PANTRY, alias BUTLER, Richard de la, of St. Albans, Herts.
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Family and Education
m. by Apr. 1388, Christine, wid. of Geoffrey Styuecle, esquire of the body to Edw. III.1
Commr. of inquiry, Herts. Sept., Oct. 1387 (wastes and damage at the royal manor of King’s Langley); array Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403; to carry harness and victuals from London to Chester for the prince of Wales Oct. 1401.
Nothing is now known of this MP’s background, although he may well have been a kinsman of the Richard de la Pantry whose name derived from his post in the household of Edward III. A yeoman of the royal pantry from 1341 onwards, Richard died in about 1367, by which time his services had been generously rewarded with a variety of grants and offices.2 An existing family connexion with the Court would perhaps explain our man’s initial success in the service of Richard II. His name is first mentioned in June 1380, when he and 12 other esquires of the body were sent to attend upon John of Gaunt at Hertford castle. No more is heard of him until 1387, the date of his appointment to two commissions of inquiry in Hertfordshire. These concerned wastes on the royal manor of King’s Langley, which was then being farmed by de la Pantry’s close friend, Thomas Lee II*. Lee himself served on the commission set up in November 1388 to ascertain what property had been held in St. Albans by William Grindecob, a leading insurgent of 1381, and the recently executed Sir Nicholas Brembre†; and as a result of its findings some, if not all, of these confiscated holdings were granted to de la Pantry in the following March. His marriage to Christine, the widow and executrix of Geoffrey Styuecle, had, meanwhile, taken place by late April 1388, since the couple were then required to account at the Exchequer for certain money assigned to Styuecle for his services as a royal messenger. Christine evidently brought her second husband the tenement and shops in the parish of All Hallows Gracechurch Street, London, which Styuecle had originally received as a gift from Edward III, although by 1394 the property had been sold to one John Field of Standon.3
A striking feature of de la Pantry’s career is his long association with the Lee family. Thomas II’s brother, Sir Walter, one of his colleagues in the Parliament of 1394, made him his executor and feoffee-to-uses; and it was thus that he became involved in a rather bitter dispute with Sir Walter’s brother-in-law, Robert Newport*. The latter, claiming sole authority to administer Sir Walter’s estate, forcibly evicted our Member and his fellow trustees from the Lee inheritance, and was, in consequence, summoned to appear in Chancery to defend his actions. In December 1397, Newport was bound over in sums totalling £200 to keep the peace towards de la Pantry and the others. The outcome of the case is not recorded, although some nine years later Newport joined with his brother-in-law, John Barley, in conveying a substantial part of the Lee estates in Essex to ‘master Richard de la Pantry’ and his associates, so we may assume that a compromise was eventually reached between the two parties.4
Despite his strong links with Richard II, de la Pantry suffered no dramatic reversal of fortune because of the Lancastrian usurpation, and, indeed, was serving the new regime as a commissioner of array by December 1399. A quantity of Richard II’s valuable silver plate remained in his custody at St. Albans until May of the following year, when he surrendered it to one of Henry IV’s retainers. He apparently retired from public life soon afterwards, his last official appointment being to supervise the carriage of provisions to the prince of Wales’s headquarters in Chester. No more references survive to him after the Hilary term of 1407, and he remains a shadowy figure about whose personal life comparatively little can be adduced. He appears to have rented land at Rickmansworth from St. Albans abbey, and at some point towards the end of the 14th century he was responsible for the building of a grange there. A local man offered him sureties of £6 in April 1399, possibly as a result of some property dispute, and four years later he was able further to extend his holdings in St. Albans by acquiring land from the widowed Alice Lee. De la Pantry probably died childless, but it is impossible to be certain on this point.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Panetre, Panterye.
- 1. E364/22, f. 8; Corporation of London RO, hr 123/44.
- 2. CPR, 1341-3, p. 76; 1345-8, pp. 62, 130, 547; 1354-8, pp. 415, 441; 1364-7, p. 384.
- 3. Reg. Gaunt 1379-83, no. 463; CPR, 1385-9, pp. 388, 390; 1388-92, p. 22; E364/22, f. 8; Corporation of London RO, hr 123/44.
- 4. SC8/224/11152; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 96, 236; 1409-13, pp. 421, 427; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. nos. 149-50.
- 5. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 293; CCR, 1396-9, p. 497; Herts. Gen. and Ant. ed. Brigg, i. 88; Gesta Abbatum S. Albani ed. Riley, iii. 442.