SANDFORD, Robert II (d.1459/60), of Askham, Westmld.

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



May 1413

Family and Education

2nd s. of Edmund Sandford (fl. 1383) of Askham by Idonea (d.1420), da. of Sir Thomas Lengleys (d.1362) of Helton and Great and Little Asby by his w. Alice Kirkbridge. suc. e. bro. William c.1417. m. by Feb. 1426, Elizabeth Thornburgh, at least 1s.1

Offices Held


Robert II belonged to the Askham branch of the Sandford family, being distantly related to Robert Sandford I*, and thus by marriage to Thomas Warcop II* and his son, Thomas III*. He was the second son of Edmund Sandford, who purchased the manor of Askham in 1373 from Sir Robert Swinburne*. His mother, Idonea, was an heiress of some consequence, since on the death of her childless brother, William, she had succeeded to all the Westmorland estates of her father, Sir Thomas Langleys. These comprised the manors of Great and Little Asby, Knipe and Helton Flechan (or Flecket), as well as land in Carhullen, Bampton Patrick, Bampton Cundale and Whale, and a park at Seterah. Between 1380 and 1383 she and her husband fought a series of lawsuits to establish her title to these properties. Most of the litigation was probably collusive, but it is worth noting that one of the defendants was William Thornburgh, who had also married into the Lengleys family, and whose son, William*, may possibly have been Robert’s brother-in-law. At all events, his kinswoman, Elizabeth Thornburgh, later became our Member’s wife, evidently so that any conflicting claims to the Lengleys inheritance could be eliminated. The early death of Edmund Sandford had, in the meantime, made Idonea an extremely valuable commodity on the marriage market, and her hand was soon sought by the Yorkshire landowner, Sir Thomas Ughtred, whom she also survived by several years. Consequently, at the time of his only known return to Parliament, in May 1413, as Member for Appleby, Robert was still a younger son with limited expectations. He was not even mentioned in the will which his mother made in the following year, although the death without issue of his elder brother, William, in about 1417, changed his long-term prospects dramatically. William’s widow (who married Thomas More II* soon afterwards) retained the customary dower properties as well as a jointure in Little Asby, but when Idonea Sandford died, in 1420, Robert inherited all her other estates, together with the manor of Askham, which had been settled upon her for life by his father. By the terms of Idonea’s second will of 1420, Robert was charged with the setting up of a chantry at Askham dedicated to the memory of his maternal grandfather, whose heir he now was.2

Despite his improved wealth and status, Robert showed scant interest in public affairs, and continued to live quietly on his estates. At various times in his life he made enfeoffments of his property at Helton Flechan and Askham; and on the marriage of his son, Thomas, to Margaret Musgrave, in February 1451, he gave the couple his manor of Knipe and various other properties in Westmorland. By 1456, Thomas was living at Seterah, but three years later he and his father granted the park there to Ralph, Lord Dacre’s son, Humphrey, for the next ten years at a rent of ten marks p.a. Thomas, who became a retainer of Richard, earl of Warwick, succeeded his father not long after this lease was drawn up.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. JUST 1/1490 rot. 34v. Some unnecessary confusion exists as to the identity of this Member. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xxi. ped. facing p. 232 states that there were two near-contemporary Robert Sandfords, one the second son of Edmund and Idonea Sandford, and the other his nephew, namely the s. and h. of his elder brother, William, who died in c.1417. It is, however, clear (ibid. n.s. xxii. 339-40; J. Nicolson and R. Burn, Westmld. and Cumb. i. 425) that William left no issue, and that his younger bro., the subject of this biography, succeeded him.
  • 2. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xx. 88-90, 95; xxi. ped. facing p. 232; xxii. 339-40; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 144-5; JUST 1/1490 rot. 34v; Nicolson and Burn, i. 425.
  • 3. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. xxi. 182-4.