MAWARDEN, Richard (d.c.1418), of Marden, Herefs., Sodbury, Glos. and Stratford sub Castle, Wilts.

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



Apr. 1384
Jan. 1404
Oct. 1404

Family and Education

m. bef. July 1388, Edith (d.1425).

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Herefs. Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392; arrest July 1387, Wilts. Mar. 1400; inquiry, Herefs. July 1388 (lands of Sir Simon Burley), Wilts. bef. Feb. 1412 (ownership of Barford St. Martin).

Sheriff, Herefs., 2 Jan.-18 Nov. 1386, Wilts. 15 Nov. 1389-7 Nov. 1390, 7 Nov. 1393-11 Nov. 1394, 1 Dec. 1396-2 Oct. 1399, Hants 5 Nov. 1403-18 Jan. 1404, Glos. 15 Nov. 1408-4 Nov. 1409.

Constable and porter of Dynevor castle, Carm. 1 Dec. 1388-bef. June 1397.

Collector of customs and subsidies, Bristol and ports between Bridgwater and Chepstow 5 Dec. 1395-Feb. 1397.

Keeper of Southampton castle 30 Jan. 1400-Mar. 1404.

Steward and parker of Sodbury 2 Mar. 1405-d.


Mawarden presumably came from Marden in Herefordshire, and during Richard II’s reign was usually described as resident in that county. He took little part in local affairs, however, save on an official level, and his career was always that of a royal servant and administrator. Mawarden had entered royal employment by 29 July 1381, when as a ‘King’s esquire’ he was granted, from the issues of Cornwall, an annuity of £10 for life. This he exchanged the following year for a similar sum charged on the farm of certain royal mills in Shropshire. Thus, by the time of his first and only election to Parliament for Herefordshire, in 1384, he was in receipt of livery at the Wardrobe, and he continued to be a ‘King’s esquire’ for the rest of the reign. In 1385 he took part in Richard II’s expedition to Scotland with his own small retinue of two archers. His services were rewarded in 1388 with the grant of the offices of constable and porter of Dynevor castle, but, although the posts were granted him for life, in fact he relinquished them within nine years. In October 1391 he was accorded a tun of wine every year from the prisage at Bristol, and in August 1393 he received a corrody of £5 p.a. from Stanley abbey in Wiltshire. As a member of the King’s household, Mawarden travelled to Ireland in the autumn of 1394 on Richard’s first expedition there. Further signs of royal favour came the next year, with his appointment as customer in Bristol, in September 1396, when he shared with two others the important wardship of all the estates in England and Wales lately belonging to Richard, Lord Talbot, and in the following year when he and another royal esquire were granted the fine incurred by the bailiffs of Oxford for escapes from the town prison. Finally, in December 1397 he obtained custody of the manors of Tilshead, Wiltshire, and Tarrant Launceston, Dorset, both of which belonged to the abbey of Caen, for a farm of £56 5s.11d. a year. Meanwhile, as sheriff of Wiltshire, Mawarden had been responsible for holding the county elections to the Parliaments of 1390 (Jan.), 1397 (Jan.) and 1397 (Sept.). The personnel of this last assembly was of crucial political importance to Richard II, who required a smooth passage through the Commons of his measures against the Lords Appellant of 1387-8; and it was surely not coincidental that on this occasion Mawarden, a member of the royal household, returned the King’s trusted councillor, Sir Henry Green, together with another courtier, Sir Thomas Blount. Although both men held land in Wiltshire in right of their wives, they were virtual outsiders to the community of the shire, and their loyalty to Richard II may not be questioned, for both were to suffer execution for it. Mawarden, too, remained true to Richard, but in his case only so long as expediency demanded. On 12 July 1399 he received £38 18s. at the Exchequer for going as sheriff of Wiltshire ‘with no small number of men’ (possibly as many as 160) to join the duke of York at Ware, Hertfordshire, to withstand the invading army of Henry of Bolingbroke.1 It seems likely, however, that he and his men joined up with Bolingbroke when York made his peace with him, for after Henry took the throne he acquitted Mawarden from making an account at the Exchequer for the money received for his force. As sheriff, Mawarden again held the Wiltshire elections, this time to Henry IV’s first Parliament which was to assemble in October. While it was in session he had obtained confirmation from the new King of his £10 annuity, and received a grant from him of a similar fee, charged on the issues of Wiltshire. Henry IV clearly had confidence that Mawarden’s change of allegiance was whole-hearted. In the following January he appointed him to the responsible post of keeper of Southampton castle, where he was kept busy supervising repairs to the fortifications in case of invasion, and two months later awarded him a third annuity, this time of £20. Mawarden retained custody of Southampton castle until 1404 (the year of his returns to Parliament for Wiltshire and Gloucestershire). In the following year he exchanged his annuities for tenure, rent-free, of the manor of Tilshead, and shortly afterwards he received a gift of £15 for his services. Other marks of Henry IV’s favour included the wardship and marriage of Sir Thomas Poure’s heir (which he shared with John Golafre*), and the offices of steward and parker of Sodbury during the minority of Lord Despenser. After his eighth and last term as a sheriff, which ended in 1409, Mawarden retired from public life. Under Henry V he continued to enjoy an income of £40 a year from Tilshead.2

Little is known about Mawarden’s landed holdings outside Wiltshire, save that he was lord of the manor of Sodbury in Gloucestershire, by 1388, when he presented to the church of Little Sodbury, that two years later he was a co-patron of the chapel of Croft in Herefordshire, and that by July 1403 he was co-owner, with Thomas Preston, chaplain, of a tenement in Tower Ward, London. In Wiltshire itself he held jure uxoris, lands and rents in Woodford, Salisbury and Stratford sub Castle, as well as the manor of Great Durnford, and these holdings, together with Tilshead, gave him an annual income estimated in 1412 at £66. After his death, which occurred shortly before 28 Feb. 1418, and after that of his widow, in 1425, inquiries were to be made in Herefordshire as to his property there, but no escheators’ returns have survived.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Authors: Richmond / L. S. Woodger


Variants: Manwardy, Maurdin, Mauwardyn.

  • 1. CCR, 1392-6, p. 230; 1399-1402, p. 286; CPR, 1381-5, pp. 31, 210; 1388-92, pp. 1, 488; 1391-6, p. 475; 1396-9, p. 112; 1401-5, p. 61; CFR, x. 179; xi. 188, 247; E101/401/2 f. 42, 403/10 f. 43d.; E403/508 m. 21, 562 m. 14; EHR, lxxiii. 19-20; C219/9/7, 12, 13.
  • 2. C219/10/1; CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 13, 72, 185, 240-1, 369; 1401-5, pp. 46, 494; 1405-8, p. 8; 1408-13, p. 449; 1413-16, p. 108; CFR, xiv. 24; VCH Hants, iii. 496; PPC, i. 194; RP, iv. 243; E28/22, 12 June 1405; E403/585 m. 4; Harl. 319, f. 46; E404/20/283.
  • 3. CPR, 1401-5, p. 271; Feudal Aids, vi. 541; VCH Wilts. vi. 205; Reg. Trefnant (Canterbury and York Soc. xx), 175; Reg. Wakefield (Worcs. Hist. Soc. ser. 2, vii), 61; Wilts. Feet of Fines (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xli), 112, 194, 196; CFR, xiv. 197; xv. 82.