RESTWOLD, Richard II (d.1475), of High Head Castle, Cumb., Sindlesham, Berks. and Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxon.

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



May 1421

Family and Education

s. and h. of Richard Restwold I* by his 2nd. w. m. by 1440, at least 1s.1

Offices Held

Commr. of oyer and terminer, Bucks. Feb. 1430 (treasons and felonies), Sept. 1450 (treason); to assess persons liable for taxation Apr. 1431; of array Jan. 1436, Bucks., Berks. Sept. 1457, Sept. 1458; to raise royal loans, Berks. Feb. 1436, Nov. 1440, Mar. 1442, Sept. 1449, May 1455; of kiddles, Berks., Bucks., Oxon. May 1438, Berks. Dec. 1439, July 1443; treat for advance payment of taxes Feb. 1441; of inquiry July 1444 (treasons and felonies), Mar. 1464 (lands of Sir William Trussell*), Berks., Bucks., Essex, Glos., Herts., Kent, Oxon., Mdx., Surr. Aug. 1470 (illegal capture of swans); to assess persons liable to raise archers, Berks. Dec. 1457; of gaol delivery, Windsor castle Feb. 1459; to make an arrest, Berks. July 1461.

Escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 5 Nov. 1432-3, 4 Nov. 1440-1, Hants and Wilts. 6 Nov. 1444-4 Nov. 1445.

Sheriff, Oxon. and Berks. 3 Nov. 1434-7 Nov. 1435, 18 Dec. 1461-9 Feb. 1464, Wilts. 4 Nov. 1441-6 Nov. 1442, 4 Nov. 1445-6.

J.p. Berks. 12 Dec. 1435-June 1449, 22 Mar. 1452-Jan. 1454, 15 Apr. 1454-Dec. 1459, Bucks. 22 Nov. 1454-July 1459.

Assessor of taxes, Berks. Jan. 1436; distributor of a tax rebate, Oxon. Apr. 1440, Berks. Mar. 1442, June 1445, July 1446.

Forester of the nether ward of Inglewood forest, Cumb. to Apr. 1438-50.


Richard must still have been a very young man when he was returned to Parliament by the electors of Cumberland, just two years after his father had represented the same constituency. He may actively have sought election so that he could negotiate terms at the Exchequer for a lease of the manor of Horndon in Essex, which was granted to him at a farm of ten marks p.a. during the minority of Richard Mulgrave, the next heir, one week after the session ended. In the following February the terms of the award were enlarged to include the land previously held in dower by Mulgrave’s mother, as well as the marriage of Mulgrave himself, although the rent was more than doubled as a result. Richard succeeded to his father’s extensive estates in Cumberland, Westmorland, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire at about this time, and soon became drawn into the affluent and politically active society of the Thames valley, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He was included among the Oxfordshire gentry when it came to taking the general oath of May 1434 that he would not support anyone who disturbed the peace; and other references describe him as living either in Oxfordshire or Berkshire, both of which counties he represented in Parliament. Moreover, he attended the Berkshire parliamentary elections of 1427, as well as those for Buckinghamshire in 1449 (Feb.). Even so, he maintained many connexions in the north, not least with Thomas More II*, for whom he stood surety at the Exchequer in 1424, and William Stapleton, the son and namesake of his father’s old friend, who made him one of his trustees. Another of Richard I’s acquaintances, Thomas Chaucer*, was destined to play an influential part in Richard II’s life, since it was through this powerful Oxfordshire neighbour that he entered the circle of William, earl of Suffolk. The earl married Chaucer’s widowed daughter, Alice, in 1430, and subsequently employed Richard as a trustee of the estates in Norfolk, Suffolk, Somerset and Yorkshire, which he wished to settle on her for life. Some of these transactions were effected without the necessary royal licence, and thus involved the payment of quite heavy fines to the Crown. Notwithstanding the vicissitudes which later beset Suffolk and his family, Richard retained his trusteeship until his death, years later in 1475, after which his son, Thomas, actually surrendered his title.2 Among the other contacts established by him through his association with Chaucer was Thomas Stonor*, his colleague in the Parliament of 1425, who had been Chaucer’s ward. Three years later Richard acted as an attorney for the delivery of Thomas, Lord St. John’s manor of Sotwell in Berkshire to Stonor and Chaucer in their joint capacity as trustees; and in 1432, just after Stonor’s death, he undertook to administer an annual rent set aside for the education and support of his late friend’s daughter, Alice. Long afterwards, in 1459, he and Stonor’s son, another Thomas†, were associated as witnesses to four local deeds. It was probably Thomas Stonor the younger who wrote to Richard at some unknown date thanking him for sending news about ‘the acts of Parliament’ and assuring him of his continued good will, so their attachment remained close.3

Given the frequency with which he appeared as a witness, mainpernor and trustee for a number of southern landowners, it seems likely that Richard was a lawyer. From 1426 onwards, when he went surety at the Exchequer for the farmers of the living of Mapledurham in Oxfordshire, he was constantly in demand in these three capacities. He attested a large number of conveyances of property in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and was himself a party to many transactions on the local property market, once in collaboration with the earl of Suffolk’s unpopular henchman, Sir Thomas Tuddenham, and also, in 1446, for Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, who made him a feoffee-to-uses of his manor of Garsington, Oxfordshire. Richard’s activities as a trustee occasionally resulted in litigation. Towards the end of Henry VI’s reign, for instance, Sir John Bourgchier began an action against him in the court of Chancery for the recovery of land in Oxfordshire; and, a few years later, Thomas Billyng sued him for arrears of rent amounting to 110 marks which had reputedly been withheld from his late father’s estates. But, on the whole, Richard’s advice and expertise were valued highly, as can be seen from his appearance, in 1451, as an arbitrator in a dispute between two landowners with property in Wallingford.4 The demands of what looks like a flourishing legal practice did not, however, prevent Richard from playing a leading part in the business of local government. Besides serving on a wide variety of royal commissions he was three times escheator of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and twice sheriff there. His ownership of the manor of Heale in Wiltshire explains why he twice occupied the latter shrievalty as well. Indeed, in 1442 he disregarded the statute which forbade the return of sheriffs to Parliament by representing Berkshire in the House of Commons while in office in Wiltshire; and in 1445 he was actually made sheriff while up at Westminster as a shire knight. Richard received at least three royal pardons, in 1437, 1446 and 1468, the last of which specifically exonerated him from any offences committed as sheriff or escheator.5

Partly because of his influential connexions and also through his own wealth and status as a landowner, Richard derived considerable benefit from royal patronage. In 1438, for example, he was granted the farm of all tolls from his manor of Crowmarsh Gifford for the next seven years. On its expiry, the lease was promptly renewed for a second term by which date Henry VI had offered him a pension of 1s. a day, to be shared with John Ferriby, sometime controller of the royal household. Ferriby was dead by November 1443, when Richard was confirmed as sole recipient of the fee. Three years later, he secured the reversion of the post of master of the King’s harriers after the death of Richard Strickland, the then occupant, but although Strickland died before 1462 there is no evidence to suggest that the royal letters patent were implemented. The newly crowned Edward IV did, even so, agree to extend Richard’s farm of the tolls at Crowmarsh Gifford for a further 20 years, and there is some reason to suppose that, despite the generosity shown to him in Henry VI’s reign, he nursed quite strong Yorkist sympathies. His removal from the bench in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire in 1459 may, of course, have been influenced by his age rather than his opposition to the then victorious Lancastrians, although it is worth noting that Edward IV considered him to be a suitable choice as sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire two years later.6

Naturally enough, Richard had sought to consolidate his possessions in the south, and in December 1445 he was pardoned for acquiring the manor of Bury in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, from William Whaplode* without the necessary royal licence. Whaplode, who was his father’s stepbrother, died in 1447, leaving instructions that his executors were to sell his other manor of Vache in Chalfont St. Giles to Richard ‘for a reasonable sum’. Consequently, when he died, at the age of 76 or more, in September 1475, Richard was able to hand on to his son even more property than he himself had inherited. Thomas Restwold was then over 30 years old, and took immediate possession of the family estates.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. C140/51/8.
  • 2. CFR, xiv. 385-6, 423; xv. 92; CPR, 1429-36, p. 346; 1436-41, p. 75; 1447-54, pp. 209-11, 213, 215; CCR, 1461-8, p. 355; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 247; CAD, i. no. A708; v. A10955.
  • 3. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 446-7; CPR, 1429-36, p. 395; CAD, i. no. C1229; Stonor Letters (Cam. Soc. ser. 3, xxix), 107; Boarstall Cart. (Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxxviii), 39, 54, 65; HP ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509, Biogs. 714.
  • 4. CFR, xv. 156; CCR, 1429-35, p. 157; 1441-7, pp. 412, 496; 1447-54, pp. 25, 507; 1454-61, pp. 171-2; 1468-76, no. 1522; CPR, 1441-6, p. 138; 1446-52, p. 466; CAD, i. A569-71, 574, 576; Boarstall Cart. 262, 274; C1/16/500, 33/144; CP25(1)191/28/24.
  • 5. HP ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509, Biogs. 714.
  • 6. CFR, xvii. 45-46, 318; xx. 59; CPR, 1436-41, p. 486; 1441-6, pp. 223, 452; 1452-61, p. 87; 1461-7, p. 200.
  • 7. VCH Bucks. iii. 187; CPR, 1441-6, p. 392; C140/51/8. A writ of diem clausit extremum was issued in Richard’s name prematurely on 14 Apr. 1475, which suggests that he had been near to death for some time: CFR, xxi. 98.