CASTELL, George, of Withybrook, Warws.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
gds. of William Castell of Withybrook. m. 1s. Robert*, 1da.
Coroner, Warws. bef. 13 May 1365.
Tax collector, Warws. Mar. 1377, Mar. 1388; assessor May 1379
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 25 Oct. 1381-12 Dec. 1382, 11 Nov. 1384-20 Oct. 1385.
Commr. of inquiry, Warws. July 1382, July 1387 (wastes on estates of Monks Kirby priory).
Sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 18 Nov. 1387-18 Jan. 1388.
J.p. Warws. 15 July 1389-Dec. 1390.
The Castells had been established in Warwickshire for several generations, although their property (primarily a manor in Withybrook) was not extensive. George was perhaps the son of the George Castell who in the 1340s had laid claim to land in Echills.1 His activities always centred on Warwickshire: in 1362 he was made a feoffee of certain estates belonging to Stoneleigh abbey, and he stood surety in Chancery for the farmers of the cloth subsidy in the locality and in three other Midland counties. By 1364 he had come to the attention of the Black Prince, who then granted him and others the farm of the Warwickshire manor of Stoke. Some time in the following year he was elected as a coroner of the shire, but was subsequently deemed to be insufficiently qualified for the post. Nothing is then heard of Castell for eight years, and it is possible that during that period he was serving abroad in the prince’s company. In April 1373 he took out royal letters patent exempting him from holding office against his wishes, yet between 1377 and 1390 he served as a commissioner, escheator (twice), sheriff (briefly) and j.p. During his second escheatorship, from April 1385, he shared the guardianship of the temporalities in Warwickshire pertaining to the see of Coventry and Lichfield, while the vacancy lasted, and retained the same until February following. Later that year he was elected to his only known Parliament. Castell was appointed sheriff in November 1387 but removed from office only two months later and before he could hold the elections for the Merciless Parliament. Whether his dismissal was demanded by the Lords Appellant, who were then in power, is unclear, although it may be significant that it was only after Richard lI regained the initiative in government that Castell was appointed to the Warwickshire bench.2
The date of Castell’s death is not known, and he may have died before March 1396 when his bailiff obtained a royal pardon of outlawry for failure to answer his master’s suit for the theft of some barley several years earlier. He was possibly the father of Robert Castell of Alspath, although there is no evidence that the latter ever held Withybrook, which in 1407 was sold by Thomas Compworth and his wife Elizabeth (the latter probably being a Castell and possibly George’s daughter).3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Castello, Chastel.