WARCOP, Thomas III, of Lammerside, Westmld.
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Family and Education
In the summer of 1404, when Thomas was just 18 years old, his married father decided to exploit his position as deputy sheriff of Westmorland by abducting a young heiress to be his wife. On his death, in about 1403, Robert Sandford I had left two daughters to share his estates in Sandford and Burton. Margaret, who was then eight, became the ward of her stepfather, Sir Robert Leybourne*, and Thomas Warcop II lost little time in arranging for her to be kidnapped and married to his son. The actual raid on Sir Robert’s home was led by her own kinsman, Roland Thornburgh*, who subsequently tried to intimidate the knight into accepting a fait accompli. But Leybourne was not easily cowed, and in the autumn of 1404 he stood for Parliament so that he could appeal personally to the Commons for redress. His case received a sympathetic hearing; and although Warcop was allowed to remain in office as deputy sheriff, the marriage itself was evidently annulled. At some point before 1422, Margaret became the wife of Christopher Bardsey, leaving Thomas III to search for another bride. Her sister, Katherine, did, however, marry into the War-cop family, perhaps as part of a settlement designed to reconcile the two parties.2
No more is heard of our Member until 1414, when his father, whose contempt for the law evidently remained as strong as ever, faced the prospect of interrogation in the court of Chancery as one of the ‘graundez meyntenours and maleffesours’ in Westmorland. No doubt to defend himself in person against these charges, which were brought by the lawyer, John Helton*, Thomas II stood for election for the county to the November Parliament; and Thomas III was on hand, with his kinsman, Thomas Warcop I of Warcop, to witness the return. The family understandably wished to maintain a presence at Westminster, and in the following year Thomas III was himself chosen as a shire knight, along with yet another of his many relatives, Robert Warcop, who seems to have been a lawyer. Because of the confusion over names, it is less easy to follow Thomas III’s career after this date, although we may reasonably assume that he was the Thomas Warcop of Lammerside who acted in 1425 as a trustee of the estates in Northumberland and Westmorland which John Lancaster I* wished to settle as a jointure upon his second wife, Katherine. Ten years later, Thomas III and his co-feoffees were pardoned for acquiring the property without the necessary royal licence, so it appears that he outlived his father, who was dead by then. Given his long association with the Lancasters, his involvement in the bitter feud which later erupted between Katherine and a local landowner named John Cliburn seems more than likely. In about 1452, Cliburn complained that a Thomas Warcop had besieged his home with ‘a great multitude of other misdoers’, attempting to murder him and evict his wife and children on the specific instructions of the widowed Katherine Lancaster.3