It is widely thought that the father of Christiana de Mowbray, the second wife of Sir William de Plumpton, was John I, Lord Mowbray (b. 4 September 1286). Lord Mowbray was descended from King Henry II through his natural son William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury. For Lord Mowbray's line of descent from King Henry II, see Douglas Richardson, PLANTAGENET ANCESTRY (2004), pp. 528-530.

It seems reasonably well-proved that Christiana was a member of a Mowbray family. At the baptism of her daughter Jacoba Emeldon in 1325, one of the godparents who lifted the child from the baptismal font was "Joan Moubray." [CALENDAR OF INQUISITIONS POST MORTEM (cited hereafter as CIPM) 8: 207.] On 12 December 1333, Christiana, as the widow of Richard de Emeldon, named "John de Moubray, her brother," to seek and receive her reasonable dower from her late husband's lands. [CCR Edward III 1333-1337, p. 185.] Several members of the online SGM newsgroup do not regard these documents as proof that Christiana was a member of the baronial Mowbrays and have noted the existence of other men named John de Mowbray, Christiana's contemporaries, who could have been her brother.

As an aid to identifying the John de Mowbray referred to by Christiana as her brother, I have examined primary and secondary sources related to the Mowbrays and to Sir William de Plumpton, his second wife Christiana, and their associates. The Calendars of Fine Rolls (CFR), Patent Rolls (CPR), and Close Rolls (CCR), covering the reigns of Kings Edward II and III, contain abstracts of nearly 500 documents which refer to "John de Mowbray" or its variants. Ignoring those entries in which the named John de Mowbray is clearly too young or too old to have been a contemporary of Christiana, nearly all of the remaining documents refer to the baronial Mowbray family of Thirsk and Hovingham in Yorkshire, also of Epworth, the Isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire, and several dozen other enclaves scattered around England and Wales. Those very few entries which do not refer to a John de Mowbray, either father or son, of the baronial family are covered in Part 2 along with John II, Lord Mowbray.



John Scot, son of Henry, was the scion of a family of wealthy and influential merchants in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. [Madeleine Hope Dodds, A HISTORY OF NORTHUMBERLAND (hereafter NCH) (1930) 13: 216.] Henry Scot, John's father, was mayor (chief bailiff) of Newcastle many times between 1274 and 1299. ["Early Deeds Relating to Newcastle upon Tyne," ed. Arthur Maule Oliver, PUBLICATIONS OF THE SURTEES SOCIETY 137 (1924): 209-212.] John Scot's grandfather Peter Scot was a bailiff or chief bailiff (mayor) of Newcastle intermittently between 1240 and 1251. [Ibid. 202.] John Scot, son of Henry, served Newcastle as a bailiff in 1314 during one of Richard de Emeldon's many terms as chief bailiff (mayor). [Ibid. 210.]

John Scot first appears in the public records as "son of Henry" in 1302 when he witnessed a local deed. ["Members of Parliament for the Boroughs of Northumberland (1295-1377)," ed. C. H. Hunter Blair, ARCHAEOLOGIA AELIANA, 4th series, 13 (1936): 59, p. 68.] From this, one can conclude that he was born no later than 1281. John Scot served as a member of parliament representing the Borough of Newcastle in 1307 (at Carlisle), and 1309 (at Stamford). He last appeared alive in the public record when he was named as one of the two representatives of Newcastle at the parliament of 1320 (at London). [Ibid. 67-69, and 72.] No returns were found for the parliament called for 15 July 1321, but, at the 2 May 1322 parliament at York, John Scot was replaced by Robert de Angerton. [Ibid. pp. 210-211.]

The only known public record which establishes his marriage to Christiana is in the rolls of the Court of Common Pleas, cited but not quoted in NCH 13: 314 as De Banco Rolls, Easter, 1 Edward III, m. 74 (1327). In 1327-1328 the Court of Common Pleas considered the request of Richard de Emeldon and Christiana, his wife, for her dower in properties owned by her late husband John Scot. [CP 40/269, m. 74; CP 40/270, m. 117; CP 40/272, m. 9d; CP 40/273, m. 98d; and CP 40/275, m. 183.] These citations are from the index of plea rolls contained in LISTS AND INDEXES v. 32 (Part II), published by the Public Record Office, London (Kraus Reprint 1963) p. 506.

At my request, Chris Phillips has examined these documents at the National Archives, and he has provided transciptions and translations of them. The action was brought against Richard Scot, apparently Christiana's stepson, and sought a third part of six messuages, 160 acres of arable land, and 20 acres of meadow in Thirston, a town located about 23 miles north of Newcastle. Richard Scot did not defend the action, and the court adjudged that Richard de Emeldon and Christiana should recover their seisin by default. Pursuant to court order, the Sheriff determined that Richard and Christiana had been damaged by the "detention of the dower to the value of 70s. 8d.," which the court directed the Sheriff to recover from the lands and chattels of Richard Scot in his jurisdiction.

Roger de Angerton, who in 1322 succeeded John Scot in parliament, was no doubt well acquainted with both Scot and Richard de Emeldon. Angerton had a long career in Newcastle's civic life. He and Scot were among the burgesses of Newcastle who were pardoned by Edward II in 1313 in connection with the killing of Piers Gaveston. [CPR Edward II 1313-1317, pp. 21, 24-25.] Angerton served as a bailiff during Richard Emeldon's mayoralty from 1319 through 1322. [Oliver, "Early Deeds, etc.," pp. 210-211.] He is described by Blair, in his "Members of Parliament, etc.," p. 73, as a shipowner and a wool merchant and mayor several times between 1348 and 1371.

In July 1364, more than forty years after John Scot's death, Angerton, then the mayor of Newcastle and its escheator, conducted an inquisition post mortem into Christiana's holdings. In the record of that inquisition, Angerton refers to "the death of Richard de Emeldon, her first husband." [CIPM 11: 460.] Angerton may simply have forgotten Christiana's marriage to John Scot, his former associate. In the alternative, it is possible that, although Scot and Christiana were lawfully married so as to entitle her to dower in Scot's assets, the marriage, which resulted in no children, may not have been consummated.


Far more is known of the life of Richard de Emeldon, whose marriage to Christiana is amply proved by contemporary records. There are two excellent accounts of his life published 100 years apart: Frederick Walter Dendy, "An Account of Jesmond," ARCHAEOLOGIA AELIANA, 3rd series, 1 (1904): 59-65; and Constance M. Fraser, PhD., "Embleton, Richard," OXFORD DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY (2004) 18:387-388. Also helpful is Richard Welford, MEN OF MARK 'TWIXT TYNE AND TWEED (1895) 2: 180-184. Emeldon was even more active in the public life of Newcastle than John Scot, and his services were regularly called upon by his peers and the king, often taking him away from his adopted city.

A burgess of Newcastle in 1296 and a bailiff in 1301-1303, Emeldon was selected as a burgess to attend a meeting of merchants called by King Edward I, held before the king's council at York on 25 June 1303 for the purpose of considering the king's request for new payments and customs. The merchants voted unanimously to reject the king's proposal in favor of "the customs anciently due and used." [C. H. Hunter Blair, "The Mayors and Lord Mayors of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1216-1940," ARCHAEOLOGIA AELIANA, 4th series, 18 (1940): 3; Welford, pp. 180-181; SOURCES OF ENGLISH CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY, ed. Carl Stephenson and Frederick George Marcham (1937), p. 166.]

As a prosperous merchant and shipowner, he occasionally went "beyond the seas" in order to transact business. At times, he called upon the king for assistance. In 1309, King Edward II, in Emeldon's behalf, wrote the burgomasters of Bruges requesting them to restore to Emeldon 27 sacks of wool and many gold coins saved from a warehouse fire. In 1314, Emeldon complained to the king of the seizure of skins from his ships sailing from Alnmouth where he had several burgages. [Blair, "Members of Parliament, etc.," p. 70; and Dendy, p. 61.]

Emeldon served as chief bailiff or mayor of Newcastle for nineteen years between 1305 and 1333, holding that post consecutively from 1314 through 1320. [Oliver, "Early Deeds etc.," pp. 209-212.] The great army of England came through Newcastle to a disastrous defeat by the Scots at Bannockburn in 1314. Emboldened by their success, the Scots made destructive raids throughout Northumberland and Newcastle, adding to the misery caused by the famine in most of Europe north of the Alps that resulted from prolonged torrential rains. [William Chester Jordan, THE GREAT FAMINE (1996), pp. 17-20.] On 6 May 1315, Emeldon obtained special protection from the king so that his servant could go beyond the seas to buy corn and other victuals for the townspeople. [Welford, pp.181-182.]

Emeldon also served as a Member of Parliament over several years, including 1311 (London), 1314 (York), 1324 (London), 1325 (London), 1328 (one at York, one at Northampton), and 1331 (London). Newcastle was not represented at parliamentary sessions in 1315, 1318, 1327, and September 1332, as no one was available because of the incursions of the Scots. ["Members of Parliament, etc.," pp. 69-79.]

King Edward II, on 15 November 1318, mandated "the mayor and bailiffs of the town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne to arrest and imprison all persons creating disturbances in their town." [CPR Edward II 1317-1321, p. 227.] On 24 November 1318, the king appointed Emeldon and two others "to distribute the 40 tuns of wine, which the king had granted for the relief of knights and others of the county of Northumberland, who have been impoverished by the incursions of the Scots." [CPR Edward II 1317-1321, p. 247.] A month later, on 10 December 1318, Emeldon was appointed one of three conservators of the peace in Northumberland. [CPR Edward II 1317-1321, p. 301.]

On 24 March 1322, following the Battle of Boroughbridge - a fight between the king and Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, in which the Scots did not participate - the king ordered the Sheriff of Northumberland to deliver over to Emeldon "the keeping of all the castles and lands late of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, and other the king's enemies and rebels and others in the county of Northumberland." Emeldon was further directed "to be intendant on the said keeping, neglecting all other things." Five weeks later, on 1 May 1322, Emeldon was ordered by the king to seize into the king's hand all wardships which he could find to have been in the hands of the "said enemies and rebels" in Northumberland and Durham. [CFR Edward II 1321-1324, pp. 117, 125.] In 1323, Emeldon was one of the wardens of the truce of the Scots in Northumberland [Dendy, p. 60], and, in 1324, the king "in part allowance for his long services, and great losses in the wars with Scotland," granted Emeldon the manor of Silksworth in Durham, forfeited by the attainder of Robert de Holand following Boroughbridge. [Welford, p. 182.]

Christiana de Mowbray's birth year is unknown. We know that she was married to Richard de Emeldon by 1324, because their only known child, Jacoba, was born and baptized in Newcastle on 23 March 1324/25. The godparents, who lifted the infant from the baptismal font, were "Lawrence de Dunelm', Margaret de Castro Bernardi, and Joan Moubray." Emeldon was in London at the time and was told of Jacoba's birth by a letter from Christiana which he received on 30 March 1325. [CIPM 8: 207.] Since John Scot, Christiana's first husband, was still alive in 1320 and she had no children by him, it is reasonable to place her year of birth at about 1305.

In 1332, Emeldon, as mayor, and the burgesses of Newcastle petitioned the king praying that "whereas they are impoverished by the wars of Scotland before these times and have incurred great costs in saving the town against the attacks of the Scots and are now burdened by escheators and subescheators in those parts, the king would grant that the mayor be escheator." On 14 September 1332, the king and council responded to the petition by giving Emeldon an interim appointment as escheator and ordering the former escheator "to meddle not with that office" in Newcastle "but to permit Richard to exercise the same." [CFR Edward III 1327-1337, p. 330.]

In June 1333, in an effort to recapture the city of Berwick from the Scots, the young King Edward III gathered his forces at Newcastle and "tarried three days for the residue of his host that was coming after," before departing toward Scotland. [CHRONICLES OF FROISSART, ed. John Burchier (1904) (Macmillan London), pp. 35-37.] The king ordered Emeldon to bring with him from Newcastle "as many men-of-arms as he could gather together for the siege" of Berwick. Emeldon complied with the order and "led from Newcastle to Berwick 17 men-of-arms and 30 light horsemen, and other armed men, and kept them there at his own cost until the battle of Halidon Hill, which was fought outside Berwick on the 19th of July, 1333." The Scots were completely routed with little loss of English lives generally, but Emeldon and all of his men were killed. [Dendy, pp. 61-62.]

On 12 October 1333, the king ordered the escheators "to take into the king's hand the land late of Richard de Emeldon, deceased tenant in chief" and eight days later granted William de Denum the wardship of Jacoba Emeldon and of her one-third interest in her late father's lands. [CFR Edward III 1327-1337, pp. 375, 377; CPR Edward III 1330-1334, p. 520.]

The king, on 2 November 1333, granted a license "for Christiana, late the wife of Richard de Emeldon, tenant in chief, on account of good service done by the said Richard in his lifetime to the late king and the king, to marry whomsoever she will of the king's allegiance." [CPR Edward III 1330-1334, p. 477.] On 12 December 1333, "Cristiana, late the wife of Richard de Emeldon, tenant-in-chief, puts in her place John de Moubray, her brother, and Henry de Haydok, clerk, to seek and receive in chancery, her reasonable dower from the lands which her husband held." [CCR Edward III 1333-1337, p. 185.] On 1 March 1334, the king ordered that the escheator was "to take the fealty of Cristiana, late the wife of Richard de Emeldon, which is due to the king, and to deliver to her the lands which the king assigned to her" as her dower. [CCR Edward III 1333-1337, p. 238.] By 30 June 1334, Christiana de Emeldon had married William de Plumpton, on which day her dower was "made to the said William and Cristiana." [CCR Edward III 1333-1337, p. 319.]

Emeldon's executors were successful in gaining payment for food furnished by Emeldon to King Edward II. On 5 June 1335, King Edward III ordered payment of sums owed for "divers victuals, bought of him for the late king's use ... considering the good place which Richard, while he lived, held not without heavy labours." [CCR Edward III 1333-1337, pp. 400-401.]


Sir William de Plumpton was descended through his mother from William the Lion, King of Scotland. [COMPLETE PEERAGE (hereafter CP) 11: 92-93, 117-118.] Plumpton's first marriage was to Alice, daughter and heir of Sir Henry Beaufiz [also seen as Beaufitz and Byaufiz]. They were married no later than 14 April 1322, the date of a settlement by his father upon Sir William and Alice, his wife, and heirs of their bodies of the manor of Nesfield. [PLUMPTON CORRESPONDENCE, ed. Thomas Stapleton, CAMDEN SOCIETY PUBLICATIONS no. 4 (1839), p. xx.] At the death of Sir Henry in 1325, Alice was said to be aged 28 and more. [CIPM 6: 399.] If she were born about 1297, and considering that this was likely the first marriage for each of them, Sir William's birth year can be estimated at 1295. No surviving children resulted from this marriage and Alice was dead by 30 June 1334 when Christiana de Emeldon's dower was "made to the said William and Cristiana." [CCR Edward III 1333-1337, p. 319.]

The Plumptons had since ancient times held most of their Yorkshire properties as tenants of the Percys, and in 1295, Sir Robert de Plumpton, Sir William's grandfather, adopted "the armorial insignia of his lord paramount, 'the Sire de Percy,'" slightly modified. [Stapleton, pp. xvii-xix.] William de Plumpton had been knighted by 19 September 1328 when he and his brother-in-law Sir Peter de Middelton witnessed a charter by Sir Henry Percy. [CPR Edward III 1327-1330, p. 398.]

On 24 August 1330, before Sir William married Christiana, a commission of oyer and terminer convened to hear the complaint of John, Lord Mowbray, that a large number of men, including Plumpton and Sir Peter de Middelton, had "entered his free chaces and warrens" at Kirkby Malzeard and other Mowbray holdings in Yorkshire and had "hunted there without license, and carried away deer, hares, rabbits, partridges, and pheasants." [CPR Edward III 1327-1330, p. 569.] Henry and Geoffrey le Scrope, members of the commission, were related to Plumpton. Geoffrey's wife was Juetta de Ros, a sister of Plumpton's mother Lucy de Ros. The complaint made by Mowbray may reflect enmity arising from the fact that Plumpton had acquired an interest in the manor of Kirkby Malzeard through his father-in-law, Sir Henry Beaufiz, who held "the manor of Kirkeby Malasart, now in the king's hand through the forfeiture of John de Moubray," a reference to Lord Mowbray's father who was executed after being captured at Boroughbridge in 1322. [CIPM 6: 399.]

Neighborly relations may have improved for many years, because it was not until 20 August 1351 that a commission of oyer and terminer was convened on the complaint of John, Lord Mowbray, that Plumpton, who was then the Sheriff of York, and others had entered Mowbray's free chace at Kirkby Malzeard, hunted therein, carried away deer, and assaulted his men. On the same day, another such commission looked into a complaint made by Blanche de Mowbray that Plumpton and others had "broke her closes and houses" and drove away oxen and cows at several other Mowbray holdings in Yorkshire. [CPR Edward III 1350-1354, pp. 159-160.] Blanche is identified as the daughter of John de Mowbray on 10 August 1349 in CCR 23 Edward III 1349-1354, p. 51. The last of Lord Mowbray's complaints of poaching against Plumpton and several other prominent Yorkshire men was heard by a commission of oyer and terminer on 20 October 1354. This action again complained of an entry into his free chace at Kirkby Malzeard as well as at Burton in Lonesdale, County of York, the hunting and carrying away of deer, and assaults upon his men. [CPR Edward III 1354-1358, p. 130.]

Kirkby Malzeard, a locale of all three of Lord Mowbray's complaints of poaching against Plumpton and his associates, was a major holding of the Mowbrays. [CIPM 3: 357.] As noted above, Plumpton also had an interest in Kirkby Malzeard through his father-in-law who had acquired it from the Crown after its forfeiture by John I, Lord Mowbray, executed following the Battle of Boroughbridge. On 24 April 1345, Plumpton received a license for the alienation in mortmain affecting some of his holdings in Kirkby Malzeard and elsewhere in Yorkshire for the celebration of divine services in the church of St. Wilfrid, Ripon, for his good estate, his soul when he is dead, and the souls of his parents, ancestors, and heirs. [CPR Edward III 1343-1345, p. 455.] In any event, Kirkby Malzeard continued to be listed as one of the four Mowbray manors in Yorkshire. [CIPM 11: 138-139 (1361).]

Although the Plumpton holdings were mostly in Yorkshire, he eventually acquired an estate in Nothumberland which was not part of Christiana's dower. As early as 1346 and as late as 1358, "William de Plumpton and Christiana his wife" held the manor of Brenkley, located 7 miles NNW of Newcastle, of Sir John de Eure for one-eighth of a knight's fee. [FEUDAL AIDS 4: 57-59; and NCH 12: 522-523.]

Sir William de Plumpton served as a Member of Parliament representing Yorkshire in 1331. [Godfrey Richard Park, PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATION OF YORKSHIRE (1886), p. 288.] He was on many occasions called upon for his services in the North of England. On 10 February 1354 and again on 2 July 1354, Plumpton and others were appointed justices to enforce the Statute of Labourers in parts of Yorkshire. [CPR Edward III 1354-1358, pp. 58-61.]

On 20 January 1347, an order of appointment by the king's council noted that "William de Plumpton who is of the retinue of Henry de Percy" was "about to go in his company to the march of Scotland for the defence thereof." [CFR Edward III 1337-1347, p. 493.] The Percys, long an important family in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, had become dominant landowners in Northumberland as the result of their 1309 purchase of Alnwick from the Bishop of Durham. [CP 10: 458.] King Edward III having made over to Henry Percy the reversionary interests in Warkworth and other Clavering estates on 2 March 1328, they passed to the Percy family in 1332 upon the death of John de Clavering. [W. Percy Hedley, NORTHUMBERLAND FAMILIES (1968) 1: 161.] Sir William de Plumpton was no doubt a member of Henry Percy's retinue because Plumpton owed knight's service to Percy (1301-1352), his feudal lord. Percy must have called upon Plumpton for services in his retinue with some frequency. Percy took "part in the siege of Berwick, of which he was made the keeper, and fought at Halidon Hill." [CP 10: 461.] This is the battle in which Richard de Emeldon was killed.

Plumpton and Lord Mowbray served together at least four times on commissions of oyer and terminer. First, Mowbray and Plumpton served on a commission convened on 8 February 1350 to hear a complaint by Christopher Maillore that several miscreants had "broke his close and houses" at Hoton Conyers, Yorkshire, and done other damage. [CPR Edward III 1348-1350, p. 520.] On 6 July 1352, Lord Mowbray and two others were added to a commission of which Plumpton was a member and which looked into a claim that a ship had been broken up and its timbers carried away. [CPR Edward III 1350-1354, p. 289.] On 10 July 1356, Plumpton, Lord Mowbray, and three others were members of a commission that heard a complaint that an abbot, his fellow monks, and others had besieged a house near Knaresborough in Yorkshire and carried away goods. [CPR Edward III 1354-1358, p. 498.] Last, on 26 June 1361, Lord Mowbray and Plumpton served together on a commission that heard a complaint by the Abbot of Fountains that disturbers of the peace had entered his free chaces and free warrens, felled trees, and carried away game from several places in Yorkshire. [CPR Edward III 1358-1361.] This may have been the last time that Lord Mowbray and Sir William de Plumpton were together as Mowbray died on 4 October 1361. [CP 9: 383.]

Plumpton's life, too, was coming to an end. "He died 36 Edw. III. 1362, towards the close of the year." [Stapleton, p. xxi.] Christiana survived her husband for about a year, the date of her death in 1363 being given both as "20 December" and the "Saturday after Christmas." [CIPM 11: 459-460.]

Before moving on to Part 2, the author thanks Chris Phillips for his transcription and translation of the de banco records relating to Christiana's dower action against Richard Scot.