BIBBESWORTH, Edmund (d.c.1445), of Bibbesworth in Kimpton, Herts. and Latton, Essex.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Hugh Bibbesworth of Bibbesworth by his w. Amy. m. Goditha (d.1466), 5s. 3da.1
William Bibbesworth took his name from the Hertfordshire manor which had been held by his ancestors since 1277, or even earlier, and which was settled on him by his parents in 1402. From them he also inherited the manors of Great Saling, Latton Hall and South House in Great Waltham, Essex, which were said to be worth £22 a year in 1412, and probably produced rather more.2 His property in Middlesex and Essex gave him an annual income estimated at £41 in 1436, in addition to revenues of at least £7 a year from his family estates in Bibbesworth. From 1422 onwards, if not before, he leased land in Paddington from the abbot of Westminster, who fixed his rent at £20 a year. We do not know when he acquired the manor of Finchley in Middlesex, which he left to his widow in his will of 1443, but there can be little doubt that for most of his life Bibbesworth enjoyed a respectable position among the gentry of the home counties.3
Comparatively little evidence has survived about Bibbesworth’s career, since he was evidently reluctant to involve himself in the business of local government. He first appears in December 1399 as a feoffee of Thomas, Lord Morley’s Hertfordshire property, although he conveyed his title to others within a matter of days. In June 1408, he offered joint sureties in Chancery on behalf of John Chertseye, being then described as ‘of Hertfordshire’. Two years later he was involved in litigation for the recovery of £4 17s.10d. owed to him by a Middlesex labourer, but he appears to have had little success with this suit.4 Nothing more is heard of Bibbesworth’s activities until his return to Parliament in December 1421, after which date he put in a regular attendance at the Middlesex parliamentary elections, being present on nine such occasions between November 1422 and 1437. Meanwhile, in January 1430, a woodman from Essex was being sued by him for a debt of £10 which had been incurred some eight or more years previously. Bibbesworth’s name appears in the list of Middlesex notables who in May 1434 were ordered to take an oath not to maintain persons breaking the peace.5 He seems to have retired entirely from public life shortly afterwards, however; and, on 20 Feb. 1443, he drew up his will in which he left a cash sum of 720 marks to be shared among seven of his children, the eldest, John, having already received a substantial part of his patrimony. John Bibbesworth died two or three years after his father in 1448, and since his own son, Thomas, was still a minor, most of the family estates temporarily reverted to the Crown. The manors of Bibbesworth and Finchley remained as dower property in the hands of Edmund’s widow, who lived on until 1466.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Bybbesworth, Bybesworth.
- 1. VCH Herts. iii. 31; C140/17/22; Bibbesworth’s will (PCC 15 Rous) names his four youngest sons and three daughters, but does not mention his eldest son and heir, John (C139/135/5).
- 2. VCH Herts. iii. 31; CCR, 1360-4, p. 306; Feudal Aids, vi. 446, 586; C139/135/5.
- 3. EHR, xlix. 638; C139/135/5; PCC 15 Rous; B. Harvey, Westminster Abbey Estates, 158.
- 4. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 173; 1416-22, p. 284; CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 111, 307-9; 1405-9, p. 401.
- 5. C219/13/1, 2, 4, 14/1-5, 15/1; CPR, 1429-36, pp. 15, 408.
- 6. PCC 15 Rous; C139/135/5; C140/17/22; CPR, 1446-52, p. 231.