DINGLEY, Robert I (d.1395), of Fittleton, Wilts. and Wolverton, Hants.
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Family and Education
?yr. s. of John Dingley of Downham, Lancs. m. Margaret, ?5s. inc. Robert II*, 1da.
Commr. of oyer and terminer, Worcs. May 1384; inquiry, Wilts. Feb. 1386 (common of the pasture in Braydon forest), Som., Glos. June 1389 (poaching in the royal chases), Surr. Mar. 1390 (wastes, manor of Worplesdon); arrest, Wilts., Hants, Berks., Surr. June 1387.
Sheriff, Wilts. 21 Oct. 1391-4 Oct. 1392, Hants 18 Oct. 1392-4 Nov. 1393.
Dingley’s parentage is obscure, but it is fairly certain that he came from the Lancashire family of Dineley or Dingley, seated at Downham, and he may have been either a younger son of John Dingley, who died in 1367, or of John’s son Richard, who died two years later. In 1374 Robert and his brother Richard entered into recognizances for 425 marks with Thomas Dingley (perhaps another brother of their’s), to be levied in default on their lands in Yorkshire, and in 1376 and 1383 Robert was described as ‘of Yorkshire and Lancashire’.1
In 1360, for good service done in the war in France, apparently in the company of James, Lord Audley, Dingley was pardoned the King’s suit for having abetted a felon in Lancashire. A member of his family, Margaret Dingley, was granted an annuity of £10 in 1365 for her devotion to the King’s daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, duchess of Clarence, while he himself joined the retinue of the Black Prince, from whom he received, at an unknown date, a grant for life of £20 ‘guiennes’ every year from the revenues of Bordeaux castle. It may have been in preparation for a passage to Gascony that he took out royal letters of attorney in 1368. Dingley was also known to the prince’s brother, John of Gaunt, who made him gifts of venison in 1372 and 1373. He apparently entered Edward III’s service before 1376, when he was a mainpernor at the Exchequer for the lessee of two crown manors in Nottinghamshire, and by 1380 he was a ‘King’s esquire’, and a member of Richard II’s household. On 10 May 1380 he was granted custody of Braydon forest for life, and two years later the duke of Lancaster leased to him a place called ‘Temple Close’ within the bounds of the forest. Further marks of favour followed in July 1382 when he obtained the farm of the royal manor of Sheen (Surrey) for ten years. Dingley’s most important connexions in this period were with members of the Household or prominent royal officials, such as Sir William Brantingham*, the receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall. In April 1383 he was party to the foundation of a guild in honour of St. George at Warwick, providing for prayers to be said daily in the chapel over the west gate of the town for the welfare of the King and queen, the King’s mother and the chancellor, Sir Michael de la Pole. Later in the same year he was associated with Sir John Beauchamp† of Holt (afterwards steward of the Household and Lord Beauchamp, baron of Kidderminster), as a co-feoffee of lands in Worcestershire to the use of the former abbot of Stoneleigh. Then, in the following year, and in association with John of Gaunt, he was appointed to a commission in Worcestershire to investigate trespasses against the tenants on the royal manor of Feckenham. In 1384 Dingley stood surety for another esquire of the Household, who was constable of Dublin castle, and his own tenure of a moiety of the Irish manor of Kinsale may date from this time. He was in Cherbourg in September 1385 when, together with the captain of the castle, he engaged three men-at-arms to guard the donjon on a year’s contract. Dingley’s services to the Crown met with reward: in 1389 he received a gift of £100 at the Exchequer; and in the following year he was permitted to exchange his annuity of £20 ‘guiennes’ for one, probably more easy to collect, of £12 due at the Exchequer from the farm of lands in Fittleton, a manor which he had himself acquired. The latter grant was made expressly for ‘his great labour and long service to the King’s father and the King’. In 1391, the year of Dingley’s only return to Parliament, he was still in receipt of the royal livery. His career culminated with his appointment as sheriff in consecutive years of Wiltshire and Hampshire, a charge he accepted shortly before taking his seat in the Commons, thus being in technical breach of the statute prohibiting the return of sheriffs.2
Besides his connexions with Richard II’s father and uncle, Dingley also came into close contact with the King’s half-brother, Thomas Holand, earl of Kent. In 1384 he had stood surety for the earl when he purchased for 6,000 marks the marriage of the earl of March’s heir; in the following year Holand witnessed the release to Dingley by Thomas Calston* of his right in the Wiltshire manors of Fittleton and Combe, and later the two men were associated as co-feoffees of the manor of Staunton Fitzherberd by Highworth on the nomination of Sir Edward St. John’s† widow. Also among Dingley’s close associates was Sir John Sandys*, whose career, like his own, had begun in the retinue of the Black Prince. In 1386 Dingley collected at the Exchequer the sum of £40 with which Sandys was to pay the garrison at Southampton, in his capacity as the earl of Kent’s deputy, and he subsequently acted for Sandys as a witness and a feoffee, one such enfeoffment being dated in November 1391 when both men were Members of the Commons.3
Dingley’s properties in the south of England were all acquired late in his career, apparently by purchase. They included the manors of Malshanger in Church Oakley and Wolverton (Hampshire), and two-thirds of that of ‘Hakeneston’, as well as estates at Fittleton in Wiltshire. He also built up landed interests near the royal manor of Sheen (of which he retained custody), notably ‘Westhall’ and holdings in East Sheen. After his death, which occurred on 7 Feb. 1395, his property in Hampshire and Wiltshire passed to his son, Robert Dingley II, while that in Surrey and Ireland passed to James Dingley, probably the latter’s brother. Shortly afterwards his widow and James sold the premises in Dublin to some Irish merchants. The widow was still alive more than 30 years later, in 1429.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Dyneley, Dyvele.
- 1. CIPM, xii. 134, 339; Yorks. Feet of Fines (Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. lii), 10; VCH Lancs. vi. 553; CFR, viii. 369; ix. 357; x. 1; CCR, 1374-7, p. 95. M. Burrows (Fam. Brocas of Beaurepaire, 117) gives the MP as s. of Henry Dingley of Lancs., but when Henry died in 1385 his heir was his da. Margaret.
- 2. CPR, 1358-61, p. 503; 1364-7, p. 100; 1367-70, p. 152; 1377-81, pp. 488, 563; 1381-5, pp. 263, 312; 1388-92, p. 229; CFR, viii. 369; ix. 317, 357; x. 93; CCR, 1381-5; pp. 300, 461; VCH Warws. viii. 479; Chetham Soc. lxxii. 140; Reg. Gaunt 1371-5, ii. 987, 1272; ibid. 1379-83, ii. 1028; E101/402/5, f. 32; E403/524 mm. 5, 17.
- 3. CCR, 1381-5, p. 572; 1385-9, p. 271; 1391-6, pp. 68, 505; CPR, 1381-5, p. 452; 1385-9, pp. 121, 169, 398, 436; CAD, i. C777; E403/515 m. 10; Stowe 846, ff. 91, 104.
- 4. CPR, 1385-9, p. 43; 1388-92, p. 151; 1391-6, pp. 608, 708; VCH Hants, iv. 224, 271; C136/83/12; Add. Ch. 24700-1; VCH Surr. iv. 71; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 498, 508, 512. His other children included Roland and Joan (Yorks. Deeds (Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. l. 220), Ingram (Reg. Wykeham (Hants Rec. Soc. 1896-9), ii. 440) and possibly Oliver, who was a fellow of New College, Oxford, 1401-2, and later became a canon of Salisbury (Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. ed. Emden, i. 618).