RESTWOLD, Richard I (1364-c.1423), of High Head castle, Cumb., Sindlesham, Berks. and Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. Sindlesham, Berks. 25 Dec. 1364, s. and h. of William Restwold (d.v.p. 15 Oct. 1374) of High Head castle by his w. Elizabeth (fl. 1391); gds. and h. of Ralph Restwold (d. 11 June 1383) of Sonning and Crowmarsh Gifford. m. (1) Nov. 1379, —; (2) Isabel, da. of Sir John Derwentwater* by his 2nd w. Margaret, 1s. Richard II*, 1da.1
The Restwolds owed much of their early success to the patronage of Edward, the Black Prince, who made Ralph Restwold† (d. by 1362) steward of his manor of Benson in Oxfordshire. Although originally from Cumberland, Ralph had settled in Berkshire by 1323, acquiring land in Mackney, and later becoming lord of the manor of Crowmarsh Gifford in Oxfordshire. His son, another Ralph, advanced the family fortunes even further by marrying Juliana, the daughter and sole heir of Sir William English (d.1369), who brought him Oakington (Cambridgeshire) and Great Paxton (Huntingdonshire), the manor of Strickland and extensive property in Appleby, Holbeck, Roundthwaite and Tebay (Westmorland), and High Head castle together with holdings in Blencarn, Gatesgill, Kirklinton and Raughton (Cumberland). This Ralph also came into possession of Heale in Wiltshire and Hedsor in Buckinghamshire, as well as the manor of Lee and substantial holdings in Sindlesham, Berkshire, so it is hardly surprising that Edward III chose him to play an important part in local government in the south. At various times in his career he served as constable of Wallingford (which lies just across the Thames from Crowmarsh Gifford), steward of the honour of St. Valery and constable of Taunton, as well as occupying a variety of other administrative posts. Because of these commitments, Ralph evidently entrusted his northern estates to the care of his son, William, who received some of the Cumberland and Westmorland properties directly from Sir William English, perhaps by way of a marriage settlement. Thus, although his own son, Richard, the subject of this biography, was born at Sindlesham on Christmas Day 1364, and baptized at Sonning parish church, it seems more than likely that most of the boy’s early life was spent in the north. Richard was only ten years old when his father died, in October 1374, but within a matter of days his grandfather took on the wardship of his patrimony, at a farm £20 p.a., from the Crown, and thus managed to keep all the Restwold estates intact. Not long afterwards this sum was assigned to William Whaplode, Richard’s new stepfather, perhaps in lieu of an earlier royal grant of the boy’s marriage, which clearly remained in his grandfather’s gift. At all events, in 1379, Ralph Restwold sold these rights to Thomas, Lord Musgrave, who offered him sureties of £100 that he would hand over 70 marks, together with a half-share of any other profits within a week of Richard’s wedding. This contract was drawn up and sealed at Appleby, where plans may already have been afoot for an early betrothal. (Not until much later did our Member marry, evidently as his second wife, Isabel, the daughter of Sir John Derwentwater and grand daughter of none other than Bishop Strickland of Carlisle.) Ralph himself died in June 1383, but although Richard was still technically a minor, he was permitted by the Crown to lease the manors of Sindlesham, Crowmarsh Gifford and Heale at £20 p.a. until he proved his age. This was done on 2 Feb. 1386; and within a fortnight orders were sent out for the relevant authorities to put him in possession of all the rest of his inheritance.2
Soon after he had taken seisin of his estates, Richard’s title to Sindlesham was challenged in the court of common pleas by one Robert Lenham, although the action may well have been collusive. Not much is known of his career during the rest of Richard II’s reign, but, as might be expected of a rentier with such widespread interests, he seems to have travelled about the country a great deal. In 1391, for example, he was at Rotherfield Peppard in Oxfordshire to witness a deed for the earl of Ormond; and three years later he confirmed his widowed mother, Elizabeth, and her second husband, the above-mentioned William Whaplode, as tenants of his manor of Oakington in Cambridgeshire. Elizabeth’s dower had originally been assigned out of the Restwold estates in Westmorland, but since Whaplode was himself a Buckinghamshire landowner, an exchange of properties must have seemed convenient to both parties. No doubt because of his close connexions with Wallingford, Richard was soon drawn into the circle of the influential Thomas Chaucer*, with whom he began to associate by April 1397, when the two men attested a conveyance of property in the area. Chaucer became constable of Wallingford in October 1399, and for the rest of his life he occupied a dominant position in the Oxfordshire community. Richard was again involved in his affairs in 1410, so we may assume that they remained on friendly, if not intimate, terms for some years. Richard also knew Henry Chichele (the future archbishop of Canterbury), for whom he offered sureties, in 1402, when he stood charged of contempt in the court of Chancery. Another of his associates was the Berkshire MP, Robert de la Mare*, who acted with him in 1417 as a trustee of various rents and tenements in London.3
Notwithstanding the shift of his priorities towards the south, Richard made frequent visits to Cumberland and Westmorland, particularly during the latter part of his life. In 1412, for example, he agreed to pay William Stapleton* (who had been his mainpernor at the Exchequer in 1383 when he took on the farm of his grandfather’s estates) a rent of £10 p.a. from High Head castle for the next 12 years, perhaps for the performance of a trust or even as the repayment of a mortgage. He was present at Carlisle for the elections to the Parliaments of 1416 (Mar.), 1417, 1419 and 1421 (Dec.), being himself returned as a shire knight on the third of these occasions. He may well have been chosen to represent Cumberland in Parliament because his personal affairs and responsibilities as a landlord so often demanded his presence in, or near, London; indeed, it is possible that he actually agreed to forgo the substantial expenses due to him as a Member of the Commons. Richard died shortly before 20 Feb. 1423, leaving at least one son, Richard II, and a daughter, Margaret. The latter was a great favourite of her maternal grandmother, Margaret Strickland, and her second husband, (Sir) Robert Lowther*, both of whom made generous bequests to her in their wills.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Rastwold(e), Restwald, Rystwald.
- 1. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xii, 27; xvi. 159 and ped. (2) facing p. 168; CIPM, xiv. no. 49; xvi. nos. 56-58, 345; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 52-53. L.H. Butler, ‘Bp. Braybrooke and kinsmen’ (Oxf. Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1951), 390-3, provides useful genealogical background, although he is wrong in stating that Richard’s mother, Elizabeth, was daughter and sole heir of John Loveday of Hedsor. Elizabeth Loveday actually married Richard’s uncle, Ralph (CIPM, xvi. no. 345).
- 2. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xii. 20-21, 27; xvi. ped. (2) facing p. 168; CIPM, xiv. no. 49; xvi. nos. 56-58, 345; VCH Wilts. vi. 224; Bucks. iii. 55; Butler, loc. cit.; CFR, viii. 50-51, 261; x. 9-10; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 52-53, 260; 1377-81, p. 335; 1385-9, p. 58.
- 3. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 171; VCH Bucks. iii. 187; CCR, 1389-92, p. 525; 1392-6, pp. 379-80, 386; 1402-5, p. 120; Boarstall Cart. (Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxxviii), 262, 266; Corporation of London RO, hr 145/41.
- 4. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xvi. 159, 161; xxx. 92; C219/11/8, 12/2, 3, 6; CFR, xv. 3.