CRESSY, Hugh, of Oldcoates, Notts.
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Family and Education
s. of William Cressy. m. by Easter 1390, Elizabeth (d. by Feb. 1411), at least 1da.1
Commr. of inquiry Notts., Yorks. Apr. 1396 (obstructions to the river Idle), Notts. Mar., Apr. 1398 (money due to the former abp. of York), Mar. 1406 (defections to northern rebels); to execute the Statute of Weirs June 1398; of array Dec. 1399, May 1415; to restore the goods of the abp. of York, Notts., Lincs., Yorks. Mar. 1400; of gaol delivery, Nottingham castle June 1421.
J.p. Notts. 12 Nov. 1397-9.
Steward of the prior of Blyth, Notts. 21 Dec. 1399-bef. 22 Feb. 1411.2
Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 2 Aug.-5 Nov. 1403.
Hugh’s precise connexion with the influential Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire landowner, Sir John Cressy, who died in 1383 leaving a son of about eight (also named Hugh) to succeed him, is not now known; but the two men were clearly related. Indeed, the first surviving piece of evidence about the MP concerns his appointment as an attorney for the delivery of property which Sir John had settled upon his daughter, Katherine, in 1382, when she married Sir John Clifton*. Hugh was, furthermore, possessed of a life interest in the manor of Exton, the reversion of which belonged to Sir John’s heirs; and his estates at Oldcoates, where he made his home, also appear at some point to have been occupied by the main branch of the Cressy family. Certainly, in 1390, during the course of litigation over the ownership of the manor, he called upon the young Hugh Cressy to warrant his title, although the latter was then still a minor and could not therefore give evidence in court. It is also worth noting that, once Hugh’s inability to produce an heir was recognized (in 1400), and his two sisters were confirmed in the reversionary title to his estates, the MP obtained a contingent remainder in the event of their both dying without issue.3
Just before his first return to Parliament, in November 1390, Cressy acted as a trustee of the manor of Gosford in Nottinghamshire, but otherwise little is known about his activities before he entered the Commons. In the following year he stood bail of £100 on behalf of an esquire named Simon Francis, who had been bound over in Chancery to keep the peace. His circle included such local notables as Sir Thomas Rempston I*, Robert Morton† and John Gateford*, all of whom joined with him, in February 1392, to assist in the property transactions of a neighbour. He and Gateford also shared a title to the manor of Teversal and its appurtenances, which was confirmed to them four years later after litigation at the Nottingham assizes. At about the same time he also acquired an interest in farmland at Hayton, thus consolidating his original holdings in the wapentake of Bassetlaw. His friend Robert Morton (whose son and namesake later represented Nottinghamshire in the Commons) died in the autumn of 1396, leaving him a quantity of valuable silver plate, and also bequeathing £10 in cash to his daughter, Joan.4
Cressy again sat for Nottinghamshire in the first Parliament of 1397, and was evidently well enough trusted by the court party to secure a place on the county bench in the following November. Yet notwithstanding this mark of confidence, he felt it expedient to sue out royal letters of pardon in October 1398, on the specific ground of his previous association with the Lords Appellant of 1388, and probably because some of his family and close associates (such as Rempston and Clifton) were still closely connected with King Richard’s enemies. Henry of Bolingbroke’s seizure of the throne in 1399 still led to his removal from the commission of the peace, although his fall from favour was only short lived, and in 1401 he was summoned as a representative for Nottinghamshire to attend a great council at Westminster. His appointment as a temporary replacement for the sheriff, his friend Clifton, who fell at the battle of Shrewsbury two years later, shows that he had by then won the complete confidence of the new regime. The prior of Blyth certainly considered his support worth having, and in December 1399 a contract was drawn up whereby he agreed to act as steward of the house’s estates at an annual fee of five marks. By way of a reward for past services rendered, he and his wife were also promised full board and ample lodging whenever they chose to visit the priory, but it was not long before the authorities began to abjure the arrangement and in the end Cressy took the prior to court. He lost his case at the Nottingham assizes on a point of law, judgement being given in February 1411 in favour of the prior. Cressy had, by then, become involved in two other suits there, both of which seem to have concerned him as a feoffee rather than the actual owner of property in the county. He was much in demand in the former capacity, being also employed further afield as a trustee of the Lincolnshire estates of Sir Henry Vavasour.5
Rather less information has survived about Cressy from this point onwards, no doubt because he tended to live quietly in retirement. The year 1415 saw yet another appearance by him at the Nottingham assizes, this time as a bailsman for two Derbyshire men then being tried for violent assault. His own attempt to sue a chaplain for trespass on his Lincolnshire estates came to nothing, however, and the defendant secured a pardon of the outlawry which he had incurred for failing to appear in court. We cannot now tell if the Hugh Cressy ‘the younger’ who, in 1427, became involved in litigation over the manor of Oldcoates, was the MP’s son or grandson, although he evidently inherited his estates. He shared his predecessor’s antagonism towards the prior of Blyth, as in the following year a dispute between them was submitted to arbitration, and may, indeed, have led to the young man’s interrogation before the royal council.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Clifton ms CID no. 622; JUST 1/1514 rot. 86-87; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 182-3; Test. Ebor. i. 213.
- 2. JUST 1/1514 rot. 86-87.
- 3. CIPM, xv. nos. 965, 966; R. Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, iii. 417; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 411; Peds. Plea Rolls, 182-3; Clifton ms CID no. 622.
- 4. CP25(1)186/36/73; JUST 1/1501 rot. 91; Test. Ebor., i. 213; Clifton ms CID nos. 638, 643; CCR, 1389-92, p. 509.
- 5. C67/31 m. 12; JUST 1/1514 rot. 82v, 84-87; CCR, 1413-19, p. 27.
- 6. JUST 1/1524 rot. 16; KB27/671 rot. 4; SC8/84/4181; CPR, 1413-16, p. 314; 1422-9, p. 466; CCR, 1422-9, p. 409; Peds. Plea Rolls, 330. It was probably Hugh Cressy the younger who, in 1422, acquired land in Southwell with his wife, Elizabeth (CP25(1)186/38/16).