Name: Thomas Chaworth
Prefix: Sir 1
Death: 17 FEB 1459 1
Burial: Launde priory, Notts
Note: 2 3|
Change Date: 19 AUG 2009
In the reign of Henry VI., Sir Thomas Chaworth, by a fortunate marriage, added largely to the family possessions. He became entitled to the inheritance of no less than five noble families; and with the acquisition of this great wealth was enabled to make a park at Wiverton, and is believed to have been the chief builder of ?that strong house which, from henceforward, was the principal mansion of his worthy successors.? At his death, which took place 37th Henry VI., he left vast estates to his relatives? his possessions in this county including property at East Bridgeford, Marnham, Edwalton, Clifton, Wiverton, Langar, Barnstone, Granby, Colston Bassett, Cropwell Butler, Cropwell Bishop, Tithby, Shelford, and Whatton.
Sir Thomas Chaworth was intitled to the Inheritance of the honourable families of Aylesbury, Pabenham, Engaine, Basset of Weldon, and Kaynes"Sir Thomas Chaworth was intitled to the Inheritance of the honourable families of Aylesbury, Pabenham, Engaine, Basset of Weldon, and Kaynes.?
Sheriff of Lincoln. Prepared to throw in his lot with the lollard leader, Sir John Oldcastle, whose plans for a rising in early Jan 1414 were promptly and efficiently quashed by the King. Sympathy for the lollards was strong in Derbyshire, and it is worth noting that another of Oldcastle's leading supporters, the lawyer, Henry Booth, also had estates there. Orders for Chaworth's arrest were issued on 8 Jan, and he once again found himself a captive in the Tower. He was at first kept in chains, but at the beginning of Feb bonds worth 1,000 marks were offered by William Babington and his other friends as security that he would not attempt to escape if his conditions were ameliorated. Throughout this period he and his fellow captives remained under sentence of death, but in May they were pardoned and allowed to go free. It is now impossible to tell how far Sir Thomas shared Oldcastle's heretical beliefs. His later life was given over to works of conventional piety, most notably with regard to the endowment and assistance of Launde priory in Leicestershire, although the evidence of his will shows him to have possessed a large number of devotional works (some of which were in English), including ?a graile (gradual) manuell and a litel portose (breviary) the whiche the saide Sir Thomas toke with hym alway when he rode?, so he may well have continued the lollard practice of placing particular emphasis on private prayer. The inclusion of his distant kinsman, William Booth, archbishop of York, among the three supervisors of his will and his appointment, in 1423, of the bishops of Durham and Worcester as his trustees would, however, confirm that, in public at least, he eschewed any suspect doctrines. Once released from prison, Sir Thomas understandably made every effort to re-establish himself in King Henry's good graces; and he seized the opportunity offered in 1415 by the latter's invasion of France to prove his loyalty. He indented to serve in the royal army with a personal retinue of eight men-at-arms and 24 archers, and was duly accorded the necessary letters of protection.
Although he never quite managed to recover the position of trust which he had previously enjoyed, Sir Thomas was in a sense able to compensate for this by making a remarkably lucrative second marriage. By his first wife, Nicola, he had only one child, a daughter named Elizabeth, who married John, Lord Scrope of Masham (d.1455) before 1418, and seems to have become her father's favourite.
Whereas Nicola brought little in the way of property or advancement to the Chaworths, Sir Thomas's new bride, the daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury, added greatly to their territorial possessions. We do not know exactly what Isabel received at the time of her marriage, but her father was extremely rich, and in May 1416 he made his new son-in-law one of his principal trustees. The latter was thus singularly well placed to advance his own interests when Aylesbury died, two years later, and promptly obtained control of the manors of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire and Abinger in Surrey during the minority of his young brother-in-law, John. The successive deaths within the next five years of both John and his baby son caused a dramatic change in Chaworth's circumstances, for his wife thus became coheir with her sister, Eleanor, of all her late father's property. Her share comprised the manors of Albury, Wilstone and Tiscott in Hertfordshire, Rousham in Oxfordshire, Sells Green in Wiltshire, Bradwell, Broughton and Drayton Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire, Oxhill in Warwickshire, and Dodford, Blatherwycke, Pytchley and Weston in Northamptonshire. She also inherited various tenements in Cripplegate, London. Altogether, these properties were worth a bare minimum of £93 p.a.; and although part of them remained in the hands of Isabel's widowed mother until 1436, the improvement in Chaworth's status and finances was still remarkable. He also kept up a wide and influential range of social connexions. In February 1419 he stood bail for Sir John Pelham (an executor of Henry IV), and a few weeks later he joined with Sir Ralph Shirley in offering recognizances worth 200 marks to Sir Richard Stanhope. His relations with Shirley did not remain cordial for long, since, as one of the heirs of Lord Basset of Drayton, he found himself drawn into an alliance with Humphrey, earl of Stafford, who was determined to secure the entire Basset inheritance for himself. Whereas Chaworth's mother had been prepared to relinquish her title to the Staffords, Shirley clung on grimly to what was legally his, and thus met with the full force of Earl Humphrey's displeasure. Shirley was eventually driven out of the property by force majeur, claiming that his eviction had been effected ?be the procurement and instance of Sir Thomas Chaworth?. As we have already seen, another prominent member of Chaworth's circle was Sir John Zouche, who conveyed his Yorkshire manor of Bolton-upon-Dearne to him, in 1422, as a trustee, and later made him a feoffee-to-uses of other property as well. Zouche's daughter, Elizabeth, married Sir Nicholas Bowet, a kinsman of Henry Bowet, archbishop of York, and on the latter's death, in the following year, Chaworth proceeded to exploit this connexion so that he could obtain custody of the temporalities of the archbishopric until the consecration of the next incumbent. He went on, some time later, to consolidate the relationship by arranging a marriage between his eldest son, William, and Sir Nicholas's daughter. Chaworth's young ward, William Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough in Yorkshire, meanwhile proved a more than suitable husband for his younger daughter (another Elizabeth), to whom he was betrothed while still a minor. An interesting list of Chaworth's other intimates is furnished by an enfeoffment of 1423, whereby he conveyed the bulk of his estates to a new body of trustees. As noted above, he probably chose the bishops of Durham and Worcester in order to demonstrate his return to orthodoxy, but his appointment of Thomas, Lord Roos of Helmsley, and Ralph, Lord Cromwell, provides a clear indication of where his temporal loyalties lay. He acted for a long time as Roos's feoffee-to-uses; and in 1434, some four years after the latter's death, he was permitted to farm the manor of Orston in Nottinghamshire during the minority of Roos's next heir. It was, however, Chaworth's association with Lord Cromwell which proved of particular consequence, since through it he became drawn into Cromwell's longstanding and bitter feud with Sir Henry Pierrepont (his colleague in the Parliament of 1423). Having wrested the Heriz family inheritance from Pierrepont by highly dubious means, Cromwell secured his title, in 1431, by conveying the property to a panel of influential feoffees, including Chaworth and his friend, Sir Richard Vernon. Not surprisingly, then, when violence erupted between Pierrepont and his other enemies, the Foljambes, Chaworth threw his not inconsiderable weight behind the Foljambes, and as head of the second jury at the Derby sessions of oyer and terminer, in 1434, he did everything he could to support their allegations. He even offered bail for Richard Brown of Repton, who stood accused of attempting to procure Thomas Foljambe's acquittal; and in the following year he and Cromwell capitalized upon their position as royal commissioners of inquiry in Nottinghamshire to question Pierrepont's title to the manor of Sneinton. Later, in 1440, Sir Henry tried to recover some of his losses by suing Chaworth and Lord Cromwell's other trustees, but pressure was brought upon him to settle out of court. Chaworth remained close to Cromwell until the latter's death, for the two men acted together, on New Year's Day 1448, as witnesses to an oath made by Richard Willoughby, renouncing his inheritance. In later life he was recruited into the service of Henry, duke of Warwick, who made him and one of his sons joint stewards of his property in Leicestershire and Rutland.
In May 1449 he and his sister-in-law (who had married Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton) complained to the King about the damage done by deer from the forest of Rockingham to crops growing on their Northamptonshire estates, and were permitted to enclose the land in question. Sir Thomas was able to consolidate his holdings even further as a result of the death, in about 1457, of John Cressy, whose next heirs were his wife and her sister. In the event, however, he did not enjoy the profits of these new acquisitions for very long, since his own death occurred, shortly after that of his wife, on 10 Feb 1459. The couple were buried together at the priory of Launde, where they had founded a chantry some seven years before.
Although he must have been well over 80 when he died, Chaworth remained active in local government until the very end.
Probably commissioned, sometime between 1399 and 1413, an extension to the ?Chaworth Roll? started by his great grandfather Sir Thomas.
Father: William Chaworth b: 1357
Mother: Alice Caltoft b: 1361
- Elizabeth Chaworth
- William Chaworth b: 1430
- John Chaworth b: ABT 1434 in Wiverton, Nottinghamshire
- Katherine Chaworth
- Joan Chaworth
- Elizabeth Chaworth
- Type: Web Site
Title: Dave Utzinger?s database
Author: Dave Utzinger
- Type: Book
Periodical: A History of Nottinghamshire
Author: Cornelius Brown
- Type: Web Site
Author: Jorge H. Castelli