VAUX, Roland (1359-c.1412), of Triermain and Tercrosset, Cumb.
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Family and Education
b.1359, s. and h. of Roland Vaux the younger (d. Aug. 1362) of Triermain and Tercrosset.1
Commr. of inquiry Cumb. June 1383 (illicit fishing in the river Eden), June 1406 (concealments and evasions); to take possession of Cockermouth castle on its forfeiture by the earl of Northumberland June 1405; raise royal loans June 1406.
Collector of taxes, Cumb. May 1384.
Envoy to redress breaches of the truce between England and Scotland 4 Mar. 1404, 5 Mar. 1405.2
Verderer of Inglewood forest, Cumb. by d.
Hubert Vaux received the barony of Gilsland in Cumberland as a reward from Henry II, and although the barony itself eventually passed into the hands of the Dacres through marriage Hubert’s descendants retained the manors of Triermain and Tercrosset along with other farmland in the surrounding area. The Vaux family were founders and patrons of the nearby abbey of Lanercost, and thus enjoyed a position of some influence in the north-west. Roland Vaux the younger acquired additional property in Moorthwaite and Caldecotes from his wife, but both of them were dead by the summer of 1362, when their son and heir, the subject of this biography, was only three years old. At first the Crown tried to assert rights of wardship over the child and his estates, but Ralph, Lord Dacre, was soon able to prove a better title, and in February 1363 he assumed all powers of custody. A dispute continued over Roland’s marriage, however, until, in the following July, Dacre agreed to purchase it outright for a cash payment of £20 at the Exchequer.3
If the evidence supplied at his father’s inquisition post mortem is to be believed, our Member can only have been about 19 when he stood surety, in December 1377, for William Stapleton† as farmer of certain royal property in Cumberland. Exactly two years later he himself named Stapleton among his mainpernors on contracting with the government to farm certain land in Tercrosset which had once been confiscated from the rebel earl of Carlisle. In common with many other local landowners, Roland Vaux took part in private raiding parties across the border in times of peace, and pursued his own private feuds regardless of the diplomatic considerations involved. Not surprisingly, activities of this kind proved a major obstacle to the negotiation and preservation of truces between England and Scotland. Indeed, late in 1380, the earl of Douglas wrote to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, the lieutenant of the march, to complain about Vaux and his neighbours in Gilsland, who had ridden into Scotland on many occasions, seizing booty and prisoners for ransom. Although Gaunt considered it necessary to make a public defence of Roland’s conduct on the ground that one of the young man’s vills had been sacked by the Scots and robbed of goods worth ‘une grande somme’, he did promise full compensation to Douglas, along with the return of all hostages. In private, however, he showed far less sympathy to the English freebooters, who were commanded peremptorily to comply in every respect with the orders of his commissioners on the west march regarding any breaches of truce.4
Notwithstanding this rebuke, Vaux continued to take the law into his own hands whenever the occasion offered. In December 1395, for example, orders went out for his arrest along with Hugh Salkeld I* and his son, Hugh II*, because they had waged a private war against the abbot of Shap and his tenants. Perhaps for this reason, Vaux decided to sue out a royal pardon in the following February, although as late as March yet another crown commission was investigating his misdeeds. Ironically, in view of his past history, he was named in November 1398 as one of the securities for the preservation of a new truce by the English on the border, although this time he evidently kept his word. Vaux served at least once as a juror at Penrith, where he helped to determine the outcome of an assize of novel disseisin. One of his neighbours in the northwest was John Windsor, the nephew and heir of William, Lord Windsor, for whom he offered bail in a lawsuit. Windsor failed to appear in court, but since he had been absent on royal business at Calais he and his mainpernors were excused from paying any fines.5
There is good reason to suppose that, despite his rather chequered relations with John of Gaunt, Vaux was an active supporter of the Lancastrian regime, since although he had obtained some experience of local government during Richard II’s reign, his career became much more active after Henry of Bolingbroke seized power. He was, indeed, a Member of the Parliament of September 1399 which ratified the deposition of King Richard and sanctioned Henry IV’s seizure of the throne. Moreover, as well as serving as a diplomatic envoy in the west march, he was entrusted with the task of taking formal seisin of Cockermouth castle for the King after the earl of Northumberland’s rebellion in 1405, thus proving himself a loyal adherent of the government. He was rewarded with the office of verderer in Inglewood forest, a post which he occupied until his death, some eight years later.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Vallibus, Vaus, Vauz.
- 1. CIPM, xi. no. 447.
- 2. Cal. Scots Docs. iv. no. 673; Rot. Scot. ed. Macpherson etc. ii. 173.
- 3. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. iii. 175-7; n.s. xi. ped. facing p. 54; CIPM, xi. no. 447; CFR, vii. 253, 263.
- 4. CFR, ix. 49, 174; Reg. Gaunt 1379-83, nos. 1208, 1210.
- 5. C67/30 m. 34; E368/171, return of writs, rot. 1; JUST 1/1500 rot. 38; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 654, 731; 1396-9, p. 351; CCR, 1392-6, p. 439; 1396-9, p. 280; Cal. Scots Docs. iv. no. 512.
- 6. CPR, 1405-8, p. 69; CCR, 1409-13, p. 386.