LUTON, Sir Robert (c.1355-1391), of Hartwell, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b.c.1355, s. and h. of Nicholas Luton (d.1359) of Hartwell by his w. Alice. m. bef. 1378, Katherine (d.c.1436), 1s. 1da. Kntd. bef. Feb. 1388.
Tax collector, Bucks. Nov. 1377.
Commr. to put down rebellion, Bucks. Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; of inquiry Oct. 1383; array Apr. 1385.
J.p. Bucks. 15 July 1389-June 1390.
Established in Buckinghamshire since 1271, by the mid 14th century the Lutons owned the manors of Hartwell and Little Hampden in that county, as well as Norcott in Hertfordshire and property at Garthorpe (Leicestershire) and Little Bowdon (Northamptonshire). Perhaps because Norcott was held of Edward, prince of Wales, as of the honour of Berkhampstead, our MP’s father, Nicholas Luton, was often listed as a witness to grants made by the prince at Berkhampstead castle during the 1350s, and it is quite likely that he was one of the prince’s retainers. On his death in 1359, there was some difference of opinion as to whether Hartwell was held of Edward III in chief by knight service, or of other lords: following a grant to the King’s yeoman, Walter Whithors, of the wardship and marriage of young Robert, the boy’s mother brought a suit in Chancery claiming custody for herself. It seems likely that she failed in her plea, for before December 1361 Whithors had also obtained, from Prince Edward, keeping of the Luton lands at Norcott. The property at Little Bowdon, held of Sir William Maureward, fell into the prince’s keeping on Maureward’s death, thus also coming ultimately (in 1376) to the Crown. It was not until February 1378 that Robert, having ‘long been of full age’, successfully petitioned to have seisin of his inheritance.1
Having thus taken possession of estates which were to be valued at more than £50 10s. a year at his death, Luton was considered suitable for election to Parliament in 1380, while still a comparatively young man of about 25. Although it is quite possible that he had before this spent some time overseas on military campaigns, he was not recorded as a knight until his second election, to the Merciless Parliament of 1388. He was serving as a j.p. when returned for the third and last time in 1390. Little known about his wife, Katherine, but we may assume that she was a kinswoman of (Sir) Baldwin Pigot*, the Bedfordshire landowner whom Luton made a trustee of his estates, for in a will which Pigot made in June 1391 she was named among the executors. By then Sir Robert Luton was dead. He had died earlier the same year, on 18 Mar., leaving as his heir his 13-year-old son William, whose wardship and marriage were promptly bought, for 200 marks, by the King’s half-brother, John Holand, earl of Huntingdon. Nevertheless, a large part of the Luton holdings remained in the possession of Sir Robert’s widow, who outlived him by about 45 years. Following the death of William Luton, while still a minor, the heir to the estates was his sister Eleanor, who by 1398 was married to John Bosenho*.2
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. VCH Bucks. ii. 291n, 296-7; CPR, 1354-8, pp. 137, 468; 1358-61, p. 190; Reg. Black Prince, iv. 98, 111, 295, 407, 456, 485; CIPM, x. 547; xv. 47.
- 2. C136/72/37; CPR, 1391-6, p. 20; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 386-7, 435; VCH Herts. ii. 246; CP25(1)290/61/150. Sir Robert was appointed posthumously to a comm. of array in Mar. 1392; CPR, 1391-6, p. 90.