RALEIGH, Thomas (1380-1404), of Farnborough, Warws.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1404

Family and Education

b. Farnborough 9 Feb. 1380, s. and h. of Thomas Raleigh (d.1397) by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Robert Evesham. m. c.1402, Joan (d.1448), da. and h. of William, Lord Astley of Astley, by Joan, da. of John, 3rd Lord Willoughby of Eresby, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held


The Raleigh family originated in Devon, where Thomas’s father held the manors of Charles, West Hagginton and West Buckland as well as other properties. But their branch had acquired estates in six other shires too: in Warwickshire (where they had made their home), Oxfordshire, Hampshire (on the Isle of Wight), Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, which provided annual revenues in excess of £140. Raleigh was aged 17 at the time of his father’s death in 1397,1 when John of Gaunt’s eldest legitimated son, John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset, promptly obtained a grant of 400 marks from the issues of his landed inheritance; the wardship itself, however, being allotted to Raleigh’s stepmother, Agnes, and her influential son Robert Frye II*, the clerk of the King’s Council.2 Thomas made proof of age in December 1401 and shortly afterwards married Lord Astley’s only child, Joan. Together with his wife he subsequently joined the guild of the Holy Trinity at Coventry. Early in 1403 Raleigh acted as a feoffee of his father-in-law’s estates, and in other transactions he was associated not only with Lord Astley but also with his wife’s cousin, William, Lord Willoughby.3

At the age of 24 Raleigh was elected to the Parliament which was to meet at Coventry on 6 Oct. 1404, only to fall ill shortly after it opened. Indeed, having directly returned to his father-in-law’s home some six miles away at Astley, he made his will on 15 Oct. and died three days later. The will stipulated that he should be buried in the collegiate church at Astley, to which he left £10 for the observance of his obit and for enrolment in the martyrology. A chaplain was left £13 13s.4d. to provide masses for three years, and the poor were to receive 20 marks. Certain of his clothes and armour passed to his brother John, while Lord Astley was given a covered silver bowl, Lady Astley a diamond, and Thomas Kingsland (an old family retainer) a robe and ten marks. Each valet in Lord Astley’s household was to have 6s.8d., and every ‘garcon’ 3s.4d., while his own staff at Farnborough were also remembered. Raleigh’s baby son William (not yet one year old) was bequeathed his sword, dagger, ‘woodknyf’ and two belts with silver clasps, one made of silk and the other of leather. The executors were his wife, the dean of Astley and Thomas Kingsland. Raleigh’s will was proved by Archbishop Arundel at Coventry (where Parliament was still sitting) on 21 Oct.

The profits of the Raleigh estates were immediately assigned to the King’s household for its expenses, but on the 22nd the Lords Astley and Willoughby, together with Raleigh’s widow, secured the wardship of the heir, Willoughby later (in 1406) paying 500 marks for confirmation of the grant.4 The widow subsequently married Reynold, Lord Grey of Ruthin (d.1440). In 1420 Raleigh’s son, too, died, without attaining his majority, leaving his sizeable inheritance to his sister Joan, then wife of Gerard Braybrooke, Lord St. Amand (d.1422).5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Raleghe, Rawley.

  • 1. VCH Warws. v. 85; VCH Oxon. x. 177, 187, 199, 214; VCH Hants, v. 182, 200, 238; C136/101/48.
  • 2. CPR, 1396-9, p. 337; CFR, xi. 240-1; CCR, 1396-9, p. 252.
  • 3. C137/33/50; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 446; CP, i. 284; v. 359; vi. 158-9; Reg. Holy Trinity Guild Coventry (Dugdale Soc. xiii), 79; Warws. Feet of Fines (ibid. xviii), no. 2404; E326/10763.
  • 4. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel i. f. 219d; CPR, 1401-5, p. 459; 1405-8, p. 240; C137/49/28; CFR, xii. 270, 281; CCR, 1402-5, p. 401. The fact that on 13 Nov., the last day of the Parliament, Chancery issued a writ allowing Raleigh expenses for 38 days attendance as an MP (ibid. p. 520), demonstrates that such writs are unreliable as proof of attendance for the duration of a Parliament.
  • 5. CFR, xiv. 338; xviii. 153; CP, xi. 301.