BOTREAUX, Sir Ralph (bef.1385-1433), of Linkinhorne, Trevery and Sewenna, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1385, 3rd s. of William, Lord Botreaux (1337-91) of Boscastle, Cornw. by Elizabeth (d.1433), da. of Ralph, Lord Daubeney of South Petherton, Som. by his 2nd w. Katherine, da. of Marmaduke, Lord Thweng.1 m. Maud, s.p. Kntd. by Dec. 1399.
Commr. of inquiry, Bristol, Cornw., Devon, Som. Dec. 1399, May 1400 (concealments of personal possessions of Richard II and his adherents), Som., Dorset Oct. 1417, Oct. 1418 (wastes on Fitzwaryn estates), Cornw. Nov. 1418 (treasons and felonies); arrest Feb. 1414; array Apr. 1418, Mar. 1419; to treat for royal loans Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420; enforce the statutes about fishing, Devon Feb. 1425.
Ambassador to treat with Flanders and France June 1404.2
J.p. Cornw. 10 May 1412-Jan. 1414.3
The family of Botreaux held extensive lands in the West Country, and in the person of Ralph’s father had risen to baronial status in the mid 14th century. Both his brother and his nephew were summoned to Parliament, but the direct line died out in the next century. As a younger son, Ralph’s inheritance was not large. In 1385 certain family properties were settled on him in reversion, including the manor of North Cadbury, Somerset, but in February 1417 he released his rights there to facilitate the foundation of a college of secular priests by his mother. However, a number of transactions, completed in the first decade of the 15th century, reveal that he owned considerable property in Cornwall, including the manors of Trewint and Trewinnick and, by a settlement of 1421, 50 messuages, 17 carucates of land, 600 acres of pasture and 2,000 acres of moor in Advent, Camelford and Fowey Moor. In the same year his title to property in Liskeard was acknowledged. Botreaux also held lands in Devon, and by 1412 he owned property in Yorkshire, at Lund on the Wold, which descended to him through his mother, a niece and coheiress of Thomas, 4th Lord Thweng, and also in the city of York, which last alone was worth £40. Indeed, his manors and lands in that county and in the Midlands, in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, as let out to farm in 1418, earned him a substantial income.4
The first notice of Ralph’s knighthood occurs in December 1399, and it seems likely that he owed it to Henry IV. His appointment as a royal ambassador to France and Flanders in 1404 also suggests some personal contact with Henry, and may account for his first appearance in Parliament later that year. He received letters of protection preparatory to his departure overseas once more in 1406, and after his service on commissions of array it is not surprising to find his name included on the list of Cornish knights and esquires sent to the Council in January 1420 as being the men considered best able to do the King service in defending the realm. Business dealings with his relatives and neighbours, the Paltons and Arundells, were to be expected, but Botreaux was also on good terms with Anne, countess of Devon, and her brother John, Lord Talbot and Furnival, standing surety for them in 1423 when they were granted the wardship of the young heir to the earldom of Devon. Botreaux attended the Cornish elections to the Parliaments of 1426 and 1429. In 1420 he had gone to France in the retinue of his nephew, William, 3rd Lord Botreaux, but even so six years later an unpleasant family quarrel supervened. In August 1426 commissioners (including such powerful figures as Sir Hugh Luttrell*, (Sir) Thomas Brooke* and Sir William Bonville II*) were appointed to investigate, in Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall, complaints by Lord Botreaux that ‘Ralph Botreaux, knight, and William Langkelly, yeoman, and other malefactors of their covin and assent, unmindful of the salvation of their souls and not having God before their eyes’, had procured John Alwode of Trudoxhill, Somerset, Hugh Bowet of Kilmington, Somerset, chaplain, and John Neuport ‘who are said to practise soothsaying, necromancy and art magic, to weaken and annihilate, subtly consume and altogether destroy by the said arts, the body of the said William Botreaux’. As a result of these inquiries Sir Ralph was imprisoned in the Tower, but he was released at the end of October on surety of £1,000 found by his brother and Lord Talbot, and ordered to answer before the Council in the following month. Nothing further is known of this intriguing case, but a later agreement drawn up between Botreaux and his nephew, in February 1433, reveals the cause of the trouble; under pain of £1,000, Sir Ralph was required not to alienate family property by preventing his lands from descending to his nephew, and undertook not to implead Lord Botreaux or any of his tenants. He seems to have been a jealous uncle.5
Botreaux died without issue shortly before 12 Sept. 1433. His Yorkshire property passed to his brother John.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CP, ii. 241-2; iv. 97; xii. 743; CPR, 1381-5, p. 542; 1408-13, p. 287; Reg. Stafford, 271; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 637, 640-1.
- 2. Letters Hen. IV ed. Hingeston, i. 296, 324-5.
- 3. He was also appointed in July 1424, but the commission was cancelled (CPR, 1422-9, p. 561).
- 4. Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xvii), 201; CPR, 1381-5, p. 542; 1416-22, p. 69; 1422-9, p. 190; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 834, 892, 914, 949, 961; CCR, 1413-19, p. 115; CIPM, xiv. 58; Feudal Aids, i. 221, 229, 235, 240, 453; vi. 544; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. lix. 160; Huntington Lib. San Marino, Hastings ms, HAM box LVIIIA.
- 5. CFR, xv. 58, 62; CCR, 1402-5, pp. 486, 522; 1422-9, p. 279; 1429-35, pp. 36, 236-7, 245; CPR, 1413-19, p. 140; 1422-9, p. 363; DKR, xliv. 617; Rot. Gasc. et Franc. ed. Carte, ii. 190; E28/97/6; C219/13/4, 14/1.
- 6. CFR, xvi. 165; C139/117/4.