The Life and Times of Robert Ingleton

The following document, written in 2000, is part of unpublished research on Ingleton by the History Of Parliament Trust and shows that Robert Ingleton might not have been a chancellor as previously believed. This material is strictly copyright and permission to reproduce any part of it must be addressed to the History of Parliament Trust, 15 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0NS. It should take the form 'History of Parliament Trust, London, unpublished article on Ingleton, Robert'. I am grateful to the History of Parliament Trust for allowing me to see this article in draft'.

INGLETON,1 Robert (d.1473), of Warton, Lancs., and Thornton, Bucks.


s. and h. of Robert Ingleton (fl. 1448) of Warton, Lancs., by Margaret (fl. 1448), da. and coh. of Thomas Wandesford (d. by 1428)2 of Ugglebarnby, Yorks. m. (1) Margaret, prob. da. of Sir Philip Dymmock (d.1454) of Scrivelsby, Lincs. ?3s. d.v.p. 5da.;3 (2) by Apr. 1455, Clemence (fl. 1457), da. of William Cantelowe* of London, ?2s. d.v.p. 3da.;4 (3) Isabel ?Beaumont (d. 22 Oct. 1475), of Whitley Beaumont, Yorks.,5 ?1s. 2da. Dist. Bucks. 1465.

Commr. of inquiry, Herts., Mdx. Dec. 1450 (Chancery petition), Northants. July 1461 (wastes in royal forest of Whittlewood), Mar.1463 (lands of Sir Thomas Green), Bucks. Apr. 1465 (lands of James, earl of Wiltshire, Thomas, earl of Devon, and Thomas, Lord Roos), Herts., Bucks. June 1468 (lands of (Sir) Robert Whittingham II*), Bucks. Oct. 1470 (murders and felonies); to seize lands, Eng. May 1461 (lands of the earl of Devon), Northants., Rutland May 1461 (duke of Exeter and other Lancastrians); of arrest, Northants. June 1461 (Robert Tanfeld II*); oyer and terminer, Bucks. Oct. 1470.

Controller of customs, Kingston-upon-Hull 11 May 1452 - 21 Mar. 1453; collector, London 3 Apr. 1453-4 Apr. 1454, jt. with John Poutrell 4 Apr. 1454-28 Mar. 1455.

Comptroller of the pipe 12 July 1454-bef. 15 July 1456.6

Common serjeant, London 2 Dec.1454-26 Apr. 1456.7

Escheator, Northants. and Rutland 7 Nov. 1460-8 Nov. 1461. (This may be where a misunderstanding of his rank occurred)

J.p.q. Northants. 1 Sept. 1460 - Nov. 1467, Bucks. 19 Mar. 1463 - July 1470, 28 Dec. 1470 - June 1471.

This MP poses an insurmountable problem of identification. He could be either the obscure husband of a minor Yorkshire heiress, or their much more prominent son. The former was alive in Michaelmas term 1448, when he and his wife brought an action to recover the right of presentation to the church of Thornton Dale in north Yorkshire.8 His survival to this date would be enough to identify him as the MP but for the fact that his son too must have been active in the 1440s. There is no direct evidence of the younger man's date of birth, but, since there is every reason to suppose that it was he rather than his father who was elected as common serjeant of London in 1454, it is a fair guess that he was born in about 1420 if not before. Regrettably there is no evident break in the career of the Ingleton who appears in the records between 1437 and 1473, and it is impossible to say when the career of the father ends and that of the son begins. In the biography that follows I have assumed that all references, save for that of 1448, refer to the son. They certainly describe a coherent career.

Nothing is known of Ingleton's origins beyond the identification of his parents. There can, however, be no doubt that early in his career he lived at Warton in north Lancashire - in a bond of 1437 he is described as resident there and, in a pardon of 1455, 'late of Warton' appears among his aliases - and little doubt that his family originated from Ingleton in north Yorkshire, a few miles to the east of Warton.9 Another certainty is that he owed his advancement to a training in the law - the lost inscription on his tomb confirms what the course of his career implies, namely that he was 'juris peritus' - and it is a probability that his early patron was his knightly neighbour, Sir Thomas Parr*. Between 1438 and 1443 Parr had the custody of that part of the barony of Kendal (Westmorland) which had returned to royal hands on the death of John, duke of Bedford; and it is a fair surmise that Parr's patronage explains the royal grant to our MP, in February 1441, of the herbage in part of a royal park there at an annual farm of four marks.10 Much more importantly, it was probably through Parr that he was able to attach himself to greater masters, namely, the powerful junior branch of the Nevilles. His entry into their service may have predated his return to represent Appleby in the Parliament of 1442, but it is more likely that he was elected as the nominee of Parr, who, as the deputy-sheriff of Westmorland, was well-placed to influence the election.11 The earliest indication of his connexion with the Nevilles dates from two years later and coincides with the appointment of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, to the stewardship of 'Richmond fee' in the barony of Kendal. In the spring of 1444 Ingleton was acting as an attorney in the chancery of the earl's brother, Robert, bishop of Durham, and thereafter the relationship quickly developed. In March 1445, when he offered mainprise in the royal chancery on behalf of Parr, he is described as 'of Hauxwell', a Neville property in north Yorkshire, and on the following 21 June he received assignment in the Exchequer on behalf of another of Salisbury's brothers, William, Lord Fauconberg, as keeper of Roxburgh castle. It was in these years also that he joined another Neville man, Thomas Conyers, as a pledge for the prosecution of a Chancery petition against the servants of Ralph Percy, a younger son of the earl of Northumberland.12 Thereafter he played a regular part in their affairs. On 5 Feb. 1447 he witnessed a deed of grant to Salisbury; a few weeks later, on 20 Mar., he offered mainprise on behalf of two Neville men, John Tunstall and Thomas Colt, to whom Salisbury had surrendered the keeping of part of the barony of Kendal; and, on 5 Dec. 1450, probably as Salisbury's agent, he had a royal grant of the keeping of the lordship of Flamstead, Hertfordshire, in the King's hands by the death of Salisbury's daughter, Cecily, duchess of Warwick.13

The geographical focus of Ingleton's career changed in the early 1450s. The explanation may lie in the opportunity for employment consequent upon the grant to Salisbury's son, Richard, earl of Warwick, of the chamberlainship of the Exchequer on 6 Dec. 1450. Only nine days after this appointment was made he was named, alongside Thomas Stockdale+, one of Warwick's tellers as chamberlain, to take testimony on a petition pending in Chancery, and it may be that he was already employed in the Exchequer at this date.14 He was certainly so employed soon afterwards. Such service would explain why, on successive days in October 1451, he acted as mainpernor for two grants of property in the keeping of the Crown, and why, two months later, when he entered into a bond to the King on behalf of James, Lord Berkeley, he is described of 'the parish of St. Martin within Ludgate'.15 Even more suggestive is his appointments, within the space of less than a year between May 1452 and April 1453, to the controllership of the customs in Kingston-upon-Hull and then as collector in London. Not, however, until 12 July 1454 did he acquire formal Exchequer office when the chancellor there, the Neville servant Thomas Witham, named him as comptroller of the Pipe at an annual fee of £6. Significantly, this promotion came during the first protectorate of the duke of York, who numbered the Nevilles among his most valuable allies, and in these circumstances it is not surprising that further rewards should have come our MP's way. On the following 29 Nov., while the duke was still protector, he was granted the wardship and marriage of Emmot, granddaughter and coheir of Nicholas Wotton 11*, at a farm to be negotiated. This brought him the custody of property in Wiltshire and Somerset, and a welcome augmentation of his income.16 His election very soon afterwards as common serjeant of London was a recognition both of his abilities and the political ascendancy of his Neville patrons.17 It was at about this time that he took a Londoner as his second wife. By 10 Apr. 1455, when the couple had papal licence to have a portable altar, he had married one of the daughters of the wealthy mercer, William Cantelowe.18

The duke of York's loss of the protectorate early in 1455 marked the first reverse in Ingleton's career. Although, on 1 Feb. 1455, he was able to secure the regrant of the Wotton wardship at an annual farm of 20 marks, a month later he was replaced as London customs collector by a nominee of Queen Margaret.19 The duke's second term as protector in the wake of the battle of St. Albans proved too brief to bring our MP any compensatory rewards. Indeed, the end of the duke's second protectorate cost our MP his remaining offices: in April 1456 the London authorities replaced him as common serjeant and soon after he was removed from his position in the Exchequer. His public career was over, its resumption entirely dependent on a change in the political fortunes of the Nevilles. In the meantime, however, he could console himself with the profit his career had already made him, and, ironically, it was while the prospect of further advance was closed to him that he made his first substantial recorded investment in real property. Here again it was the Nevilles who provided him with the opportunity. By a final concord levied in Trinity term 1457 he acquired in fee the manors at Whiston and Woodford in Northamptonshire from Lord Fauconberg, upon whose behalf he had received an assignment in the Exchequer as early as 1445. Later evidence shows that he numbered among Fauconberg's most trusted servants, and it may be that the grant was an act of patronage on the lord's part. More likely, Fauconberg was relieving financial difficulties by selling an outlying estate to a favoured retainer.20 The acquisition was a timely one for our MP, since, in the following year, he lost the custody of the Wotton lands. On 24 Oct. 1458 Emmot proved her age, although not before our MP had contracted her in marriage to one Henry Ogan.21

Ingleton's public career was resurrected by the Yorkist victory at the battle of Northampton and the accession of Edward IV in the following spring. Now established as a country gentleman, his newly-acquired lands justified his appointment late in 1460 as both j.p. and escheator in Northamptonshire. He also maintained his interests in the Exchequer, receiving assignments there in November 1460 and January 1461 for the fee of the newly-appointed chancellor, George Neville, bishop of Exeter.22 The trust placed in him by the new regime is further reflected in the several ad hoc commissions to which he was appointed in the first months of the new reign, the most important of which related to the seizure of forfeited Lancastrian lands.23 His service did not go unrewarded. On 7 Apr. 1461 he joined with the Exchequer official, Walter Writtle*, in purchasing for 100 marks the wardship and marriage of Edward (b.1441), son and heir of William Raleigh of Farnborough in Warwickshire; and, on the following 19 July, he was one of three men entrusted with the keeping of the valuathe grand-daughter of thof te minority of the heir, Cecily, the grand-daughter of the late earl of Salisbury. Clearly these rewards came to him as a servant of the Nevilles rather than of the King, as did a potentially greater opportunity for profit and advancement. On 21 Dec. 1461 he was appointed chancellor of the Exchequer in reversion expectant on the death of another Neville servant, Thomas Witham.24 More immediately valuable to him was the grant made to him and two others on the following 22 July of the keeping of the alien priory of Cowick in Exeter and the prebend of Hayes in the free chapel of Exeter castle at the no doubt favourable farm of £50 p.a. This grant is to be seen in the context of another much more important one made a few days later to the former Lord Fauconberg, elevated to the earldom of Kent in 1461. He was endowed in tail-male with extensive forfeited estates in the West Country, and, since he was the Neville with whom Ingleton was most closely associated (in March 1462 their names had been joined in a pardon of account), this probably also explains the grant to our MP. His intimate concern in the affairs of the new earl is made apparent in this endowment: if the earl died without male issue our MP and other of his men were to hold the property for 12 years for the implementation of his will. This eventuality was soon realized. The earl died on 9 Jan. 1463, leaving only daughters. His will is lost, but a later pardon shows that Ingleton was one of its executors.25

Ingleton's new-found importance was soon translated into further property purchases. Chief among these was the manor of Thornton, which lay just on the Buckinghamshire side of that county's border with Northamptonshire. It was an extensive property, consisting of over 1,500 acres with two parks, and had been much traded. In 1418 Sir John Chastillon, whose family had held the manor since the 1270s, sold it to a lawyer, John Barton I*, for the handsome of 800 marks, and in 1457 the feoffees of Barton's childless widow sold it to (Sir) John Prysote*, c.j.c.p. After Prysote's death there was a dispute in Chancery between his widow and one of his feoffees, Thomas Shotbolt, who claimed that the manor was heavily burdened by the judge's debts. On 18 Feb. 1462 the matter was referred to the arbitration of the chancellor, our MP's lord, George Neville, bishop of Exeter. What he awarded is not known, but it is a fair surmise that he decreed that the manor be sold in discharge of debt, and that he then facilitated Ingleton's purchase. However this may be, on the following 1 May, the widow conveyed the property to feoffees, headed by the bishop and the earl of Kent, and including our MP and his first wife's brother, Sir Thomas Dymmock. No doubt they were to be seised to Ingleton's use, and his acquisition was recognized by the Crown in the following spring when he was added to the Buckinghamshire bench.26 It was, however, some years before he could make his title secure. He was troubled by his neighbour, William Garnon of Leckhampstead, as residual heir of Chastillon: in Easter term 1464 Garnon sued a writ of formedon against Prysote's feoffees, and two years later he was himself sued by our MP for the massive debt of 1,000 marks, presumably on a broken bond concerning agreements between them. Probably their rival claims had been put to arbitration, with the arbiters favouring our MP's title, and Garnon was slowly brought to a realization of the hopelessness of his position. On 20 June 1467 he quitclaimed the manor and advowson to our MP and George Neville, now archbishop of York.27 Thus free of rival claims Ingleton set about making his new purchase a suitable residence for a family newly-established among the county gentry. It was no doubt to this end that he resumed an earlier project for the foundation of a chantry in the church there. On 8 July 1468, as an assign of the feoffees of John Barton's widow, he paid £50 for a royal licence to complete the foundation.28 He also made further purchases in the vicinity, but unfortunately these are far less well documented. Indeed, they have to be inferred from the inquisition post mortem of his son and eventual heir, George (c.1463-94), which records the small manors of Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire and Strixton in Northamptonshire. These had once belonged to Henry Bromflete, Lord Vessy (d. 1469), who, by his will of 21 May 1466, had instructed his executors to complete a sale of his unentailed properties that had already begun. There can be little doubt that our MP had taken advantage of this sale.29

Purchase was not, however, the only method Ingleton employed to extend the landholdings of his family. In the late 1460s, when his influence was at its height, he contracted a potentially lucrative marriage for George (b.1463), the issue of his third wife, and, despite the fertility of his first two matches, seemingly his last surviving son. The bride Sibyl (b.c.1463), was the only daughter of Thomas Billing the younger by Margery, daughter and heiress of Robert Fitzellis of Waterperry in Oxfordshire. She not only brought a valuable connexion - her paternal grandfather, Thomas Billing* became c.j.KB in January 1469 - but, leaving aside the distant and eventually-unrealized prospect of inheriting a share of the judge's property, she had much to look forward to by way of her maternal inheritance. At about the time the marriage took place our MP stood pledge in the court of Chancery for the prosecution of a petition by the bride's father. This complained that Fitzellis's feoffees had refused to implement the settlement made on the marriage of the bride's parents, and it may be that the satisfactory resolution of this dispute was one of the conditions upon which Ingleton contracted the match.30

Ingleton was wise to do so much to establish his family while his fortunes were at their height. The growing tension between the King and the Nevilles and the final breakdown of their relationship meant that the last years of his life were fraught with difficulty. For our MP the first sign of the impending difficulties was the dismissal as chancellor of Archbishop Neville, with whom his ties were close, in the summer of 1467. This may be linked to his own removal from the Northamptonshire bench a few months later, and perhaps it was a sense of insecurity that prompted him to sue out a general pardon in May 1468. His care to include his role as the late earl of Kent's executor among his aliases suggests a fear that action in the Exchequer for the late earl's debts to the Crown may have numbered among the actions taken against the Nevilles. In these circumstances it can have come as no surprise to him that, when, on 8 Apr. 1469, his fellow Neville man, Thomas Witham, either lost or surrendered the chancellorship of the Exchequer, the office went to the royal servant Richard Fowler I,*- rather than to him as reversioner.31 His change of fortune gave an opportunity to his rival for the manor of Thornton to reassert his claim. On 2 May 1470, after Warwick had fled into exile, Thomas Garnon, presumably a near kinsman of the releasee of 1467, broke his close and houses there, taking goods worth as much as £40 and assaulting his servants. Significantly, among Garnon's companions in this raid was the queen's brother, Sir Richard Wydeville, and our MP must have feared he would lose the manor. His removal from the Buckinghamshire bench a few weeks later can have done nothing to diminish this fear. The Readeption gave him the opportunity to re-establish his position. On 14 Oct. he sued Wydeville, Garnon and others in the court of King's bench for damages of 100 marks, and his appointment later in the same month to commissions of inquiry and oyer and terminer in the county offered him the chance to seek further redress.32 In the following spring, however, his Neville affiliations made inevitable his final loss of position on Edward IV's victorious return, and he lived the last two years of his life in retirement. Yet all was not lost. On 14 July 1471 he was able to secure a general pardon, which he wisely had enrolled on the patent roll, and later evidence shows that he was able to defeat the Garnon claim. As a lawyer of advancing years he had probably avoided taking up arms in the Neville cause at the battle of Barnet, and had thus been able to preserve the gains his long service to that great family had brought him.33

Ingleton died on 17 Oct. 1473 and writs of diem clausit extremum were issued four days later. Inquisitions were held in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire, but the jurors in each county baldly returned that he died seined of no lands. Since his son and heir, George, was a minor, it is clear he had put his property in the hands of feoffees. No evidence survives of their identity.34 Ingleton's determination to advertise the establishment of his family among the gentry is made evident in the fine altar tomb and brass he commissioned for his body in the church of Thornton. The former, decorated with the figures of 18 saints and bedesmen, was demolished with the chancel in the late 18th century, but was recovered from the grounds of the manor-house at Thornton and rebuilt in the nave in the 1940s. The latter is a rare example of a quadruple canopy depicted on a brass, and bears the images of Ingleton, in full plate armour, his three wives and, at the foot, small figures presumably intended for his children. The latter are in three distinct groupings, and, on the natural assumption that this is to distinguish the issue of one wife from another, then, by his first wife, he had three sons and five daughters, by his second, two sons and three daughters, and, by his third, a son and two daughters. Few of these can have survived to adulthood.35 The heir, George, served as sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 1485-6. The family failed in the male line on the death of his son and heir, another Robert, in 1503.36

1 Variants: Ingelton, Ingilton, Ingylton.

2 Feudal Aids, vi. 312.

3 The armorial evidence of Ingleton's tomb identifies her as a Dymmock, and, on chronological grounds, Sir Philip is her likely father. Her brother, Sir Thomas, appears among our MP's feoffees in 1462: B. Willis, Buckingham, 297.

4 Her paternity is suggested by the brass's armorial evidence, and a fine of 1457 in which Cantelowe acted with our MP: Bucks. Rec. Soc. vii. 56;

5 The only evidence of her paternity is the uncertain identification of a coat on the brass: Bucks. Rec. Soc.
vii. 56; xv. 49.

6 PRO List 'Exch. Offs.', 74.

7 Guildhall Miscellany, ii(9). 385.

8 CP40/751, rot. 601. His wife's share of the Wandesford patrimony consisted of a moiety of the manor of Ugglebarnby near Whitby with lands at Thornton Dale near Pickering and at Hunmanby. Curiously, although the armorial bearings on the tomb of the Robert Ingleton who died in 1473 leave no doubt that she was his mother, these lands appear to have descended to the other coheiress on her death: VCH N. Riding, ii. 521.


CAD, vi. C5244; C67/41, m. 33.

10 CFR, xvii. 183, 198.


The names of Ingleton and the other MP, Richard Brady, have been added in a gap left in the indenture, and their names endorsed on the writ in a different hand and ink from the remainder of the endorsement:


M.A. Hicks, Warwick, 21; DURH3/46, m. 15; CFR, xvii.
316-17; E403/757, m. 6; 01/15/108.

13 CCR, 1447-54, p. 65; CFR, xviii. 69, 181.

14 CPR, 1446-52, pp. 409, 435.

15 CFR, xviii. 237, 240; CCR, 1447-54, pp. 325-6.

16 CFR, xix. 117; C139/154/27.

17 He had been elected by 12 Dec. when, as common serjeant, he acted as arbiter in a dispute pending in the sheriff's court: Cal. P. and M. London, 1437-57, p. 147

18 CPL, xi. 225.

19 CFR, xix. 106, 128-9. He was left with an uncomfortable legacy from his time as London customs collector. In Nov. 1454 the executors of William Paston, j.c.b., had sued him and Poutrell for the large debt of £432 as arrears of the late judge's judicial fees. The case was continually adjourned to Trin. term 1459, when it disappears from the records: E13/145B, rots. 7, lld, 27d, 28d, 35, 36.

20 CP25(1)/179/95/145. His connexion with Northants. predates this acquisition. In 1453 he acted in a bond with a widow of that county and as surety in a grant of the keeping of property there: Add. Ch. 7573; CFR, xix. 71.

21 CPR, 1452-61, p. 489; C139/174/50; CCR, 1454-61, pp. 315-16.

22 E403/820, ms. 3, 6. He also acted with the bp. as a lessee of land in Cornw. between 1462 and 1465: CAD, v. A8739, 11975; C140/17/19.

23 CPR, 1461-7, pp. 34-35.

24 CFR, xx. 33-34, 53, 54-55; C139/181/68; CPR, 1461-7, p. 86.

25 CFR, xx. 76; CPR, 1461-7, pp. 183, 225; C67/46, m. 5.

26 Willis, 295-7, 308; Cl/29/99-102; VCH Bucks. iv. 244-5.

27 CP40/812, rot. 48; 820, rot. 263d; CCR, 1461-8, pp. 450-1.

28 CPR, 1467-76, p. 112.

29 North Country Wills (Surtees Soc. cxvi), 53-54; C140/29/37; CIPM Hen. VII, i. nos. 966, 968

30 C1/33/144; C140/32/22.

31 C67/46, m. 5; PRO List 'Exch. Offs.', 38.

32 KB27/839, just. rot. 36; CPR, 1467-77, pp. 246-7.

33 CPR, 1467-77, p. 267.

34 CFR, xxi. nos. 160, 226; C140/43/9. His monumental insciption erroneously dates his death to 15 Oct. 1472.

35 For descriptions of the tomb and its restoration: Bucks. Rec. Soc. vii. 55-58; xv. 46-49, 217-18.


VCH Bucks. iv. 245; Oxon. v. 295; CIPM Hen. VII, ii. no. 659.

Aug. 2000