Viewing posts for the category Featured inquisition

He never knew his father: Alan Buxhull II, posthumous heir


Three Unusual Features of Richard Neville's Succession to the Earldoms of Warwick in 1449-50

The Warwick Inheritance dispute is a well-known story. The Beauchamp earldom of Warwick lasted from 1268 until 1449, when the direct line failed. The last such Beauchamp was the infant Anne (1444 -9), sole daughter and heiress of Henry Duke of Warwick (d. 1446). Her estates consisted of two conglomerations assembled over time: the Beauchamp inheritance itself, disputed by the four daughters of Earl Richard Beauchamp (d. 1439) born to his two countesses; and the Despenser inheritance of Isabel Despenser, countess of Warwick and Worcester (d. 1439), who left two daughters, one by each earl. There had been many settlements, re-settlements, enfeoffments and conveyances that are annotated in a roll of deeds and in Duke Henry's IPM [1. TNA SC 11/947; Exeter Diocesan Record Office, Chanter MS 22; CIPM xxvi. ] and appear fiendishly complicated to sort out, but the solution achieved was commendably simple. The sole daughter by both Earl Richard and Countess Isabel was Anne Beauchamp, who, though the youngest of these five women, successfully secured everything as sole whole sister of Duke Henry. In 1449 her husband Richard Neville, known to history as Warwick the Kingmaker, was admitted as earl of Warwick. Of course the other sisters and their heirs objected, taking advantage of each twist and turn in contemporary politics down to 1484, but it was nevertheless Anne's line that scooped the pool. [2. M. Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford, 1998); idem, ‘Descent, Partition and Extinction: The ‘Warwick Inheritance', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research lii (1979), 117.]

IPMs and the Year Books: Radcliffe v. Dynelay, 1424.

Year Books are late-medieval collections of law reports, dating from the 13th century to 1535.  They are a treasure trove for legal historians, providing valuable insights into the development of English law in the late medieval period.  They are often disappointing for historians from other disciplines, however, as they seldom identify the individuals or places involved the cases they report, instead describing them generically: ‘an heir', ‘a widow', ‘John T, lord of a manor‘.  This reflects their purpose; they were produced to record the legal principles established by the cases and included background facts only so far as necessary to understand those principles.[1. J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History, 3rd edn (London, 1990), 204-7.  For a detailed description, K. Topulos, ‘A common lawyer's bookshelf recreated: an annotated bibliography of a collection of sixteenth-century English law books', 84 Law Library Journal (1992), 641-86.]  Yet IPMs can sometimes be used to identify the individuals and properties mentioned in these anonymous Year Book reports.  This is one such case, the report of a 1424 hearing in the Exchequer Chamber which can be greatly amplified by reference to two Proofs of Age, CIPM xxii.356 and 365, and nine other IPMs.[2. CIPM xii.134 and 339; xx.675-9; xxii.21-2.]

Another Victim: Maud Countess of Salisbury (d. 1424)


Eternal Trusts: The Beauchamp Trusts 1425-87

Michael Hicks explores trusts or enfeoffments, which often escaped mention in the IPMs.