|SOME NOTES ON MEDIEVAL ENGLISH GENEALOGY|
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BY JOHN R. SCHUERMAN AND DOUGLAS HICKLING
Richard and Mary's son, Sir Richard Tempest, had an illustrious career involving battles with the Scots and French and extensive administrative responsibilities in the north of England under five kings of England, from Edward III to Henry VI. As noted above, he was co-warden of Berwick Castle with Sir Thomas Talbot, presumably his mother's brother, in 1385-86. (This could not have been her father, since he was dead by 1366, History of Whalley, v. 1, p. 500.)
Richard's birth year is well established through his testimony in the Scrope and Grosvenor trial, when he said in October 1386 that he was 30 years old (N. Harris Nicholas, Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy, 1832, v. 1, pp. 198-99, v. 2, pp. 473-74; Nicholas suggests two possibilities for Richard's father, both of which are clearly wrong). He made his will 26 August 1427 and it was proved by his son Roger 30 September 1430 (Testamenta Eboracensia I, hereafter Test. Ebor., Surtees Society Publications v. 4, p. 412-13). As evidence for his death in 1428, EBT cites non-payment of an annuity due to him "because he is dead" (quoting Duchy of Lancaster Minister's Accounts No. 8352, Bdle. 524) and accounts of the Priory of Finchale for May 1429 to May 1430 (Surtees Society Publications vol. 6, p. cciii). (J. S. Roskell, The House of Commons 1386-1421, 1992, pp. 573-575, has a biography which incorrectly identifies Richard's father as his grandfather, John, and does not identify his wife.)
As to who Richard's wife was, there is great confusion in the literature. She is identified as Margaret in his will and in an inscription in a window in Bracewell church viewed by Dodsworth in 1645 (Dodsw. 88, f. 31, printed in the appendix to Dodsworth's Yorkshire Church Notes, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series, v. 34, p. 242: "Orate pro Domino Ricardo Tempest et Domina Margareta consorte sua"). Several Burke's publications have almost identical formulations: "said to have married Isabel, widow of John Grassus, of Gemelyn, and also Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of Robert de Stainforth" (Landed Gentry, 1925, p. 1724, 1937, p. 2214, 1972, p. 886; Family Records, 1897, p. 584; Peerage & Baronetage, 107th ed., 2003, v. 2, p. 2384, sub Londonderry). Joseph Foster's 1875 edition of Glover's Yorkshire visitation of 1584-85 and St. George's visitation of 1612 shows Richard's wife as Isabella, sister and heir of John Gras of Studley, while Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire 1665-66 (1899, J. W. Clay, ed., pp. 120-21) says "believed to have married Margaret, dau. and ch. of Robt. de Staynford, of Gyggleswick (some say Isabel, wid. of John le Gras)." R. Surtees, History and Antiquities of Durham (1820, p. 327) says she was "Isabel, daughter and heir of John le Gras, of Studley, co. York, (otherwise stated to be Isabel, daughter and heir of Sir Hugh Clitherow, Knt. by Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John le Gras)." Whitaker's History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven (3rd ed. 1878, opposite p. 96) confuses things further, showing Richard's wife as Isabel de Clitheroe, daughter of his step-mother Isabel de Gras by her second husband Sir Hugh de Clitheroe. Similar confusions exist in the Tempest chart in Foster's Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire. In a note to Richard's will in Test. Ebor. I, the editor says his wife was Isabel, widow of John le Gras, without documentation (p. 413).
An Appendix to the Memorials of Fountains Abbey (Surtees Society, v. 67, 1876, p. 312), "A Genealogical and Biographical Memoir of the Lords of Studley, in Yorkshire," by John Richard Walbran, discussing Sir John le Gras says "his only daughter and heiress, Isabel le Gras, married, according to the usually received account, Sir Richard Tempest . . . who thus became lord of Studley and other possessions, jure uxoris; but there appears to be some confusion, or perhaps deficiency in this statement. It has been said, though we have seen no proofs of the assertion, that this Isabel was the daughter and heiress of Sir Hugh Clitheroe, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heiress of Sir John le Gras." Apparently, Walbran has confused Sir Richard Tempest with his uncle Richard (see below). In recent postings on the Internet, Richard's wife is often identified as Isabel Leygard, perhaps a corruption of le Gras.
EBT notes that Richard's wife has been identified as Isabel, widow of John Grassus, citing a pedigree by G. C. Brooke, Somerset Herald at the College of Arms 1 C.R. 92, also taking note of the footnote in Test. Ebor., and citing British Library Add. MS. 18011, f. 188 (also see Harleian 4630, f. 388). She goes on to say, "No evidence has yet been found to prove this marriage & no John Grassus or Graas appears forthcoming to suit the dates." We agree, we have not found substantial evidence for this marriage either, other than the many secondary sources cited above, all of which may have been copying from each other (they may have gotten this idea from EBT, who cited the College of Arms pedigree in an earlier work, Pedigree of Tempest, of Bracewell, Broughton-in-Craven, Bowling, Tong, etc., 1890, Family History Library film 702215).
In Tempest Pedigrees EBT prefers Margaret Stainforth (or Staynforth), sister or daughter of Robert de Stainforth, as the likely wife. As principal evidence for this relationship, she cites Robert Stainforth's will. This will is in the York Registry of Wills at the Borthwick Institute of the University of York (volume 1, ff. 56 and 25, the sheets of this volume were disarranged prior to binding, so that the will begins on f. 56 and is completed on f. 25). Reference to it may be found in the Index of Wills in the York Registry, YASRS v. 6, p. 158 (it is not in Testamenta Eboracensia). We have obtained a copy of the will from the Borthwick Institute and are grateful to the staff there for providing us a translation. The will was made 16 March 1390-91 and was apparently probated on the last day of that month. Robert bequeaths animals and household utensils to his daughters Margaret and Agnes, but as EBT observes, fails to indicate whether they were married. He goes on: "Also I bequeath to the daughter of Richard Tempest 100 marks at her marriage if she should be married, or to the daughters of the said Richard Tempest or to the sons of the same." Then: "Also I bequeath the residue of all my goods not bequeathed to Richard Tempest knight and to the abbot of Sallay so that they shall ordain and dispose for my soul as is best." He names Richard Tempest, knight, and John de Standon executors. While not absolutely dispositive, we agree with EBT that this is substantial evidence for the marriage of Richard Tempest and Margaret Stainforth.
EBT goes on to present other evidence for this marriage. Richard's son Roger named a daughter Margaret. More importantly, property at Staynforth and Gigglesworth, formerly in the possession of the Stainforths, was owned by Richard's son Robert (EBT cites Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, v. 12, p. 114, which is a demise 12 September 1419 by Robert Tempest of Stayneforth to William Finch and others of various manors and lands, "late held by Thos. de Scheffeld of Braythwell," there is no mention of these properties having been owned by the Stainforths, although EBT shows this from other sources). Furthermore, Robert's son Richard was "of Staynforth" in September 1437 (EBT cites Lanc. Plea Roll 33 Lent 3 Ed 4, m. 33, which we have not found but note that 3 Edward IV was 1463-4, so if this reference is correct, it must be retrospective). There are also other documented associations of Richard Tempest with Robert de Stainforth, as noted by EBT: "In Aug 1382, Robt de Staynforth was witness to a grant from John son of Sir Richard Tempest of Studley to Sir Ric. Tempest of Bracewell, of land in Pathorne (Ric: Gascoignes MSS) & was associated with Sir Ric. Tempest in a suit over land there & in Settle (Assize Ro. 1500. m. 10). In 1389, Robt Staynforth was to have gone with Sir Richard to Berwick, but was too infirm & aged to go (Pat Ro Cal 1385-89, p. 267)." We have verified only the last of these references.
A recent book on the Stainforths by Peter Stainforth, Not Found Wanting (Knebworth, Hertfordshire, Able Publishing, 2003) references this will (p. 21, online at http://www.stainforth-history.co.uk/excerpts/yorksavon.html). The book definitively identifies Robert Stainforth's daughter as the wife of Richard Tempest, and says Margaret's daughter, Margaret, was the daughter of Richard Tempest who was to have received 100 marks as a marriage portion. We do not know the source of this identification and believe that the author may have inferred too much.
EBT notes that a source for the belief that Richard's wife was somehow related to the le Gras family may be the fact that Richard's great uncle, Sir Richard Tempest was married to Isabel, daughter of Sir John le Gras of Studley.
One of the most fascinating tidbits about Richard's wife is the following notation by EBT: "During the time Sir Ric. Tempest was the warden of Roxburgh Castle, between April 1385 & April 1386, the Scots carried off his papers & his wife." EBT's citation for this is "Exch: Q.R. Memorand: Mich: 1 Hen 4 Writs to Barons m. 9." We are grateful to Chris Phillips who has found this document for us in the National Archives at Kew. The reference is E 159/176, King's Remembrancer: Memoranda Rolls and Enrolment Books. Phillips's summary translation is as follows:
Henry [IV] to the Treasurer and barons of the Exchequer. Recites that on 28 February 8 Richard II [1384/5] Thomas Swynburn and Richard Tempest knights bound themselves by indenture made between the king of the one part and them of the other to guard at their peril the Castle of Roxburgh for a whole year starting on the day of the feast of Easter in the said year [2 April 1385] and taking from him for the said guard 4300 marks to be paid at terms limited in the said indenture. The part of [the indenture] which remained with the said Richard at the time that his wife was taken by our Scots enemies was accidentally lost as he says, so that it cannot be received to his account at our said Exchequeur unless he is helped by us.
Unfortunately, we have not located additional sources that would throw light on this alleged abduction or its outcome.
EBT shows five sons for Richard and Margaret: Sir Piers, Sir Robert, John, Richard, and Roger. She gives varying dates for their births at different places in the manuscript, Piers: "circa 1378" and "born say 1382"; Robert: "born say 1385"; Roger: "circa 1390," "born say 1390," and "c. 1398"; she does not suggest birthdates for John and Richard. She also shows a single daughter, Isabel, also without birthdate. (Roger married Catherine Gilliot, founded the Tempests of Broughton, and is the ancestor of EBT's husband, Arthur Cecil Tempest.)
Since Robert de Stainforth's will was dated April 1390, if Margaret was in fact Richard Tempest's wife, either she had returned from her ordeal as a captive of the Scots in 1385 or 1386 or she was a successor wife to the one who was abducted. So, while we believe that Margaret Stainforth was Richard's wife, we cannot be sure that he did not have a first wife.
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