POMEROY, Edward (d.1446), of Sandridge, Devon and Tregony, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Sheriff, Devon 26 Nov. 1431-5 Nov. 1432.
Commr. of inquiry, Dorset, Devon, Cornw. June 1432 (piracy); to take musters May 1440; of oyer and terminer, Devon Sept. 1442.
One of the few Norman families actually to have come over at the Conquest, that of Pomeroy established itself in the south-west, the centre of its estates being Berry Pomeroy and Hurberton in Devon and Tregony in Cornwall. These stood at the head of honours which amounted to 56 knights’ fees. This property descended in the direct male line from the late 13th to the early 15th centuries, being governed for some of that time by an entail made in 1329, which stipulated that Sir Henry Pomeroy’s lands were to descend to his sons and their male heirs in succession. Two of these sons had male issue: Sir Henry (d.1373), his eldest, and Thomas (knight of the shire for Devon in 1377), his fifth, the father of Edward. But in 1387 Sir John Pomeroy*, son and heir of the younger Sir Henry, set the entail aside by holding Berry Pomeroy of feoffees jointly with his wife and providing for the descent of the estates to the heirs of their bodies with remainder to his right heirs: in effect, Edward, his cousin, had been dispossessed. This was, however, to some extent remedied before March 1404, when Edward consented that Berry and neighbouring properties should be held by Joan, Sir John’s wife, for term of her life, a transaction which suggests that his reversionary rights had at least been recognized. Certainly, after September 1413 Sir John and his wife held Berry with remainder to Edward and his male heirs. Meanwhile, in 1404, our MP had acquired from this same kinsman the family lands at Tregony, albeit only by agreeing to pay him £46 a year until he died; and in the same year he took possession of premises at Sandridge and other places in Devon, which, presumably, had once belonged to his father. But the death of Sir John without issue in 1416 and the machinations of Sir Thomas Pomeroy*, the husband of Sir John’s niece, disturbed all the lawful succession. Sir Thomas seized Berry, having persuaded Sir John’s widow to give up her rights to the property and, moreover, in 1417-18, he challenged Edward’s possession of Tregony. Indeed, with a band of some 200 men he forced an entry into the manor, locked up Edward’s wife without food and drink for two days, and so threatened the couple that they did not dare stay. Sir Thomas and Edward were subsequently required to undertake, on pain of £100 fines, not to molest one another, and in February 1418, by advice of the King’s Council and ‘to avoid riots and other evils and inconveniences which may easily arise’, Tregony was placed in the custody of (Sir) John Arundell I* of Lanherne.2 Thus, it was not until the death of Sir Thomas in 1426 that the Pomeroy estates were brought together in their entirety into Edward’s hands. The re-united properties were quite extensive, though no complete financial assessment has survived.
Pomeroy’s election to Parliament in 1419 may perhaps be explained in terms of Courtenay influence. Earlier in the year he had served in the retinue of Hugh Courtenay, the heir to the earldom of Devon, which body formed the nucleus of the large naval force under Hugh’s command as ‘captain of the navy’. He attended the shire elections held at Exeter in April 1421 and October 1423, but was never again returned to Parliament himself. In 1434 he was among the leading Devon landowners required to take the oath not to maintain anybody who broke the peace. Although on one occasion he was described as ‘knight’, he was generally referred to as ‘esquire’; clearly, his public services were not such as to have warranted knighthood.3
Edward Pomeroy died on 3 May 1446, and was then succeeded by his son, Henry. His widow lived on until 1461.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. E.B. Powley, House of de la Pomerai, p. xxv; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 302-3; CIPM, xv. 136.
- 2. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1914), 687; ibid. (1950), 853; CPR, 1385-9, p. 296; 1413-16, p. 95; 1416-22, pp. 135, 318; Powley, 61-62; CCR, 1413-19, p. 451; C1/6/91; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 140-1; C138/47/53.
- 3. Powley, 75-76; Feudal Aids, i. 224-5, 453, 480, 486, 491, 493; vi. 418; CPR, 1429-36, p. 399; DKR, xliv. 610; J.H. Wylie, Hen. V, iii. 182; Reg. Lacy ed. Hingeston-Randolph, i. 12; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 142-3; C219/12/5, 13/2.
- 4. CCR, 1429-35, p. 342; 1441-7, pp. 328-9; CFR, xviii. 2, 21; CPR, 1429-36, p. 322; C139/122/37; C140/1/11.