Wednesday, 25 April 2012

For many grete benefetis by hym done in dyverse wises to the same John Assheburnham

The Old Castle
Photograph Details: 
Nikon D7000 Focal length 24mm ISO-100 exp: 1/160 f11

Scotney Castle, near Lamberhurst, can refer to either the old castle or the new castle within the estate once owned by the De Scoteni family (hence the name). Scotney Castle is now owned and maintained by The National Trust

The Old Castle:

The Old Castle was reputedly built by a Mr Roger Ashburnham in about 1378. Roger was an important administrator of Sussex during the reign of Richard II who ruled from 1377 (at the tender age of 10) to 1399 when he was deposed. During his work for the King, Roger was able to gain 5 manors within the counties of Sussex and Kent.

These manors were meant to be passed to his nephew, John, on his death. Things get quite confusing with this family as they all seemed to be called John! This John, however would become a powerful courtier. He managed to gain a royal pardon for a Kentish man convicted of manslaughter. In 1393 John paid a fine of £2 (approx £1000 in today's money) for failing to assume knighthood as required by royal proclamation.

John was first elected to the Commons in January 1397 for the seat of Sussex and about 20 years later John seemed to lead a comfortable life with income from two of his estates of about £25 per year (about £11,500-12,000 by modern standards) with the prospect of securing an inheritance of his uncle Roger' estates. However, John died on 22nd November 1417 and so never did receive his uncles estate. 

As soon as John had died, the affairs went up in the air. His son, Thomas, claimed Scotney which ultimately led to the the sale of part of the estate. John was meant to have paid £100 to the executors of Roger Ashburnham to his title to Ewhurst, but it seems this failed to happen. 

Either way, the manor was passedover to a very influential knight Sir John Pelham 'for many grete benefetis by hym done in dyverse wises to the same John Assheburnham'

To put into perspective, below is a list of offices held by John Pelham - as I'm sure you will agree, it is an impressive résumé :-

Constable of the duchy of Lancaster castle of Pevensey 7 Dec. 1393-d.
The abp. of Canterbury’s forester of Broyle, Suss. 6 Mar. 1394-d.
Commr. of inquiry, Surr., Suss. Apr. 1398 (goods of Thomas, duke of Norfolk), Suss. Oct. 1398 (lands of an idiot), Jan. 1400 (concealments), June 1400 (trespass), Kent, Suss. Apr. 1409 (piracy), Norf. Nov. 1408 (trespasses against the Crown), Suss. July 1417 (destruction of a bridge), May 1426 (piracy), Sept. 1428 (concealments); to confiscate goods of Richard, late earl of Arundel, Surr., Suss. Apr. 1398; bring a royal ward to Chancery May 1398; of array, Hants Dec. 1399, Suss. July 1402, Hants Sept. 1403, Suss. July 1405, May 1415, Surr., Suss. May 1416, Apr. 1418, Mar. 1419, Surr. July 1419, Suss. June 1421; of sewers Nov. 1401, June 1408, Kent, Suss. July 1414, Suss. Oct. 1415, Feb., Oct. 1422, May 1423, May 1428; to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402; supervise musters of armies going overseas Apr., May 1405, July 1412, Feb. 1417, Mar., Apr. 1418; raise royal loans, Suss. Sept. 1405, Surr., Suss. Feb. 1417; determine an appeal from the admiral’s ct. Apr. 1412; take custody of the lands and goods of Thomas, late earl of Arundel, Surr., Suss. Oct. 1415, and bring his muniments to Chancery Jan. 1416.
Royal sword-bearer 24 Oct. 1399-d.
J.p. Suss. 3 Feb. 1400-d., Hants 27 Jan. 1406-Feb. 1407, Surr. 1 July 1411-Oct. 1417.
Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 8 Nov. 1401-29 Nov. 1402.
Member of Henry IV’s council c. Apr. 1404-May 1406.
Steward of the duchy of Lancaster honour of the Eagle and lordship of Pevensey, 8 July 1404-d.
Jt. keeper of the temporalities of the bpric. of Winchester Oct. 1404-Mar. 1405.
Jt. treasurer of war 11 Nov. 1404-19 June 1406.3Keeper of the New Forest 5 Mar.-c. Dec. 1405.
Chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster south of the Trent 8 Dec. 1404-5 Apr. 1413.
Parlty. cttee. to oversee the engrossment of the Parliament roll 22 Dec. 1406.
Controller of customs and subsidies, Chichester 1 Mar.-3 Nov. 1407.
Lt. to Prince John, constable of England, in the ct. of chivalry May 1407.
Dep. butler to Sir John Tiptoft, Chichester 26 Nov. 1407-26 Jan. 1408.
Treasurer of the Exchequer 20 Dec. 1411-20 Mar. 1413.
Ambassador to France 10 July-3 Oct. 1414, to treat with Scottish envoys Dec. 1423.
Member, Henry V’s council in England c. July 1417-Aug 1422.

(Click here for the source of this list and for a biography of Sir John Pelham)

Click here for part II of my basic history of Scotney Castle

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As ever, thanks for reading

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