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


CIPM xv.459. The IPM of Sir Alan Buxhull I of Bryanston in Dorset (c.1323-81) illustrates three themes that are not as uncommon as might be expected: plebeian ancestry, posthumous birth, and the supercession of elder sisters by younger brother. Sir Alan Buxhull I was a distinguished soldier, captain of St Sauveur in Normandy and keeper of the Tower, and courtier, [1. C. Paine, ‘Sir Alan Buxhull (?1323 -81)', http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4242?docPos=1] who remarried late in life to the young widow Maud Aubrey (née Francis), mother of his only son Sir Alan Buxhull II. Sir Alan II was the posthumous child of bourgeois antecedents who supplanted his sisters.

Inquisitions post mortem relate by definition to the aristocratic elite – those who held land by military service of the crown, who were generally aristocrats – members of the titled nobility and the landed gentry, a few thousand strong in total. Even the noblest had humbler ancestors not very far back in their lineage: Richard Duke of York, the Yorkist kings, and Warwick the Kingmaker, for instance. [2. M. Hicks, The Family of Richard III (Stroud, 2015)] Alan Buxhull I's eldest son Alan. Buxhull II was son of Maud Francis (d. 1424) and was thus grandson of the great London merchant Adam Francis (d. 1375). Maud had been married before, to the Londoner John Aubrey (d. 1380-1), and remarried thirdly (without royal licence) to John Montagu, earl of Salisbury (k. 1400). .).[3. M. Hicks, ‘ Another Victim: Maud Countess of Salisbury(d. 1424)', blog.inquisitionpostmortem.ac.uk ‘]John and Maud had a royal grant of the wardship of Alan II, [4. TNA C 136/24/14.] who was therefore brought up with the son of Maud's second marriage, his half-brother of Thomas, earl of Salisbury (k. 1428). In 1409-10 Earl Thomas granted him the issues of the manor of Swainston (Hants). [5. TNA E 327/582] If Alan Buxhull II had bourgeois antecedents, he was nevertheless the brother of the principal English field commander at the siege of Orleans in 1428, and was therefore the uncle of Alice Montagu (d. 1463), the wife of Richard Neville earl of Salisbury (d. 1460) and the mother of Warwick the Kingmaker. In 1437 Alan Buxhull II resettled his two manors of Newton and Wyke in Middlesex on himself and the heirs of his body with remainder to Earl Richard and Alice and the heirs of Alice's body.[6. Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, vi.4104.] The blue-blooded and indeed royal-blooded Nevilles had other less than noble ancestors. Their matriarch Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (d. 1440), was daughter of Katherine Swinford (née Roet) and niece of the decidedly plebeian poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

Alan Buxhull did eventually inherit from his mother, [7. CIPM xxii.463-4.] but he was never entitled to anything from the Montagus. However he was the heir to his father, Sir Alan Buxhull I, a distinguished soldier, knight of the Garter and keeper of the Tower of London.[8. Oxford dnb ] Alan I was married twice. By his first wife he had two daughters, his heiresses apparent were Elizabeth, wife of Roger Lynde, and Amice, already the widow of John Beverley. Elizabeth was aged 30 at her father's death and Amice 28.[9. CIPM xv.459. Amice Beverley had two daughters Anne and Elizabeth, CIPM xv.311.] Their status as heiresses may have made them more eligible wives and attracted them their husbands. The expectations of inheritance that they had nourished for a quarter of a century were emperilled when their father Alan remarried to the widowed Maud Aubrey (née Francis). Her inheritance and dower from her first marriage were obvious attractions. She was also still of an age to bear children. Alan's daughters had acquired a stepmother who was younger than themselves. Margaret Lady Hungerford is another such instance when her aged father William Lord Botreaux remarried Margaret Roos. When Sir Alan Buxhull I died on 2 November 1381, the IPM jury found his two daughters as his coheiresses. [10. CIPM.xv.459; GEC xi.392.] Dower was assigned from their inheritance to their stepmother Maud. However the widow Maud was pregnant at her husband's death and duly bore a son Alan Buxhull the younger on 22 June 1382 and baptised at once in the London church of St Helen Bishopsgate.[11. CIPM xviii.668.]. This posthumous son took precedence over his two sisters. The cup was dashed from their lips. A writ of plenius certiorari from chancery resulted in a second IPM that found Alan II to be heir.[12. CIPM xviii.668. ] He superseded his sisters as his father's heir.

Posthumous heirs were not uncommon. The shortlived King John I of France, born and died in 1316, was the posthumous son of King Louis X. Henry Tudor born in 1457, the future King Henry VII of England, was the posthumous son of Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond (d. 1456) and his countess Margaret Beaufort.

Twenty-one years later Alan Buxhull the younger proved his age (12 September 1402) [13. CIPM xviii.670.] and was allowed livery of his inheritance.


Michael Hicks