LANCASTER, Robert, of Westmld.
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Family and Education
Throughout his life Robert was very much overshadowed by his influential elder brother, John, who may well have been responsible for securing his election to the first Parliament of 1416. John was himself returned to the House of Commons on this occasion as a shire knight for Cumberland, which he only represented once, so there is a strong possibility that the two men had business of their own to transact at Westminster. The Lancasters were a Westmorland family, and John had acquired his estates across the county border by marriage. There is no evidence to suggest that Robert had any holdings of his own in or near Carlisle; and it is worth noting that when he offered sureties at the Exchequer on behalf of Thomas, Lord Dacre, during the course of the session, he was specifically described as living in Westmorland. According to the tax returns of 1436, his property there was worth at least £5 a year, but he also possessed a reversionary interest in the extensive estates which his brother (who died in 1434) had previously settled for life upon his second wife, Katherine. A series of entails made in 1425 left him next in line to inherit the family properties if John had no surviving issue, his own son, William, being named as a possible heir.2
Despite his important connexions, Robert played little part in local affairs. He attended the parliamentary election for Westmorland in 1425 and that for Cumberland in 1429, but otherwise little is known of his activities. He evidently did not survive long enough to become involved in the feuds and bloodshed which followed his sister-in-law’s strenuous attempts to retain her late husband’s property.3