered Edward III’s service becoming his ‘secretary’ and admiral, and being entrusted by him with numerous diplomatic missions overseas. Although probably not an MP himself, he declared the views of the Commons to the King and Lords in the Parliament of 1343. It was from Sir William and his brother, Sir Edmund† (d.1349), that Alfred’s father, Sir Theobald, inherited the manors of Peatling, Fleckney and Thorpe (Leicestershire), Flore (Northamptonshire) and Nuthurst. These nearly all passed after Sir Theobald’s death in 1368 to Alfred’s younger brother, John, although he and his sister, Agnes or Anne, who had both been born before their parents’ marriage, were each provided for at their legitimate brother’s expense. In this way Alfred acquired Nuthurst.1
The Trussells were a prolific and inbred family, which by inheritance and marriage had built up a network of property in six Midland counties. Alfred sought to secure the holdings of the Kibblestone branch (at least nine manors) through his marriage to Katherine, the only child of his kinsman, Sir William Trussell. However, by the time Sir William died in February 1380 Katherine was already dead, and the heir was Alfred’s daughter, Elizabeth. The child, an important heiress, was promptly put in the custody of the treasurer of England and married to Sir Baldwin Freville; but she died within three years, and Margaret (née Trussell), the wife of Sir Fulk Pembridge* of Tong castle, inherited the estates. It is likely that Alfred had a life interest in certain of the properties involved, from which the Pembridges were prepared to buy him out, or else they showed him untoward generosity, for they then settled on him in tail-male Margaret’s Warwickshire manors of Morton Bagot, Billesley and Milverton, thereby substantially increasing his holdings in the county.2
Trussell’s career had effectively begun in June 1372, when he had joined the retinue of Hugh, earl of Stafford, for service overseas. He was knighted about five years later. In 1378 he stood bail for the release from the Tower of his brother, John, who had allegedly committed serious offences in royal forests. But, then, he himself was no paragon, for in 1387 both brothers were indicted in Leicestershire ‘for divers trespasses, not amounting to felony’, and two years later he and Sir Giles Mallory* were summoned before the King’s Council in connexion with an affray in which they had joined with Sir Henry Green* of Drayton. Both Mallory and Green were then adherents of Thomas, earl of Warwick, one of the Lords Appellant who had but recently relinquished control of the government, and it seems likely that Trussell, too, was already of that affinity. In 1393 he was associated with the earl’s most trusted councillor, Sir Nicholas Lilling*, in his quarrel with Sir Walter Blount* and other retainers of the duke of Lancaster; and by 1395 both he and his brother were in receipt of annuities of 20 marks by Earl Thomas’s gift. Sir Alfred seems to have been more prominent in Warwick’s service than Sir John: in April 1397, for instance, he was sent with a letter from the earl to Henry of Bolingbroke, at Brecon, and it would appear from his attendance at a meeting of Warwick’s advisors at Henley-in-Arden in June following that he himself was a member of the earl’s council. After Warwick’s arrest a month later, on charges of treason, Trussell attempted to heal the breach between another of his retainers, John Catesby*, and an erstwhile colleague, Sir William Bagot*, now risen to be the King’s councillor, by suggesting that they hold a ‘love-day’. It was no doubt because of his connexion with Warwick, kept a prisoner on the Isle of Man by judgement of the Parliament of 1397 (Sept.), that he saw fit to purchase a royal pardon in the following year.3
Trussell’s election to the assembly of estates which, in 1399, deposed Richard II and acclaimed Bolingbroke as King, followed soon after the earl of Warwick’s release, and in December he was one of those whom the earl named as feoffees of his manor of Ladbroke. It therefore seems very likely that he had been returned to the Commons in the Warwick interest. He was elected to one more Parliament (1401) before Earl Thomas’s death, and thereafter he always maintained contact with members of the Beauchamp entourage, such as Robert Hugford*, even though he is not known to have been formally retained by Richard Beauchamp, the successor to the earldom. Only after Henry IV’s accession had Trussell been appointed to royal commissions, but he then not only became quite active in this respect but also served terms as sheriff and escheator. At the end of his shrievalty, in the winter of 1403-4, he was granted a total of £50 for his ‘good services’ in Wales and elsewhere, this sum being deducted from the amount he owed at the Exchequer. In 1407, at the time of his fourth and apparently last appearance in the Commons, he was sitting on the Warwickshire bench. During the Parliament of 1410, and in response to a petition, he was one of those, including his brother, appointed to hold special assizes in Northamptonshire, to investigate an alleged case of forcible disseisin perpetrated by John, Lord Lovell. In 1417 he went surety for his sister-in-law, Sir John Trussell’s wife Margaret, undertaking that she would keep the peace.4
Trussell is last recorded in October 1419, when he witnessed a deed at Coughton on behalf of the earl of Warwick’s councillor, John Throckmorton*. He must by then have been over 70 years old. By his second wife he had a son, William, who subsequently inherited Nuthurst and Trussell’s other properties and died 1432.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. K.B. McFarlane, Lancastrian Kings, 152-6, 227-9; J.S. Roskell, Speakers, 5-6, 8, 10; W. Dugdale, Warws. 714-19; CFR, vii. 397; C1/11/139-40, 263; CCR, 1413-19, p. 519; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 93, 111; Peds. Plea Rolls, ed. Wrottesley, 413, 422.
- 2. DKR, xxix. 59-60; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. ii. 54-60; xi. 180; CIPM, xvi. 453; Peds. Plea Rolls, 384; CPR, 1377-81, p. 470; Test. Vetusta ed. Nicolas, i. 107; VCH Warws. iii. 60, 135; vi. 165; Warws. Feet of Fines (Dugdale Soc. xviii), no. 2274.
- 3. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. viii. 116; CCR, 1377-81, pp. 108, 214-15; 1385-9, p. 437; 1392-6, p. 113; PPC, i. 14; SC6/1123/5; Egerton Roll 8769; Med. Legal Recs. ed. Hunnisett and Post, 320; C67/30 m. 15.
- 4. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 113; 1402-5, pp. 473-5; 1413-19, p. 447; E404/19/260; CPR, 1401-5, p. 346; RP, iii. 634.
- 5. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), vi. 233.