WHITTINGTON, Guy (d.1440), of Pauntley, Glos. and Sollershope, Herefs.

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

Family and Education

s. and h. of Robert Whittington* and nephew of Richard*. m. bef. Easter 1401, Cecily (10 Apr. 1389-aft. 1440), da. of John Browning* of Melbury Sampford, Dorset, by his 1st w. Agnes, da. and coh. of William Rodborough of Leigh near Deerhurst, Glos., sis. and h. of Richard Browning, 5s. (1 d.v.p.), 2da.

Offices Held

Escheator, Glos. and the marches 23 Nov. 1419-16 Nov. 1420, Herefs. 7 Nov. 1435-23 Nov. 1436.

Commr. of inquiry, Glos. Jan. 1421 (ownership of land),1 Feb. 1421 (repairs to a gutter), May 1429 (theft of grain), Herefs. Dec. 1435, Glos. May 1440 (concealments); to assess a subsidy Apr. 1431, Jan. 1436; of array Jan. 1436; to raise royal loans Feb. 1436.

J.p. Glos. 20 July 1424-d.

Sheriff, Herefs. 6 Nov. 1414-15 Jan. 1426, Glos. 7 Nov. 1427-4 Nov. 1428, 5 Nov. 1433-3 Nov. 1434.

Biography

Through his marriage to Cecily, the daughter of his father’s friend John Browning, Whittington acquired several properties in Gloucestershire. In 1400, after the death of her brother, Richard, young Cecily had become the heir to the estates of her maternal grandfather, William Rodborough, and her great-uncle, Thomas Rodborough. During her minority she was married to Whittington, and the disputes which had arisen as to whether or not her wardship pertained to the Crown were all settled before February 1404, a year before she made proof of age. Whittington then held jure uxoris the manor of Rodborough and land in Harford in Naunton, Ebley and Notgrove, while the rest of Cecily’s inheritance from her mother’s family, including property in Staverton, Evington and Haydon and a moiety of the manor of Leigh, were to fall to her on her father’s death in 1416. Whittington’s natural interest in the disposal of his father-in-law’s own estates (which Cecily stood to inherit if her two half-brothers both died without issue) is demonstrated by his presence as a witness to transactions completed by Browning in 1410 and 1412, while his own father acted as one of Browning’s feoffees. Both father and son were named by him as executors of his will.2

Previous to this, Whittington had seen service in France in 1415 as a member of the duke of Gloucester’s retinue, presumably fighting in the battle of Agincourt. His experiences as a soldier proved of little use, however, when on 26 Oct. 1416, as he and his father were riding home from Hereford, they were ambushed near Mordiford by some 30 armed servants of Richard Oldcastle and taken by force to a place known as ‘Dynmorehille’, deprived of their horses and armour, and imprisoned in a chapel for the night. They were threatened with abduction to Wales and being put to death if they failed to produce sufficient men to stand bail for them in £600. Robert Whittington was then held as a hostage while his son, Guy, was released to find the ransom money, and eventually the former, under duress, signed bonds for £111 and a general release of all actions against his captors. The Whittingtons jointly presented a petition for redress in the Parliament then in session (doubtless being assisted in this by the presence of Robert’s brother, Richard, as a Member of the Commons), and obtained a promise that their suit would be heard by the Council. But whether the miscreants were ever brought to justice does not appear. Guy was appointed escheator of Gloucestershire in 1419, and elected to the Parliament which convened a fortnight after the end of his term in the following year. His father’s position as a j.p. in the shire may well have been instrumental in securing both the appointment and the election. In April 1423 Robert named him as principal beneficiary and executor of his will, and he succeeded to the Whittington estates in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire not long afterwards. Although he was never quite so prominent in the administration of Gloucestershire as his father had been, Guy did make his mark, serving as a j.p. from 1424 until his death in 1440, and holding office as sheriff for two terms. He was also given other positions of responsibility; thus in May 1423 he had been nominated, together with the bishop of Worcester and Robert Stanshawe, as a custodian of the hospital of St. Bartholomew in Gloucester. Whittington attended the local elections to the Parliaments of 1423, 1425, 1429 (then acting as mainpernor for Sir Maurice Berkeley of Uley), 1433, 1435 and 1437, having in the meantime as ex officio sheriff of Herefordshire conducted those at Hereford to the Parliament of 1425. During that same shrievalty he had transgressed against the Church by arresting the prior of Clifford within the precincts of Hereford cathedral: in January 1425 he was required to make submission to the bishop for absolution. Some idea of Whittington’s standing in Gloucestershire may be gained from his position at the head of the list of those required in 1434 to take the oath generally administered by the authority of Parliament against maintenance. Then, in 1436, he was asked to make a loan of £40 to help finance the duke of York’s expedition to France, an identical sum to that expected from John Greville*, Robert Greyndore* and Robert Poyntz*, his fellow Gloucestershire esquires.3

Whittington’s associates among the local gentry were those to be expected from one of his standing. In 1429 Elizabeth, widow of Richard Ruyhale* and of Whittington’s former adversary, Richard Oldcastle, named him as an executor of her will; and as a consequence for several years after 1431 he was involved in the complicated transactions and lawsuits relating to her Gloucestershire manor of Dymock, which linked him with Henry Bourgchier, count of Eu, and Sir John Pauncefoot*, and entailed close dealings with John Merbury*, the former chamberlain, receiver and justiciar of South Wales. Then, in 1434, he acted as a feoffee of the manor of Boddington on behalf of Sir John Beauchamp (afterwards Lord Beauchamp) of Powick. In November 1436 Whittington shared an Exchequer lease of property at Mitcheldean and Little Dean during the minority of Thomas Baynam, one of his mainpernors on that occasion being John Cassy of Wightfield.4 The ward was the son and heir of Robert Baynam, an esquire who eight months earlier had been party to a transaction whereby Whittington had formally entrusted the prior of Llanthony with £106 13s.4d. in money to be kept until suitable land could be found for purchase as a settlement on his own eldest son, Robert, and the latter’s wife. It seems doubtful, however, that the land was ever bought, for Robert died in France in the following year. Subsequently, in November 1437 Whittington entailed his wife’s manor of Leigh successively on their surviving children, with a final remainder to her half-brother, William Browning.5

Whittington died on 18 May 1440, having made a will on 21 Apr. remarkable in its similarity to the one made by his father in 1423, even down to the bequests of the same items of silver. He asked to be buried at Pauntley in the new chapel dedicated to St. Mary, and left sums of money to Hereford cathedral and the churches at Staunton and Leigh. His daughter, Margery, was to have 100 marks for her marriage, while his widow was to retain possession of the livestock at Pauntley and Staunton, and his sons to receive various items of armour, beds and clothing. Whittington named his widow and their son Richard among his executors and requested John Throckmorton* (the earl of Warwick’s retainer), William Browning and Robert Clyvedon (who had been involved in the administration of his father’s will, too) to act as overseers. Probate was granted on 12 June.6

After Whittington’s death, Leigh passed under the terms of the entail to his son, Richard, although the heir to the rest of his estates was William Whittington, apparently his grandson, who was to represent Gloucestershire in Parliament in 1455.