LOVETOT, Robert (d.1393), of Conington, Hunts.
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Family and Education
m. by Jan. 1367, Agnes (4 Aug. 1336-bef. Sept. 1393), da. and coh. of John Bruys (d.1346) of Conington and Exton, Rutland, by his w. Margaret, wid. of Hugh Wesenham, poss. 1s.1
Commr. of array, Hunts. Apr., July 1377, Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392; to suppress the rebels of 1381, June, Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; enforce labour services, Cambs. July 1381 (estates of Thorney abbey); make an arrest, Hunts. July 1384 (John Knyvet* and his brother).
Assessor of a tax, Hunts. May 1379; collector Dec. 1384, Dec. 1385.
J.p. Hunts. Feb. 1384-d.
Members of the Lovetot family are known to have lived in the Catworth area of Huntingdonshire from the early 12th century onwards, and it was not long before they acquired other interests in Grafham and Southoe. Robert was almost certainly related to the prominent local landowner Edward Lovetot, who died in 1369, leaving a young son named John to inherit his estates, although we cannot now establish their exact degree of kinship.2Indeed, nothing is definitely known about the MP before January 1367, by which date he had contracted the marriage to which he owed most of his influence in county society. His wife, Agnes, was the daughter and coheir of John Bruys, lord of the manor of Conington and owner of other property in the Exton area of Rutland. Had her guardian and eventual father-in-law, John Wesenham, succeeded in his plan to consign her three other sisters to nunneries, she would have inherited all these holdings, but his designs were thwarted, and in 1359 the Bruys estates were partitioned between her and a younger sister who had been abducted just in time while still a novice. Agnes retained the manor and a moiety of the advowson of Conington, which were worth just over £21 a year. She had by then been married for some time to Wesenham’s son and heir, Hugh, whose early death presumably left her in possession of a handsome dower as well. At all events, she represented a lucrative prize to Lovetot, who appears to have had very little, if any, land of his own. The couple were confirmed in possession of their share of the Bruys estates, and although Lovetot was subsequently obliged to release his title to the holdings in Rutland, he did secure for himself a life interest in Conington, where, from 1367 onwards, he made his home.3
No more is heard of Lovetot until the spring of 1377, when he was appointed to his first royal commission. One year later, the electors of Huntingdonshire chose him to represent them in the House of Commons, a service which he was to perform on no less than six occasions altogether. During his time as a parliamentarian he also obtained a seat on the county bench, which he occupied for almost a decade. Yet he still remains a shadowy figure, about whose personal affairs comparatively little is known. He seems to have been a personal friend of Sir William Moigne, his colleague in the Parliaments of 1386 and 1391, since besides witnessing various deeds for his influential neighbour, he was involved in the complex financial transactions attendant upon the latter’s purchase of the manor of Sawtry Beaumes. In September 1391, Lovetot agreed to offer joint securities of £186 13s.4d. on behalf of Sir William, although he and his associate, Robert Waryn*, were themselves careful to obtain even more substantial guarantees front the knight. He was also oil close terms with Sir Nicholas Styuecle (d.1395), another important figure among the Huntingdonshire gentry, whose estates he held in trust for many years. His other associates included the Rutland MP, John Wittlebury*, for whom he acted as a mainpernor at the Exchequer.4
Robert Lovetot died on 20 Sept. 1393, having survived his wife, Agnes. The manor of Conington had evidently been entailed upon the issue of her first marriage, for it passed to her son, Robert Wesenham, who was then over 30 years old. We cannot now tell if the MP left any children of his own, although the William Lovetot who was parson of Conington in 1395 may well have been his son.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Louetoft, Luftoft.
- 1. VCH Hunts. iii. 147; CCR, 1364-8, p. 464; C136/81/37. Some doubt exists as to the date of birth of Agnes Bruys, for whereas her proof of age states that she was born on 4 Aug. 1336, other sources give 1330 and 1338 (CIPM, viii. no. 674; x. nos. 47, 484).
- 2. VCH Hunts. ii. 347; iii. 30-31, 61.
- 3. Ibid. iii. 147; VCH Rutland, ii. 129; CCR, 1364-8, pp. 366, 464; CIPM, viii. no. 674; x. nos. 47, 484.
- 4. CCR, 1377-81, pp. 480-1; 1385-9, p. 444; 1389-92, p. 532; CPR, 1389-92, p. 517; Add. Ch. 34069-70; CFR, x. 82.
- 5. C136/81/37; CFR, xi. 92, 118; CPR, 1391-6, p. 697.