BAYNARD, Richard (c.1371-1434), of Messing, Essex.

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

b.c.1371, 4th s. and h. of Thomas Baynard (d.1375) of Messing by his w. Katherine. m. (1) bef. 1400, Joan; (2) between Apr. 1405 and Apr. 1408, Joyce, da. and h. of John Vyne, citizen and draper of London, by Joan, da. of Sir Thomas Cornard of Cornard, Suff. and Finchingfield, Essex;1 (3) bef. Feb. 1409, Joan, da. and h. of John Sandherst, of London, chandler, by his 2nd w. Cecily;2 (4) between 1417 and Sept. 1420, Grace (d. 6 May 1439), da. of John Burgoyne*, and wid. of John Peyton of Easthorpe, Essex, 2s. 4da. (2 d.v.p.);3 1s. illegit.

Offices Held

Escheator, Essex and Herts. 30 Sept. 1399-24 Nov. 1400, 13 Nov. 1423-6 Nov. 1424.

Commr. of inquiry, Essex, Herts. Nov. 1400 (alleged adherents of the Scots), June 1406 (concealments), Jan. 1411 (lands of Colchester abbey), Nov. 1412 (post mortem), July 1413, Feb. 1416, May 14174 (forfeited lands), Essex Jan. 1414 (lollards), Mar. 1422 (concealments), Nov. 1424 (entail of Scrope estates), June 1432 (homicide), Nov. 1433; to raise loans, Essex, Herts. June 1406, Essex Nov. 1419, May 1421, Essex, Herts. Mar. 1430, Mar. 1431; of sewers, Essex, Mdx. Feb. 1407; oyer and terminer, Essex Nov. 1410, Nov., Dec. 1423; to assess liability for a subsidy Jan. 1412, Apr. 1431; of array, May 1415, Mar. 1419; to apportion tax rebates Dec. 1433.

Steward of the estates of Edward, duke of York, in Essex by May 1401.5

Member of the parliamentary committee charged to engross the Parliament roll, Dec. 1406.

J.p. Essex 13 Feb. 1407-June 1410, 16 Nov. 1413-Apr. 1419, 12 Feb. 1422-d.

Controller, customs and subsidies Ipswich, Suff. 1 Mar. 1407-24 July 1408.

Keeper of Colchester gaol, Essex bef. Mar. 1417.

Speaker 1421 (Dec.).


The Baynards had lived in Essex since the 12th century and by Richard’s time had accumulated substantial landed holdings on both sides of the Blackwater estuary, including the manors of Messing, Birch Hall and ‘Le Castle’ and property in Rayne, Copford and Tey. These Richard inherited in 1375 at the age of four, following the deaths of his father and three elder brothers. His wardship and marriage having been granted to a royal serjeant, they were subsequently sold for 125 marks to Sir Robert Tey†. Baynard’s first wife may well have been Tey’s daughter, and in his youth he was often recorded in association with Tey’s son Robert*. It was not until 1393 that he made formal proof of age. Even then, full possession of his patrimony was not to come for a further ten years or more, for the bulk of the estate was held for life by his mother Katherine, who had married John Hende, the wealthy draper and sometime mayor of London. In 1396 the Hendes leased to Baynard the family manors of Messing and St. Lawrence in Dengie, for which he was to pay them £44 a year during his mother’s lifetime.6

Baynard augmented his income from land through his marriages. The second, to Joyce Vyne, may well have been arranged by his stepfather Hende, for Joyce was the daughter of another London draper. But she was well-connected in Essex, too, being the grand daughter of a local knight and closely related to the prominent family of Swinburne. She brought Baynard an interest in tenements in the London parish of St. Dunstan near the Tower. Several other properties in the City (in Gracechurch Street, Lombard Street and on the Fish Wharf near London Bridge) came to him with his third wife, Joan Sandherst, a chandler’s daughter who had also inherited the manor of Herons in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire (which last, however, they sold in 1413). Together with Joan, Baynard leased from the Swinburnes another manor in Messing, that of Harborough. Baynard’s fourth marriage, to Grace Burgoyne, added to his holdings in Essex the manor of Easthorpe and the hundred of Lexden, these being Grace’s dower from her former husband, John Peyton. Contemporary assessments of Baynard’s annual income from land, made for the purposes of taxation, almost certainly undervalued it. In 1412, when his estates in Essex were in the hands of feoffees, they were said to provide no more than £46 13s.4d. a year; while in 1436, when in his widow’s possession, £80 was the round figure. Neither assessment took account of his property in London. To judge by an inventory of his goods at Messing, made in 1406, he lived in considerable comfort.7

Baynard’s training as a lawyer was completed by 1395, and such was his ability, especially in the spheres of finance and landed property, that his services came to be much in demand among the gentry of Essex and the citizens of London. In the course of the next five years he twice acted for Robert Tey as his attorney when the latter was overseas, and he established close links with Sir William Coggeshall* and with John Doreward* (who later married his sister Isabel). At that time Baynard’s most important client was Walter, 4th Lord Fitzwalter (d.1406), whose family was long to require his assistance in all manner of property settlements. In 1398 he was made a feoffee of the estates which Fitzwalter’s stepmother Philippa held for life, and that same year he acted as Fitzwalter’s attorney while he was in Ireland. In his turn Fitzwalter undertook the trusteeship of Baynard’s own estates.8

It was perhaps Baynard’s close connexion with Fitzwalter which led to his appointment as the first escheator of Henry IV’s reign in Essex and Hertfordshire, for Fitzwalter’s loyalties lay undoubtedly with the Lancastrians. But it should not be assumed that Baynard shared those sympathies wholeheartedly. In a will made in July 1400 he left £5 for special prayers to be said for the souls of John, earl of Huntingdon, and his retainer, (Sir) Thomas Shelley*, both of whom had risen in rebellion against the new King some seven months previously and had accordingly been put to death, the earl at the hands of an Essex mob and Shelley by formal execution. Perhaps Baynard’s attachment to Huntingdon had come about through his friend Sir William Coggeshall, who had served as the earl’s chamberlain. But whatever his connexion with the earl, it was prudently soon forgotten; Baynard’s later wills made no mention of him. By May 1401 Baynard had succeeded his brother-in-law Doreward as steward of the local estates of Edward, duke of York, who had probably already married Fitzwalter’s stepmother, and in 1403 the duke himself headed a group of notables whom Baynard named as feoffees of his land. At this time he was closely associated with Sir William Marney* and Sir John Howard*, both of whom were councillors of Joan de Bohun, countess of Hereford, and he was soon to form a friendship with Robert Darcy*, who became steward of the countess’s estates. Although there is no evidence that he himself was ever retained by the countess (and perhaps his earlier connexion with Huntingdon precluded this), it is clear that when first elected to Parliament in 1406 he was well known to prominent figures in the community of Essex. He made quite an impression in the Commons, too, for at the end of this unusually long parliament he was one of the dozen Members assigned to represent the House at the engrossment of the Parliament roll. Even though his mother had died, Baynard kept up an association with John Hende, by then one of the foremost of Henry IV’s financial backers from the City. Together they were involved in business dealings; Baynard acted as a feoffee of Hende’s substantial properties in Kent and Essex, and it may have been Hende’s position as a royal creditor that secured for his stepson the controllership of customs at Ipswich in 1407. Among the many other tasks which Baynard undertook at this time was the trusteeship of the estates of Lord Fitzwalter’s widow Joan, who had since married Hugh, Lord Burnell; and in 1410 his involvement in a conveyance of the lordship of Cainoe (Bedfordshire) brought him into contact with the King’s son, Humphrey.9

Baynard’s knowledge of the law led to his regular inclusion on commissions of the peace, and to his occasional selection as a mediator in local disputes. From 1412 to 1415 he was one of a syndicate placed in possession of some of the estates of Richard de Vere, earl of Oxford, on account of loans totalling £733, and he later acted in property transactions on behalf of Thomas, Lord Morley, a member of Henry V’s council. Baynard’s close associates included, besides Doreward and Darcy, yet another lawyer, named Richard Fox*, who married his niece and, like him, played an important part in the administration of the Fitzwalter inheritance.10

Baynard’s name appeared on the list sent by the j.p.s of Essex to the Council in January 1420, as being best qualified for military service, even though his expertise clearly lay in advocacy rather than the profession of arms. This was recognized in December 1421 when, at the opening of his third Parliament, he was elected Speaker and was duly presented to the duke of Bedford, then holding Parliament in the King’s place. Nevertheless, his Speakership failed to make a lasting impression on the government or to lead to royal preferment. In the following year Baynard shared with the King’s uncle Bishop Beaufort of Winchester and others, including Lewis John*, the wardship of Thomas Coggeshall’s* grandson, and during the Parliament of 1423 he acted as the spokesman of a deputation to the Upper House expressing the Commons’ gratitude for having been informed of the progress of negotiations for the liberation of James I of Scotland and of his marriage to Beaufort’s niece. Even so, there is no sign that, unlike his associate Lewis John, he was ever a particularly intimate member of Beaufort’s circle.11

Baynard continued to be in demand as a feoffee-to-uses, acting in the 1420s for the Dorewards, for Walter, 5th Lord Fitzwalter, and for John de Vere, earl of Oxford. Transactions on Fitzwalter’s behalf included the raising of a ransom following his capture in France, the trusteeship of his widespread estates, the sale of his inn in Old Jewry, London, and the settlement of the Devereux lands which had once belonged to his mother. Before his death in 1431 Fitzwalter granted Baynard a house in Lexden to hold for life, as a reward for his services. Meanwhile, in 1425 Baynard had been involved in financial dealings with John, Lord Fanhope, underwriting the mortgage which Fanhope arranged with William Flete* in connexion with the ransom of his stepson, the earl of Huntingdon.12

In the Parliament of 1427, John Tyrell*, one of Baynard’s closest friends and a feoffee of his estates, was chosen Speaker, and Baynard led the Commons’ deputation to the Upper House to announce his election. Among the transactions of his later years were conveyances on behalf of Joan, Lady Abergavenny, Anne, countess of Stafford, and the latter’s sons, Humphrey, earl of Stafford, and Henry Bourgchier, count of Eu. In 1429 when the earl of Oxford was fined £1,000 for marrying without a royal licence, Baynard was one of the ten men who stood surety, each in £100, to guarantee payment. Perhaps of greater significance was his connexion, formed by 1432, with the King’s uncle John, duke of Bedford, whom he assisted in transferring ownership of the advowson of a London church. It is possible that he came to the duke’s attention through his acquaintance with Lewis John, by then a member of Bedford’s council.13

Over the years and especially after his fourth marriage and the birth of legitimate children, Baynard had made several settlements of his estates. Among the tasks given to his impressive group of feoffees — who included not only his friends Tyrell, Darcy and Fox but also Sir John Martin j.c.p. — was the provision of a chaplain to pray for Baynard and members of his family in the church at Messing.14 He also made several wills, of which those dated 1400, 1420, 1426 and 1427 yet survive. In his last will, made on 7 Mar. 1433, he requested burial in the chancel of St. John’s abbey, Colchester, and asked that 100 masses be said at his funeral. He left about £25 in small sums to certain local churches and £5 to his poor and sick tenants. Among the executors was the abbot of St. John’s, while Sir John Tyrell (now treasurer of the King’s household) and Robert Darcy were asked to be overseers. Baynard was returned with Tyrell to the Parliament which met that July and was dissolved on 21 Dec. He died less than three weeks later, on 7 Jan. 1434,15 being survived by his widow Grace, his sons Richard (1426-73) and Lewis, a bastard son, John, and two of his four daughters.16

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Authors: J. S. Roskell / L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Essex RO, Verulam mss, D/DH VB 45; Harl. Chs. 78 D12, 80 H26; Corporation of London RO, hr 136/3.
  • 2. Hr 141/94.
  • 3. P. Morant, Essex, ii. 176, 179.
  • 4. CIMisc. vii. 547-8.
  • 5. E326/8030.
  • 6. CIPM, xvi. 95-96; Essex RO, D/DH VB 39, 41; CPR, 1374-7, pp. 192, 345; 1396-9, p. 331; CCR, 1374-7, p. 456; 1392-6; p. 54; 1402-5, pp. 295, 299.
  • 7. CCR, 1409-13, p. 221; 1413-19, p. 187; Corporation of London RO, hr 136/3, 141/92, 94; CAD, iii. D937; Cal. Wills ct. Husting London ed. Sharpe, ii. 306; VCH Herts. ii. 302; Harl. Chs. 78D 12, 80H 26; C139/93/47; Feudal Aids, vi. 442; EHR, xlix. 633; Essex RO, D/DH VB 61.
  • 8. CPR, 1391-6, p. 552; 1396-9, pp. 351, 554; 1399-1401, p. 198; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 313-14.
  • 9. Essex RO, D/DH VB 45, 45a; RP, iii. 585; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 259, 446; 1409-13, p. 221; 1413-19, pp. 370-1, 374-5, 478; CPR, 1408-13, p. 190.
  • 10. CCR, 1409-13, pp. 347, 402; 1413-19, p. 202; 1422-9, p. 289; CPR, 1408-19, p. 426; 1413-16, p. 398; 1416-22, p. 53; Reg. Chichele, i. 180.
  • 11. E28/97/10; RP, iv. 151, 199; J.S. Roskell, Speakers, 175-6, 347-8; CFR, xiv. 437; CPR, 1416-22, p. 440.
  • 12. Essex RO, D/DB T96/33, 34; CPR, 1422-9, pp. 201, 211; 1429-36, pp. 208-11; Corporation of London RO, hr 154/2, 7, 157/8; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 145, 150, 153, 159-60, 196, 260-1, 263, 266, 268, 448; 1429-35, pp. 152-4; CP25(1)145/156/25.
  • 13. RP, iv. 317; CPR, 1422-9, pp. 486, 543; 1429-36, p. 248; Harl. Ch. 56E 4; CCR, 1429-35, p. 162; 1435-41, p. 67.
  • 14. CCR, 1419-22, pp. 204, 223-4; 1422-9, pp. 331-2.
  • 15. Essex RO, D/DH VB 52a, 57-59; Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/3, f. 372v; C139/63/21.
  • 16. CPR, 1429-36, p. 368; Harl. Ch. 47D 24; C139/93/47.