REDMAYNE, Sir Richard (d.1426), of Levens, Westmld. and Harewood, Yorks.

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



Nov. 1414
Dec. 1421

Family and Education

2nd s. and h. of Sir Matthew Redmayne (d.c.1390) of Levens by his 1st w. Lucy. m. (1) at least 1s. d.v.p.; (2) prob. by Sept. 1397, Elizabeth (1364-21 Dec. 1417), e. da. of William, 1st Lord Aldeburgh (d.1388) of Aldeburgh and Harewood, and sis. and coh. of William 2nd. Lord Aldeburgh (d.1391), wid. of Sir Brian Stapleton (d.v.p. 1391) of Carlton, at least 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. Kntd. by 1376.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cumb. 15 Nov. 1389-7 Nov. 1390, 17 Nov. 1393-1 Nov. 1394, 1 Dec. 1396-3 Nov. 1397, 17 Nov. 1398-30 Sept. 1399, 8 Nov. 1401-29 Nov. 1402, 10 Dec. 1411-13 Nov. 1412, Yorks. 5 Nov. 1403-4 Dec. 1404, 1 Dec. 1415-20 Nov. 1416.

Commr. to oversee repairs to Carlisle castle Oct. 1390; make arrests, Westmld. Dec. 1395, Mar. 1396, Apr. 1397, Yorks., Westmld. Nov. 1398, Yorks. July 1403, Dec. 1405; of inquiry Nov. 1397 (oppressions and extortions), Lancs., Westmld., Yorks. Feb., Aug. 1398 (concealments), Yorks. July 1415 (abduction of the earl of Fife), Sept. 1424 (concealments); to enforce the statutes on weirs June 1398; suppress the spread of treasonous rumours May 1402; of array Aug. 1403, Westmld. July 1404, Yorks. Nov. 1404, July 1410, May 1415, Apr. 1418, Mar. 1419; oyer and terminer Aug. 1403 (trespasses), Yorks., Northumb., Cumb., Westmld. Aug. 1407 (treasons), Yorks. Apr. 1408 (murder of Sir Thomas Colville*), Dec. 1411 (attempted murder at Great Ouseburn); to treat with northern rebels and negotiate pardons, generally Apr. 1408; of sewers, Yorks. Aug. 1419; to raise royal loans Apr. 1421.

Master of the King’s horse c. Feb.-Aug. 1399.

J.p. Westmld. 8 July 1401-Feb. 1405, 16 Jan. 1414-July 1423, Yorks. (W. Riding) 22 Jan. 1405-14, 6 July 1415-d.

Escheator, Yorks. 22 Oct. 1404-1 Dec. 1405.

Parlty. cttee. to audit the accounts of the treasurers for wars 19 June 1406.

Ambassador to negotiate with the Scots 19 Jan.-13 Feb., 4 Apr.-7 May 1410.

Speaker 1415.


Sir Richard’s ancestors came originally from Redmain in Cumberland, whence they took their name, although from the mid 12th century onwards they made the manor of Levens in Westmorland their home. As prominent local landowners with other estates at Troutbeck and Lupton, they played an important part in defending England from invasion by the Scots. Sir Matthew Redmayne, who spent much of his earlier life campaigning in France, served from 1379 as joint warden of the march towards Scotland and later held office as constable of Roxburgh as well. Although he fell into enemy hands (for the second time in his life) after the battle of Otterburn in 1388, he was soon released and died a free man some two years later. Such was Sir Matthew’s position in marcher society that he was able to marry (as his second wife) Joan, the grand daughter of Henry, 1st Lord Fitzhugh (d.1356), and widow of both William, Lord Greystoke (d.1359), and Anthony, Lord Lucy (d.1368). For a brief period he shared the wardenship of the march with his stepson, Ralph, Lord Greystoke, who was to prove a useful family contact among the northern nobility.

After the death of his elder son and namesake at some point in the early 1370s Sir Matthew began to involve his next heir, Richard, in his affairs. The young man had already been knighted when, in March 1376, he and his father offered financial guarantees that Robert Hawley would abide by an agreement with Edward III for ransoming the Aragonese nobleman, the count of Denia. Two years later, Sir Richard sued out royal letters of protection preparatory to his departure overseas, probably on one or other of the naval offensives then being mounted against the Spanish and the French. Little is known about his activities during this period, perhaps because he was campaigning in Europe, although by February 1382 he was back home to deliver an assignment of £100 made to his father, as keeper of Roxburgh, from the Exchequer. The Redmaynes held most of their Westmorland property as feudal tenants of the earls of Oxford, which no doubt explains why Sir Richard also helped to collect money allocated by the government to Robert de Vere, the then earl, who had just been promoted duke of Ireland. In October 1386 he took receipt of £26 as part of the wages of men whom the earl had mobilized against the threat of a French invasion. His connexion with de Vere was, however, to prove short lived, for the latter fled the country in December 1387 after an ignominious defeat at the battle of Radcot Bridge by the Lords Appellant, who had already brought charges of treason against him, and were later to secure his conviction in the Merciless Parliament. But the Appellants do not appear to have mistrusted Redmayne in any way. On the contrary, in late April 1388, while the Merciless Parliament was still in session, he obtained a grant of rents worth £10 a year from crown lands in Blencogo, Westmorland. The award was apparently conditional upon the surrender of securities of £80, underwritten by Sir John Ireby, the sitting Member for Cumberland, to Thomas, duke of Gloucester, chief among the Appellants.

Sir Richard’s administrative career began impressively enough, in November 1389, with his appointment as sheriff of Cumberland. Just two days before the end of his year in office he was retained for life by Richard II at an annual fee of 40 marks, charged upon the revenues of the county. His father may, perhaps, have lived to see his good fortune, although he was almost certainly dead by December 1390, when Sir Richard confirmed various family charters. The latter may, indeed, have been moved to make a pilgrimage to pray for his late father’s soul, as a few weeks later he arranged for the supply of foreign credit to the value of £100 through the banker, Angelo Christofori. All of the Redmayne estates now descended to Sir Richard, who, in January 1393, used his influence at Court to obtain a royal licence permitting him to enclose a park of 3,000 acres at Levens. That he spent a good deal of time on the border is evident from other letters patent of Richard II, issued three months later, whereby he and three companions were authorized to hold jousts of war at Carlisle against the Scots—a concession repeated again at the end of the decade.1 Towards the close of his second term as sheriff of Cumberland, in the autumn of 1394, Sir Richard indented to serve in the army which Richard II planned to lead against the rebel Irish clans. He spent eight months in Ireland, returning to Westmorland in late April 1395. During this period he intervened with the King to secure a pardon for his father’s retainer, Robert Harbottle*, who stood accused of murder; and in October 1395 the fine of £20 paid by the King’s esquire, Edmund Hampden*, for marrying without a royal licence, was assigned to him as a gift. Sir Richard’s standing at Court is also evident from his re-appointment to the shrievalty of Cumberland in December 1396 and again in November 1398, since on both occasions the King was strongly placed not only to nominate his most loyal and trusted servants as sheriffs, but also safely to ignore the statute of 1371 which required three years to elapse between such appointments. (Richard II’s flagrant disregard of this statute did, indeed, constitute one of the points in Thomas Haxey’s bill, presented by the Commons to the first Parliament of 1397.) Further rewards came Sir Richard’s way in the shape of a second annuity of 40 marks, assigned to him for life in October 1397 from the palatinate of Chester, and a grant in April 1399 of the wardship and marriage of the young Richard Kirkbred. Although the initial award of rents worth £50 p.a. from the Kirkbred estates in Cumberland was later reduced to 20 marks p.a., Sir Richard clearly remained high in the King’s favour: the royal letters of pardon accorded to him in April 1398 can have been little more than a formality. It is, however, worth noting that at some unspecified date John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, retained him at a fee of £20 p.a.; and that he may well already have established a connexion with Gaunt’s son and heir, Henry of Bolingbroke, one of the junior Lords Appellant, against whom Richard II was then poised to strike.2 But this incipient attachment to the house of Lancaster had not yet come to assume overriding importance in his career. On the contrary, his duties as master of the King’s horse brought him to Court more regularly than before; and it was no doubt because of his official responsibilities in this capacity that Richard II once again retained him to serve in Ireland. The attorneys whom he chose to supervise his affairs during his absence included Richard Clifford, the keeper of the privy seal, and Thomas Stanley, the keeper of the rolls in Chancery, as well as one of his feudal tenants, William Thornburgh*. He left England with the royal army in May 1399, and was thus overseas when Henry of Bolingbroke returned from exile to claim first his inheritance of Lancaster and eventually the English throne.

Notwithstanding his past history as a supporter of Richard II’s absolutist policies, Sir Richard seems to have encountered few problems in coming to terms with the new regime. Although he was removed from the shrievalty of Cumberland in September 1399, and later had to offer securities of £200, jointly with his brother John, as an earnest of their future good behaviour towards the archdeacon of Richmond, he did not otherwise suffer as a result of Bolingbroke’s coup d’état. The usurper was, after all, prepared to look kindly upon one of his father’s former retainers, especially as Sir Richard had influential advocates in the Lancastrian camp. His stepbrother, Lord Greystoke, may well have intervened on his behalf, as also may the earl of Northumberland and his son, ‘Hotspur’, with whom Sir Richard had long been connected through their work together in local government. Furthermore, Sir Richard’s recent marriage had greatly enhanced his status as a northern landowner, making him a particularly valuable ally whose support was well worth cultivating. We do not know exactly when he married Elizabeth, the elder sister and coheir of William, Lord Aldeburgh, although a collusive suit which he and Sir Matthew Redmayne, his son by an earlier, now undocumented marriage, brought in September 1397 over the manor of Woodhall near Wetherby in Yorkshire suggests that he had by then taken over the management of her estates.3 Elizabeth’s inheritance comprised one half of the manor of Harewood with extensive appurtenances throughout the West Riding and other property in Holderness. She also held the manor of Rufforth as dower after the death of her first husband, Sir Brian Stapleton, by whom she had a son named (Sir) Brian*, then a ward in the custody of (Sir) Robert Hilton*.4 Sir Richard was anxious to gain custody of the boy’s possessions, and also to obtain permission from the Crown for a new settlement of the Aldeburgh inheritance in favour of the two sons recently born to him and Elizabeth, so he had strong personal motives for changing allegiance. Henry IV certainly placed a high premium on his services. At the very beginning of his reign he confirmed him as keeper of the Kirkbred estates and also agreed to continue paying the retainder of £20 p.a. originally awarded by John of Gaunt.5 A few months later, Richard II’s other letters patent granting Sir Richard rents of £10 p.a. from Blencogo and his two separate annuities of 40 marks were also approved. Over the next few years various additional rewards came Sir Richard’s way in the form of gifts of game and timber from the duchy of Lancaster estates in Yorkshire, and two tenements in Liverpool confiscated in 1400 from Richard II’s nephew, the rebel earl of Kent.6 Sir Richard was, moreover, summoned to attend the great councils held at Westminster in August 1401 and 1405. Most important of all, King Henry was prepared to accommodate his wishes with regard to both the Stapleton and the Aldeburgh estates. In April 1401 he sanctioned a series of conveyances whereby the Yorkshire properties owned by Sir Richard’s wife were entailed upon their male issue, thus effectively disinheriting (Sir) Brian, who was left with nothing more than a reversionary interest.7 To add insult to injury, the youth’s manors of Carlton in Yorkshire and Kentmere in Westmorland were leased to Sir Richard at an annual rent of £106; and because his pension from the Crown soon began to fall into arrears he was eventually permitted to retain £50 a year of the rent to cover his losses. Not surprisingly in view of Henry IV’s generosity towards him, he remained staunchly loyal throughout the political upheavals of the early 15th century, and thus received an even greater share of patronage. In May 1406, for example, he obtained the wardship and marriage of another royal ward named Richard Newland, the terms of his custody being fixed in the following November while Parliament was in session. This marked Sir Richard’s first appearance in the Lower House, to which he was returned as representative for Yorkshire. Since his second marriage, he had spent an increasing amount of time on his wife’s estates, and had, indeed, by this date already served as both sheriff and escheator of Yorkshire. During the course of the Parliament Henry IV confirmed without charge a charter of King John granting rights of free warren on the manor of Harewood, and also made him an allowance of £20 to cover certain expenses which he had sustained in the north while on government business.8 One of his more gruesome tasks had involved the distribution of the head and quarters of a traitor executed at Pontefract for his support of the northern rebels, although King Henry had allocated a separate, and unusually generous sum of five marks for the costs involved. Sir Richard’s election to Parliament also gave him an opportunity to press for the suspension of proceedings in the Exchequer being brought against him and two other local landowners for failing to render an account as collectors of an aid on the marriage of Princess Blanche, in 1401, and here again King Henry was prepared to support him. Despite his lack of parliamentary experience, Sir Richard evidently commanded the respect of the Commons, who nominated him as one of the six serving Members to audit the accounts of the treasurers of the wars. Henry IV had himself opposed such an audit, although he could at least rely upon Sir Richard’s loyalty and discretion. These particular qualities were again put to the test in 1410, when Sir Richard served on two diplomatic missions to Scotland, for the negotiation of a truce. He seems to have discharged his duties successfully, and it was probably on the border that he first came into contact with Henry IV’s younger son, John, duke of Bedford, who was then not only warden of the east march but also feudal overlord of Sir Richard’s manor of Levens.

The Parliament of 1415 met in early November while the victorious Henry V was still absent in France, and Bedford held office as custos regni. Sir Richard, who had been confirmed in all his fees and annuities at the beginning of the new reign, was by then too old to perform military service, although his own son, Richard, and his stepson, (Sir) Brian Stapleton, both fought at Agincourt where between them they took a number of valuable prisoners. Sir Richard’s part in the expedition was confined to holding a muster of the duke of Gloucester’s men at Michaelmarsh near Romsey, but he still had a valuable part to play at home, and the duke of Bedford may well have exerted his influence to ensure that the Commons elected him as Speaker. His term of office was both remarkably short (lasting just eight or nine days), and unusually easy, since in the general euphoria following Henry V’s triumph at Agincourt the Commons were disposed to be generous. The grant for life of tunnage and poundage and the wool subsidy which they made to King Henry was, indeed, without precedent (save for the short-lived allocation of the wool customs to Richard II in 1398).9 Within a matter of days Henry V himself was back in London, where he gave his personal attention to the appointment of sheriffs. Sir Richard now began his eighth term as a sheriff in the north, during which he secured the return of his stepson, Sir Brian, and the latter’s great friend, Sir Robert Plumpton, to the first Parliament of 1416. Both men moved in the duke of Bedford’s circle too, a fact which must have influenced the outcome of the elections. Less happily, Redmayne’s last appointment as sheriff of Yorkshire saw the accumulation of ‘great losses and damages’ amounting to at least £80. Although the sum was promptly deducted from his account, the strain of years of administrative responsibility clearly began to take its toll; and in May 1417 Henry V excused him from holding office again. Yet Sir Richard’s expertise was not altogether lost, for Bedford continued to employ him as a councillor, and he was thus occupied, in October 1417, when news of his stepson’s death in Normandy reached England. A few days later he and the duke were received together into the confraternity of St. Albans abbey, where they made arrangements for prayers to be said for Sir Brian’s soul. As late as October 1419, Sir Richard is to be found acting as a receiver of money for Bedford at the Exchequer, although by this date he had already begun to retire gradually from public affairs, and was thus unable to exploit more fully the influence of his kinsman, Lord Fitzhugh, as the King’s chamberlain and treasurer of the Exchequer.

During the years immediately following Henry VI’s accession, in 1422, Sir Richard lived quietly on his estates, enjoying the various pensions which he still received from the Crown. One of his daughters had by then married the Westmorland MP, Richard Duckett*, and was thus well provided for, but two of his sons (half-brothers who shared the name of Matthew) had predeceased him, the elder dying soon after 1397, while the younger survived long enough to produce a son of his own, Richard, in about 1416. It was thus necessary for Sir Richard to make careful arrangements for the setting up of a trust on his grandson’s behalf, especially as his second wife, Elizabeth, was also dead. On 1 May 1425 he drew up a will to this effect. As an old man, fast approaching death, Sir Richard clearly began to regret his rapacious behaviour towards his late stepson, Sir Brian; and it was no doubt in an attempt to make reparation to his descendants—while at the same time assuaging his own conscience—that he settled two of Elizabeth’s Yorkshire manors upon the Stapleton family. He died on 22 Mar. following, and was buried at the church of the Black Friars at York beside his second wife and many of her relatives (including Sir Brian). A magnificent tomb chest with effigies of Sir Richard and Elizabeth was placed in the parish church of Harewood as well. The young Richard Redmayne proved his age in 1437 and duly inherited his grandmother’s estates in Harewood, together with the manor of Levens and his father’s other property in Westmorland. His possessions there may also have included the two manors of Selside and Whinfell, which were the subject of litigation later in the century.10

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Unless otherwise stated, all references used in this biography are to be found in J.S. Roskell, Parl. and Pol. in Late Med. Eng. iii. 205-36. It is evident that Sir Richard was married twice, as in 1397 he had an adult son named Sir Matthew, who is omitted from all the family pedigrees (JUST 1/1509 rot. 4, 6). The genealogists are wrong in asserting that Sir Richard’s sister, Felicity, married the London mercer, John Woodcock*. The latter’s wife was the daughter of another mercer, Thomas Austyn (Corporation of London RO, hr 134/69).

  • 1. W. Greenwood, Redmans of Levens and Harewood, 82.
  • 2. C67/30 m.28; DL42/16 (3), ff. 109v, 120.
  • 3. JUST 1/1509 rot. 4, 6.
  • 4. CP25(1)278/146/13; Greenwood, 88.
  • 5. DL42/16(3), ff. 109v, 120.
  • 6. DL42/15, f. 127v, 16 (3), ff. 5v, 105v.
  • 7. Greenwood, 81; CP25(1)279/149/36.
  • 8. E404/22/194.
  • 9. J.S. Roskell, Speakers, 161-4; E404/29/92; DL28/27/8.
  • 10. C139/28/28; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 460. It was the young Richard Redmayne, not his grandfather, who married Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir William Gascoigne*, and a grand daughter of Chief Justice Gascoigne. The marriage may have been negotiated as early as 1417, when Sir Richard conveyed Kelfield to the Gascoignes (CP25(1)280/153/42).