WIGMORE, Roger (d.1403/4), of Lucton, Herefs.
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Family and Education
s. of John Wigmore by his w. — Siddenham. m. between Nov. 1384 and Apr. 1385, Christine, wid. of Reynold Coleman of London, smith, ?1s. d.v.p.1
Constable of Montgomery castle 9 Sept. 1383-6 Feb. 1384, Dolforwyn castle II Oct. 1383-6 Feb. 1384, Carmarthen castle 22 Nov. 1390-11 June 1395, 19 May 1399-aft. July 1403.2
Bailiff, Winchelsea 26 Jan.-27 Mar. 1384.
J p. Kent 29 Feb. 1384-Oct 1385.
Commr. of inquiry, Kent Mar. 1384 (royal lands), Kent, Surr., Suss. Mar. 1387 (concealments), Kent Oct. 1387 (withdrawal of services by royal tenants), Kent, Suss. Nov. 1387 (shipwreck), Hants Nov. 1387 (piracy), Carm. Aug. 1397 (King’s right to Llandovery castle); oyer and terminer, Kent June 1384; array Jan., May 1385; to arrest adherents of Walter Brut, Herefs. Sept. 1393; of arrest Apr. 1394.
Lt. warden of the Cinque Ports by May 1386-aft. Nov. 1387.
Controller of tunnage and poundage, Sandwich to Jan.-11 Feb. 1387, 9 June 1388-9; collector of same and of customs on wool II Feb. 1387-June 1388, wool only June 1388-26 Oct. 1390.
Chamberlain and receiver, S. Wales 25 May 1389-4 Dec. 1390.
Justice, S. Wales 17 Oct. 1390-May 1391.3
Receiver of Haverford, Pemb. 13 May 1392.
Usher of the King’s chamber by Sept. 1394.
Roger’s family came from Lucton, near Wigmore, the old caput of the Mortimer fief, and he himself most likely began his career as a retainer of the Mortimer earls of March, for in the autumn of 1383 he was given custody of two castles which were then in the King’s hands during the minority of Roger, 4th earl of March, whose livery he later wore. However, until the earl came of age, Wigmore was first and foremost an official of the Crown, initially in Kent and the Cinque Ports though subsequently in South Wales. In 1384 he was made bailiff of Winchelsea, only to resign three months later, perhaps on his appointment as deputy to Sir Simon Burley, the warden of the Cinque Ports and constable of Dover castle, a post he was certainly holding by May 1386. It was as such that he served on several royal commissions in Kent, where, for a short time, he was also a j.p. In October 1384, then referred to as a ‘King’s esquire’, he was granted £20 a year from the fee farm of Rye, exchanging it, however, a few months later, for certain rents payable to the Crown in Rye and London. Early in 1385 he was ordered to improve the defences of Rye, and he also sat on two commissions of array in Kent, although in the summer of that year he left the south-east to serve with the royal household during Richard II’s expedition to Scotland. Having investigated, during 1386, several cases concerning salvage and piracy off the south coast, he obtained, in February 1387, the lucrative office of collector of customs in Sandwich and all the ports between Gravesend and Winchelsea inclusive. A year later he went surety for Sir Richard Stury, a household knight, when the latter took out a royal lease on the Kentish lands of two alien priories.4 The fall of Sir Simon Burley in March 1388, with its attendant scandals concerning the Cinque Ports, most likely also dislodged his subordinate, but Wigmore was reappointed to his post as customer on 20 Mar., the last day of the first session of the Merciless Parliament, and, again, after Burley’s execution, on 9 June. Sir Simon died owing him more than £168, and it was not until February 1390 that he was allowed a royal licence to sue for recovery. In the following month, he was again confirmed in office as collector of customs, although by this time the centre of his more important activities had moved to Wales.5
In May 1389, following Richard II’s assumption of control over the government, Wigmore had been appointed (at a fee of £20 a year) King’s chamberlain and receiver in South Wales, thus becoming the chief financial officer of the Crown in that area. Early in 1390 his receivership was extended to Pembrokeshire and to other estates which were in the King’s hands owing to the death of John Hastings, earl of Pembroke, and in October that year he was also appointed one of the royal justices who jointly exercised the office of justiciar of South Wales. Such services did not go unrewarded, and it was when Wigmore was sitting in the Commons for Herefordshire in the following month that several valuable royal grants came his way. First, on 22 Nov. he was made constable of Carmarthen castle for life at an annual fee of £20, and four days later he shared in a lease of the Cheshire lands of Richard Bulkeley of Cheadle, with the marriage of the heir. Then, on 28 Nov. he was granted, again for life, the prise of wines at Carmarthen and Cardigan, and finally, on 20 Dec. (shortly after the dissolution) he was awarded an annuity of £20 from the issues of South Wales. Thus, his income from the Crown (including his emoluments as chamberlain and justice) must have totalled well over £60 a year.6
It was in his official capacity that, in October 1391, Wigmore was ordered to occupy the lands of the decayed abbey of Talley, Carmarthen. Then, in the following month, he again attended Parliament, and during the session obtained confirmation of his tenancy of certain crown lands at Kingsmead, Shropshire. His jurisdiction as receiver in South Wales was further extended in May 1392 to cover the lordship of Haverford, and in February 1393 he was granted the prise of wines at Milford, although he apparently never enjoyed the revenues of this particular office. His income had not as yet reached its limit, however, and in February 1394 his wages of 7½d. a day as a King’s esquire were ordered to be paid so long as he was in royal employment, whether he was actually present in the Household or not; and, three months later, at the request of Thomas Mowbray, the Earl Marshal, this fee was confirmed to him for life, he being then described in the patent as an usher of the King’s chamber.7
Wigmore did not accompany Richard II to Ireland in 1394, for in August of that year he was nominated as one of the attorneys for Roger Mortimer, earl of March, who had done so. The earl, only recently given control over his inheritance, now issued Wigmore with robes of his livery, worth 50s. In September Wigmore undertook to act as an attorney also for Sir Walter Devereux* and for John Devereux of Maund, Lord Devereux’s son and heir. But he was otherwise seeking to reduce his work-load; at the same time he obtained an exemption from being appointed to any further royal offices against his will. In the following June he was replaced as constable of Carmarthen and in December he resigned the post of chamberlain to a fellow usher of the Chamber, William Ash. Nevertheless, he continued to receive his household wages, and on the eve of Richard II’s departure for Ireland in 1399 he was once again appointed constable of Carmarthen (jointly with Ash), and confirmed in the prise of wines in South Wales. He continued, apparently independently of Ash, as constable under Henry IV, and in October 1400 Henry, prince of Wales, renewed his grant for life of the wine subsidy. He is last heard of in July 1403, when the constable of Dynevor informed the government that Carmarthen had fallen to the Welsh under Owen Glendower: ‘the town is taken and brent, and the castell yolden [yielded?] be Wygomor’.8
Virtually nothing is known of the private concerns of this successful royal servant, but his marriage to the widow of a London smith had given him property in the parish of St. Margaret, Lothbury. He is said to have had a son named William, but if so the boy predeceased him, for after his death (which occurred before December 1404), his heirs were found to be Isabel, wife of William atte Walle of Orleton, Herefordshire, and Margaret, widow of Thomas Fox, the daughters of his kinswoman, Juliana Byrcher.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. Herefs. RO, B56/2, f. 117; Corporation of London RO, hr 113/97. According to W.R. Williams, Parl. Hist. Herefs. 28 he m. Sibyl, da. of William Vaughan of Bredwardine, Herefs. If so, she must have been his 1st w., for Christine survived him.
- 2. R.A. Griffiths, Principality of Wales, i. 198-200.
- 3. Ibid. 123-4, 179-80.
- 4. CCR, 1381-5, pp. 483, 618; CPR, 1381-5, pp. 467, 525, 532, 544; 1385-9, p. 178; EHR, lxxiii. 19; CFR, x. 211; London hr 113/95, 117/86.
- 5. R. Higden, Polychronicon ed. Lumby, ix. 141-7; CPR, 1385-9, pp. 426, 455; 1388-92, p. 186.
- 6. CFR, x. 310, 312, 335; CPR, 1388-92, pp. 326, 358, 362; SC6/1222/9.
- 7. CPR, 1388-92, p. 484; 1391-6, pp. 381, 404, 484; CFR, xi. 45, 76; CCR, 1392-6, p. 248.
- 8. CPR, 1391-6, pp. 476, 480, 491, 500; E101/511/24 m. 5; SC6/1222/9; Cott. Cleo, FIII, f. 121d; Egerton Ch. 8739.
- 9. London hr 113/97-98, 117/104, 133/25, 28-29, 69, 93.