BRISTOWE, Robert, of Great Bristowe and Carlisle, Cumb.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Robert Bristowe (d. by Aug. 1392) of Great Bristowe and Carlisle, prob. by his w. Sibyl (d. aft. Aug. 1392). m. by Aug. 1404, Margaret (b. c.1385), da. of John Crofton (d. by Aug. 1404) of Crofton.1
Robert Bristowe the elder was the owner of property in Great Bristowe and Carlisle, and was still alive when his son and namesake (designated Robert Bristowe the younger) first represented the city in Parliament. He may perhaps have died shortly before Robert’s second return to the House of Commons, and was certainly dead by August 1392, when Robert, his younger brother, Richard, and their recently widowed mother (or stepmother) brought two collusive suits against one another at the Penrith assizes in order to establish a clear division of the deceased’s estate. Sibyl Bristowe, who was represented in court by her attorney, William Osmundlaw*, relinquished her title to farmland in Great Bristowe, as well as three messuages and a plot of land in Carlisle. Some four years later Robert acquired other property and rents in Carlisle and Parton, so he was fast becoming a landowner of some consequence.2
Robert had pressing personal reasons for seeking election to his third Parliament in September 1397; and it seems quite likely that the John Bristowe who was returned with him was a kinsman whom he could rely upon to help further his interests. At some unknown date Robert had become embroiled in a violent quarrel with John Monceaux (his colleague in the Commons of 1391), whose family connexions clearly made him a formidable opponent. During the parliamentary recess, in November 1397, Monceaux was bound over in sureties totalling 200 marks that he would keep the peace towards Robert, so their efforts had evidently proved successful. Robert sat twice more in the House of Commons, but although he did not offer himself again as a candidate after 1401, his anxiety to consolidate and defend his territorial interests at home grew even stronger. Shortly before August 1404, he married, perhaps as his second wife, Margaret, the daughter and heir of the late John Crofton, who was not yet of age. It was then that he obtained permission to bring an assize of novel disseisin on her behalf at the Penrith assizes for the recovery of land in Crofton. He was less able to defend Margaret’s title against another claimant, having to pay damages of 20s. as well as surrendering a messuage and valuable farmland in the same village. No more is heard of Robert after August 1408, when he was still preoccupied with his young wife’s legal affairs.3