BUSH, Ralph (d.1441), of Caundle Haddon, Dorset.

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

prob. s. of Ralph Bush of Corfe, Dorset, by Edith, da. of William Canon. m. (1) bef. 1403, 1da. d.v.p.; (2) between Oct. 1415 and Feb. 1416, Eleanor (c.1387-1 or 7 Dec. 1433), da. and h. of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn* of Caundle Haddon by Maud, da. and coh. of Sir John Argentine†, wid. of (Sir) John Chideock* of Chideock, Dorset, 2s. 1da. (all d.v.p.).1

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Dorset Apr. 1418, Mar. 1419, June 1421; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419, Som., Dorset Mar. 1431; of inquiry, Som. May 1428 (concealments).


A Ralph Bush, probably the MP’s father, and Edith his wife, sued William Goseld for 68s. for every year he had been Edith’s receiver at Corfe between 1369 and 1381. The younger Ralph brought a similar action in 1431 against William ‘Gowele’ for failing to render account of his receipts as bailiff of the same property. Besides this small holding, he acquired, before 1412 and possibly through his first marriage, a manor in Winkton (Hampshire), valued at £12 a year. It seems likely that he was the ‘Raulyn Bush, esquire’ admitted to the fraternity of St. Albans abbey in 1408 as a member of the entourage of Elizabeth Montagu, countess of Salisbury; and six years later she left the same man 100 marks for his long service and appointed him executor of her will.2 But otherwise insignificant beginnings were overcome by Bush’s marriage to a widow and heiress, a venture which cost him the very substantial sum of 400 marks for his trespass in neglecting to seek the King’s licence to marry. As dower from her previous husband, Sir John Chideock, Eleanor Fitzwaryn held the manors of Little Crichel, East Chelborough and Chideock and property in Bridport (Dorset), together with those of Allowenshay (Somerset), and Frampton-on-Severn (Gloucestershire). More important, she had inherited from her father extensive estates comprising 12 manors and other property in Dorset, four in Somerset, and one in Northamptonshire, as well as land in Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire. Nor was this all, for in about 1419 Eleanor inherited, from a distant relation, the manor of Kilve (Somerset) and other land in the same county, some of which she and Bush then sold to John Roger I* of Bridport. By 1428 Bush also had lands in Cambridgeshire, apparently similarly acquired through this marriage. When Eleanor died in 1433 her Chideock dower passed to her son, another Sir John Chideock, but Bush retained the Fitzwaryn estates for life ‘by the courtesy’.3

Bush’s marriage also brought him status and social contacts, but he did not always use his influence for the good. On 30 Dec. 1418 John Godde of Rampisham (Dorset) was murdered, and one of the men accused of the crime subsequently deposed that on the previous night he had been at Bush’s house at Caundle Haddon and, along with three tenants of his, had been called to a room known as ‘la stewe’ to be sworn to be of counsel and aid to Bush and his wife, after which they had been instructed to go to Rampisham park to ‘talk’ to Godde. All four ‘counsellors’ were implicated in the murder, but even so no action appears to have been taken against Bush himself. Later in the winter of 1419 he was included on the list sent to the King’s Council by the j.p.s for Dorset as being able and sufficient for military service. There is, however, no evidence that he ever served abroad. Shortly after the dissolution of the Parliament he attended in the same year, Bush stood surety at the Exchequer for Sir Thomas Beauchamp* of Whitelackington, and he later acted as a feoffee of Beauchamp’s estates. Bush’s other associates included John Stourton I*, with whom he shared custody of property in Somerset under leases made in the Exchequer in 1421 and 1426, and also (Sir) Thomas Brooke*, the wealthy landowner whom he assisted as a trustee and with whom he was connected by marriage in 1433, when William Bush, his son and heir, married Brooke’s daughter, Joan. Bush was party to the electoral indenture for Dorset sealed at Dorchester prior to the Parliament of 1423, and he was high on the list of men from the county required to take the oath not to maintain breakers of the peace which Parliament authorized ten years later.4

Shortly before her death in 1433 Eleanor Bush had made various provisions for the three children of her marriage to this MP: 300 marks were left for the marriage of their daughter Margery; lands to the value of 100 marks were settled on their son John; and William, the elder son, was assured of the inheritance of the Fitzwaryn estates after his father’s death. If John and William died without heirs then lands to the value of £100 a year were to go to Margery, provided that she ‘be marriageable, of good conversation and obedient’. But William died soon afterwards (before 1438), and consequently, after Ralph Bush’s death on 11 July 1441, the Fitzwaryn estates passed to his stepson, Sir John Chideock. The heir to Bush’s own, comparatively insignificant, properties was his grandson, Robert Westbury (son of Elizabeth, his daughter by his first marriage).5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


  • 1. CCR, 1413-19, pp. 259-60; 1422-9, pp. 303-4; CAD, vi. C6977; C138/9/38.
  • 2. Yr. Bk. 1387-8 ed. Thornley (Ames Foundation), 56-59; CPR, 1429-36, p. 94; Feudal Aids, ii. 350, 372; vi. 457; VCH Hants, v. 99; Reg. Chichele, ii. 17-18; Cott. Nero DVII, f. 138.
  • 3. CPR, 1416-22, p. 67; 1422-9, p. 290; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 259-60, 345, 384, 464; 1429-35, pp. 328-9; CFR, xvi. 299; xvii. 166; CAD, vi. C6977; Feudal Aids, i. 189; ii. 119; iv. 394; Dorset Feet of Fines, 280, 300, 308, 318-20, 336, 357; SC8/91/4537; Some Som. Manors (Som. Rec. Soc. extra ser. 1931), 319; Som. Feet of Fines (ibid. xxii), 68, 180; C139/65/38.
  • 4. E28/97/93; KB9/211 mm. 1-4; Som. Feet of Fines, 180, 187-9; CPR, 1422-9, p. 400; 1429-36, p. 382; 1441-6, p. 252; CFR, xiv. 320; xv. 154, 203; CChR, vi. 1; CAD, i. C1054; C219/13/2; Dorset Feet of Fines, 308-9, 318-20.
  • 5. C139/107/26; CAD, vi. C6977.