BROOMFORD, Nicholas (c.1362-1415), of Broomford in Jacobstowe, Devon.
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Family and Education
Commr. of arrest, Cornw. Feb. 1388; inquiry Dec. 1413 (breach of the Statute of Mortmain).
Tax collector, Cornw. Dec. 1402.
Escheator, Devon and Cornw. 30 Nov. 1407-9 Dec. 1408, 10 Dec. 1411-3 Nov. 1412.
Coroner, Cornw. bef. 26 Jan. 1411.2
Broomford’s grandfather, Robert Bere, changed his name to Broomford in the 1340s, and it was from him, using another alias (Horylake), that Nicholas inherited scattered messuages and tenements in north Cornwall. His father, who was lord of the manor of Broomford in Jacobstowe (near Okehampton), died in 1363, evidently within a year or so of the birth of his heir, for the latter was still a minor 20 years later. His guardian, John Cary†, the future chief baron of the Exchequer, acted as patron of the family livings as late as 1383. Broomford himself presented to the rectory of Jacobstowe in 1405 and 1414 and meanwhile, in 1408, to the living at Honeychurch. By the time of his death his estates were substantial enough to provide his widow with an annual income of £40.3
From early in his career Broomford had dealings with several leading figures of his neighbourhood, acting, for example, as a feoffee of manors in Cornwall for Sir Richard Cergeaux* and John Whalesborough*. Furthermore, from March 1387 he served at sea in the retinue of Edward, earl of Devon. In 1393 he went to law with Matthew Gyles, whom he claimed had wrongfully appropriated a small box of muniments.4 Broomford’s election as burgess for Barnstaple is worthy of note as providing an early example of a shire knight sitting subsequently for a borough. His connexions with the lords of the town may well have had something to do with it. In 1396 he had become a trustee of some of the London property of the then lord, John Holand, earl of Huntingdon, and the attachment was sufficiently strong for him to join the rebellion in which, in the early months of Henry IV’s reign, Holand took part and lost his life. In February 1400 some of Broomford’s own landed property in Cornwall, valued at £7 11s.4d., along with movables worth 20 marks, was forfeited to the Crown; and a jury at Week St. Mary (claiming that they dared not tell the whole truth for fear of his revenge) revealed not only that he had £100 of the late earl’s money in his keeping, but that he had also assisted Holand in his treason ‘as far as in him lay’. It may be that his continued association with Holand’s widow, Elizabeth, who was Henry IV’s sister, saved him from the penalties of his actions, which evidently was the case: certainly, only 18 months later he was appointed as a collector of parliamentary subsidies in Cornwall. But the temporary confiscation of his lands and goods caused him some financial difficulties: he was outlawed for his failure to appear in the courts to answer charges of debts amounting to £40. He did, however, eventually pay £12 6s.8d. to one of his creditors and later, in 1409 and 1410, obtained royal pardons of outlawry.5
Broomford attended the parliamentary elections held at Exeter castle on 28 Oct. 1411, and his accounts for his second term as escheator of Devon and Cornwall date from 10 Dec. following, at which time the Parliament in which he represented Barnstaple was in progress. He saw service abroad on Henry V’s first expedition to Normandy, but got no further than Harfleur, whence he was invalided back to England. He did in fact die very soon afterwards, on 18 Oct. 1415.6 Before leaving for France he had provided handsomely for his wife’s dower. He left a son, John, and two daughters (Joan, a god-daughter of the rector of Exbourne, and Isabel, the first wife of Sir John Prideaux).7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. JUST1/1519 m. 77. Margaret was evidently John Broomford’s first wife. His widow, Juliana, m. Alexander Cruwys (CIMisc. vii. 228).
- 2. C242/8/21.
- 3. Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxii. 122-3; CFR, vii. 277; xiv. 189; C138/21/45; Reg. Brantingham ed. Hingeston-Randolph, i. 45, 86; Reg. Stafford, 179, 181.
- 4. CAD, iv. A8752; CCR, 1413-19, p. 421; CP40/528 rot. 15; E101/40/33 m. 2.
- 5. CAD, ii. A2261; CIMisc. vii. 90-91; CPR, 1408-13, pp. 125, 249; CCR, 1409-13, p. 75.
- 6. C219/10/6; N.H. Nicolas, Agincourt, 362; C138/21/45.
- 7. C1/7/130; Reg. Stafford, 396; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 222-3; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 618.