DETHICK, Sir William (d.1408/10), of Dethick and Radbourne, Derbys. and Mattersey, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1384
Jan. 1397

Family and Education

s. and h. of John Dethick (d. by c.1373) of Dethick and Mattersey. m. Alice, at least 7s. (1 d.v.p.). Kntd. by Oct. 1386.1

Offices Held

Collector of a tax, Derbys. Nov. 1377, Dec. 1384.

Commr. to make arrests, Derbys. June 1380, Feb. 1388, Nov. 1391; of oyer and terminer Nov. 1387 (attacks on the property of John of Gaunt); array June 1388; inquiry Nov. 1390 (upkeep of the highway at Baslow), Oct. 1395 (wastes at Bolsover castle).2

J.p. Derbys. 14 Apr. 1386-July 1389.


This MP belonged to a family which had lived at Dethick (whence it derived its name) from the mid 13th century onwards if not before. A number of his ancestors had been able to make lucrative marriages and thus extend their position as landowners; and William himself inherited a sizeable estate when his father died in about 1373. His patrimony comprised land in and around the villages of Mattersey, Lea, Dethick, Wakebridge and Tansley, then occupied by trustees holding to his use. At a later date, perhaps through marriage, he obtained further property in Radbourne and Mugginton; so that by 1402, when an inquisition ad quod damnum was held to see if he might alienate holdings worth £5 p.a. (recently acquired through an exchange with Peter de la Pole*) to Breadsall priory, his remaining possessions in Derbyshire alone were valued at £66 p.a.3

Although he became a trustee of land in Chesterfield in 1376 and was named as a local collector of the poll tax in the following year, little else is known about Dethick’s career before his appointment, in July 1380, as an attorney for William Fitzherbert, who was about to leave England in the retinue of Thomas of Woodstock, earl of Buckingham. Not long afterwards his activities as a feoffee-to-uses were extended to include estates in both Mattersey and the Derbyshire village of Rowsley; and in 1383 he again took charge of Fitzherbert’s affairs, this time while the latter took part in the ill-fated Flemish crusade of the bishop of Norwich. By the date of his first return to Parliament Dethick must have been a well-known, if not particularly outstanding, member of the local community; but over the next two years he obtained more substantial recognition in the form of a knighthood and a seat on the county bench. On the whole, however, his life passed without major incident until, in July 1394, he was arraigned at Derby on an assize of novel disseisin by the influential Nottinghamshire landowner, Sir William Chaworth. From then on he became increasingly preoccupied with litigation, suing a local woman for trespass in 1397, and bringing an action for debt against Sir John Daunesley a few months later. Neither defendant appeared in court, but both were able to escape the consequences of outlawry by securing royal pardons. Dethick was even less fortunate in his dealings with the Crown, for in March 1399 he and two others were arrested by the sheriff of Nottingham and conveyed as prisoners to the Tower of London. The reason for their detention is not known, although it is certainly worth noting that not too long before, in August 1398, Dethick had been accorded a royal pardon specifically for the support which he had given to the King’s former enemies, the Lords Appellant of 1388.4

As the father of a large family, Dethick had to make careful provision for his children; and he was fortunate to secure two of the four daughters and coheirs of Sir Ralph Meynell as brides for his younger sons, John and Reynold. The Meynell estates comprised land and manors in five English counties, and their partition inevitably caused delays and problems which were still troubling Dethick as late as 1406, by which time another of the girls, Elizabeth, had married as her second husband the influential Staffordshire landowner, Roger Bradshaw*. The death of his son, Robert, as well as a property dispute with Thomas Foljambe* and another lawsuit for the recovery of a debt from the parson of Beighton also clouded our Member’s last years, although he was able to devise a series of quite complex settlements of land in Radbourne and Mugginton for the benefit of five of his six surviving sons.5 He died at some point between December 1408 and July 1410, when his feoffees paid 25 marks for permission to endow a chantry at Breadsall for the welfare of his soul and that of his wife, Alice. His sons proved far less prolific than he had been, and a series of failures in the male line during the mid 15th century led to several protracted lawsuits over the division of his property between female heirs.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variants: Dedyk(e), Detheck, Dethek(e), Dethyk.

  • 1. CCR, 1374-7, pp. 68, 69, 72; CPR, 1408-13, p. 213; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 419; Belvoir Castle deed 4471; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvi. 55; xvii. 111, 114. According to J.C. Cox (Notes on Churches Derbys. ii. 54), Dethick was married to Cecily, da. and h. of Thomas Curson, and thus acquired the manor of Beardsall, but other evidence remains wanting. The pedigrees of the family given in Top. et Gen. ed. Nichols, i. 351, 358 and Vis. Derbys. 30, 31, are inaccurate and omit several of Dethick’s children.
  • 2. He never received this commission (CCR, 1396-9, p. 405).
  • 3. C143/432/1; J. Nichols, Collectanea, viii. 323; Cox, i. 70, 213, 530-1; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 68, 69, 72; 1381-5, p. 173; Belvoir Castle deeds 4468, 4471; Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, no. 922.
  • 4. C67/31 m. 12; CP25(1)39/37/225; JUST 1/1501 rot. 80v; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiv. 228-9, 237; CPR, 1396-9, pp. 133, 401, 465; Reg. Gaunt 1379-83, no. 71; Belvoir Castle deed 1999.
  • 5. JUST 1/1514 rot. 69; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 77; 1405-9, p. 124; Top. et Gen. i. 351, 358; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvi. 55; xvii. 111, 114; Derbys. Chs. nos. 1929, 1931; Belvoir Castle deeds 4467, 4468, 4471, 6225, 6226, 6306.
  • 6. Peds. Plea Rolls, 395-6, 419; Derbys. Chs. no. 1935; Cox, i. 38-46; CPR, 1408-13, p. 213.