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Politics, Networks and Estates: The Courtenays of Powderham during the fifteenth century.

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Politics, Networks and Estates: The Courtenays of Powderham during the fifteenth century.

Politics, Networks and Estates: The Courtenays of Powderham during the fifteenth century.

    Chris Fotheringham
Introduction This dissertation is a study of a county gentry family within Devonshire who were important county administrators during the fifteenth century. Through the study of the careers and lives of the Courtenays of Powderham, this thesis will explore the social networks that the family exposed themselves to and how they became socially mobile with other gentry families. Using the lives of the Courtenays of Powderham as a case study, this thesis intends to shed new light on the social mobility within Devonshire to illustrate how local administration functioned and how the politics of the fifteenth century affected the families and their political environment. Moreover, important political developments of the fifteenth century and their importance to this thesis are discussed. The family1 The Courtenays of Powderham were a cadet branch from the Courtenay family established by Philip I in 1391 when he was given the manor of Powderham upon the death of his mother, Margaret de Bohun.2 However, the Courtenay family of England originally stems from Reginald (Renaud) de Courtenay (d. 1194) who lost favour with Louis VII but gained favour somehow with Louis’ ex-wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. Therefore, in 1154, Reginald accompanied Eleanor to England and upon her marriage to Henry II, Reginald found himself within the King’s royal favour.3 Through Reginald’s marriage to Hawise de Curcy, baroness of Okehampton, their son, Robert de Courtenay (d. 1242), inherited the barony of Okehampton upon de Curcy’s death in 1219. Robert received the title ‘Baron of Plympton’ due to his marriage to Mary de Vernon, daughter of William de Redvers, 5th Earl of Devon, in 1293.4 The earldom of Devon was lost by the Redevers family when Isabel, the great-great-grand daughter of William de Redevers, died without issue in 1293. Therefore, in 1335 the great-great grandson of Robert de Courtenay, Hugh Courtenay was granted the earldom of Devon, styled as the 9th Earl of Devon.5 The Earldom was then passed to his second son also named Hugh who married the granddaughter of Edward I, Margaret de Bohun. The Powderham cadet branch was then established, as Philip was the fifth son of Hugh Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon. This is where this thesis begins, with the birth of Philip Courtenay I in c.1355. Upon his death in 1406, his first son Richard Courtenay, bishop of Norwich succeeded Philip as the head of the family. After Richard there were three more men who sat at Powderham during the fifteenth century, Richard’s nephew Philip II (c.1404-1463), his son William I (d.1485) and then William’s son William II (d.1512). Historiography During the last thirty years a major growth within research of medieval England has arguably been the study of the lesser landowners known to modern historians as the gentry. K. B. McFarlane’s work on the fourteenth and fifteenth century nobility and 1 See Appendix A and B for the family trees of the Courtenay family. 2 L. S. Woodger, ‘Courtenay, Sir Philip (d. 1406), of Powderham, Devon’ in J. S. Roskell, L. Clark and C. Rawcliffe, History of Parliament: the House of Commons, 1386-1421 (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1993), p. 673. 3 I. J. Sanders, English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Decent (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), p. 69. 4 Ibid, p. 70. 5 CCR, Edward III 1333-1337 (London: HMSO, 1898), p. 376. 1 their ‘bastard feudal’ (that is the cash payment in exchange for service in a feudal relationship) gentry followings urged historians to explore the gentry’s involvement within later medieval society and their environment where they spent most of their social and political lives. Moreover, McFarlane argued that to understand how the English constitution functioned, research had to be undertaken away from the nobility and especially Westminster as it was the gentry who undertook the running of the local counties.6 McFarlane insisted that to understand how England was administrated, historians would have to undertake prosopographical county studies and research into the locality of different regions, a method which was successfully utilised by the eighteenth and nineteenth century historian Lewis Namier.7 However, the first wave of ‘McFarlaneites’ continued his work and focused on the titled nobility. Therefore, over the last thirty years a fresh focus on the county and lower gentry has come to the forefront of medieval research.8 This has led to work which has reconstructed how the gentry integrated into the county societies and forged both vertical and horizontal social networks with their fellow gentrymen to form the so calledcounty community’. As with modern day society, fifteenth century England was split into various social strata. Socially, the King was the most powerful figure within English society followed by the titled nobility. The titled nobility were a small group of families which held the title of ‘Duke’, Earl’ or ‘Baron’. Collectively, they were the richest group of later medieval English society and commanded huge amounts of land throughout the kingdom. To be classified as an earl it seems that the head male of the family would have to have a revenue of at least £1000 per annum, and this was the absolute minimum.9 The number of families who held the title of Earl or Duke within the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries fluctuated due to the title either being absorbed into the crown, the title becoming extinct through the lack of an heir or the King creating further titles for his favourites. For example, during the fourteenth century, 24 earldoms were created outside of the immediate royal family.10 Examples of titles being created during the fifteenth century include Edmund Grey becoming the Earl of Kent in 1465 and Richard Woodville who became Earl Rivers in 1466.11 While the titled nobility were still considered part of the peerage of England, they were at the 6 K. B. McFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), pp. 280- 281. 7 Ibid, p. 297. 8 For a survey of the research undertaken until 1994 see Christine Carpenter, ‘Gentry and Community in Medieval England’ Journal of British Studies, Vol. xxxiii (1994), pp. 340-380. However, more recent research on the subject include Peter Fleming, The Family and the Household Knight in Medieval England (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000); Helen Castor, the King, the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Deborah Youngs, Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008); Malcolm Mercer, Medieval gentry power, leadership and choice during the wars of the roses (London: Continuum International, 2010). 9 Chris Given-Wilson, The English Nobility in the Late Middle Ages, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Routledge, 1996), p. 37. 10 Ibid, p. 29. 11 Rosemary Horrox, ‘Grey, Edmund, first earl of Kent (1416–1490)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), online ed. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/11529, accessed 16 Sept 2015]; Michael Hicks, ‘Woodville , Richard, first Earl Rivers (d. 1469)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), online edn. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29939, accessed 16 Sept 2015]. 2 top of this social bracket. The rest of the peerage consisted of families who were called up to the House of Lords through their hereditary name. While K. B. McFarlane argued that the whole peerage were part of the nobility, recent historiography has argued that the gulf in wealth was too great and there was clearly a two tier system in place within this section of society.12 Monetary wise, by 1436 the peerage were annually earning anything from £300 to £1300 while most Earls were earning in excess of £2000.13 Below the peerage sat the later medieval gentry. Although their incomes varied considerably, the gentry were largely a social group whose economic position was very similar. The gentry were the largest group of society where incomes differed massively. However, generally speaking, historians have agreed that there were two tiers of the gentry: the upper tier which consisted of the knights, esquires and gentlemen known a the ‘county gentry’, this is where the Courtenays of Powderham stood, and the lower tier known as the ‘parish gentry’ which consisted of merchants, the poorer esquires, the poorer gentlemen and the richer ‘yeomen’.14 Similarly to the peerage, in order to tackle the problem of identifying the gentry, historians have given monetary values in order to categorise where the gentry families stood within the social structure of the gentry.15 From H. L. Gray’s assessment of the 1436 tax returns, he estimated that excluding the peerage there was an estimated 950 ‘knights’ who had an income of ranging from £40 to £200. Moreover, there were about 5000 lesser landholders who were mostly ‘gentlemen’ and merchants with an annual income ranging from £5-£20.16 The ratio of county gentry to parish gentry is difficult to estimate throughout the country as different county studies have calculated different estimates. For example, from his study of the Cheshire gentry, M. J. Bennett estimated that the ratio of county to parish gentry was 1:5 while P. W. Fleming estimated that within Kent the ratio was more 1:3.17 However, all of the studies agree that the gentry interacted with each other and social mobility existed within the counties. Methods of Social Mobility By creating networks, whether it was horizontal networks with the peers who were also part of their social class or vertical with those either above or below their social class, both the lower and county gentry were always trying to better themselves socially. The Courtenays of Powderham were an important family with Devonshire politics and were within the circle of knightly families that not only administrated the 12 McFarlane, Nobility, pp. 268-279 cf. J. Enoch Powell and Keith Wallis, The House of Lords in the Middle Ages: a history of the English House of Lords to 1540 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968). 13 Ibid, p. 425. 14 Given-Wilson, The English Nobility, pp. 69-71; P. W. Fleming, ‘Charity, faith and the gentry of Kent 1422-1529’, in A. J. Pollard, ed., Property and Politics: Essays in Later Medieval English History (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1984), pp. 36-37. 15 Nigel Saul, Knights and Esquires: The Gloucestershire Gentry in the Fourteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 30-35; Carpenter, Locality and Polity A study of Warwickshire landed society, 1401-1499 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 50-79. Saul also gives an expert account of the difficulties with the language when identifying the gentry, pp. 6-29. 16 H. L. Gray, ‘Incomes from Land in England in 1436’, English Historical Review, Vol. XLIX (1934), pp. 607-639. 17 M. J. Bennett, Community, Class and Careerism: Cheshire and Lancashire Society in the Age of Gawain and the Green Knight (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 82-83; P. W. Fleming, ‘Charity, faith and the gentry of Kent 1422-1529’, pp. 36-37. 3 county for the King but also forged a tight network system with their peers of the county gentry and the lower gentry that held their land. As this is a main theme of this dissertation, the methods of how the families used social mobility to establish a network system within the counties of England needs to be explored. The most straightforward method was through marriage. Anthropologists have always seen marriage as an instrument for human kind to meet their social needs.18 Historians have adopted this idea and research has suggested that later medieval society saw marriage as a social institution. However, while it was seen as a social bond, within medieval England it was also seen as a business venture. Depending on the monetary and social status of the family, the father would sometimes have to assign his daughter a substantial amount of money to essentially attract her future husband. This was of course called a dowry. In fact, a way a family might rise up the so called ‘social ladder’ would be for either the male head of the family to marry an heiress from a wealthy family or to betroth his son to do so. An example of this is seen in Chapter Two of this dissertation. The head of the family from 1425 until his death in 1463 was Philip Courtenay II. It was during his lifetime that he married into the wealthier and influential Hungerford family and also betrothed his son and heir, William, to his ally William Bonville’s daughter.19 The county gentry within Devon were a group who frequently married one another. It was very convenient for the families and they became allies like Philip Courtenay did with William Bonville during their dispute with Thomas Courteney, Earl of Devon. The marriage system was similar to a marriage pool which allowed Philip II to tactically marry himself and his son into families which the Courtenays of Powderham could benefit by upgrading their social network and status. Aside from straightforward marriage, witnessing charters and deeds is another vehicle historians have identified associations between the gentry families. Grants of land would have to be witnessed by trustable figures as evidence for legal purposes. However, if a father needed to give a grant of land to his son then the grant of land would first have to be given to a third party who would then re-enfeoff the lands according to the original grantors expectations.20 For example, through his marriage into the Hungerford family, Philip Courtenay II became a witness for a number of Walter Hungerford’s land transactions where Hungerford first granted the land to Courtenay who returned the land back to Hungerford, who then granted the land to his son.21 In return, Walter Hungerford appears as a witness on a charter from Thomas Brooke granting Philip the manor of Stevenleigh, Devon.22 Furthermore, a deed from the Moger records appears to give an example of the people Philip Courtenay surrounded himself with during the early stages of his political career. The charter dictates Courtenay giving the advowsons of the churches of Alphington and Whyston to a number of men including Walter Hungerford, Sir Richard Hankeford, Edmund 18 J. M. Bourne, Patronage and Society in Nineteenth-Century England (London: Edward Arnold, 1986). 19 See chapter two for a full discussion. 20 M. J. Bennett, ‘A County Community: Social Cohesion Amongst the Cheshire Gentry, 1400-1425’, Northern History, Vol. 8 (1973) p. 34. For a detailed and highly analytical study on enfeoffments see J. M. W. Bean, The Decline of English Feudalism 1215-1540 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1968). 21 CCR, Henry VI 1429-1435 (London: HMSO, 1933), pp. 53-56. 22 Ibid, p. 309. 4 Lacy, Bishop of Exeter and is witnessed by Sir Thomas Carrew and Sir John Dinham.23 The close unity between these knightly families is clear, as they were all willing to witness one another’s charters. It is important to stress that through these legal charters, there was a sense of mutual understanding and working networks developed. The second method of social networks being created is through the knight and gentry’s involvement in county politics and law enforcement. Without a standing army or police force, the law enforcement was run by those who owned land as they could call upon the men of said land at any given moment.24 The county gentry generally undertook the administration of the county, as socially they were the wealthiest and commanded the most land within the county. The Courtenays of Powderham were constant law enforcers throughout the county and it was through the law enforcement that the family created horizontal networks with their fellow county gentry. This theme is explored further in chapters two and three. However, while marriage, land transactions and administration of the county was used by the Courtenays to establish themselves within the community of Devon, Philip I used patronage alongside his military service to become a minor favourite of Richard II during the late fourteenth century. Patronage was arguably the first method of social mobility which was indicated by historians when county studies first became popular during the 1970s and its importance cannot be undervalued.25 Finding a lord and becoming part of his affinity was a very simplistic method of becoming part of the community of the county and bettering ones family both economically and socially. Using patronage for good lordship could benefit the user, as they would receive gifts from their wealthier patron as Philip I did. However, this was not always the case. In chapter three of this dissertation, Edward IV’s brother, George, duke of Clarence, becomes a patron to William Courtenay I. While this initially benefited William, the whole Courtenay family became entangled within the readeption crisis of Henry VI (1470-71) which led to the Courtenays of Powderham losing their land and becoming outcasts for a short period of time.26 Sources The major problem all historians experience is the availability sources, whether the sources themselves have generally survived or whether the historian has access to them. First of all, this thesis relies on the published records of Chancery known as the Calendar of Close Rolls and the Calendar of Patent Rolls. Both the Close and Patent Rolls are administrative records in medieval England kept by the royal chancery in order to maintain a central records of all of the letters close (sealed writs) and letters patent (open writs). Both the letters close and letters patent awarded the person either a title, an office or a right. From the rolls of Chancery, the family were important administrators within the county, serving as law enforcers and tax collectors. Secondly, the sources are available to give us an insight into the family’s networks with both the county gentry and lower gentry. 23 DHC, D1508M/Moger/0/83. 24 Carpenter, Locality and Polity, p. 283. 25 Charles Ross, ed., Patronage, Pedigree and Power in Medieval England (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1979); Ralph Griffiths, ed., Patronage, the Crown and the Provinces in Later Medieval England (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1981). 26 See chapter three. 5 The collection catalogued as ‘D1508M-Courtenay of Powderham’ located at the Devon Heritage Centre provides a vast range of sources on the family with the earliest source being a charter from the twelfth century. The collection is catalogued into thirteen separate deposits with the first being the largest and the further twelve being described as ‘additional deposits’. The collection includes account records from various centuries, manorial records, family deeds, records of their leases as a small example. Unfortunately a lot of the manorial records and accounts begin during the second half of the sixteenth century and no accounts relating to the fifteenth century remain. However, within the collection there is a separate assortment catalogued by Miss O. M. Moger in 1932 and titled after her as D1508M/Moger. Using the Moger Deeds located at the Devon Heritage Centre, there are a total of 51 sources comprising of deeds, leases, charters and indentures ranging from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth century.27 Using this collection has allowed this thesis to gain a insight into the vertical networks that existed between the Courtenays and the lower gentry who rented land from them as well as the vertical networks that existed amongst the lower gentry. Structure/Themes The thesis is split into four chapters. Alongside discussing the family’s involvement within the politics of Devonshire during the fifteenth century, the recurring theme throughout this thesis is how the Courtenays of Powderham subjected themselves to the various networks within the county by being socially mobile and their importance to the county’s politics and administration. Chapter one begins with the life of Philip I and his son Richard. Both Philip and Richard neglected the politics of Devon to a certain extent. Philip used his military skill to serve the King and it was through this royal service he became a minor favourite of Richard II, becoming his lieutenant of Ireland and holding various other administrative positions. After his death in 1406, Richard Courtenay, Bishop of Norwich inherited his estates. However, similarly to his father, Richard also had a thriving career outside of the county. He was a personal friend of Henry V and served within his council. Richard died on Henry’s second campaign in France while protecting the crown jewels in 1415. Neither Philip nor Richard forged horizontal networks within Devon. Richard’s lands were rented out on his death due to the minority of his heir, his nephew Philip Courtenay II. During his life Richard spent little time in Devon and therefore did not associate himself with the gentry of the county. He did not have any children and was unable to forge horizontal networks through marriage alliances. Therefore, the theme within chapter one is how both Philip and Richard used patronage and military service to better the family socially and politically. Chapter two focuses on the life of Richard’s nephew and heir, Philip Courtenay II. It is during the life of Philip II that we see various horizontal networks forged within the county. Through marriage and administrative service, especially through enforcement of the law, Philip was able to work alongside the other county gentry families in Devon and forge strong links. Through these links the Courtenays of Powderham were able to be a part of a collective affinity circled around William Bonville who 27 D1508M/Moger/196 is the earliest charter dated 1296 with an agreement dating from 1730 being catalogued as D1508M/Moger/405. 6 filled the patrimonial vacuum left by the minor Earl of Devon, Thomas Courtenay. Moreover, Philip was able to promote his sons into positions of power within the southwest and made sure that the Courtenays of Powderham were relied on as an important family within the county community. Philip successfully directed the family through a difficult period as violence became present within the county and Philip became entangled between the Thomas Courtenay-William Bonville feud. Following Philip’s death in 1463, chapter three focuses on the life of Philip’s son and grandson, William I and William II. It was during this period that the family becomes thrown into the national political situation as Edward IV’s brother, George, duke of Clarence, was the family’s patron during the readeption crisis (1470-71) and the Courtenays of Powderham fell out of favour with the crown. Therefore, chapter three focuses on Edward IV’s and Henry VII’s administrative policies to the nobility and gentry and analyses whether this had an affect on the Courtenays’ social standing within Devon. Only one study of the entire county has been undertaken which finished in 1461.28 Therefore not much is known about how the policies of Edward IV and the early Tudor policies of Henry VII affected the county gentry. This chapter hopes to shed some light on how the policies affected this particular family. Chapter four diverts from the chronology of the Courtenays of Powderham, instead being concerned with the estates of the family. Family estates were extremely important to the gentry families during the fifteenth century as it was the major source of their income. While it is true that a family can be rewarded financially through military service and service to the King as chapter one shows, the value of a family’s estates was continual income flow and this income flow demonstrated where they stood on the social ladder. This chapter explores how the Courtenay estates changed and were rationalised by the family in order to create their land powerbases within the county. Moreover, the family held small amounts of land outside of Devonshire within the counties of Dorset and Somerset which is also discussed. The vertical networks with the lower gentry who either enfeoffed their land from the Courtenays or held land in similar positions is analysed and the horizontal networks the lower gentry had amongst themselves is also explored. 28 Martin Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire’, unpubl. PhD thesis (The University of Wales College, Swansea, 1981). 7 Chapter One Philip Courtenay I and the beginnings of a family legacy. Born the fifth son to Hugh Courtenay, 10th earl of Devon, and his wife Margaret de Bohun in c.1355, Philip Courtenay lived a fascinating life. If one looks back at the surviving sons of Hugh Courtenay at the turn of the fifteenth century, then Philip would have been described as the most violent and vindictive. Both of his older brothers held more political and ‘knightly’ skill than Philip. Sir Peter Courtenay was a flamboyant character known for his jousting and William Courtenay was the archbishop of Canterbury for most of Richard II’s reign. Yet Philip was rugged and opportunistic. His career epitomises the Courtenays of Powderhams’ actions during the fifteenth century. Within this chapter we will see that Philip Courtenay I was not socially savvy and relied on his military service to further his career. He was unable to marry into a rich family and betrothed his daughter, Margaret, to a local landholder Robert Cary, who served the family loyally under the tenure of Richard Courtenay, Philip’s eldest son. Philip was often away from the county and therefore was not part of the group of families which ran the county’s administration at the time. In terms of being part of the county community, Philip was absent from this. He did not forge the horizontal networks which previous historians have shown to be intrigual between family’s who administrate the county.29 However, as the son of an Earl, he was immediately given an advantage at court and took the opportunity to become a favourite of Richard II. Through the lives of both Philip and Richard Courtenay we see how royal patronage can be utilised by the gentry which was a rare case in the later middle ages.30 Royal patronage was usually given to only the magnates of England, however, from both Philip and Richard we see how figures considered within the country gentry, although at the very top of this social bracket, could benefit from being favourites of kings. Philip was knighted after the battle of Najera by Edward III’s son, Edward the Black Prince in 1367 as he was sent to serve the Black Prince during his early teenage years.31 It did not take him long to establish himself as an important military and local political figure.32 Upon coming of age in 1372, he became an admiral of the king’s western fleet and in 1373 he had to escort ships to Gascony. In August of that year he was ordered to take a castle at Gurry.33 Sometime during this period, he was given control of the stannaries, the local miners courts, in Devon and Cornwall and was called to Parliament in 1375. While Courtenay’s call to Westminster is likely due to the extortion of the stannaries, three years later he was involved in a naval expedition 29 M. J. Bennett, Community, class and careerism: Cheshire and Lancashire society in the Age of Gawain and the Green Knight (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); M. J. Bennett, ‘A County Community: Social Cohesion amongst the Cheshire Gentry, 1400-1425’, Northern History, Vol. VIII (1973), pp. 24-45; Christine Carpenter, Locality and Polity A study of Warwickshire Landed Society, 1400-1499 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 244-263. 30 Ibid, p. 4. 31 L. S. Woodger, ‘Courtenay, Sir Philip (d. 1406), of Powderham, Devon’ in J. S. Roskell, L. Clark and C. Rawcliffe, History of Parliament: the House of Commons, 1386-1421 (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1992), p. 673. 32 CCR, Edward III 1369-1374 (London: HMSO, 1911), p. 428. 33 CCR, Edward III 1374-1377 (London: HMSO, 1912), p. 318. to Spain involving the Earls of Arundel and Salisbury which could have been the reason for his call to Westminster. Philip’s misdemeanours continued into the later 1370s as he was pardoned and fined in 1378 for purchasing the church in Honiton located just outside of Exeter, without licence from his father, Hugh Courtenay.34 Courtenay served as Devonshire’s MP in 1383 and quickly made a small impact on national politics by calling for parliament to accept Bishop Despencer’s offer of a crusade to Flanders in the Pope’s name. The Westminster Chronicle tells us that Courtenay, alongside his brother Sir Peter, supported their eldest brother William, Archbishop of Canterbury, against the wishes of John of Gaunt. The three Courtenay brothers led to what could be called the ‘clerical party’.35 Philip became a favourite of Richard II, a king known to choose favourites, during the late 1370s and early 1380s and it was through this favouritism that the Courtenays of Powderham began to become prominent on both the local and national political scene.36 In July 1383 he was appointed the lieutenant of Ireland and his lieutenancy was again full of upheaval. He was appointed to the position for ten years and he left in July 1383.37 Courtenay was associated with various political figures while he was on his duty. In November that same year, he was given a mandate to order the young Earl of Ormond, James Botiller, to be sent to Westminster to pay homage to the king for his late fathers lands. Clearly, Courtenay’s political skills were noticed by the king’s government.38 He returned to Salisbury in 1384 as parliament met there and his Irish duties had to be taken up by his deputies.39 Philip ventured back to England again in early 1385 where it was agreed that he would gain near complete control over much of the Irish administration.40 However, his Irish lieutenancy took a turn for the worst as upon his return to Ireland, he was accused of extortion. He was forced to ask a great court in December 1385 that an inquisition take place so he could clear his name, but he was dismissed from his tenancy of Ireland in early 1386 and on 26th March of that year, a strict order for his arrest was issued by the crown.41 The man who took over Courtenay’s lieutenancy of Ireland was the Earl of Oxford, John de Vere. The newly appointed Marquess of Ireland was given quasi-regal authority and Courtenay was ordered to be kept in Ireland until de Vere was present to take over his duties.42 However, Courtenay was still able to be elected to parliament in 1387 and promptly filed complaints to the king’s chancery about the style in which de Vere handled his arrest. Courtenay complained that de Vere had taken rent from his estates that he was not entitled to and that Courtenay’s indenture had been superseded 34 CPR, Richard II 1377-1381 (London: HMSO, 1895), p. 101. 35 L. C. Hector and Barbara F. Harvey, ed. and trans., The Westminster Chronicle 1381-1394 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), p. 37. 36 For Richard II’s favoritism see Nigel Saul, Richard II, 2nd edn. (Pennsylvania: Yale University Press, 1999). 37 CPR, Richard II 1381-1385 (London: HMSO, 1897), p. 291. 38 Ibid, p. 330. 39 Ibid, p. 296. 40 Ibid, pp. 539-540. 41 CPR, Richard II 1388-1392 (London: HMSO, 1902), p. 349. 42 Ibid, pp. 349-350. by de Vere’s appointment.43 Philip won the dispute and de Vere was ordered to pay £66 13s 4d to Courtenay who also received 1000 marks for the loss of his rents.44 When assessing the first thirty years of Philip’s life his military skill stands out. He relied on his military skills to enhance his career and what he lacked in social savviness he made up for through military service. Moreover, he relied on patronage from the crown as a means to establish himself and the Courtenays of Powderham as a family within the county. Patronage was the simplest method to better oneself during the later Middle Ages and royal patronage from the King was the highest of honours.45 As McFarlane believed, patronage was the cement which held the ruling classes together.46 However, patronage was not just handed out to anyone and it certainly was not a commercial exchange. Patronage did not buy service.47 Service was the largesse of patronage. Philip was a skilled seaman and a military veteran who earned Richard II’s patronage.48 While this was perhaps not an option the gentry could undertake, by being the son of and Earl and being on the periphery of the nobility, Philip was able to receive such high honours such as the stewardship of Cornwall from Richard II. From this patronage, Philip’s notoriety increased throughout the county. While there is no evidence which suggests that he integrated within the county society through land transactions or county commissions such as putting down small rebellions which were common within Devonshire society, as the son of an Earl, Philip already had a social advantage through is reputation. Using this he gained responsibility early on in his career and it was then through his military skill that he established himself as a reliable administrator to Richard II. Philip was still seen as a favourite of Richard II even when his political career was taking a turn for the worst due to his conflict with the Earl of Oxford. For instance, upon his marriage to Ann Wake, daughter of Sir Thomas Wake of Blisworth, he received a present of two gold cups from Richard worth £22 7s. 4d.; a considerable amount at the time.49 Richard also promised Philip land in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, worth £40 a year as another present, but the king’s government was slow in authorising this grant of land.50 However, throughout the first two decades of his career, many annuities were bestowed upon Philip. Edward the Black Prince granted him two annuities worth £50 each from the duchy of Cornwall and the stannaries of the county which lasted until 1393. After that, both fees were then doubled for Courtenay and his wife.51 In 1378 Philip continued to receive £100 a year from the king’s exchequer as a continuation from Edward III’s grant to Philip of the same fee 43 CPR, Richard II 1391-1396 (London: HMSO, 1905), p. 522. 44 Ibid, p. 529. 45 Rosemary Horrox, ‘Urban Patronage and Patrons in the Fifteenth Century’, in Ralph Griffiths, ed., Patronage the Crown and the Provinces in Later Medieval England (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1981), p. 145. 46 K. B. McFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), p. 290; K. B. McFarlane, Lancastrian Kings and Lollard Knights (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), pp. 87, 226. 47 G. L. Harriss, Shaping the Nation England 1360-1461 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005), p. 22. 48 For a detailed analysis of service to the King see Rosemary Horrox, Richard III: A Study of Service (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 1-26. 49 CPR, 1374-1377, p. 308. 50 Ibid, p. 386. 51 CPR, 1377-1381, p. 246; CPR, 1377-1381, p. 457. which started in 1377.52 In 1388, the Merciless Parliament, which he attended, forfeited to him four parks by their judgement as well as the wealthy estate of Haslebury Plucknett in Somerset worth £43 6s. 8d. for six years.53 In 1391, both he and his wife were granted ‘for their lives, without rent’ the manors of Dartmoor and Bradnich worth £39 a year.54 Richard’s valuation of Courtenay seems to have been at a consistently high level as for these lands to be given to the Courtenays, a local landholder named William Corby and his wife Agnes had to be stripped of them; a vicious act within the politics of the time. Moreover, Courtenay’s favour with Richard can be seen even after his dispute with de Vere. Upon losing his Irish lieutenancy, Philip served as the Steward of the duchy of Cornwall from 1388-1392 and even returned to Ireland in 1394 with Richard himself.55 However, Philip’s career seems to have come to a stand still as Richard did not employ him for any royal duties after 1395. This was most likely due to Courtenay’s dispute with the new de Vere earl of Oxford who was another favourite of Richard II and who Richard clearly favoured more. Courtenay’s local political career was also stagnant, as he was not elected to any of the parliaments within the years of 1395-1399. However, upon Henry Bolingbroke’s usurpation of the throne, Philip’s military expertise was used to help contain the South West during the Welsh revolts 1403. Along with his nephew, Edward Courtenay, 3rd Coutenay earl of Devon, Philip was given the task of quickly rescuing the castle of ‘Kerdyf’ (Cardiff) in Wales.56 Moreover, Henry used Philip as the sergeant to take a number of ships up to Scotland in September 1400 and Courtenay also accompanied a series of ships to Brittany which was most likely Henry’s expedition in 1402.57 Following Courtenay’s expeditions into Wales, he is rarely mentioned in the rolls of chancery. He was given orders to protect the south coast but as we have already seen, this was Philip’s task all the way through his career. He is last mentioned at Westminster in 1405 when he was given the remainder of his estates of Honiton, Morton and parts of Alphington upon his brother’s death.58 Richard Courtenay, Bishop of Norwich (d. 1415). After Philip’s death in 1406, his manors were left to his oldest son and heir Richard Courtenay, who at the time was serving as a clerk of the King.59 Richard was educated at Oxford University and was destined for a life within the church as his uncle William Courtenay, archbishop of Canterbury, had gained him a prebendary in Wingham College, Kent, in 1392 at the age of eleven.60 Very much like his father, Richard was an opportunistic man who was able to take advantage of situations and benefitted from his friendship to Henry V. He was elected as the chancellor of the 52 Ibid, p. 112. 53 CPR, Richard II 1385-1389 (London: HMSO, 1900), p. 413. 54 CPR, 1388-1392, p. 395. 55 Ibid, p. 156, 247; CPR, 1391-1396, p. 529. 56 CPR, Henry IV 1401-1405 (London: HMSO, 1905), p. 439. 57 Ibid, p. 350; F. C. Hingeston, ed., Royal and historical letters during the reign of King Henry the Fourth, 1399-1404, vol. 1 (London: HMSO, 1966), pp. 104-107. 58 CCR, Henry IV 1402-1405 (London: HMSO, 1931), p. 453. 59 CPR, 1401-1405, p. 9; CPR, Henry IV 1405-1408 (London: HMSO, 1907), p. 279. 60 R. G. Davies, ‘Courtenay, Richard (c.1381–1415)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), online edn. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/6455, accessed 14 July 2015]. University of Oxford and held the deanship of Wells early in the fifteenth century. Under Henry IV, Richard was promoted quite quickly within the clergy. He was assigned as the prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral in 1401 and a year later assigned the deaneary of the cathedral of St. Asaph.61 His career was accelerated in 1410 when the king created him the prebendary of Wells, Exeter, York and the chapel of Heies within the castle of Exeter as well as receiving the archdeaconship of Northampton Cathedral in the same year.62 Towards the end of Henry IV’s reign, Richard continued his duties as the king’s clerk. He was called upon by the King in 1411 to investigate and arrest a number of offenders at Oxford University on account of rioting.63 Upon the accession of Henry V, Richard was elected to the vacant bishopric of Norwich on 11th September, 1413 and two years later he became the keeper of the King’s Jewels; a position which held much responsibility as it was Richard’s duty to work with the king’s treasurer and manage both the money the King owes to his nobles and the money which they owe to him.64 He served as an ambassador for Henry V on numerous occasions and escorted the king’s crown along with the king’s brother, Thomas, duke of Clarence, over the channel in negotiation with Charles VI, king of France.65 From the records of Chancery, it seems that Richard spent most of his time away from Devon and even died when he was delivering the king’s jewels in France.66 He did not receive any duties that forced him to commit himself to the county. The only piece of patronage he received which related to the Southwest region was when Henry IV granted him the prebendary of Exeter. However, this did not mean that he had to be present within the region as he received this favour for many cathedrals throughout the country. Clearly Richard was simply being rewarded for the tasks he was doing within the church instead of being geographically rewarded with various estates. The majority of the patronage Richard received was from the king and came in the form of various roles; usually under the kingship of Henry V and therefore, Richard did not inherit any estates and received only a small set of lands from both Henry IV and V during his service to the kings. The small set of land he received was 80 and a half acres of land in Oxfordshire but there is no manor mentioned within the grant of patronage.67 He kept hold of his estates during his lifetime even though he was not a resident of the Southwest. However, after his death, various local figures and relatives took control of his manors during the minority of his brother’s son and heir, Philip Courtenay. Moreover, Robert Cary, who was a noted local esquire who represented Devon in Parliament as well as serving the King in Aquitaine as well as being Richard’s brother-in-law, was given the estates of Powderham and Cheverstone worth £24 13s 8d per year.68 Out of those who received control of Philip’s estates during his minority, Cary monetarily benefited the most. This may have been because Robert’s father, Sir John Cary (d. 1395) had been a friend of Philip and had been his attourney 61 CPR, 1401-1405, p. 9, 93. 62 CPR, Henry IV 1408-1413 (London: HMSO, 1909), p. 117. 63 Ibid, pp. 316-317. 64 CPR, Henry V 1413-1416 (London: HMSO, 1910), p. 97, 329. 65 Ibid, p. 255, 350. 66 CPR, Henry V 1416-1422 (London: HMSO, 1911), p. 10, 37. 67 CPR, 1408-1413, p. 145. 68 CCR, Henry V 1413-1419 (London: HMSO, 1929), p. 233; Ibid, pp. 323-324. during his lieutenancy in Ireland.69 William Fyre received control of Broadwindsor, Dorset, and Richard’s servant, Richard Baudwyn, received and annual rent of £8. 6s. 8d. per annum.70 In December 1415, Stephen Payne, dean of Exeter, Robert Cary and Robert Westcote were appointed keepers of Cadleigh, Devon, and East Coker in Somerset.71 However, there seems to have been an invested interest from the crown in making sure that Philip II’s lands were kept in order as one of Henry V’s favourite knights, Sir Lewis Robessart, was given the duty of taking over the occupation of Cadleigh and East Coker.72 It is also possible that Sir Thomas Brooke held land during Philip’s minority as Brooke quitclaimed the manor of Stewley back to Philip II in 1428 and there is not really any particular explanation to why he held the land.73 Philip I’s thuggery was not unusual for a man of his social status during the late fourteenth century and the early fifteenth century. It was a time where the county courts were run by men who, although loyal to the king, were not shy to take bribes and to involve themselves in illegal acts and financial deals. However, it is hard to argue with L. S. Woodger when he claims that Philip’s acts of ‘violence and thuggery were extreme even by medieval standard’.74 Philip was a man who relied on his military expertise which gained him favour with the aristocracy. He seems to have been a favourite of Richard II who acted as his patron and bestowed on him Philip’s highest status of the lieutenancy of Ireland. However, under Henry IV Philip lost this position and was used instead in the minor role of county administrator. There is no one answer to why Philip became a royal favourite. He was a man who lived off his military prowess and his ability to help maintain royal authority within Devon. In return for this he received royal patronage from Richard II. Philip’s career is an example of how the sixth son of an earl can better themselves within their social surroundings. Through his service to the King, Philip received royal favours. Philip sat at the top end of the gentry community due to his social status and benefited from being the son of a nobleman. On the other hand, not too much can be said of Richard Courtenay’s reign as the head of the family. Due to his commitments to the crown and Henry V in particular, Richard’s interests lay outside of his southwest estates and he had no interest in Devonshire politics. One thing Richard did correctly was to divide his estates up and place them in the hands of trustworthy people. Philip II, his nephew and successor, thus had no problem when inheriting his estates. Both Philip and Richard provided the Lancastrian’s with staunch support at a troubling time. Philip helped Henry IV with controlling the Welsh rebellions by containing the southwest and Richard was an ever present and calming member of the church, as well as a personal friend to Henry V. They lay the foundations for the family to socially and politically prosper during the fifteenth century and as we will see, the family continued to be the centre of conflict during the decades leading up to the Wars of the Roses. 69 CPR, 1381-1385, p. 296. 70 CPR, Henry V 1413-1416 (London: HMSO, 1910), p. 383. 71 CFR, 1413-1422 (London: HMSO, 1934), p. 124. Cited from Martin Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire ‘, unpubl. PhD thesis (University College Swansea, 1981), p. 74. 72 CPR, 1416-1422 (London: HMSO, 1911), p. 409. 73 CCR, Henry VI 1429-1435 (London: HMSO, 1926), p. 309. 74 L. S. Woodger, ‘Courtenay, Sir Philip (d. 1406), of Powderham, Devon’, p. 673. Chapter Two Philip II and family disputes, 1425-1463. During the lifetime of Philip Courtenay II, the Courtenay family integrated with the Devonshire county gentry. After the death of Hugh Courtenay, 12th earl of Devon in 1422, his eight-year-old son, Thomas Courtenay, was left as his heir. He did not come of age until 1441 and therefore, for nearly twenty years Devon was without a major landholder and distributor of patronage. However, his cousin Philip II was keen to fill this vacuum. From Philip I’s adventurous and dubious military career, it is unsurprising to find that Philip II was at the centre of a group of men, led by William Bonville, who became associated with one another through the methods of social mobility described in the introduction of this thesis. These families ran the county’s politics through being the constant law enforcers the county needed. However, upon Thomas Courtenay coming of age in 1441, he was not going to relinquish his family’s authority over the county which they had held unchallenged for over 100 years. Therefore, the years from 1440-1455 were ones full of tension as the levels of violence grew. This chapter will evaluate Philip’s role and achievement in the political environment of Devonshire during this period and will argue that through constant involvement with law enforcement and through tactical marriages, Philip II was part of a network of families which ran the county’s administration. One method of forging county networks was through the county’s administration and one strand of that was its law enforcement. Upon coming of age in 1425, Philip immediately became part of a group of figures who the King relied upon to restore order in Devon. He was given commission of array for a number of crimes committed by petty criminals. While he was still an esquire, Philip was given the duty of guarding the coast and to resist Bretons who were clearly seen as a threat by Henry VI’s minority council.75 A year later Courtenay was ordered to inquire into the local affairs of the priory of St. James in Exeter as according to the local monk, Thomas Dene, the priory suffered minor destruction from an unknown figure.76 Following on from Philip I’s duties in Cornwall, Philip II became the Steward of the county in 1430 as he succeeded John Arundell in the role.77 John Arundell was an infamous knight within Cornwall and Devon who had served as the steward of Cornwall for 28 years.78 Clearly Courtenay had already gained a certain amount of notoriety in the first five years of his coming of age. We cannot be certain as to when Courtenay was knighted. However, within the rolls of Chancery, Courtenay’s appointment as the Steward of Cornwall is where he is first referred to as a ‘knight’. During the 1430s, Courtenay firmly established himself as an important figure in Devonshire’s politics and a figure that the King’s council could rely on. He was the only knight among a series of commissioners who were issued with the order to investigate the nature of an assault on the priory house and church of St. Stephen’s in 75 CPR, Henry VI 1422-1429 (London: HMSO, 1901), p. 405. 76 Ibid, p. 469. 77 CPR, Henry VI 1429-1436 (London: HMSO, 1907), p. 47. 78 J. S. Roskell, Linda Clarke and C. Rawcliffe, ed., The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421 (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1992), pp. 58-61. Launceton, Cornwall. The total value of the goods taken amounted to £40 and a number of canons were threatened within the same crime.79 Moreover, in June 1432 along with local knights such as John Dinham, Humphrey Stafford of Dorset, and Thomas Arundell, the son and heir of John Arundell, Courtenay was issued to investigate into local piracy as ships from Brittany which were headed for Rouen had been burgled of all their cargo and sold the cargo at the ports in Devon which included Exeter, Dartmouth, Kingsteignton and Plymouth.80 As the decade wore on, it is clear that Courtenay continued to be assigned important commissions where a great value of money was involved. In the summer of 1433, Courtenay was again issued to investigate into piracy as a ship called Saint Michael of Nates with 22 pipes of wine and 62 turns of red and white was burgled and sold. The total amount of cargo stolen was estimated to have come to the value of £240, a vast sum during the fifteenth century.81 Courtenay was issued with various inquests into the coasts of Devon and Cornwall and it is suspected that he had his own, personal fleet of ships certainly situated at Dartmouth but he almost also kept ships at some stage in Exeter, Plymouth, Kingsteighton and Powys.82 Courtenay’s skills as a seaman were clearly known as he was commissioned to investigate into various matters to do with the ports and piracy, with some commissions similar to the inquest of Saint Michael as ships crossing the channel to Brittany were clearly a target for piracy. Once again in the summer of 1433, Courtenay was involved in an inquest into one of the king’s ships called the ‘Nostre Dame’ of Dierne, Birttany, which had been boarded and taken to first the Isle of White and then to the town of Kyngesbrugge.83 Another ship called Saint Yves of Kempercarantyn in Brittany was boarded and sailed to Truro, Cornwall. The goods on the ship were valued at 800 crowns.84 From the first decade of Philip Courtenay’s career, he quickly associated himself with a group of knights who were seen as the law enforcers in Devonshire. From 1425 to 1435 there are a number of commissioners mentioned. However, by 1436 within the counties of Cornwall and Devon there are clearly a number of knights who were constantly used to keep the peace in the name of the king and Philip Courtenay was one of those. The other families that are frequently acquainted alongside Courtenay are the Arundells, the Bonvilles, the Carreus and the Dinhams. Using information solely from the Patent Rolls, from 1427 up until a commission in 1436 from chancery stating those who were the chief law enforcers in Cornwall and Devon, William Bonville is commissioned alongside Courtenay eight times, Thomas Arundell features alongside Philip five times, Nicholas de Carreu, later Baron Carreu,85 is mentioned five times and John Dinham is last being only commissioned alongside Courtenay three times. Therefore, out of eighteen times Philip Courtenay is issued as the commission of array, he is nearly always featured with one of these families.86 From 79 CPR, 1429-1436, p. 198 80 Ibid, p. 201. 81 Ibid, p. 280. 82 CPR, 1436-1441 (London: HMSO, 1907), p. 411. 83 CPR, 1429-1436, p. 299. 84 Ibid, p. 301. 85 Ibid, p. 358. 86 CPR, 1422-1429, pp. 405, 469, 526; Ibid, p. 47, 197-198, 201, 273-274, 279-280, 299, 301, 347, 353, 358, 361, 398, 428, 469, 473. the evidence at hand, there was a clear network of family’s who used the law enforcement as a method to administrate the county. The families would have known of one another and they were clearly trusted by the King to loyally serve him within the county. Moreover, during this period Philip II was using marriage as a means to involve the family within the series of networks amongst the county’s landholders. Marriage was used by the knightly and gentry families to further the social networks within the county. A way a family might rise up the ‘social ladder’ was through marriage which Philip Courtenay clearly did. First of all he married into the Hungerford family who were not only influential within Devonshire but also at the national political level. Although Hungerford’s political interests lay outside of Devon, his primary seat was located in Wiltshire where he represented the county in Parliament six times; Hungerford was an important figure in parliament as well as a constant figure on the King’s council from 1417 up until his death.87 He was the King’s treasurer of the exchequer in 1422 and was the chamberlain to the duchy of Lancaster from 1425- 1444.88 Clearly, Courtenay saw Hungerford as a man whom he would benefit from by associating himself with him. Therefore, in 1425 he married his daughter, Elizabeth Hungerford, whose dowry was the manor of Molland in the northeast of Devon.89 Philip further used marriage as a means of strengthening his family’s position within the county. Aside from finding themselves a wife, betrothing ones son to a wealthy heiress was a way of forging alliances and uniting two families. First of all Philip married his first son William to Margaret Bonville at an unknown date. It is likely that they were betrothed to each other as William was born in c.1428 when the Courtenays of Powderham were becoming close to the Bonville family. Under William Bonville, the Bonville family became a very wealthy and powerful county family within Devon. From the tax assessment of 1436, Bonville’s annual income was in considerable excess of £593 per annum.90 Therefore, to Philip Courtenay, associating himself with William Bonville was a clever move both socially and politically. Secondly, Philip married his daughters Elizabeth and Phillipa to James Lutterell and Sir Thomas Fulford, the former marrying in 1451 and the latter at an unknown date.91 The Fulfords are again a land owning family with a long lineage in Devon. They feature alongside the Courtenays of Powderham in the rolls of Chancery multiple times.92 Philip’s association with the Lutterells is because he held the Lutterell estates during the minority of James Lutterell and therefore had a close connection with the family.93 87 Roskell, Clark and Rawcliffe, History of Parliament: 1386-1421, p. 448. 88 Ibid, p. 446. 89 NA, C142/4/87. 90 Martin Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire, 1377-1461’, unpubl. PhD thesis (University of Wales University College, Swansea, 1981), p. 7. Original citation from CFA, Vol. I (London: HMSO, 1899), pp. 417, 427, 458, 513. 91 J. L. Vivian, The Visitation of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620 (Exeter, 1895), p. 246. 92 CPR, Henry VI 1441-1446 (London: HMSO, 1908), p. 292; CPR, Henry VI 1452-1461 (London: HMSO, 1910), pp. 257, 495; CPR, Edward IV 1461-1467 (London: HMSO, 1897), p. 33. 93 CCR, Henry VI 1441-1447 (London: HMSO, 1937), p. 249. Moreover, Philip II continued to forge county networks through becoming involved within land transactions with various families, either as being directly involved within the charter or as a witness. In 1430 Philip was involved in a series of transactions whereby Walter Hungerford took back land which he had enffeoffed. Courtenay is featured in three of the estates, as it seems that Hungerford had given him part control.94 It is likely that as his son-in-law, Hungerford was giving Courtenay either a gift or he was doing this for his own personal interest. Moreover, both Hungerford and Courtenay were amongst a number of knights and esquires who received part control of John Skylling’s estates in Russale and Upaven, both in Wiltshire.95 Hungerford is featured as a witness in a land transactions between Thomas Brooke, lord of Cobham, and Philip Courtenay where Courtenay received the manor of Stevenlegh, Somerset.96 Courtenay continued to be associated with Walter Hungerford all the way up until Hungerford’s death in 1449. His association with Hungerford is most likely the reason why Courtenay gained control of the Lutterell estates during James Lutterell’s minority in 1445. The estates were worth £180 per annum.97 Philip was a witness to Hungerford’s will in 1449 and in 1460, he made a demise to Walter’s son, Robert Hungerford, to act as the middle-man in giving his wife a number of his manors upon his death.98 Family Dispute From the years 1440-1455, Philip Courtenay continued to gain recognition for his work within Devon and his career prospers from his service to the crown. From a commission sent to Philip on February 16th 1441, he is recognised as the mayor of Dartmouth, a title given to him most likely due to his connections with the port.99 As previously mentioned, in 1444 he received control of the Lutterell estates and two years later in 1446, Henry VI bestowed upon him and Edmund Hungerford the estates within the forest of Dartmoor.100 However, while his ability to serve the king effectively and efficiently is undoubted, it seems that Courtenay had inherited his grandfathers’ opportunistic characteristic. In November 1446, Courtenay was accused of stealing various ships that belonged to the King of Spain. He used his own private fleet, situated around the local ports of Devon, to lead the ships into the port at Dartmouth and sell the goods which were valued at £4000.101 Surprisingly, Courtenay was not summoned to Parliament or punished. Instead, Courtenay was ordered to sell the goods and to summon the Spanish merchants within Dartmouth to help with this task. There is lack of evidence to suggest why he was not summoned to parliament. Clearly Courtenay’s importance to Devon’s administration was a playing factor as during this period, no other family, aside from the Bonville family, were used within the commissions as much as Courtenays of Powderham. During the 1440s, a major threat to Philip II emerged from the increasing rivalry between William Bonville and the Earl of Devon. Due to William Bonville’s 94 CCR, Henry VI 1429-1435 (London: HMSO, 1933), pp. 53-56. 95 Ibid, p. 248. 96 Ibid, p. 309. 97 CCR, 1441-1447, p. 249. 98 CCR, Henry VI, 1454-1461 (London: HMSO, 1947), p. 440. 99 CPR, 1436-1441, p. 535. 100 CPR, Henry VI 1441-1446, p. 336, 456; ROP, Henry VI Parliament of 1449, Membrane 14 verso 194, column b. 101 CPR, Henry VI 1446-1452 (London: HMSO, 1909), p. 40. increasing influence within Devon, the young ambitious earl, Thomas Courtenay, saw him as his political rival within the county. The careers of these two men at this time are stark contrasts with one prospering while the other failed to establish himself on the county’s political scene. Even though Thomas Courtenay came from a noble background where his family had dominated the south west for over 100 years in terms of politics and manorial wealth, during his reign as the earl of Devon, he struggled to assert the same dominance the previous earls had.102 Up until the death of his mother in 1441, Thomas Courtenay’s annual income was barely £1000. The earldom of Devon suffered as from 1377 the holder was not getting richer unlike many of the other earls who accumulated vast amounts of wealth.103 On the other hand, William Bonville was a man who had no hereditary claim to local eminence yet emerged during the 1440s as Thomas Courtenay’s biggest rival as the leader of Devonshire society. The Bonvilles of Shute were a family of east Devon who until William Bonville’s marriage to his first wife, the daughter of Lady Grey of Ruthin and then to his second wife who was the widow of Lord Harrington and the aunt of the twelfth earl, Elizabeth Courtenay, were not particularly of any importance and only rose to the role of sheriff within Somerset in 1380 and Devon in 1389.104 However, aside from smartly marrying women who would increase his wealth and social importance, Bonville also served the king in a number of ways and was assigned to a number of administrative offices. He was knighted in 1417 while serving in France under Henry V and provided a contingent of forty men in 1424 to win back the fortress of Le Crotoy located on the Somme in Picardie, northern France.105 During the 1430s, like Philip Courtenay, he had become an extremely active figure in enforcing the law in Devon and Somerset and was recognised as the ‘king’s knight’ in 1437 where he was awarded the stewardship of Cornwall, a position he held a number of times.106 Bonville’s activity within the county and the recognition he received from his activity clearly impressed a number of land-holders within Devon as he was part of the group which involved Philip Courtenay, the Dinham family and the Arundells in running Cornwall and Devon. The Earl’s character is fairly easy to determine as his violent activities are traced back to his rivalry with Bonville. Clearly, the Earl of Devon did not like the support Bonville received from his cousin, Philip Courtenay, and the other landholders within Devon. R. L. Storey suggests that the marriage between his aunt and William Bonville was the first step in a long feud as Courtenay’s ancestral pride was offended by the connection with a ‘rising member of an undistinguished family’.107 From the evidence we have already witnessed, Devonshire society was extremely violent during the fifteenth century as both Philip Courtenay I and II were constantly commissioned to tasks involving robbery, murder and the unlawful seizure of land. Therefore, as the Earl came of age in 1433 and did not inherit his full estates until 1441, he witnessed 102 See Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire’, pp. 121-199 for an assessment of the Courtenay’s dominance in the southwest during the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. 103 R. L. Storey, End of the House of Lancaster (London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1966), p. 85. 104 Ibid, p. 86; Roskell, Clark and Rawcliffe, The History of Parliament:1386-1421, pp. 282-284. 105 Ibid, 285. 106 CPR, 1436-1441, p.133; CPR, 1446-1452, p. 526. 107 Storey, End of the House of Lancaster, p. 85. William Bonville only strengthen his position in the political and patrimonial vacuum that encompassed Devon during the Earl’s minority. Thomas Courtenay was a jealous man who was also very brash and bold. He was not afraid to cause disputes between his rivals and was also very active militarily. Ironically, the Courtenay family themselves were never one to quarrel with each other. Up until the 1430s, the junior and senior Courtenay line had been very coherent. Philip Courtenay I worked alongside his nephew, Edward Courtenay (c.1357-1419), 11th Earl of Devon, multiple times when the king commissioned him to do so.108 However, as time went on and the lines became more and more distant, the relationship between the two families became strained. When Philip II came of age in 1425, the earl of Devon, Thomas Courtenay, was only a minor who himself did not come of age until 1433.109 Thomas’ lands were distributed to various figures during his minority including the Cheverstone estates which Philip II held onto. However, instead of simply inheriting his estates in 1433, Thomas was unable to secure his right to his lands as his mother kept hold of the majority of the manors which he was set to inherit. Therefore, there was a patrimonial vacuum which Philip Courtenay took advantage of and moved against his cousin. Philip used the affinities he was part of to secure various grants of land and political power to move against the senior Courtenay branch who held the earldom of Devon. Towards the end of the 1440s, the factional rivalry between William Bonville and Philip Courtenay against Thomas Courtenay was clear for all to see. Upon Bonville’s return from serving as the king’s seneschal of Gasgony in 1447, both he and Courtenay brought cases to the king’s bench of evidence of acts of violence against Thomas Courtenay and his followers.110 However, the violence began to build up in 1449 where nineteen individual cases were brought forward to the King’s Bench.111 Clearly the pieces were in place for violence to commence and with Thomas Courtenay’s proud and fiery character, it was not too long until civil war broke out in Devon. Outbreak of Violence As we have already noted, violence was a common occurrence within Devonshire society. However, with the dispute between William Bonville and Thomas Courtenay, the level of violence certainly increased with armies being summoned and military campaigns and altercations taking place. The first altercation between Bonville and Courtenay began in 1440 as Thomas Courtenay petitioned for himself to receive the office of the stewardship of Cornwall which was granted to him by the King. However, Chancery clearly saw their blunder as a letter patent was quickly issued ordering Courtenay to make no attempt to perform the role.112 Courtenay, however, ignored this decree and continued to issue orders styling himself as the steward of Cornwall. Small acts of violence broke out in Cornwall and Devon and men wearing the livery of the Earl of Devon attacked men who were associated with William Bonville while on their way from Bristol to London. The violence seems to have come to an end and it is likely that the King became involved. Little is mentioned at 108 CPR, Henry V 1401-1405 (London: HMSO, 1905), pp. 129, 289, 291, 439. 109 CPR, 1429-1436, p. 464. 110 Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire’, p. 279. 111 Ibid, p. 280. 112 CPR, 1436-1441, p.532. parliament and Devon acted as the Queens steward at her wedding.113 Bonville then took up his pre-agreed position as the seneschal of Gascony from 1444 and remained in Gascony until 1447.114 While Bonville and Thomas Courtenay continued their initial dispute, which resulted in the quick capture of the Courtenay owned castle at Taunton in September 1451, Philip Courtenay continued to remain in the background. The chroniclers on the dispute make no mention of Philip’s involvement and it would appear in an increasingly complex dispute between a political ally and a member of the senior branch of his family, Philip was keeping a diplomatic distance. Already the Duke of York had interfered to end the dispute between Courtenay and Bonvile, as at the time, Courtenay was an ally to York. Thomas Courtenay had abandoned his in-laws, the Beauforts, in favour of allying himself with the duke of York. Cardinal Beaufort had lost power . the king’s council as Henry VI had his own favourite councilman in William de la Pole, 1st duke of Suffolk.115 Philip supported William Bonville but was still absent from the violence that encompassed Devonshire society. Following York’s first protectorate during Henry VI’s insanity in 1452, rebellions in Cornwall, Somerset and Devon arose which Philip Courtenay, William Bonville and John Dinham were commissioned to put down.116 Moreover, Philip seems to have fallen out of favour with the King in 1453 as he and Edmund Hungerford lost the manors of Lideford and Southing which were in Dartmoor forest.117 No major acts of violence seem to have taken place after Thomas Courtenay’s Taunton siege. The Earl of Devon was not commissioned to handle any disputes within the county and he kept himself quiet until 1455. He spent a stint in jail during 1452 for his violence against Bonville and was nationally disgraced for it.118 However, he did not spend long in jail and the duke of York soon freed him.119 During the end of York’s protectorate William Bonville continued to establish himself as the major political figure in Devon and his name is constantly mentioned alongside figures such as Philip Courtenay, Sir John Dinham and Nicholas Radford, who helped him enforce the law. However, as York favoured Bonville as a makeshift warden of the west, Thomas Courtenay allied himself once again with the Beaufort family. After his initial attempt at war with Bonville, Thomas Courtenay found himself on the losing Lancastrian side at the First Battle of St. Albans on 22nd May 1455 which only weakened his quest for supreme power in Devon. Therefore, like four years previously, the Earl of Devon turned to violence in an attempt to establish himself within the county. As with the siege at Taunton three years previously, the Earl of Devon attacked Bonville’s supporters in an attempt to weaken his leadership within Devon. As the rivalry became more heated, Radford, a local and well-known lawyer, did not become involved and only gained a lot of wealth from his dealings within Devon. As well as his association with Bonville, his accumulation of wealth seems to 113 ROP, Introduction to the parliament of 1444. 114 CPR, 1446-1452, pp. 149, 209, 300, 306. 115 R. A. Griffiths, The Reign of Henry VI The Exercise of Royal Authority 1422-1461 (London: Ernest Benn, 1981), pp. 284-288. 116 CPR, 1446-1451, p. 585. 117 CPR, 1452-1461, 37. 118 ROP, Henry VI Parliament of 1453, Membrane 13, item 49. 119 Ibid, item 50. have been a contribution to his murder in October 1455 as, for example, he had entrusted the dean and chapter of Exeter with a silver plate worth £600 and also £700 in cash.120 As there are multiple accounts of his murder, this chapter will not give a description.121 However, its effect on both the Courtenays of Powderham and Devonshire’s political sphere was substantial. Due to various problems throughout England and Wales, such as the recent outbreak of civil war and the riots in Wales, the Duke of York was unable to intervene in Thomas Courtenay’s second military campaign. Moreover, York had also recently begun his second period as the protector of England. Therefore, the Earl of Devon had free reign to settle his own quarrels. Siege of Powderham As Philip Courtenay had been relatively absent from the violence that had encompassed the county, Thomas Courtenay turned his attention to his relative and besieged Powderham Castle. Thomas Courtenay held Exeter until 23rd December and ransacked houses belonging to William Bonville, Nicholas Radford and Philip Courtenay.122 Thomas Courtenay sent a first assault upon Powderham castle on 3rd November which Philip successfully withstood, immediately calling for Bonville to support him. Bonville sent a small raiding party on the 15th November to Thomas Courtenay’s estate of Collomb, Devon. However, this raiding party did not slow the Earl’s attacks down as on the same day he began a second, heavier assault on Powderham.123 According to what was said at Parliament, the Earl’s forces battered the castle all day. William Bonville then attempted to cross the River Exe from Lymstone to help out his friend. However, the Earl had planted 500 men-at-arms along the coast. When Bonville arrived on the 19th November, he was driven back with two of his men being killed.124 Believing that Bonville would undertake a second attempt at relieving Powderham, Thomas Courtenay left the siege under the care of his third son, John Courtenay, and quickly moved to Exeter to persuade the mayor to not allow Bonville access to the city. Devon argued that Bonville would ‘come into this cite and would enter and make such s brusshe and taill that per chaunce would turn to litell as well to the cite as to his enemy’.125 Clearly the Earl took the mayor as a fool as his only argument to make him believe that he was correct was to describe himself as ‘a gentilman and a lord born dwelling in this county’. The mayor courageously declined Courtenay’s suggestion and the Earl abruptly made his way back to the siege at Powderham. During this time, it is recorded by Martin Cherry that Bonville sent out a letter to the Earl of Devon challenging him to combat. Within the letter, Bonville accuses Courtenay of misdoings of violence within the county, an accusation the Earl denies.126 However, there is no date to the letter and we therefore cannot be sure whether the eventual 120 CCR, 1429-35, pp. 164, 301; CCR, Henry VI 1435-41 (London: HMSO, 1937), p. 35 121 For a detailed narrative of the events and impact of Nicholas Radford’s death see Storey, The End of the House of Lancaster, pp. 165-176. 122 G. H. Radford, ‘Nicholas Radford 1385?-1455’, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, Vol. XXXV (1903), pp. 254-258; Storey, End of the House of Lancaster, p. 169. 123 G. Radford, ‘The Fight at Clyst in 1455’, Transactions from the Devonshire Association, Vol. XLIV (1912), pp. 259-261. 124 ROP, Henry VI Parliament of 1455, Membrane 22 verso 285, item 31. 125 The discussion between Thomas Courtenay and the mayor of Exeter is recorded in the receivers roll in Exeter and is translated in G. Radford, ‘The Fight at Clyst in 1455’, pp. 259-261. 126 Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire’, p. 312. battle of Clyst on 15th December 1455 was either the original arranged date or simply an eventual agreement between the two parties. Non-the less, the forces met at Clyst with the Earl eventually defeating Bonville. There are no records of the numbers fought or how the battle acted out. Following the battle, the duke of York quickly intervened and Thomas Courtenay was imprisoned for his acts of violence and misrule.127 He was not imprisoned for long and by February 1456 he was once again free to roam in Devon. He continued to uphold some power within Devon and was issued as a commissioner alongside Henry Holland, duke of Exeter, Henry Beaufort, duke of Somerset, William Bonville, Philip Courtenay, Robert Veer and William Bourchier.128 However, there were no other serious conflicts within Devonshire as Parliament intervened between William Bonville and Thomas Courtenay to make sure they both knew how they should act. This effectively marked the end of Thomas Courtenay’s career as a threat to Philip. Philip Courtenay’s duties did not change during the final years of his life. After the death of Thomas Courtenay in 1458, Bonville became involved in national politics and eventually was killed after the second battle of St. Albans. Although the death of a friend would have no doubt had an effect on Philip, now 57, he clearly was preoccupied with his duties with Devon and was not interested to follow Bonville onto the stage of national politics. After the civil war began again in 1460, Philip did not appear at either the second battle of St. Albans, Towton or Mortimer’s Cross in 1461. He was ordered to arrest rebels and to resist the urge himself to join the Duke of York in December 1459.129 He remained as a main figure within the law enforcement up until his death in 1463 and it seems that he was the most trusted and experienced figure. Philip survived through a disruptive time within Devonshire’s politics. The build up to the Wars of the Roses during the 1440s and 1450s Devon’s politics and Philip found himself at the forefront of the violence. Through his initial networking during the 1430s, Philip created alliances with the county landholders which survived Thomas Courtenay’s attempts at becoming the major source of patronage within Devon. Compared to Philip I, Philip II was a man who focussed in forging a series of county networks with the landholding family within Devon. Upon entering his estates, Philip quickly saw an opportunity to use marriage as a tool to align his family with various landholding families who would enhance his own social reputation. While aligning oneself with a wealthier family was not uncommon, the way Philip continually did this suggests that he possessed a unique ability to survive. Philip was able to tactically marry into a wealthy Hungerford family and forge a county alliance through the marriage of his first son William to William Bonville daughter, Margaret. Moreover, as a county administrator, he was a constant presence within the law enforcement amongst other members of county gentry families who all associated with one another to serve the King. From 1431 up until his death in 1463, he was elected as a commissioner of the piece 23 times meaning that he featured every 127 Following the first battle of St. Albans, King Henry VI was taken prisoner and the duke of York was eventually voted as the protector of the realm for a second time on 19th November; ROP, Henry VI Parliament of 1455, Membrane 22 verso 285, item 34. 128 CPR, 1452-1461, p. 490. 129 Ibid, p. 557. time.130 It is undoubted that the titled nobility held a lot of power throughout the country.131 However, along with the Bonville family, Philip Courtenay saw an opportunity to fill a patrimonial vacuum and he became part of a group of families which associated themselves with one another to administrate the county. Their power was challenged only when Thomas Courtenay came of age and after multiple attempts to destabilise Bonville and Courtenay’s grip on the county’s administration, he subsequently failed. Philip’s character was one of a tactical negotiator who all the way through his nearly 40 year career, kept himself involved within the social and political happenings of the county but through intelligent alliance, was always on the winning side. 130 CPR, 1429-1436, p. 615; CPR, Henry VI 1436-1441 (London: HMSO, 1907), p. 581; CPR, 1441-1446, p. 469; CPR, 1446-1452, p. 588; CPR, 1452-1461, p. 664. 131 G. L. Harriss, Shaping the Nation England 1360-1461 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005), pp. 93- 98. Chapter Three The two Williams, c.1463-c.1500. The family’s tenure under William I and William II sees the Courtenays maintaining their importance to the county’s administration. During this period, the whole Courtenay family were at the peak of their powers as the multiple sons of Philip Courtenay II served as MPs and another cadet line was formed by Philip II’s second son, Philip, at the manor of Molland in North Devon.132 For the Courtenays of Powderham the final forty years or so of the fifteenth century continued to be a politically and socially complicated time. As the senior line lost the earldom of Devon in 1461 after the 14th Earl, Thomas Courtenay, was beheaded at Towton, there once again was a patrimonial vacuum. Moreover, the family lived during a period where multiple kings implemented their own administrative policies on the peerage and gentry of the country. Both Edward IV and Henry VII had to convince the ruling classes that they were worthy kings in their own right as both usurped the crown. Due to this, their relationship with the gentry was a key factor in the success of their reigns. This chapter will analyse how the family faired during the troublesome period and how the administrative policies of both Edward IV and Henry VII affected the Courtenays of Powderham and the politics of Devon during this period. William Courtenay I Early Career Born c.1428, William was the first son and heir of Philip Courtenay II. It is unknown what date William came of age, however, he first appears in the rolls of Chancery in 1450 as a commissioner in Wiltshire alongside a mixture of locally known knights and administrators and nationally known knights to put down a local rebellion within the county.133 The Hungerford family are the most well-known family mentioned where Robert Hungerford (d. 1459), son and heir of Walter Hungerford who Philip II associated himself with, appears with his brother Edmund Hungerford (d. c.1484) and also Robert’s son also named Robert who was beheaded after the battle of Hexham in 1464 by Edward IV.134 William Beauchamp, son of Walter Beauchamp and styled lord of St. Amand in right of his wife, Elizabeth Braybooke, and of the Beauchamp affinity whose senior male line held the earldom of Warwick from 1256 until 1445 when Henry Beauchamp became the duke of Warwick, is also mentioned as he had land interests in Wiltshire through his marriage.135 However, William does not appear to be commissioned as a law enforcer again until 1460. He appears alongside William Bonville of Shute who was held in high regard by Richard Plantagenet, duke of York (d.1460). Moreover, Humphrey Stafford, the future Earl of Devon for a short period of time, is mentioned as an esquire alongside Courtenay to 132 J. L. Vivian, The Visitation of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620 (Exeter, 1895), p. 245. 133 CPR, Henry VI 1446-1452 (London: HMSO, 1909), p. 434. 134 Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd edn. (New York: Genealogical Pub Co, 2011), p. 39; Charles Ross, Edward IV, 2nd edn. (London: Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 60-61; Hannes Kleineke, Edward IV (Oxford: Routledge, 2009), p. 56. 135 CPR, Henry VI 1446-1452, p. 434. arrest and imprison persons who commit felonies against the king in Somerset and Dorset.136 It is during the early stages of William’s career that the Courtenays of Powderham were arguably at their most powerful. William was elected as an M.P. in Somerset in 1455 while his father served as the M.P. in Devon.137 He appears as an assessor of taxes in Somerset while his father was also an assessor of the taxes within Devon.138 Upon Edward IV’s usurpation of the throne, William continued to serve the king within Dorset and Somerset. The same year in 1461, he was commissioned to raise forces in Somerset to put down a rebellion in Wales and a year later, he was given a commission of oyer and terminer to investigate into crimes of treasons, rebellions and felonies in Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset.139 While William did not feature within Devonshire politics, his political seat was located at East Coker, Somerset. Therefore, he established himself within the other counties of the southwest. During his time within Somerset, he appears alongside his father where they both seized land in Burellesmill, East Coker, near Hardington from William Bogell.140 Furthermore, in 1464, a year after the death of his father, William served as the witness in a writ ordered to the escheator of Devon to take the oath of his mother, Elizabeth Bonville, as to arrange her dower.141 It is unclear when he was knighted. His title remains unlabelled when he was commissioned in 1460 and 1461 and in 1469 he appears to be labelled as a knight. Wedgewood and Holt believe that he was knighted between 11th May 1462, and 15th February 1464, however, it is not footnoted and is therefore unclear where they have seen this evidence.142 During his first reign, Edward implemented his own administrative policy towards both the nobility and county gentry. To rule his country, Edward needed to make sure that within every area of England and Wales he had a magnate who he could trust and rely on to administrate the region properly. The redistribution of power at both regional and local level was crucial.143 Edward did this in two ways. First of all he promoted his own allies to high positions of power. For example, in 1461 Edward rewarded William Herbert with a barony and following Towton in the same year; Baron Herbert was awarded the earldom of Pembrokeshire.144 In this instance, Edward was making sure that he had a figure who he could rely on to oversee the administration within Wales, a region which has historically caused the King’s of England multiple problems. Secondly, Edward needed to unite the nobility which meant pardoning those who once opposed him. As Charles Ross has argued, Edward did not want to rule with a split nobility, however, he needed to establish himself as a 136 CPR, Henry VI 1452-1461 (London: HMSO, 1910), p. 653. 137 Josiah C. Wedgwood and Anne D. Holt, History of Parliament Biographies of the Members of the Commons House 1439-1509 (London: HMSO, 1936), pp. 230, 231. 138 CFR, Edward IV Henry VI, 1461-1471 (London: HMSO, 1949), pp. 101-102. 139 CPR, Edward IV 1461-1467 (London: HMSO, 1897), pp. 98-99, 202-203. 140 CCR, Edward IV 1461-1468 (London: HMSO, 1949), p. 88. 141 Ibid, p. 177. 142 History of Parliament Biographies of the Members of the Commons House 1439-1509, p. 231. 143 Charles Ross, Edward IV, 2nd edn. (Pennsylvania: Yale University Press, 1997), p. 64. 144 R. A. Griffiths, ‘Herbert, William, first earl of Pembroke (c.1423–1469)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), online edn. [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/13053, accessed 9 Sept 2015] strong king who knew what he wanted and how he wanted to rule.145 In short, Edward’s administrative plan was to split the country into territorial areas of influence with great men ruling the shires whilst uniting the nobility. An example of the men he chose to rule the shires were the Neville family in the north, Herbert in Wales and the Marches, Hastings in the midlands and Humphrey Stafford in the southwest.146 Slowly throughout the 1460s, Humphrey Stafford became the major landholder within the southwest region and inherited the old estates held by the senior Courtenay line. On 20th February 1462, he first acquired the three estates of Okehampton, Plympton and the Courtenays political seat at Tiverton as well as six other manors.147 He was given a number of titles outside of his estates such as the stewardship of the duchy of Cornwall in 1461, the constable of Bristol, the keeper of the forests of Kingswood, Wiltshire, Fulwood, Somerset, and Gillingham in Dorset and in 1464 he became the keeper of the forests of Dartmoor, a title previously held by the Courtenays of Powderham.148 Moreover, in 1465 he added the title of warden of the stannaries’ to his already impressive list of honours. In the same year he also became the constable of Taunton and he was also appointed by the king’s mother as constable and keeper of Bridgewater and keeper of Petherton forest, both located in Somerset.149 In 1467, Stafford was granted more Courtenay manors at Exiland and Westyate and also took control of the fishery of the Exe in Devon.150 Powderham was one of the manors which was situated next to the Exe, however, this seems to have not affected the estate. Stafford was given control of the foresterships of Exmoor and Neroche, which was part of the Fitzwarin inheritance, and the stewardship of Lord Zouche’s lands in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.151 On 17th May, 1469, he was finally given the title of Earl of Devon and was granted five other manors in Cornwall and Devon which were forfeited by the 14th Earl’s brother, Henry, who had been executed earlier that year for treason.152 During Stafford’s rise as Edward’s magnate in the West Country, there is little mention of William Courtenay. He appears on commissions with Stafford, one of oyer and terminer, in 1461 and 1462, yet William is absent from any commissions until 1469. During the period from 1464-1469,William inherited his full estates from his father and he served as a JP in Devon from 15th February to 15th April 1470. 153 He clearly remained within the political atmosphere of Devon as he headed the list of Devon electors in 1467. However, he was absent as a law enforcer within the county. In 1468 he petitioned to the King over his inheritance of the estate of Northpole, Devon, as there was confusion whether it belonged to the senior Courtenay line or the Courtenays of Powderham.154 In 1469 he was commissioned to break up a band of ‘gentilmen’, ‘yomen’ and ‘scolemaisters’ who were holding the Cistercian abbey of 145 Ross, Edward IV, p. 332. 146 Ibid, p. 334. 147 CPR, Edward IV 1461-1467 (London: HMSO, 1897), p. 116. 148 Ibid, pp. 25, 120, 129. 149 Ibid, pp. 360, 438-439. 150 CPR, Edward IV Henry VI, 1467-1477 (London: HMSO, 1900), pp. 22-23. 151 Ibid, pp. 65, 102. 152 Ibid, pp. 156, 173-176. 153 CCR, 1461-1468, pp. 88, 177. 154 CPR, 1467-1477, pp. 127-128. St. Mary in Bokeland Manor, Devon, as ransom.155 Moreover, later in the year he was sent to Dartmouth to arrest Thomas Symond and Thomas Bowey, both of Dartmouth, to bring them forth to the king’s council.156 Edward’s policy towards the gentry who sat as MPs at the House of Commons has been the centre of debate amongst historians. B. P. Wolffe argued that Edward’s reign was the first where the King had a better relationship with the House of Commons than the House of Lords.157 However, both Carpenter and Ross have criticised this argument, suggesting that the docility of the county gentry who sat in the commons was affected by the King’s attempts to influence the arrangement of the house through his magnates’ influence within the shires.158 Edward, therefore, used his influence to place people who he wanted within administrative positions who then received patronage from the magnates who the King chose to manage the region. With the favour being given to the Dinham family during this period, the Courtenays of Powderham clearly suffered as not being part of the county’s law enforcement. Unlike John Dinham who was active on the Yorkist side during the battles of 1459-1461, William Courtenay generally kept to himself and therefore watched as John Dinham became in the words of Hannes Kleineke, a ‘county magnate’ within Devon during the 1460s.159 This was clearly Edward’s attempt at putting trusted figures within administrative roles within the county administration. Therefore, with his status amongst the county gentry falling, it is not surprising that we find William associated with George, duke of Clarence, during the readeption crisis of 1470-1471 where Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, along with the Duke of Clarence, rebelled against Edward IV and put Henry VI back on the throne for a short period of time.160 Readeption Crisis It is unknown and therefore doubted that William Courtenay played a big part within the readeption crisis. He did not flee to France with Warwick and Clarence in 1470 as there is a commission to Fulk Bouggchier of Fitz Waren and John Dinham sent on the 16th March to arrest the Courtenay family which included Hugh Courtenay, William Courtenay, Peter Courtenay, Philip Courtenay, Humphrey Courtenay and Walter Courtenay. All of the above mentioned were sons of Philip Courtenay II except for Hugh Courtenay and Peter Courtenay. Peter was Philip I’s third son and brother to Philip II. He became the bishop of Exeter and Winchester and served both the Yorkist kings and Lancastrians as the King’s secretary. Hugh was the head of another junior family whose political seat was at Boconnoc, Cornwall.161 Following the initial commission condemning the Courtenay family, a month later on the 20th April, another commission was sent to seize all of the castles, lordships, manors and estates 155 Ibid, pp. 171-172. 156 Ibid, p. 198. 157 B. P. Wolffe, The royal demesne in English history: the Crown Estate in the governance of the realm from the conquest to 1509 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1971), pp. 143-144. 158 Christine Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses Politics and the constitution in England, c. 1427- 1509 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 163; Ibid, p. 341-342. 159 Hannes Kleineke, ‘The Dinham Family in the Later Middle Ages’ unpubl. PhD (Royal Holloway and New Bedford College, 1998), pp. 191-200 the quote is from p. 200; Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, p. 159. 160 Ross, Edward IV, pp. 126-181 gives the best account of the readeption crisis and why Richard Neville rebelled. 161 Ibid, p. 217. of the Earl of Warwick, the Duke of Clarence and the Courtenay families and other individuals mentioned who had clearly joined the Lancastrian rebellion, including Edward and Edmund Hungerford.162 The support Warwick and Clarence received from the Courtenay family may have been the reason that they sailed from Exeter to France after Edward IV’s defeat of the rebellion at Lincolnshire.163 There is no mention of the Courtenay family during the summer of 1470 as they most likely followed Clarence and Warwick into exile. However, upon Clarence’s reconciliation with his brother Edward, the Courtenays of Powderham were pardoned. However, the Boconnoc line of the family were less fortunate as Hugh Courtenay was beheaded at Tewkesbury.164 Following the readeption crisis, Edward’s second administrative policies came into practise which was to station members of the royal family as the leaders of the regions and shires and with that we see how the association with a magnate can affect the administrative career of a county gentryman.165 Clarence replaced Humphrey Stafford and became Edward’s figurehead within the southwest and in doing so he became the sole distributer of patronage within Devon. Clarence was given the lands and manors Humphrey Stafford and the Earl of Warwick controlled and he also appeared as a law- enforcer of the county.166 From his association with the now favoured Clarence, William Courtenay’s luck changed and he once again appears within the rolls of Chancery as a law enforcer. He first reappears in October 1470 whereby alongside the Duke of Clarence, he was commissioned to inquire into all the felonies and murders that had occurred within Devon and to arrest the offenders.167 Moreover, as a signal to his importance, the city of Exeter granted him a case of wine.168 A year later William Courtenay was among the ten knights along with the magnates of the kingdom of England who pledged their allegiance and service to Edward IV’s son, Edward, Prince of Wales.169 That same year, William was also given joint custody of James Luterell’s estates at Minehead, Culveton, Iveton and East Cantok with the advowsons of the church at East Cantok during the minority of James Luterell’s son and heir, William.170 Moreover, Courtenay’s affiliation with Clarence served to his advantage during the first half of the 1470s as he appears to be a law enforcer in his own right. In 1473 he was commissioned to arrest William Breton, Thomas Oliver, and Edward Edwards, and monks of the monastery at St. Mary, Bokeland, Devon, and in 1475 he put down riots that had developed within the county.171 He appears alongside the Fulford family during this period and the Courtenays of Powderham seem to have lost contact with the Dinhams and Bonvilles. In 1473 William was a witness to a land transaction between Thomas Fulford and his enfeoffrees and William continued to serve 162 Ibid, p. 218. 163 CC, Book III p. 461. 164 Vivian, The Visitation of the County of Devon, p. 245. 165 Ross, Edward IV, p. 334. 166 CPR, 1467-1477, p. 330. 167 Ibid, pp. 246-247. 168 DHC, Receiver’s Roll, 10-11 Edward IV. 169 CCR, Edward IV 1468-1476 (London: HMSO, 1953), p. 229. 170 CPR, 1467-1477, p. 288. 171 Ibid, pp. 408, 552. alongside Thomas Fulford as a J.P. for the rest of the decade.172 Coinciding with the Duke of Clarence’s dispute with his brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, over the Neville inheritance, which subsequently led to Clarence’s death in 1478, William disappears from the records of Chancery during the second half of the 1470s. His cousin, Edward Courtenay of the Boconnoc line suffers a similar fate within the records of Chancery.173 However, William still received a case of wine from Exeter between Michaelmas 1476 and Michaelmas 1477.174 While he may have been simply dealing with disputes within his own estates as a dispute with the parson of Exeter was settled with the arbitration of his brother Peter, then dean of Exeter, in December 1477, being absent from commissions for five years suggests that he had fallen out of favour due to his association with Clarence.175 William kept himself out of the national politics upon Richard III’s accession yet found himself once again within favour. He was commissioned to collect taxes from the county in 1483 and that same year he was given the commission to assess subsidies in relation to foreign trade entering the country.176 He became the sheriff of Devon in 1482 and held the post until his death.177 He appears alongside Thomas Grey, marquess of Dorset, during this time. However, he appears alongside him on only important matters such as the example given to do with foreign trade. Perhaps Richard saw it necessary to include a magnate within certain commissions, however, due to Dorset’s allegiance with the ‘Woodville Party’ and his decision to join the rebellion against Richard in 1483, it seems to be just common practise that a magnates name appears within the commissions. During the so-called ‘Buckingham’s Rebellion’ in October 1483, the Courtenays of Powderham remained loyal to Richard. For their good service and allegiance following the turbulent first year of Richard’s reign, the whole Courtenay family, aside from the junior branch from Boconnoc, Cornwall, received rewards from the King. All four of Philip II’s sons received gifts from the crown. Alongside the Courtenays of Molland, William received an annuity of £20 from the duchy of Cornwall. John Courtenay, Philip II’s youngest son, styled as the ‘king’s servant’ alongside the third brother, Humphrey, received 20 marks each.178 William died between February and September 1485. There is no record of him being present at the battle of Bosworth. From William’s career we see how dangerous it was for a gentry man to be associated with certain parties. In William’s case, being associated with Clarence brought favour and downfall to the family. However, from c.1470, the junior branches of the Courtenay family became the dominant family within Devonshire politics. The Courtenays of Molland led by William’s brother, the second son of Philip Courtenay II, named Philip and located in North Devon, constantly feature alongside the Courtenays of Powderham. They too aligned themselves with George, duke of Clarence, where they also received pardons. 172 CCR, 1468-1476, pp. 277-278; CPR, Edward IV. Edward V. Richard III, 1476-1485 (London: HMSO, 1901), p. 51. 173 J. A. F. Thomson, ‘The Courtenay Family During the Yorkist Period’, BIHR (1972), p. 235. 174 DHC, Exeter Receiver’s Roll, 16-17 Edward IV. 175 DHC, D1508M/0/Moger/295. 176 CPR, 1476-1485, pp. 393-395; 353. 177 CFR, Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III 1471-1485 (London: HMSO, 1961), pp. 245, 257, 764. 178 CPR, 1476-1485, p. 428. William Courtenay II Not much is known about William’s son, William II. He does not appear in any of the records of chancery until the death of his father in 1485 and there are no chancery records which suggests that he sat at Parliament during his father’s lifetime. However, as William’s father and his son, William III, used the Somerset manor of East Coker as their political seat during their father’s lifetime, William II may have done this. However, he was born c. 1451 and married Cecily Cheyney, daughter of John Cheyney of Pinhoe, sometime during the 1470s. This marriage may have earned him initial royal favour with his future king Henry VII as another branch of the Cheyney family were exiled with him in 1483.179 He inherited the estates of his father on 20th September 1485 upon proving his age.180 It is unknown when he was knighted. Upon his coming of age, he had already been knighted but the question to its location and date remains unanswered. William entered Devonshire politics during a relatively stable time as, similarly to Edward IV, Henry VII created a nobility that he trusted and was very family orientated.181 For example, his uncle Jasper Tudor became the duke of Bedford and was given back the earldom of Pembrokeshire he held under the Lancastrian kings. With this title he became the main landholder within the Welsh Marches. Henry’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, became the dominating presence within the West Midlands. Within Devonshire, William Courtenay’s distant cousin, Edward Courtenay son of Hugh Courtenay of Boconnoc, Cornwall, became the Earl of Devon in 1486 and like his father had done with the Duke of Clarence before him, William II became heavily associated with his cousin.182 William appears alongside him in a commission dated 1489 whereby along with other local knights including Charles Dinham, they were ordered to rally a force of archers from Devon to serve in Henry VII’s expedition against France and it is uncertain whether he served in France.183 There is also no record of Edward Courtenay serving in France and therefore it is very unlikely that William did. While his great-great grandfather Philip Courtenay I had a successful military career, no other member of the Courtenays of Powderham seem to have served in any battle or war for the King. However, like his father and grandfather, William was a stern local administrator and law enforcer. Any suggestion that Henry VII ruled exactly how Edward IV had ruled would be entirely wrong. He did establish his own family orientated nobility as Edward had done, however, Henry’s harshness to his magnates, especially over the subject of livery and retaining, had never been seen before amongst the English medieval kings.184 Therefore, similarly to William’s father’s experience, under Henry VII came a new attitude to how the country was administrated. It was previously suggested that Edward IV was the first king to create legislations to tackle the problem of livery and retaining. However, in reality, while Edward’s parliaments of 1461 and 1468 only discussed the issue, it was Henry VII who took a hard-line approach to the nobility retaining their own standing armies. While this affected the magnates of the land, this 179 Polydore Vergil, p. 200; S. B. Chrimes, Henry VII, p. 327. 180 CPR, Henry VII 1485-1494 (London: HMSO, 1914), p. 9. 181 Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, p. 224. 182 Ibid, p. 28. 183 Ibid, pp. 278-280. 184 Ross, p. 338; S. B. Chrimes, Henry VII, 2nd edn. (Pennsylvania: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 190-191. also affected the county gentry. Henry’s policy was to legislate certain persons whom he trusted to be able to retain men. While he knew he could not have complete control of the nobility and the gentry retaining men for military use, he could at least control it as much as possible.185 Clearly Henry’s administration was successful as it allowed him to do what Edward was unable to do and succeed in passing the throne onto his son. However, certainly from the evidence at hand, William Courtenay seems to have caused trouble within Devonshire by retaining his own men to ransack Exeter in the 1490s.186 As we have seen, violence within Devonshire during Henry VI and Edward IV’s reigns were not uncommon and it was usual practise for men within the region to use force to establish themselves within the county.187 From William Courtenay’s actions, this practise seems to have initially continued into Henry VII’s reign. However, while William was still used as a commissioner during the 1490s, it seems that Henry VII saw William as a man whom he could not trust and at the turn of the century he is absent from commissions.188 While retaining men was only a social evil as long as it conflicted against the King’s will, the threat of violence was always there and something Henry wanted to control.189 William still served as a JP but there is no surviving evidence to suggest that his standing within the county improved. His fall from favour was most likely due to Henry VII’s dislike of the senior branch of the Courtenay family as Edward Courtenay’s son and heir, William Courtenay, married Edward IV’s sixth daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, and therefore the Courtenay family had a claim to the throne.190 Conclusion Compared to his predecessors, William Courtenay II was not used as much as a commissioner. His son, also called William who entered his estates upon his father’s death in 1512, held various offices under Henry VIII, including representing Devon at parliament in 1529 and becoming the county’s sheriff in 1522.191 He was also involved in Henry VIII’s military expeditions to France in both 1514 and 1523.192 While his career overshadows his father’s quite considerably, it could not have been achieved without William II reconnecting the Powderham line with the Courtenay Earls of Devon. The latter twenty-five years of the fifteenth century was, for the Courtenays of Powderham, full of political strife. Both William I and II adjusted themselves to new administrative polices set by Edward IV and Henry VII. Both Williams suffered from being associated with the wrong patrons at the wrong time whether it was the Duke of Clarence or the Earl of Devon. However, they both were 185 Ibid, p.190; Carpenter, Wars of the Roses, p. 228. 186 NA, KB9/388, numbers 72, 74, 77-79. 187 For a full assessment of how violent the southwest was see Hannes Kleineke, ‘Why the West was Wild: Law and Disorder in Fifteenth-Century Cornwall and Devon’, in Linda Clarke, ed., The Fifteenth Century III Authority and Subversion (Oxford: Boydell Press, 2003), pp. 75-95. 188 CPR, Henry VII 1485-1494, pp. 322, 348, 353. 189 DeLoyd John Guth, Exchequer Penal Law Enforcement, 1485-1509 (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 1967); Chrimes, Henry VII, p. 191. 190 Vivian, The Visitation of the county of Devon, p. 245. 191 J. S. Brewer, ed., Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic of the reign of Henry VIII (London: Longmans, 1867), pp. 868. 192 Ibid, p. 1370. constant administrators of Devon and steered the family through a politically difficult period. Chapter Four The estates of the Courtenays of Powderham.193 The final chapter of this dissertation will analyse the entire estates of the Courtenays of Powderham. To both the noble and gentry families during the fifteenth century, their estates were of the upmost importance. From the valuation of their estates their social status such as a ‘gentleman’, ‘knight’, ‘earl’ or ‘duke’ was given to them.194 Their estates were the central means to their landed income. Aristocratic families who held either an earldom or a dukedom would have various estates situated around the country. They would rent either the manor out or a segment of land from their estates to produce a private income. Therefore, the higher valuation of estate accumulation, the richer the family, which led to a higher social status. However, it was within the hands of the gentry that the larger percentage of land was held. Collectively, it has been estimated that in North Yorkshire, the gentry owned over forty-five per cent of the manors, while in Cheshire the number was even greater as three-quarters of the manors were in the hands of the gentry.195 Estate analysis itself is not a new phenomenon amongst historians. Many estate studies on the magnate families of the fifteenth century have been undertaken which have improved our understanding of how the landholders of the later Middle Ages arranged and managed their land.196 A variety of sources have been used to undertake these studies. For many of the noble families of the century we still have parts of their financial records which give us an insight into the management of their estates. For example, Charles Ross’ work on the accounts of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, gives us a small insight into the arrangement and management of the estates of one of the wealthiest landowners during the first half of the fifteenth century.197 This can be particularly insightful as we can see how many people were employed to run the family’s estate and how their money was managed. From Ross’ work, we know that for Beauchamp’s West-Midland estates he employed four receiver-generals who were in control of Beauchamp’s account and that they were part of the lower gentry.198 Moreover, Day-to-day account books allow us an insight into the administration of the family’s estates and tell us how they spent their money and undertook their financial business. If we compare this to say Carol Rawcliffe’s work of the Stafford family, historians have then been able to establish how wealthy the 193 All calculations from pound (£) to shilling (s) to pence (d) have assumed that £1 was worth 20s and 1s was worth 12d. Therefore £1 was worth 240d. A mark was worth in shillings 13s 4d and in pence 160d. 194 G. L. Harris, Shaping the Nation England 1360-1461 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005) p. 136. 195 A. J. Pollard, North-Eastern England During the Wars of the Roses: lay society, war and politics, 1450-1500 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), pp. 62-63, 81; Christine Carpenter, Locality and Polity A Study of Warwickshire landed society, 1401-1499 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 36; M. J. Bennett, Community, class and careers: Cheshire and Lancashire society in the age of Gawain and the Green Knight (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 65-69. 196 E.g. Carol Rawcliffe, The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394-1521 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), chs. 6 and 7; Martin Cherry, ‘The Crown and the Political Community in Devonshire’, unpubl. PhD Thesis (University College Swansea, 1981), chs. 3 and 4. 197 Charles Ross, The Estates and Finances of Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick (Oxford: Dugdale Society, 1956). 198 Ibid, pp. 7-9. magnates of the time were in comparison to each other.199 Unfortunately, the account records for the Courtenays of Powderham only stretch back to the early seventeenth century and are only available for a selection of manors. However, we do have a small insight into the type of lands the family held during the fifteenth century whether it was woodland or farmed either arable or pastoral. Understanding where the estates and manors of a family were held is relatively straight forward as inquisitions were undertaken throughout each county by Chancery upon the death of a landholder. The inquisitions post-mortem (CIPMS) are used by historians as they detail who held the property, who is the heir of the property and whether they had an overlord; establishing the age of death of the owner and the age of their heirs; and expound family settlements and their feoffees.200 Moreover, the county gentry were also the feoffees for the higher nobility and were named as lesser annuities for the nobility.201 The Inquisitions post-mortem (CIPMs) are therefore a dependable source when charting where the family held their land, however, they do represent problems such as inaccuracies on the valuation of estates which the Courtenays of Powderham suffer from.202 One of the problems is that the CIPMS do not account for when the enfeoffree began to take charge of the family’s estates. Therefore separate charters or the family’s deeds must be supplemented in to find this information, however, usually family deeds are few and far between. Secondly, the undervaluation of a family’s estates is quite a common occurrence. The escheator sent to value the estates would have his values checked by the Exchequer against those given in the inquisition. The jury also were unable to give an estimate of the profits of the estate. Therefore, the final value was usually a rough estimate of what the estates could be rented out as. Whether it was through lack of evidence or simply convenience, some CIPMs are valued at an old valuation of the land.203 Within this dissertation this happens to Philip I as his lands are valued far less than when the lands belonged to his son and heir Richard who died only nine years later. Devonshire Estates The majority of the estates held by the family during the fifteenth century were unsurprisingly held within Devon and it was partly through the estates that the family were able to forge the horizontal and vertical networks throughout the county. Devon itself was split into thirty-five hundreds with nineteen individual boroughs being taxed separately.204 From Philip I’s death in 1406 until William II’s in 1512, the focal point of the family’s lands was situated along the south coast of Devon. Powderham was located within the Exminster Hundred but a lot of their land was located within the Teignbridge Hundred and the Stanborough Hundred, located near the Kingsbridge borough. 199 Ibid, pp. 15-18; Rawcliffe, Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, pp. 109-121. 200 Christine Carpenter, ‘The Lesser Landowners’ in Michael Hicks, ed., The Fifteenth-Century Inquisitions Post Mortem A Companion (Oxford: Boydell Press, 2012), p. 48. 201 Ibid, pp. 48-49. 202 See Michael Hicks, ‘Introduction’ in Michael Hicks, ed., Inquisitions Post Mortem, pp. 21-23. 203 Deborah Youngs, Humphrey Newton (1466-1536) An Early Tudor Gentleman (Oxford: Boydell Press, 2008), p. 71; Nigel Saul, Knights and Esquires: The Gloucestershire Gentry in the Fourteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 206-207. 204 NA, E179/95/94. Philip I inherited the majority of the estates and the powerbase of the family was located around Powderham within the modern day Teignbridge area. Philip’s social position was far greater than his successors as he was officially the son of an earl. He was the sixth son and was not initially given many estates and his marriage to Ann Wake did not include a dower. However, due to the death of his brothers in 1377 and 1405 he inherited a number of manors in North Devon and also within Dorset. At the end of his lifetime Philip held in total 17 manors within Devon, Dorset and Somerset.205 During the lifetime of his mother, Margaret de Bohun (d. 1391) Philip inherited the estates which were incorporated into her dower. These included Powderham and Whitestone. After her death, he inherited the manors of Cadleigh and Southleigh.206 After the death of his brother, Peter Courtenay in 1405, Philip inherited the manors of Alphington, Bolteburry, Honiton, Milton Damerel and Moretonhampstead.207 Moreover, at some point, Philip gained the inheritance of the Cheverston estates, most likely around 1374 when John Cheverston died without an heir. Situated along the south coast of Devon near Kingbridge, the inheritance included the manors of Thurlestone, Portlemouth, Salcombe, South Huish and Ilton.208 Within Philip’s CIPM there is mention of the manor of Chiverstone located near Powderham which included all the lands and rents in Chiverstone, Kenton, Ash and Teignmouth.209 There is no mention to how Courtenay inherited the estate, however, from the sheer size of the manor’s boundaries, it greatly increased the family’s influence within the Teignbridge area. The valuation of his manors within Devon amounted to £112 16s 4d per annum.210 During Richard Courtenay’s small tenure as the head of the family, he took control of William le Zouche’s castle at Totnes worth £15. This was the only major acquisition Richard made but he also added a chapel in Cadbury.211 The worth of the chapel was unknown to the jurors at the time of his inquisition. However, the value of the manors owned by Richard has increased considerably which suggests that Philip’s inquisition was heavily undervalued. For example, Mortenhampstead was valued at 20 marks or £13 33d during Philip I lifetime. Upon Richard’s death in 1415, the manor was valued at £24 with the advowson adding a further £10 to its total value. Moreover, the value of the manor of Powderham with its advowson was valued at £5 13s 4d during Philip’s lifetime to being worth £18 6s 8d, an increase of £13 5d. From his estates within Devon Richard was receiving a total of £240 13s 8d per annum.212 205 CIPM, pp. 38-40. 206 Cherry, ‘The Crown and Political Community in Devon’, p. 68. 207 CIPM, 1399-1405, pp. 394-395. 208 Cherry, ‘The Crown and Political Community in Devon’, p. 70. 209 CIPM, 1405-1413, p. 40. 210 Calculations-Honiton-20 marks 6d (£13.39d), Thurleston-£10, Portlemouth-4 marks (£2. 66d), Malborough-20s (£1), Ilton- 6 marks (£4), South Huish (Totnes)-100s (£5), Salcombe-40s (£2), Berry Pomeray-4 marks (£2. 66d), Moretonhampstead manor and advowson-20 marks (£13.33d), Milton Damerel-£6, Alphinton manor and advowson £20, Bolberry-£10, Powderham manor and advowson-£5 13s 4d, Whitestone-40s (£5), Cadleigh manor and advowson-40s (£5), Colmshaeville- 6 marks (£4), Chiverstone and Kenton-6 marks (£4), Boringdon-6s=£112 16s 4d. 211 CIPM 1413-1418, p. 141. 212 Calculations-Honiton and advowon-£20 20 marks (£13.33), South Huish (Totnes)-£15, Malborough-16s (192d), Ilton-£12, Portlemouth-60s (£3), Thurlestone-£30 5s., Berry Pomeroy-£4, Polsloe- 100s (£5), Powderham manor and advowson- £29 1s 8d., Alphinton and advowson- £38, Bolberry- £10 3s, Whitestone-73s 4d. (£3 13s 4d), Moretonhampstead manor and advowson-£34, Colmpsechville-£4, Milton Damerel-£12, Chiverstone and Kenton-£6 7s. Cadleigh-£4 4s 4d=£240 13s As mentioned earlier, this was a common mistake within CIPMs. If Saul is correct in suggesting that the final estimation was usually a rough guess of how much the estates could be potentially rented out for, Richard’s was bound to be higher as he had rented more of his estates out due to his interests outside of the county.213 Therefore, upon Richard’s death in 1415, with an income of just over £240 from their estates, the family were amongst the richer families within the county. The CIPMs only describe the land of two manors the Courtenays which are Whitestone and Powderham. From the CIPMs description of the Courtenay lands they held a lot of woodland which would have partly been retained for animal husbandry, a trend which was seen throughout the fifteenth century due to the lowering of grain prices.214 The manor of Whitestone is described as possessing 200 acres of wood and two ‘caucates’ which suggests that alongside animal husbandry, part of the estate would have been used for arable farming.215 The unit of measurement of a carucate survives from Doomesday book and was approximately equal to the amount of land a plough team of eight oxen could till, or prepare the soil, in an annual season for what has been estimated as roughly eight oxgangs which was 15 acres of land. Therefore, a carucate was roughly 120 acres of land.216 The Dinham family who held various manors situated within North Devon were avid grain farmers and the majority of their manors during the fifteenth century were used to farm grain as animal husbandry ceased quite rapidly.217 The Courtenays would have benefited from having a woodland within Whitestone as the industries within Exeter and at Tiverton included metal- workers which would have competed for the sale of timber.218 Although we do not possess any of the family’s accounts, the Stafford family who held the dukedom of Buckingham during the fifteenth century were saved from bankruptcy by the sale of timber. With this in mind, possessing woodland on ones estates could be very beneficial to the family.219 The estate at Powderham was mostly meadow which suggests that the manor was used for animal husbandry.220 The lands are also described as being marsh, however, during the fifteenth century the Exe estuary extended up to the original castle gates and was used by the family as a personal port. This would have greatly reduced the lands of the estate and may have been described as being part of the ‘marsh’.221 Philip I’s seasmanship was also noted as within his CIPM it tells us that around his estates within the Chivelstone area Philip held the ‘wreck of the sea’.222 4d. 213 Saul, Knights and Esquires, p. 206. 214 Harris, Shaping the Nation, p. 143; Christopher Dyer, An age of transition? Economy and society in England in the Later Middles Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 108. 215 CIPM, 1405-1413, p. 39. 216 F. M Stenton, ‘Introduction’ in C. W. Forster and T. Longley, ed., The Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lindset Survey (Lincoln: Lincoln Records Society, 1924), pp. ix-xix; Reginald Lennard, ‘The Origin of the Fiscal Carucate’, Economic History Review, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1944), pp. 51-63. 217 Hanness Kleineke, ‘The Dinham Family in the Later Middle Ages’ unpubl. PhD Thesis (Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, 1998), p. 59. 218 Cherry, ‘The Crown and Political Community in Devon’, pp. 40-49. 219 Rawcliffe, Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, p. 61. 220 CIPM, 1405-1413, p. 39. 221 Ibid, p. 40. 222 Ibid, p. 39. Unfortunately the inquisition post-mortem for Philip II is extremely damaged and William I’s does not exist. Therefore, we are unable to obtain a full understanding of the properties they held at the time of their death. However, from the inquisitions Philip II and William II were mentioned as either a holder or as a patron of land, we are still able to assess where they acquired land. It is during Philip’s lifetime that we first see the Courtenays of Powderham using estates as a means of forging networks within Devon. Martin Cherry has stated that Philip did not make any major acquisitions of land apart from controlling the Lutterell estates for a short period of time in the 1440s, however, Cherry is mistaken.223 While still in his minority, the manor of North Bovey worth £4 per annum reverted back to the family upon the death of the knight Thomas de Berkley in 1421, further adding to the family’s estates in the Teignbridge hundred.224 As Philip I and Richard Courtenay had preoccupations outside of the county, they failed in forging a series of networks around the family. However, Philip II benefitted from integrating himself within the county gentry. The major acquisitions Philip made when he came of age were in 1427 and 1431 when he took control of the manor of Bulkworthy worth £10 per annum from William Sturmy and the manors of Cockbury, worth £12 per annum, Upcott and Hollacombe from Richard Hankeford.225 Moreover, Courtenay integrated himself with the lower gentry who rented land from the Courtenay family. Along with John Gambon of Newton Bushell, he was given joint control of Cockington near Torquay worth £23 13s 4d in 1436.226 The minor additions Philip made to his collection of estates included land worth 10s in Chapeltown within his manor of Cadbury. Philip also rented a manor belonging to John Dinham worth 40s per annum in 1429.227 These are all examples of methods in which the gentry forged vertical networks. Renting and leasing manors from one another formed network links, which to the county families were major business investments. However, while Philip II was the first Courtenay to become active within the network system within the county, his accumulation of estates during the central years of the fifteenth was actually very poor compared to the other county families. From the 1412 tax assessment, the Courtenays of Powderham were ranked the third wealthiest family behind the senior Courtenay line who held the Earldom and the Dinham family. Following the Courtenays of Powderham were the Hankefords worth £201 and the Bonvilles worth £196.228 However, from the tax assessment in 1436, the Bonville family had become very wealthy, being in control of estates in considerable excess of £593. The Dinham family’s wealth followed that of the Bonvilles in amassing estates worth £340 per annum.229 From the evidence we have, Philip’s estates could not have been worth more than £290 as the additions he made were not huge. Under his tenure, the family promoted themselves within the county’s administration yet their manorial wealth stood still while other Devonshire families increased theirs. 223 Cherry, ‘The Crown and Political Community in Devon’, p. 89. 224 CIPM 1413-1418, p. 250. 225 CIPM 1422-1427, p. 631; CIPM 1427-1432, p. 303. 226 CIPM 1437-1442, p. 64. 227 CIPM 1427-1432, p. 135. 228 Martin Cherry, ‘The Crown and Political Community in Devon’, pp. 7-8. 229 Ibid, p. 9. It is difficult to analyse the estates held by William I as the evidence is not obtainable. From the rolls of Chancery William I is not mentioned in any land transactions and the Moger Deeds only include one charter whereby William is involved in a dispute with the church at Powderham.230 Either William removed himself from land transactions completely, which seems unlikely, or the evidence just has not survived. However, the evidence for his son and successor, William II, is more evident. It is under William II that we see the family clearly rationalise their estates, that is, consolidate their manors within a certain area. Rationalising ones estates was a common practise amongst the county gentry.231 As we have already seen, the county families would often lease land and purchase various estates. By looking at one charter one might be under the impression that the act of purchasing land was quite random, however, county families strategically planned where they wanted to consolidate their estates. First of all, William II consolidated his estates within North Devon. He added two manors to his estates located in the northeast of Devon where he had inherited Milton Damerell and Upcott from his predecessors. Upon the death of Anne Ormond, the manors of Stepulto and Cokebury worth a total of £6 reverted back to the family.232 To the east of Devon, William was granted a gift of the manor of Butterleigh from Walter Raynell for an unexplained reason.233 The manor’s worth is not mentioned, however, its location around Tiverton suggests that Courtenay was consolidating with the estates he already owned there: Cadleigh and Cadbury. The only other major manor William received was from his uncle Humphrey’s death in 1497 and was also located around the Tiverton area. The manor of Bickleigh reverted back to the family following his death which was worth £20 per annum. William also acquired a ferling of land in Molland, the political seat of his cousins the Courtenays of Molland, worth 13s 4d.234 However, with this acquisition, the family now held groups of manors circled around three locations. Their collection of southern estates within the county stretched from their initial stronghold of Powderham and Kenton down towards Dartmouth, ending at Chivelstone located at the very bottom of the county. The Courtenay’s southern estates also stretched westwards where the family held a handful of estates in the Ermington Hundred such as Malborough and South Huish. In the northwest William held the manors of Milton Damerel and Hollacombe and just below within the centre of Devon, the family held a series of small estates within the Tawton area. Finally with the gift of the manor of Butterleigh, the Courtenays of Powderham now held Cadbury, Butterleigh and Bickleigh just north of Exeter. William’s skills lay within his handling of his estates. Under his grandfather Philip II, the family forged a close circle of networks but it was through marriages that the family socially furthered themselves. However, during William’s tenure, the evidence at hand clearly suggests that he put his full focus on acquiring a set of estates that complimented each other and consolidated his power in certain areas of Devon. The answer to the question as to why the family chose to rationalise their estates within these regions is not straightforward. When entering his estates, William II already had 230 DHC, D1508M/Moger/295. 231 R. H. Britnell and A. J. Pollard, ‘Introduction’, in The McFarlane Legacy (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1995), p. xii. 232 CIPM 1485-1507, p. 64. 233 CCR, Henry VII 1485-1500, p. 130. 234 Ibid, p. 544. a solid foundation just south of Exeter and he did not particularly add to his southern collection. Therefore, he clearly believed that expanding the family’s power elsewhere within Devon would better the family. The second junior Courtenay line from Baconnoc, who received the earldom in 1485, inherited the old senior line’s estates and took their political seat at Tiverton.235 As the threat of civil war became extinct William saw it safe to consolidate where the family’s once rivals main estates were. This is suggested as their relationship with the Boconnoc line during the latter half of the fifteenth century was always very civil.236 Moreover, the family had always held a handful of manors spread out across north Devon. By concentrating his estates within one area, William was essentially beginning to replicate the power base he had in the south. Clearly the idea of consolidating within north Devon where William’s cousins, the Courtenays of Molland, were situated appealed to him. Aside from rationalising his estates, William II was also a stern administrator of business and rented many of his lands to other landholders in return for either payment of knight’s service or rent, something which only Richard Courtenay seems to have done on a major scale. The manor of Croke Burnell, now referred to as Crook Burnell, in North Tawton was succeeded by William Burnell upon his father’s death in 1491 for knight’s service. The manor itself was worth £8.237 The Courtenay manors of Mortemhampstead and Cadleigh had a number of landholders renting patches land. Examples seen within the manor of Mortemhampstead include Richard Taverner, gentleman, rented a messuage and 60 acres of land worth 7s 6d. In return Courtenay received his knightly service.238 William Suthcote held land within the same manor for rent of 7d as well as his service.239 William Courtenay also rented a lot of land out from the manor of Cadleigh. Robert Whiting, esquire, held Wode, a smaller manor within the estate, worth 10 marks per annum for his full knightly service.240 Richard Chichester held another smaller manor within the estate called Sutton Sachfield worth 40 marks. In return, Courtenay received 10s in rent per annum.241 Clearly this was an attempt to forge his own affinity. As an already established administrator of the county, by establishing vertical networks alongside the horizontal links already created with other county administrating families, William established his own sphere of influence within Devon situated around the three regions where he rationalised his manors. Estates outside of Devon Aside from their estates within Devon, the Courtenays of Powderham held a number of estates within the South of England, mostly within the Southwest region. Upon Philip I’s death in 1406, the family held estates within Dorset and Somerset. Philip inherited the manor of Nuneham Courtenay in Oxfordshire after the death of his brother Peter, however, within Philip’s inquisition post-mortem it states that he traded the manor with Hugh de Segrave for the manors of Alphington, Bolberry and both of 235 CPR, 1485-1494 (London: HMSO, 1914), p. 28. 236 J. A. F. Thompson, ‘The Courtenay family in the Yorkist period’ BIHR, Vol. 45 (1972), pp. 230- 246. 237 Ibid, p. 250. 238 CIPM 1496-1504, p. 85. 239 CIPM 1485-1507, p. 537. 240 CIPM 1496-1515, p. 179. 241 Ibid, p. 83. the advowsons.242 Within Somerset the family held manors within two locations. The biggest manor they held was Eastcoker worth £10.243 This manor was given to each of the fathers’ first son which subsequently became their political seat.244 Alongside East Coker they held the manor of Hardington Mandeville worth 6d.245 Both manors are located in the south of the county, just south of modern day Yeovil. Philip further consolidated his Somerset manors northwest of Taunton at the very top of the county. They held the manors of Toweston and Sampford Brett along with the advowson of Sampford worth 18 marks all together.246 Within Dorset the family held the manor of Broadwinsor situated within its own hundred worth £4 9s per annum.247 Altogether, Philip’s estates outside of Devon were worth £30 9s 4d per annum.248 Due to his association with the aristocracy, Richard Courtenay was the most active member of the family in terms of owning land throughout the country. Although Philip I served the King as the lieutenant of Ireland, Richard had a far more successful career, becoming the bishop of Norwich and a close friend to Henry V. It is no surprise then that we find him holding land within Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire from Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. Richard’s name appears alongside some of the wealthiest magnates during the earl fifteenth century such as Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick and Thomas FitzAlan, earl of Arundel. Mortimer held the manors of Whaddon and Steeple Claydon within Buckinghamshire which were given at some point to Richard Courtenay but reverted back to Mortimer after his death in 1415.249 However, unfortunately for the family Richard was unable to hold onto any of the estates upon his death in 1415 and was unable to pass any additional estates to Philip II. During the rest of the fifteenth century, the family did not acquire many more estates outside of Devon. At an unknown date, Philip II acquired the manor of East Quantoxhead worth 12 marks per annum located in the north of Somerset as William Godewyn, esquire, was renting it from the family.250 William also acquired a manor within Dorset titled Bakeras Weston worth £6 per annum which was rented out from the Stourton family in return for his service.251 The only other records of the family dealing with their estates outside of Devon were land transactions situated around and within their Broadwinsor manor. By William II’s death the family’s estates outside of Devon were therefore worth £44 9s 4d. Therefore, in over 100 years after the death of Philip I in 1406, the Courtenay family only acquired £14 worth of estates outside of Devon. 242 CPR, 1374-1377 (London: HMSO, 1912), p. 165; CIPM, p. 39. 243 CIPM, 1405-1413, p. 39. 244 William Courtenay I did this and William II most likely sat at Eastcoker during his father’s lifetime. 245 CIPM, 1405-1413, p. 39. 246 Ibid, p. 39. Torweston was worth 10 marks while Sampford along with its advowson was worth 8 marks. 247 Ibid, p. 38. 248 Calculation-East Coker-£10, Stewley-6 marks/£4, Torweston and Sampford Brett-18 marks/£12, Hardington Mandeville-6d., Broadwinsor-£4 9s. £10+£4+12+6d+£4 9s=£30 9s 6d. 249 CIPM 1422-1427, pp. 419-424. 250 CIPM 1442-1447, p. 16. 251 Ibid, pp. 6, 1124. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest whether the Courtenay family rationalised their Somerset and Dorset estates in relation to their Devonshire manors. The family’s estates of East Coker and Hardington Mandeville are both located relatively close to Broadwinsor, however, to say that the family meant for the geographical position of the estates to be in close proximity to each other is an over use of the evidence at hand. From the inquisitions post-mortem William II was again the family member who was most involved with the dealings of his estates. The manors he had acquired were situated around the Taunton area but whether this was a clear strategy is unclear. Relationship with the lower gentry A theme throughout this dissertation has been the method of the Courtenay family forging horizontal networks within Devon the means such as marriage and administrative duties. Alongside these horizontal networks existed a series of vertical network links with the lower gentry who rented land from the Courtenays. Within the county community, the lower gentry often interacted with the county gentry families and used the county gentry to improve their own financial and social position. For example, in 1506, Thomas Thorne, gentleman, held land within Cadleigh worth 40s while John Talbott held one fifth of a messuage in Honiton worth 8s.252 This was a common occurrence throughout England as alongside marriage, land was the easiest method to improve ones social status. Within Warwickshire, Christine Carpenter has shown that the while the Beauchamp earls of Warwick were the biggest landholder within the county during the first half of the fifteenth century, his lands were enfeoffed to the lower gentry who interacted with each other to forge further horizontal networks lower down within the county community.253 Within Devonshire, the lower gentry often interacted with the county gentry. Thomas Gambon’s son, John Gambon, is briefly mentioned in the rolls of chancery as a minor law enforcer and therefore, the Courtenays of Powderham clearly intermingled with those who held their land.254 However, the sources suggest that the gentry also witnessed charter involving the knightly classes. From the records the Hille family are continuously mentioned in charters and quitclaims issued in the Chagford area, located in central Devon, near Dartmoor. Thomas and Jocens Hille are witnesses to a charter dated in 1433 at Chagford and Thomas again is mentioned within a quitclaim in 1447.255 However, it is their relative Robert Hille who was a witness in 1430 to a charter which dictated a land transaction between Philip Courtenay II, Walter Hungerford and Edmund Hankeford that suggests that when needed, the lower gentry were used for important charters. Hille appears as a witness along with important landholding families such as the Dinhams and Carrews.256 Therefore, the lower gentry played a part in holding onto the lands of the county gentry in order to further their own social standing. Moreover, from acquiring the smaller patches of land, the lower gentry could rationalise their own estates around town centres. The modern town of Newton 252 CIPM, 1504-1509, pp. 33, 205. 253 Carpenter, Locality and Polity, p. 119. 254 CPR, Henry VI 1429-1436, p. 398. 255 DHC, D1508M/Moger/137; D1508M/Moger/239. 256 DHC, D1508M/Moger/83. Abbott, which lies on the south coast of Devon on the River Teign, was split during the medieval era into two separate towns called Newaton Abbattis and Newaton Bushchell located on either side of the river Teign.257 Using the Moger Deeds located at the Devon Heritage Centre, it is clear that the two smaller towns had their own smaller landholders which circled around the Gambon family. Thomas Gambon is first mentioned in 1406 whereby he received an acre of land in Newaton Bushchell upon the death of a Richard Skynner of Chudleigh.258 Further evidence suggests that Gambon held a monopoly of minor patches of land as he is named as the heir of various families within the region. Upon the death of John Gotham, Gambon received all of his messuages and lands in Newaton Bushell.259 A year later in 1407, Joan Gotham, the widow of John, granted Thomas Gambon and Richard Pral joint custody of her lands in both Newaton Abbattis and Newaton Buschel.260 As for forging vertical networks amongst themselves, the lower gentry within the Courtenay lands seem to have forged networks around the market towns of Newaton Abbattis, Newaton Bushchell and Tavistock in West Devon. Within the witness lists of the charters involving the Gambon lands in Newaton Abbot and Newaton Busschel, there are the names mentioned such as John Lusscher and John Holocombe. These families clearly had an active network of land transactions as both men received land as a gift from Thomas Gambon in 1427, lands which Gambon received back from John Hollcombe in 1444.261 Similarly from the charters concerning the land within the Tavistock region, the Storme family were ever present within the land transactions of the region. They first appear in 1420 where Simon Storme, who is described as a clerk, is the final witness to a charter deliberating that Richard Menwy and his wife, Matilda, appoint their attorney, William Rauff, seisin of their lands in a number of areas including Tavistock, Whitechapel and Plymouth.262 However, Storme then becomes involved in a number of land transactions in both being the receiver and patron of land. Storme received a yearly rent from Walter Burell of 13s 4d from Burell’s lands for good service.263 Storme continued to be associated with the landholders within Tavistock as two charters dated the 11th and 16th September, 1433, tell us that Storme was given all of Robery Honeychurche’s tenement in the ‘villa’ of Tavistock and then Burell’s tenement in Tavistock which was situated next to the villa worth 3d.264 As a clerk, Storme would have been literate and able to read and at least basic Latin.265 He clearly associated himself with these minor landholding families who then favoured him to hold parts of their lands in return for rent. Conclusion Therefore, from analysing the estates of the Courtenays of Powderham, it is clear that the family rationalised their estates especially during the lifetime of William 257 W. G. Hoskins, A New Survey of England Devon (London: Collins Press, 1954), pp. 441-443. 258 DHC, D1508M/Moger/209. 259 DHC, D1508M/Moger/210. 260 DHC, D1508M/Moger/126. 261 DHC, D1508M/Moger/212; D1508M/Moger/213. 262 DHC, D1508M/Moger/211. 263 D1508M/Moger/369. 264 D1508M/Moger/371; D1508M/Moger/375. 265 Denis McKay, ‘The Duties of the Medieval Parish Clerk’, The Innes Review, Vol. 19, Issue 1 (1968), pp. 32-39. While the article is directed at the parish clerk, the education and basic duties of all clerks were the same. Courtenay II. By centralising their estates within three separate regions of Devon, by the end of the fifteenth century the Courtenays of Powderham were able to establish themselves as a major landholding family within the county to mirror their importance as an important family within the county’s administration. While there is insufficient evidence to suggest they did the same for their estates in Dorset and Somerset, holding estates within these counties monetarily strengthened the family which in turn would have helped them establish their importance within Devon. As for the networks within their estates, it is clear that the family not only established networks horizontally but also vertically. Within their manors, the lower gentry families accumulated land and in such cases as the Gambon family, they dominated the land around certain towns. However, vertical relationship also existed within the lower gentry. Land transactions undertaken within their social circles were very common and they interacted with each other very frequently. Land was always seen as a method of social mobilisation and through the acquisition of lands, a family could accumulate wealth to break into the bracket of ‘gentleman’. Conclusion The Courtenays of Powderham give the historian a unique insight into a family who lived and established themselves throughout the turbulent years of the fifteenth century. The family come from a noble background as they originated from the son of an earl, however, as the fifteenth century wore on, the Courtenays of Powderham detached themselves from the senior line and fully immersed themselves within the politics of the county. County politics were of the extreme importance to the county gentry as it was this stratum of society who were the administrators of the county. The county society during the fifteenth century was a complicated entity. There were both horizontal and vertical networks throughout the gentry and within Devonshire; the Courtenays of Powderham were part of this social network. Through his use of patronage, Philip I initially established the family using his military service and service to the King, however, it was during the time of Philip II that the family fully immersed themselves in county society and became socially mobile in their own right. The methods used included marriage links, land transactions including featuring on witness lists, and becoming an important administrating family of the county through law enforcement. Overall, the family had a constant involvement in the politics of Devon and remained so throughout the sixteenth century. Although K. B. McFarlane showed that the fifteenth century was not as chaotic as earlier historians believed, it was still a century where violence was ever present within the different regions of England and the southwest of England was one where violence was a particular problem.266 Edward Powell has shown that during the parliament of 1410, there was discussion of Devon’s unruliness, so much so that it had a similar reputation as the northern counties.267 The Courtenays of Powderham were commissioned many times to put down rebellions or arrest people who were ransacking properties. The commissions regarding Devon within the rolls of Chancery were heavily populated by the phrase ‘in the manner of war’ when describing a felon’s actions.268 The frequent occurrence of this phrase is a clear indication of the level of violence which the county experienced during the fifteenth century, especially during the build up to the Wars of the Roses. So how did the Wars of the Roses affect the Courtenays of Powderham? From previous studies historians have found various results of how the violence of the civil war affected different counties. The main family which has been studied during this period has been the Paston family in East Anglia as the survival of their personal letters gives historians an insight into their personal experiences. As Colin Richmond has shown in his study of the Pastons, their experience was a turbulent one.269 The family were originally lawyers by trade and became entangled within the early events 266 K. B. McFarlane, ‘Bastard Feudalism’ in McFarlane, England in the Fifteenth Century (Surrey: Hambledon Press, 1981), pp. 23-45. 267 Edward Powell, Kingship, Law, and Society: Criminal Justice in the Reign of Henry V (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), p. 201. 268 Examples include CPR, Henry VI 1429-1436 (London: HMSO, 1907), pp. 198, 201, 273, 279. 269 Colin Richmond, The Paston family in the fifteenth century: The first phase (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Colin Richmond, the Paston family in the fifteenth century: Fastolf’s will (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Colin Richmond, The Paston family in the fifteenth century: endings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). of the lead up to the civil war through magnate violence. However, while the violence which entangled the Paston family was directly linked to the Wars of the Roses, the causes of the violence in the southwest were different and more individualistic. As Martin Cherry’s thesis has argued, the leading families of Devon often used violence as a means of promoting their political and social indifferences and relied on its use ‘as a means for social and political control’.270 Due to the disintegration of the Courtenay Earls of Devon during the century, various families, including the Courtenays of Powderham, took advantage of this to better their family’s social and political situation. This resulted in the county being politically unstable throughout the century, which occupied the interests of the Courtenays of Powderham.271 Therefore, it was not until the Courtenays of Powderham aligned themselves with the Duke of Clarence in the late 1460s that they became entangled within the politics of the country. Even then, the family generally stayed out of the conflict and concentrated on the politics of Devon. This experience is shared in Kleineke’s study of the Dinham family. For Kleineke, the Dinham family took advantage of the violence within Devon as families such as the Bonvilles, who were important administrators to the county, became extinct. This allowed the Dinham family to rise to being part of the peerage.272 However, the Courtenays never did this. They remained content with their social position within the county and it was not until the sixteenth century that they gained the de jure title to the Earldom of Devon, thus becoming part of the noble class. The estates of the Courtenays of Powderham were of high concern to the family. As previous studies have shown, the gentry took great pride in their land holdings and enthusiastically improved them at any opportunity.273 Although the accounts of the family are non existent, from their geographical position alone it is clear that the family tried to consolidate their power within certain areas of the county. The family’s intentions of rationalising their estates are difficult to understand due to lack of evidence. However, clearly it would have made it easier to monitor their lands if they were grouped together. The Courtenays’ significance to our understanding of the gentry is further evidence to how the gentry extended their estates.274 Through marriage and alliances, the Courtenays used land as a means to become wealthier and socially significant within Devonshire. Moreover, the family clearly took pride in extending themselves through various other junior branches. Philip II’s second son Philip III created the junior branch at their manor in Molland and William II’s younger son James created another junior branch at Upcott in central Devon in the sixteenth century.275 In doing so, the Courtenay family as a whole was the largest 270 Martin Cherry, ‘The Struggle for Power in Mid-fifteenth century Devonshire’ in R. A. Griffiths, ed., Patronage, the Crown and the Provinces in Medieval England (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1981), pp. 123-144. 271 Martin Cherry, ‘The Courtenay earls of Devon: the formation and disintegration of a late medieval aristocratic affinity’, Southern History, Vol. 1 (1979), pp. 79-97. 272 Hannes Kleineke, ‘The Dinham Family in the Later Middle Ages’, unpubl. PhD (Royal Holloway and Bedford College, 1998), pp. 271-272. 273 Christine Carpenter, Locality and Polity A Study of Warwickshire Landed Society 1400-1499 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 621. 274 Ibid, pp. 244-262. 275 J. L. Vivian, The Visitation of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620 (Exeter, 1895) p. 246. single family who acted as commissioners within Devon during the latter 30 years of the fifteenth century.276 This thesis set out to analyse how a county gentry family to better itself within the county society and to participate in the governance of the county through the forging of networks and to shed new light on the Courtenays’ importance to Devonshire politics of the fifteenth century. However, the job for historians concerning the first objective of this dissertation is nowhere near finished. Further research is needed to widen our understanding of the importance of the Devonshire gentry as historians are absent of a complete study. This thesis acts as a contribution to future studies by stressing the importance of the Courtenays of Powderham within Devon and assessing both the horizontal and vertical networks the family forged within their estates. 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Jenkins, John Christopher, ‘Torre Abbey: Locality, Community and Society in Medieval Devon’, unpubl. PhD thesis (University of Oxford, 2010). Kleineke, Hannes, ‘The Dinham Family in the Later Middle Ages’, unpubl. PhD thesis (Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, 1998). Pushon, Mark Christopher, ‘Government and Political Society in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1399-1461’, unpubl. PhD thesis (University of York, 2002). Appendix Appendix A- A Family Tree of the Courtenay Earls of Devon. Appendix B- A Family Tree of the Courtenays of Powderham, Haccomb and Molland.