EST, Thomas, of London.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by 1445, Mary.
Yeoman of the King’s beds by 1421-c.1455.
Porter of Bronllys castle and forester of Cantreselyf 4 July 1426-c.1427, 26 Feb. 1437-13 Mar. 1449.
Troner and pesager, Devon and Cornw. 1 June 1431-d.
Jt. surveyor (with Richard Bitterley*) of the houses and keeper of the warren, Havering atte Bower, Essex 14 July 1437-d.
Keeper of Kenilworth park and porter of the castle by Feb. 1440-d.
Est probably owed his election to Parliament for Lyme to his friendship with the Brookes of Holditch, Dorset, whose influence there had been strengthened in 1415 by their receipt of a grant of the town in fee farm. In April 1417, a few months before Parliament assembled, Est was entrusted with 200 marks belonging to the fugitive lollard Sir John Oldcastle*, whose stepdaughter Joan, the heir to the barony of Cobham, was married to Thomas Brooke (soon to accompany him to the Commons as knight of the shire for Somerset). Later, Est acted for Brooke and his wife as a feoffee of their estates in Somerset, Devon and Dorset.1
It is not known exactly when Est entered Henry V’s service, but he was certainly a valet in the Household by 1421, when he took out letters of protection to travel to France in the royal entourage. From 16 Aug. his daily wage of 6d.as a yeoman of the Crown was paid by the sheriff of Somerset and Dorset. After confirmation of his position in December 1422 he remained among the staff of Henry VI’s household for the rest of his life. In 1430 he accompanied the young King to Paris for the coronation, and his proximity to Henry and his advisors enabled him to obtain several sinecures. In 1431 as a result of his claim that he had been ousted from his offices at Bronllys and Cantreselyf (worth 20 marks a year) because of the partition of the de Bohun estates between Anne, countess of Stafford, and the Crown, the Council appointed him as troner and pesager of Devon and Cornwall. Nor was he required to forfeit his new post when he recovered the portership of Bronllys in 1437. By 1440 his annual income from such offices amounted to about £40. In addition, grants of two pipes of wine a year for life and of part of a shipment of confiscated wool were lucrative rewards. In 1446 it was found that £5 was due to him for wages of war, £2 2s.7d. for wages in the Household and £19 2s. for purveyances made for Queen Margaret’s coronation.2
With the exception of associations with William Holt II*, esquire, for whom he acted as feoffee of Aston, Warwickshire, and with certain London fishmongers, merchants and dignitaries,3 Est would seem to have established few connexions outside the sphere of the Household, and growing antagonism towards the men close to the King rendered his position increasingly insecure. On 2 Mar. 1449 he saw fit to obtain letters of protection for himself, his men and his possessions, as well as a formal exemption from serving in any official capacity against his will, and on 6 Nov., during the Parliament which impeached the duke of Suffolk, he was removed from the keepership of Havering atte Bower. His name appeared on a contemporary list of men reported slain by the rebels in June 1450, but in fact he survived for at least another five years, continuing to serve as a yeoman of the Crown. It was as such, indeed, that he was exempted from the Acts of Resumption of 1450 and 1455; and in May 1452 he was not only restored at Havering, but his wages for the intervening period were awarded him in full. In 1453 he and John Beaufitz† were paid £7 9s.4d. for escorting Robert Ardern† and another prisoner from Kenilworth castle to Hereford, and on 25 Oct. that year he was granted, as a clerk of the signet, a pension at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.4
Little has been discovered about Est’s landed interests, not even if it was indeed he who in 1423 as ‘of Yateley, Hampshire’ had entered into recognizances with Thomas Haseley,* a clerk of the Crown. In the later years of his life he was involved in a prolonged Chancery suit over lands in Erith and Lessness, Kent, which, he alleged, were the gift of one of his ‘felowes to the signet’, William Crosby, esquire. Although several testimonies spoke of ill-feeling between the two and of Crosby’s determination that Est should have neither a ‘fote of his lyvelode ne londe’, in March 1455 Crosby’s brother supported Est’s contention, and in 1466 the case finally went in favour of him and his heirs. There is, however, no evidence that Est was then still alive.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. CFR, xiv. 249; CCR, 1435-41, pp. 190-1, 397; Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 317.
- 2. E404/46/302, 303, 62/111; DKR, xlviii. 273; C64/16 m. 31; CCR, 1422-9, p. 347; 1441-7, p. 6; CPR, 1422-9, p. 35; 1436-41, pp. 470, 493; 1441-6, pp. 28, 356.
- 3. CCR, 1435-41, p. 36; 1441-7, pp. 296, 364, 378; 1447-54, pp. 230, 255.
- 4. CPR, 1446-52, pp. 232, 550; CCR, 1447-54, p. 487; C.L. Kingsford, Eng. Hist. Lit. 366; RP, v. 192, 316; Issues ed. Devon, 475; E404/69/89.
- 5. CCR, 1422-9, p. 65; 1454-61, p. 454; C1/31/266-71, 33/224.