PAYNELL, Geoffrey (d.1437), of Little Casterton, Rutland and Boothby and Osgodby, Lincs.

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



Mar. 1416

Family and Education

m. Margaret, at least 2s.2

Offices Held

Receiver of the Leics., Northants. and Warws. estates of Henry IV’s queen, Joan of Navarre, by July 1410-aft. Sept. 1411; treasurer and receiver-general to the queen by Mich. 1415.3

Commr. to raise royal loans, Lincs. Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420, Mar. 1431, Feb. 1436; of inquiry Nov. 1424 (claim by Sir John Scrope to the manor of Carlton-le-Moorland); to ascertain the names of persons liable to contribute to a grant Apr. 1431; of kiddles Nov. 1432; array Jan. 1436.

J.p. Lincs (Kesteven) 12 Feb. 1422-July 1424, 16 Feb. 1430-d.

Assessor of a tax, Lincs. Jan. 1436.


Although no direct evidence about this MP’s ancestry has survived, we may be reasonably sure that he belonged to the distinguished and prolific Lincolnshire family of Paynell, several of whose members played a prominent part in local government during the later Middle Ages. He probably numbered Sir Ralph Paynell, sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1376, among his kinsmen; and it seems likely that he was either the son or next heir of the John Paynell who, in October 1390, obtained royal letters patent confirming him in possession of land at Boothby and at Sproxton (Leicestershire). This property passed into Geoffrey’s hands at some point before 1428, presumably as part of his inheritance. A John Paynell of Quarrington (which lies in the same part of Lincolnshire as Boothby) represented the county in the Parliament of 1371, as well as serving occasionally as a royal commissioner, so Geoffrey appears also to have been heir to a tradition of involvement in administrative affairs.4 Besides the above-mentioned estates in Boothby and Sproxton, he acquired the two Lincolnshire manors of Walton (near Grantham) and ‘Ipynton’, together with holdings in the neighbouring townships of Ingoldsby and Osgodby. These evidently formed part of his patrimony, unlike the manor of Little Casterton in Rutland, which was settled upon him for life by Roger, Lord Scrope of Bolton (d.1403). It was also from Scrope that he obtained a joint life interest in certain unspecified land in Yorkshire. According to the tax assessment of 1436, Paynell held other estates, in Nottinghamshire, but we do not know where they lay. He was, furthermore, the tenant of property in Collyweston, Northamptonshire, which had been granted to him for life, some years before, by the nuns of St. Michael’s, Stamford. His income from land was said to be about £45 a year just before he died, although it must have been far higher.5

Paynell is first mentioned in June 1399, when he received royal letters of protection pending his departure for Ireland in the retinue of Edward, duke of Aumâle. No more is heard of him until 1409, at which date he was received into the fashionable Trinity guild of St. Botolph’s Without Aldersgate in London. The entry in the guild records describes him as an esquire in the service of William, Lord Roos of Hamlake, and from then onwards his attachment to this influential baronial family stands out as a constant feature of his career. In September 1411, for example, he was a party to the conveyance of some of their property in York, and in the following year he acted as a feoffee-to-uses for the 5th Lord Roos’s widow, Beatrice. It was probably at about this time that he received the annuity of £10 from the revenues of the manor of Warsop in Nottinghamshire which was settled upon him by his co-feoffees. The fee was still being paid in December 1430, Paynell having by then assumed further responsibilities as a trustee of the estates of Thomas, the short-lived 9th Lord Roos. Two years later he stood surety for the latter’s mother on her assumption of the farm of part of this inheritance. Although of far shorter duration, Paynell’s employment by Henry IV’s queen, Joan of Navarre, must also have played a major part in helping to establish him as a leading figure in gentry society. By 1410 he was acting as Joan’s receiver in the north Midlands, and he briefly held office as her receiver-general and treasurer, too.6

At a more local level, Paynell’s circle included the Rutland MP, Sir Thomas Oudeby*, who settled some of his wife’s Essex property upon him at the beginning of Henry V’s reign. His tenancy of the manor of Little Casterton made him eligible to sit for Rutland in the first Parliament of 1416, although, as we have seen, his real interests lay in Lincolnshire, and it was there that he subsequently discharged all his duties as a royal commissioner and j.p. Not all of his dealings in the county were so creditable, however: in October 1417 he was bound over in personal sureties of £100 (to which his friends added a further £40) that he would keep the peace towards Sir John Paynell, who appears to have been suing him for assault. The nature of their quarrel is not disclosed, although since Sir John lived at Boothby and was almost certainly one of our Member’s relatives, we may perhaps assume that some property dispute had flared up between them. Paradoxically, Sir John’s daughter and her husband were demesne tenants of the Roos family, but this mutual connexion does not appear to have brought them any closer together.7 Paynell was involved in other lawsuits, albeit with remarkably little success. In February 1430, for instance, a local man was pardoned the outlawry which he had incurred for failing to defend a case of trespass brought against him in Rutland by the MP, and a few months later Sir John Knyvet* managed to avoid any further legal action arising from the latter’s attempts to recover an unpaid debt of £8 13s.4d. In view of his prominent social position, it is not surprising to find Paynell listed among the Lincolnshire gentry who were required, in May 1434, to take the general oath that they would not assist any persons disturbing the peace. Two years later he was approached by the Crown for a loan of £40—a figure which reflects clearly enough the prosperity of his later years.8

Having entailed part, if not all, of his Lincolnshire estates, Paynell died on 14 Feb. 1437. He left at least two sons, the elder of whom was then in his mid twenties. Thomas, the younger, who was a favourite godson of Thomas Ricard of Harlestone in Northamptonshire, married Alice, the widow of Richard Rous, during his father’s lifetime, and thus acquired valuable property in Little Dorsington, Gloucestershire. He later took another wealthy dowager named Mabel Harlestone as his wife, but was dead by May 1441.9

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variants: Paynel, Paynelle.

  • 1. W. Prynne, Brevia Parliamentaria Rediviva, i. 125.
  • 2. C139/81/32, 98/23.
  • 3. SC6/1093/1.
  • 4. CPR, 1388-92, p. 312; 1391-6, p. 90; 1401-5, p. 283; Feudal Aids, iii. 118.
  • 5. C139/81/32, 98/23; E210/5053; VCH Rutland, ii. 237; CCR, 1435-41, p. 314; EHR, xlix. 635.
  • 6. Add. 37664, f. 20; Belvoir Castle deed 6236 (Ravensthorpe); CPR, 1396-9, p. 590; 1429-36, p. 62; CCR, 1413-19, p. 257; 1429-35, pp. 71, 75, 77; CFR, xvi. 93.
  • 7. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 260; Early Lincoln Wills ed. Gibbons, 131-2; CCR, 1413-19, p. 445; 1419-22, pp. 189-90.
  • 8. CPR, 1429-36, pp. 17, 19, 382; PPC, iv. 327.
  • 9. C139/81/32, 85/9, 98/23; CFR, xvi. 300; xvii. 11; CPR, 1436-41, p. 463; Early Lincoln Wills, 163.