Fay Sampson’s Family History
This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)
THOMAS LE ROUS and MAUD (22)
THOMAS ROUS is the only known child of John le Rous and Mabel Knokyn.
He was born around 1330, near the start of the young King Edward III’s reign. His father owned the manor of Duntisbourne Rouse in the Cotswolds. This is 10 m SE of Gloucester. But Thomas appears to have grown up in the village of Allensmore, 4 m south of Hereford, which was another ancestral manor or the Rous family.
He was 15 when his father died in 1345, leaving Thomas as his heir.
He would have witnessed the shocking event when men from Hereford Cathedral exhumed his father’s body and cast it, with other corpses, on to unconsecrated ground. This was because the cathedral claimed that the dead of Allensmore could only be buried in the cathedral precinct.
His mother led a spirited opposition to this, and won the right for the parishioners of Allensmore to be buried in their local churchyard.
Thomas came from a rebellious family. His grandfather had taken part in an uprising against Edward II, which resulted in the execution of the king’s favourite Piers Gaveston. His father had joined in a later rebellion against King Edward, and his estates had been confiscated until the end of that reign. He had later led a violent protest against the Bishop of Hereford’s practice of demanding tolls from the city’s merchants during St Ethelbert’s fair. His mother’s suit against the cathedral is a noted case-history in the role of the medieval gentry and the church.
Either Thomas did not inherit this rebellious streak, or the occasion for protest did not arise in his short life.
He was a teenager when the Black Death reached Hereford in 1349. He and his mother survived, but it led to changes that made Thomas’s subsequent role as lord of the manor very different from that of his forebears.
Something like half the population died in the Black Death. Before this, serfs were tied to their lord’s land. They had to give a stated number of days working for him, and were not allowed to leave without his permission. After the Black Death, there was a critical shortage of labour. Serfs found they could earn much more by migrating to the towns for work, or seeking another lord who would pay them more. Laws were passed forbidding them to do this, but to no avail. Feudal lordship, as it had previously been known, was at an end.
MAUD. We do not know the full name of his wife, or where she came from.
In those days, the names Maud and Matilda were used interchangeably, and we sometimes find the second form.
The couple had two children, John and Juliana. The latter was born around 1358.
Thomas’s father had died in his forties, but Thomas’s own life was even shorter. He was about 28 when he died on 29 Dec 1358.
We do not have an immediate Inquisition Post Mortem, detailing the estates he owned, but one was taken in 1375. It showed him owning the manor of Avenbury in Herefordshire, rented land in Newbury, Berks, and the manor of Harescombe in Gloucestershire.
Thomas’s heir was his son John. Both he and Juliana were minors. As was the custom with the young heirs of the landed gentry, they were made royal wards. We have no information about who was appointed to administer their estates during their minority.
Maud married again, to Sir Robert de Kendale.
He was from Shropshire, and the family evidently spent some time there at Robert’s house in Soulton, 10 miles north of Shrewsbury. It was from there that, on 20 August 1369, 11-year-old Juliana was abducted and raped by Thomas Horde. He also stole a horse, 2 books and other goods worth 260s from Robert De Kendale.
Horde was arrested, and Juliana released. He was brought to court, but it could hardly have been a fair trial, since the judge was Kendale himself, deputising as Sheriff of Shropshire in the place of his overlord, the Earl of Arundel.
Thomas denied the charges. He was thrown into the notorious Fleet prison, from which he later escaped.
He was outlawed, and his estates were forfeit.
In 1386, he received a royal pardon.
Young John died in 1370, still unmarried, leaving Juliana sole heir to the Rous estates.
We have details of John’s inheritance in Herefordshire, but not in Gloucestershire or Berkshire.
|JOHN LE ROUS.|
|Writ, 8 November, 43 Edward III.|
|HEREFORD AND THE MARCH OF WALES.||Inq. (indented) taken at Hereford, 10 May, 44 Edward III. (fn. 2)|
|Aleynesmore. The manor (extent given), held by him, through his guardians, of the bishopric of Hereford, void and then in the king’s hand by the death of Lewis de Cherleton, by knight’s service.
Wylynhale. The hamlet (extent given), held by him, through his guardian, of James le Boteler, earl of Ormond, by knight’s service.
Tregget. The manor, in the march of Wales, held of John Bromwych, knight, by service of socage.
He died on 31 August last, being still a minor. Juliana his sister, aged 12 years on 14 June last, is his heir.
In 1371 Julian’s mother Maud and her stepfather Sir Robert De Kendale paid a fine (fee) for the wardship of the lands of Thomas Le Rous and for the marriage of Julian. The right to arrange the marriage of an heiress could be a lucrative affair.
In 1372, we again find Sir Robert de Kendale acting as Sheriff. He was charged by Edward III with apprehending a monk who had absconded from the Abbey at Shrewsbury and who “runs about in a secular habit from place to place, to the danger of his soul and the manifest scandal of the said order”.
By June 1374 Juliana had married Sir Andrew Herle. An heiress would usually enter into her inheritance when she reached 21 or married. Maud seems to have been reluctant to relinquish Juliana’s estates. The belated Inquisition of 1375 into Thomas’s estates was probably held to establish Juliana’s rights.
THOMAS LE ROUS. Inquisition Post Mortem.
Writ of precipimus, 28 April, 48 Edward III.
HEREFORD. Inq. taken in Hereford castle, 23 June, 48 Edward III (1375).
Avenebury. The manor (extent given), held of the earl of Hereford by service of a moiety of a knight’s fee.
He died on Saturday after St. Stephen, 32 Edward III. Juliana his daughter, aged 20 years and more, whom Andrew Herle has taken to wife, is his heir. Robert de Kendale, knight, and Maud his wife have had possession of the premises ever since his death, by what title the jurors know not.
BERKS. Inq. taken at Newebiry, 9 October, 48 Edward III (1374).
Newebiry. Thomas de Rous died on Saturday after the Feast of St Stephen the Martyr, in the 32nd year of the King, (Dec 29 1358). The jury say that Thomas de Rous held no lands or tenements of the King in capite; but that he held at the time of his death, in fee £6 13s 4d rent of assize in Newbury, but of whom held, or by what service, they know not. Robert de Kendall, Chivaler, and Maud his wife, have received the said rent from the time of the death of the said Thomas de Rous, and still continued to receive it, but by what title the jurors cannot say. Juliana was daughter and heir of Thomas de Rous, and aged twenty years at the date of the Inquisition
A small strip of parchment attached to this file of Inquisitions appears to show that Andrew Herle was husband of the before-named Juliana.
GLOUCESTER. Inq. taken at Gloucester, 8 June, 48 Edward III.
Harsecombe. The manor (extent given), held of the king in chief by service of a fourth part of a knight’s fee. In the manor there is one capital messuage, of no value, one garden worth 41d, one dovecote worth 41d, 4 acres of meadow worth 4s, 30 acres of wood of which the underwood is worth 6s 8d, and fixed rents payable at the Feast of the Anunciation, and of St Michael; and a messuage called ‘le Orchard,’ worth nil, a carucate of land worth 6s 8d, and 6a. meadow, held of the abbot of St. Peter’s, Gloucester, as of the farm of the king’s Barton near Gloucester, whereof the abbot is farmer, by service of doing suit to the court of the said Barton.
Date of death, heir, and possession since death, as above.
Note that Andrew Herle and Juliana his wife have appointed Hugh Herle, chaplain, Nicholas Wyke and Richard Holm as their attorneys for suing their lands &c. out of the king’s hands.
Dedimus potestatem to Edward de Sancto Johanne to receive the attorneys of Robert de Kendale, knight, and Maud his wife for suing out of the king’s hands certain lands &c. in cos. Gloucester and Hereford which have been taken into the king’s hands by the escheator. 29 June, 48 Edward III.
Juliana and her husband seem to have taken possession of her inheritance as a result, but a portion was assigned to Maud. It was common for a widow to receive an estate for her lifetime. In this case, it was the family seat in Harescombe, Gloucestershire.
This is shown in a plea of covenant taken at Westminster on 13 October 1376.
It was between John Whyte and Richard June (or Inne), querents and Andrew Herle and Julian his wife deforciants.
The subject was the manor of Harescombe, in the county of Gloucester, and a third part of the manor of Newbury, in the county of Berkshire.
It was agreed that Andrew and Julian had granted John and Richard the manor and third par and had rendered the, to them in the court, to hold to John and Richard, of Andrew and Julian and the heirs of Julian, for the lives of John and Richard, rendering yearly one rose at the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, and doing to the chief lords all other services. And after the decease of John and Richard the manor and third part should remain to Maud, who was the wife of Thomas Rous, and the heirs of the body of Maud begotten by Thomas, to hold of Andrew and Julian and the heirs of Julian by the aforementioned services for ever. In default of such heirs, the manor and third part should revert to Andrew and Julian and the heirs of Julian, quit of the heirs of John and Richard and also of the other heirs of Maud, to hold of the chief lords for ever.
But the estate was still in dispute. In 1376, a settlement was reached between Juliana, her mother Maud, and their husbands, regarding the lands of Thomas Le Rous. It confirmed the grant of Harescombe to Robert and Maud, while Avenbury in Herefordshire went to Juliana and Andrew.
Maud must have died soon after, because we find Harescombe in the hands of Andrew and Julian. In December 1380, Sir Andrew Herle, Lord of Harescombe, presented a new rector to the church.
The coat of arms of the Rous family of Harescombe was: Party per pale azure and gules, three lions rampant ermine.
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