POPHAM, Henry (c.1339-1418), of Popham, Hants.

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



Feb. 1383
Feb. 1388
Sept. 1388
Nov. 1390
Oct. 1404

Family and Education

b.c.1339, yr. s. but event. h. of Sir John Popham of Popham by Sibyl, yr. sis. of Sir Laurence St. Martin of Wardour, Wilts.; er. bro. of Sir John Popham*. m. (1) by 1380, Joan, prob. h. of Fisherton Anger, Wilts., 1s. Sir Stephen Popham*; (2) by 1402, Margaret (d. 11 June 1448), sis. of Robert James* of Boarstall, Bucks., wid. of Richard Mewys of Long Barnes in Beauchamp Roding, Essex, 2s.

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Hants Apr., July 1377, Feb. 1379, Mar. 1380, Dec. 1399, July 1402, Aug., Sept. 1403, May 1406; to put down rebellion Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; of inquiry Dec. 1387 (wastes at Andwell priory), June 1388 (possessions of Hyde abbey),1 Hants, Wilts. Oct. 1388 (Sir Simon Burley’s estates), Hants Sept. 1389 (wastes at Ellingham priory), Wilts. Feb. 1390 (wastes) Hants Mar. 1390 (felonies), Southampton Oct. 1395 (treasons and felonies), Hants Feb. 1403 (wastes at Hayling priory), Wilts. May 1403 (claims to land by Elizabeth, countess of Huntingdon), Hants June 1403 (wastes at East Worldham), Southampton July 1407 (waste of money collected for fortifications), Oct. 1410 (obstruction of the water gate); gaol delivery, Winchester Feb. 1397;2 to collect an aid, Hants Dec. 1401; make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402; hold assizes c. July 1403; raise royal loans Sept. 1405; escort the prior of St. Swithin’s, Winchester, to the Tower of London Aug. 1415.

Tax surveyor, Hants Dec. 1380; collector Mar. 1404.

Sheriff, Hants 1 Dec. 1388-15 Nov. 1389.

J.p. Hants 8-13 May 1396, 16 May 40-Jan. 1406.


The Pophams could trace their tenure of Popham, between Basingstoke and Winchester, back to the 12th century. Henry’s father died at some date between 1354 and 1359, when he was still a minor. He was a younger son, but in 1360, as brother and heir of Laurence Popham, he did homage to the abbot of Hyde for part of a knight’s fee, and in 1378 and again in 1401 he obtained royal confirmation of early charters relating to his inheritance and of Edward I’s grant to an ancestor of free warren in the demesne lands at Popham.3 Besides this patrimony, Henry was also the coheir, in 1385, of the estates of an uncle on his mother’s side, Sir Laurence St. Martin, the other heir being Thomas Calston*, grandson of St. Martin’s second sister, Joan. A partition was made in 1386, apportioning to Popham property in ‘Puddle Bardolveston’ (Dorset), moieties of the manors of Langford, West Dean, East Grimstead and West Grimstead, and property in Salisbury (Wiltshire), the manor of Alvington (Hampshire) and a share of the patronage of the churches of Maiden Newton (Dorset) and Langford. Difficulties arose later when Calston apparently sold his share (which included the manors of Upton Knook, Wardour and Knighton, in Wiltshire, and Sutton Walrond in Dorset) to John, Lord Lovell, himself probably a kinsman of theirs, and Popham, taking exception to this, arraigned assizes against Lovell and Calston, seeking in a petition to Parliament (possibly in October 1404 when he himself was a Member) to have Lovell and his retainers discharged from the commission of the peace in Wiltshire while the pleas were in progress. However, in 1409 he agreed to relinquish his title to this part of the St. Martin estate, while reserving the right to recover the value of the premises.4 Other properties came to Popham by marriage: his first wife was most likely the heiress of the manor of Fisherton Anger; while his second, a widow, brought him for his lifetime the manors of Wanstead and Great Mapilstead in Essex. In 1412 his landed holdings were valued for the purposes of taxation at £197 13s.4d. a year, of which £8 came from Dorset, £40 from Essex, £60 from Hampshire and £89 13s.4d. from Wiltshire. To these substantial estates he added before his death and perhaps by purchase, the manor of Buckland in Lymington (Hampshire) and various parcels of land scattered through the New Forest at Sway, Baddesley and elsewhere.5

Popham’s standing as a landowner made him a figure of importance, especially in Hampshire. His career began in 1363 when he took out royal letters of protection as about to go to Ireland in the company of Sir William Windsor, but this is the only record of any service abroad. The first of his many local commissions at home came 14 years later, in 1377, but he was not appointed as a j.p. until nearly 20 years after that, and even then, although his name was put on the commission dated 8 May 1396 it was excluded from the one appointed five days later. This may well have had something to do with a quarrel with William, earl of Salisbury, who headed the second list. At that time Popham was starting proceedings in an assize of novel disseisin against the earl and his officers, headed by Richard Legge, concerning tenure of some 500 acres of pasture and heath at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight, and alleging that they had stolen 75 head of his livestock. The suit remained unresolved until after the earl’s death, apparently ending in a compromise when, in March 1401, Popham shared with Legge a grant of the goods the latter had forfeited as a result of his outlawry. Popham made Richard II a loan of 100 marks in August 1397, quite likely under duress, and he procured a royal pardon in the following year. He became more involved in national affairs under Henry IV, for together with his brother, Sir John, he was among the four representatives from Hampshire summoned to great councils in 1401 and 1403, and when, in the meantime, in October 1402, the King needed to raise money to help pay the garrisons in South Wales, he was called on to help raise benevolences and loans in that county and Wiltshire. In his seventh Parliament, that of 1404 (Oct.), Popham acted as proxy for the abbot of Hyde, Winchester. Although advanced in years, he attended the parliamentary elections held at Winchester in 1411 and 1415, and during the crisis of the Southampton Plot, discovered just before the departure of Henry V’s first expedition to France, he was asked to assist his brother (then constable of Southampton castle and custodian of the traitors), in escorting the prior of St. Swithin’s, Winchester, to the Tower of London.6

Popham’s prominent position in Hampshire is suggested not only by his inclusion on many royal commissions, but also by his close relationship with Bishop Wykeham of Winchester, the most important landowner in the shire. At the very beginning of Wykeham’s episcopate he had witnessed an indenture for the settlement of financial accounts with the executors of his predecessor, Bishop Edington, and in the course of the next 40 years he attested many of Wykeham’s own transactions. In 1377 the bishop appointed him to administer the estate of Sir John Brocas, nephew of the wealthy Sir Bernard Brocas*, who had died intestate; six years later he granted him a licence to choose a confessor; in 1394 he instructed his commissary to hear Popham’s plea against the vicar of Micheldever for failing to perform the requisite services at the chapel at Popham; two years later he authorized the MP to hunt game in the episcopal chases at Downton; and finally, in his will dated 24 July 1403, he left him a silver cup worth ten marks. Popham is known to have dined with the bishop’s household in the summer of 1393. He was involved in Wykeham’s foundation of Winchester college, and his sons and nephews were among the first commoners to be educated there. However, although his relations with Wykeham himself were good right up to the end, after the bishop’s death he was sued for a debt of £50 by his executors. Popham’s standing is also suggested by his nomination as a feoffee by Sir William Sturmy of Wolf Hall, his fellow Member of 1390. But a somewhat different impression of his place in the community of Hampshire may be drawn from petitions to Chancery which refer to his great ‘affinite et alliance’ in the county and allege that he had given ‘robes et liveres encontre la ley a luy enforcer en son tort’.7

Popham lived to a ripe old age. He made his will at Buckland on 6 Nov. 1417, died on 17 June 1418 and was buried near the high altar of St. Thomas’s church in Lymington, to which he had left £2 7s. Winchester cathedral received a bequest of no more than 2s., and the houses of friars at Fisherton and Carmelites at Winchester only 2s.6d. apiece. In a codicil he left various sums of money, amounting to £21 10s., to relations, friends and servants, while the residue of his estate went to his widow. The MP’s executors were Sir John Popham (his brother), John Popham (his son by his second wife) and Henry Hawles, although the heir to the bulk of his estates was Sir Stephen, his son by his first marriage, who was probably abroad when the will was made. Popham had settled property in Salisbury on his younger son, John, and arranged that after his widow’s death he should also have the manor of Buckland and estates in the New Forest, with remainder to William and Lewis Mewys, his wife’s sons by a former marriage. However, John died before his mother’s death in 1448, and this property passed to Lewis Mewys.8

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. CIMisc. v. 79.
  • 2. C66/345 m. 20d.
  • 3. CIPM, x. 468; VCH Hants, ii. 484; iii. 21, 398; Harl. 1761, f. 174; CPR, 1377-81, p. 110; 1399-1401, p. 420.
  • 4. CIPM, xv. 291-8; CPR, 1405-8, p. 272; CFR, x, 127, 134; CCR, 1385-9, p. 137; 1402-5, pp. 412, 461; 1409-13, p. 75; CAD, i. C533, 1499; SC8/135/6710; Wilts. Feet of Fines (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xli), 218, 234.
  • 5. VCH Wilts. vi. 29, 185; VCH Hants, iii. 398; iv. 646-7; Feudal Aids, vi. 424, 442, 452, 531, 629; VCH Essex, iv. 199; vi. 323; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 251; C139/131/21; CPR, 1435-41, p. 3; CCR, 1381-5, pp. 266, 361; SC8/212/10593-4; Reg. Wykeham (Hants. Rec. Soc. 1896-9), ii. 467.
  • 6. CPR, 1361-4, p. 441; 1391-6, pp. 728-9; 1396-9, p. 178; 1399-1401, p. 466; 1401-5, p. 5; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 457, 460; PPC, i. 161; ii. 73, 87; SC10/42/2064; C219/10/6, 11/7; C67/30 m. 8.
  • 7. Reg. Wykeham, ii. 155, 279, 371, 467-8; CCR, 1364-9, pp. 406, 486; 1369-74, pp. 542, 551; 1377-81, pp. 112, 463; 1392-6, p. 112; 1402-5, pp. 498, 511; 1409-13, pp. 398-9; Winchester Coll. muns. 1, 70, 78, 9590, 9592-4; R. Lowth, Wm. of Wykeham, p. xlii; C1/68/51, 53.
  • 8. Reg. Chichele, ii. 137-9; CPR, 1422-9, p. 458; CCR, 1413-19, p. 475; 1441-7, p. 291; C138/33/36; C139/131/21; Wilts. Feet of Fines, 355.