Name: Robert Babthorpe
Death: 22 AUG 1436
Residence: Babthorpe, Yorkshire
BATT: Agincourt 1415.
Change Date: 25 MAR 2012
Married 2nd Bridget Pilkington.
Sir Robert Babthorpe (d. 1436) fought at Agincourt, was the first of the family to be knighted, and served as comptroller of the Household to Henry V, and was one of the executors of that monarch's will.
Was present at Agincourt in 1415:
SIR ROBERT BABTHORP, CONTROLLER OF THE KINGES HOWSE, WITH HIS RETENU.
Lances VJ (6)
Archers XVIIJ (18)
Babthorpe, Sir Robert (d. 1436), soldier and administrator, rose to prominence in the service of the Lancastrian dynasty. The family came from Babthorpe, in the parish of Hemingbrough, Yorkshire. Details of his parentage are not easy to establish, but he seems to have been the son of Robert Babthorpe and his wife, Margaret, who were in possession of the manor of Babthorpe in 1412. The lordship of Hemingbrough belonged to the priory of Durham,
and Ralph Babthorpe, Sir Robert's grandfather, had been the prior's steward there.
It was in the service of Henry IV that Robert Babthorpe built his career. He was described as a king's esquire by 1403, though there is no record of him in Lancastrian service before the usurpation of 1399. It is possible that he owed his preferment to an association with John Waterton of Waterton, Lincolnshire, whose brother Sir Hugh and cousin Robert were leading figures in the new regime. Certainly, Babthorpe later married John Waterton's
daughter and heir Eleanor, probably in 1409?10.
After Eleanor's death he took as his second wife Bridget Pilkington, of the Lancashire family.
In 1406, after the death of the leading Lancastrian retainer Sir Thomas Rempston on 31 October, Babthorpe received his first appointment to major office. On 4 November he was granted the stewardships of the duchy of Lancaster's honour of Leicester in Leicestershire and Warwickshire, including Castle Donington and Kenilworth, and of the duchy's lands in Northamptonshire, including Higham Ferrers, all of which had previously been held by
Rempston. These offices, which he held for life, formed the basis of his political influence, but under Henry V he was promoted further. He served on the Agincourt campaign, and it was probably at this point (certainly by March 1416) that he was knighted. He remained with the king in France for much of the rest of the decade, and was active at the siege of Rouen in 1418?19. He was controller of the king's household from 1416, and served as steward of thehousehold from September 1421 to April 1424; by 1423 he was steward of Queen Catherine's
Leicestershire estates. He was named an executor and administrator of Henry V's will. His brother William, a lawyer, was also promoted by Henry, becoming his attorney-general in 1419.
Babthorpe served as sheriff of Staffordshire in 1414?15; as an outsider in the shire he seems to have played a mediating role as part of Henry V's intervention to settle the disorder that had developed there in the latter years of the previous reign. It was not until the following decade that Babthorpe served as a JP, presumably because of his absences in France between 1415 and 1420. He was appointed to peace commissions in Leicestershire,
Staffordshire, and Warwickshire in 1422, and served thereafter on the bench in Warwickshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, as well as on a number of other commissions in Yorkshire.
On 1 March 1432 Babthorpe was reappointed as steward of Henry VI's household, a post he held until the summer of 1433, when he was replaced by the earl of Suffolk. He also seems to have served as a member of the king's council in 1433. The timing of Babthorpe's tenure of office suggests that his appointment formed part of the duke of Gloucester's attempt to take over control of government in 1432?3. Babthorpe's replacement as steward in 1433 therefore seems to be both an indication and a consequence of Gloucester's failure.
Babthorpe was also replaced as steward of the duchy of Lancaster in Warwickshire in July 1433.
Babthorpe died in August 1436, and is said to have been buried in the church at Hemingbrough; seven years earlier, like his grandfather, he had been appointed the prior of Durham's steward there. His heir was his son Ralph, who was killed?together with his own son, another Ralph?fighting against the Yorkists at the first battle of St Albans in 1455.
R. Somerville, History of the duchy of Lancaster, 1265?1603 (1953) · Chancery records · T.
Burton, The history and antiquities of the parish of Hemingborough in the county of York, ed.
J. Raine (1888) · W. Hardy, ed., ?Calendar of the Norman rolls, Henry V?, Report of the Deputy
Keeper of the Public Records, 41 (1880), appx I, pp. 671?810; 42 (1881), 313?472 · The
Plumpton letters and papers, ed. J. Kirby, CS, 5th ser., 8 (1996) · M. J. Stanley Price, ed.,
Yorkshire deeds, 10, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 120 (1955), 95 [deed 260] · J. L.
Watts, Henry VI and the politics of kingship (1996) · E. Powell, Kingship, law, and society:
criminal justice in the reign of Henry V (1989) · R. A. Griffiths, The reign of King Henry VI:
the exercise of royal authority, 1422?1461 (1981)
© Oxford University Press 2004?5)
Father: Thomas Babthorpe
Mother: Joan Osgodby
- Ralph Babthorpe