Sir Ralph Longford 1, Knight

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Sir Ralph Longford 1, Knight

Birthdate: (31)
Birthplace: Longford, Derbyshire, England
Death: 1431 (30)
Immediate Family:

Son of Nicholas Longford, Sir, Sheriff of Lancashire and Alice Longford
Husband of Margaret Longford
Father of Sir Ralph Longford II, Knight; Joane Longford; Nicholas Longford; Margaret Longford; Joan Longford and 2 others
Brother of Ellen of Langford
Half brother of Amphilbis Lawrence

Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About Sir Ralph Longford 1, Knight

'Ralph Longford'

was born at the manor of Calwich, Staffordshire, on 27 October 1400. Although the details of his baptism in Ellastone church, given by the twelve witnesses for his proof of age, are somewhat formulaic, they present an interesting vignette of a medieval baptism. The bailiff of the manor of Calwich said he was sent to fetch Katharine Malegrave to nurse Ralph. One witness carried a ewer and basin of silver from the manor of Calwich to the church to contain water, in which Ralph's godparents could wash their hands after raising him from the font. Another witness said he carried a large candle from the manor of Calwich and held it in his hand during Ralph's baptism. Richard Bromley of Abbot's or King's Bromley was parish clerk of Ellastone at the time, and held a book before the priest at the font. Yet another witness said he carried two measures of silver containing 'Clarreye' and 'Malveseie' wines and 4 silver cups from the manor of Calwich to the church for the godparents and others standing around. Ralph’s godfather was Ralph Weston who gave Ralph a little silver-gilt cup and to Ralph’s nurse, 6s. 8d. (half a mark), and his godmother was Mary Fulham who gave him a silver bell, and his nurse 6s. 8d. The last witness said he remembered many men and women coming from the church, who told him that Ralph had been baptized amid great rejoicing87.

Probably when 14 years of age, as was customary for male heirs of property at the time, Ralph married Margaret Radcliffe88, daughter of Sir Richard Radcliffe of Astley and Winmarleigh, Lancashire, by his wife Margaret89. This alliance was most likely arranged via his grandmother’s third marriage to Richard Clitheroe, whose niece was married to Richard Radcliffe of Ordsall. The Radcliffes were a prolific clan with many branches, and their continuing involvement with the Longfords is evident for most of the fifteenth century. As already noted, Sir Richard Radcliffe had dealings with the Longford family as early as 1406 when he and Sir Nicholas bound themselves in mutual securities of 1000 marks90. In 1424 Ralph Longford presented George Radcliffe, (later archdeacon of Chester), to Longford Church when rector of Wymeslow, in an exchange of benefices with Richard Radcliffe, then incumbent rector of Longford (Cox, 1877, Vol.3, p.188). The latter acted as one of Ralph’s feoffees in 142491. Margaret, as a widow, later presented Robert Radcliffe to the living of Longford in 1433. Her brother was Sir Thomas Radcliffe (d.1440), knight of the shire for Lancashire in 1421, and affiliated to the Lancastrian cause92. His second wife was Katherine Booth, niece of Henry Booth, who acted as Margery Sulney’s attorney during her divorce. In 1439 Thomas’ son and heir, Thomas, was killed by his kinsman William Radcliffe of Todmorden during an intrafamilial feud (Roskell, 1992, Vol.4, p.166).

When Sir Nicholas died in 1415, his son and heir was a month short of his fifteenth birthday. A dispute arose over the custody of Ralph between the bishop of Chester, who had traditionally held the wardship of Longford minors, and the king93. Judgement fell in favour of the latter and custody of most of his Derbyshire lands was given to Sir Roger Leche, steward of the duchy of Lancaster and treasurer of the royal household, while John Stanley had the custody of Withington (Roskell, 1992, Vol.4, p.456). Queen Joan appears to have given Ellastone to John Ashby until 1419, when Peter de Pole took custody until Ralph’s majority94. On 27 October 1421 Ralph reached his legal majority but it was not until 7 February 1422 that an inquiry into his proof of age was taken, and 20 February that the duke of Bedford, acting as Protector of England, ordered the escheator, “... to take the fealty of Ralph Langeforde, and to give him seisin of the manor of Elaston; as it is found by inquisition, taken before the escheator, that Nicholas Langeforde knight at his death held that manor of Humphrey de Stafforde, son and heir of Edmund earl of Stafforde, a minor in ward of the king, by the service of the fourth part of one knight's fee, and that the said Ralph is his son and next heir; and he has proved his age before the escheator”95.

Ralph served with the duke of Bedford in France and on 17 Aug 1424 took part at the battle of Verneuil in which the English gained a bloody victory against the French and Scots attempting to prise the English from Normandy. The action effectively destroyed the Scottish forces knocking Scotland out of the war. The five-year old Henry VI, following his own knighthood by the duke of Bedford, knighted Ralph on 19 May 1426 amongst a company of 44 who had served in France (Shaw, 1971).

On 28 June 1424, shortly before Ralph had left for France, his feoffees - Richard de Radcliff, rector of Longford, Nicholas de Clayton and William de Byrches – made a grant to him of the manors of Pinxton, and Normanton, Newton Solney and Blackwell with lands in Basford, witnessed by Nicholas Montgomery, kt, Henry Booth, and Richard Browne96. His service in France may have interrupted the intent behind this grant for after his return, on 28 September 1426, Sir Ralph gave the lands to his grandmother, ensuring Margery’s financial security and that of her younger sons while they lived.

“Gift by Ralphe Longeford, kt, to Margery, widow of Nicholas Longeford, kt., his grandfather, of moieties of the manors of Penkeston, Normanton and Blakewell, co. Derby, with all his lands and tenements in Neuton Sulne, co. Derby, Orby and Willyngham, co. Linc., and Baseford, co. Nott., for term of her life, with remainders to Alvered Longeford, Henry Longeford and Ralph Longeford, esquires”97.

Three years later on 7 June 1429 Sir Ralph appointed all his lands to new feoffees, “Feoffment from Ralph de Longford, kt., to Thomas, Bishop of Durham, Ralph de Shirley, Nicholas de Mountgomery and Richard de Radclyf, kts., and Roger Venables, parson of Routhstorn, of his manors of Longford, Hathirsege and Ellaston and all other his lands, etc. in cos. Derby, Stafford, Lincoln, Notyngham and Warwik, with the remainder of all the lands which Margaret, widow of Nicholas de Longford, kt., holds for her life”98.

As was the practice, feoffees were usually chosen within a circle of trusted family members, or were clerics, and this pattern can be seen here - Thomas, Bishop of Durham was Thomas Langley of Langley in Middleton, Lancashire, later cardinal Langley, who appears to have been distantly related to the Radcliffes; Sir Ralph Shirley was husband of Alice Cokayne, cousin of Sir Ralph; Sir Nicholas Montgomery was his uncle by marriage; and Sir Richard de Radcliff was his father-in-law - although his usefulness was limited by the fact he did not long outlive Ralph, dying on 4 September 1431. Witnessing this feoffment were John de Pole, brother-in-law of Sir Ralph, Thomas de Okeover, his cousin, and John de Bradbourne whose association may be derived through the Davenport family. The same day Sir Ralph gave power of attorney to his brother George and Nicholas Clayton, (presented as rector of Longford by Sir Ralph’s widow in 1433), to give his feoffees seisin of his lands99. Later that year Ralph, recorded as, “Ralphe de Longeforde, knt, son and heir of Nicholas de Longforde, mil, ‘quarti’”, so as not to be confused with Ralph, son of Nicholas III who still living, granted for life to Thomas Booth, undoubtedly a relation of Henry Booth, a messuage and land in Longford and Bupton100. Six months later, on 12 April 1430, his feoffees leased Sir, Ralph the manor of Longford, with all the lands in Longford, Bupton, Mammerton, Woodhouses, Bentley, Hollington, and Shirley for a period of 20 years101. On 26 February 1432, Ralph in his 32nd year met an untimely death, leaving at least four sons – Nicholas102 (already betrothed to Joan, daughter of Lawrence Warren of Poynton, Cheshire (Ormerod, 1882, p.685)), Edmund, Richard and John. No daughters are known.

Margaret Radcliffe took Seth Worsley, a lawyer and associate of the Booths, as her second husband. In the Trinity term of 1431, perhaps reflecting her new husband’s influence, Margaret found it necessary to make several formal suits for dower in the Longford properties. For Derbyshire the suit demonstrates the extent of their landholdings in that county at the time, which included the manor of Longford, and moieties of Hathersage, Pinxton, Normanton, Killamarsh, Barlborough and Boythorp, a quarter of the manor of Blackwell and 45 messuages, 670 acres of land, and 224 acres of meadow in Whitwell, Hasland in Scarsdale, Morton Hall, Wingfield, Pilsley, Egstow, Brampton, Duckmanton, Skegby, Newton Solney, Ashover, Chatsworth, Calton Lees, Bakewell, Darley, Park Hall, Tupton, Steynsby, Stanton, Rowsley and Edensor (Wrottesley, 1896, p.140).

Margaret outlived Ralph for many years and was still living in 1470 when her grandson came into his Longford inheritance. Seth is recorded in 1471 acting as a feoffee for Richard Booth103. Whether or not Margaret and Seth had children - as Margaret would have been well within childbearing age - is unknown. Relations between the Worsleys and the Longfords may not have been particularly cordial during Margaret’s widowhood – the king instructed the sheriff to have the Worsleys return a third part of a third part of the manor of Newton Solney to Alfred Longford which Margaret had claimed in dower104; Sir Lawrence Warren, father-in-law of the young Nicholas, accused Seth Worsley of false imprisonment105, and around 1470 Margaret and her husband accused her grandson, Nicholas VI, of inducing Longford tenants to refuse paying rents to them106. This friction reflects the political turmoil experienced in the final years of the Wars of the Roses, which would shake the Longfords, along with the other supporters of the House of Lancaster, out of their complacency and force them to adapt to political change. This will be discussed in the second part of this study, which will also include a corrected pedigree chart covering the Longford family from 1300-1610.

Acknowledgements This study is partially based on collaborative research on the Longford family conducted in 2002 with Mardi Carter and MichaelAnne Guido whose input I gratefully acknowledge. Special thanks go to Sonia Addis-Smith for her generosity in providing Staffordshire sources, and also Paul C Reed, FASG, Peter Stewart, and Henry Sutliff III for their kind assistance. Peter Sutton took the photographs, and generously gave permission to reproduce them.


[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 582.

[S61] Unknown author, Family Group Sheets, Family History Archives, SLC.



Our Royal Titled Ancestors- Ralph Longford1'-Last Edited: 7 Oct 2004, M, #37105, b. circa 1400 Father: Sir Nicholas Longford, Sheriff of Lancashire b. c 1373, d. 1 Oct 1415, Mother: Alice b. c 1372, d. a 1416, Ralph Longford was born circa 1400 at of Longford, Derbyshire, England. He married Margaret Melton, daughter of Sir John Melton and Margaret Clifford, circa 1432. Family, Margaret Melton, Children, Joan Longford+ b. c 1433 and Sir Ralph Longford+2 b. c 1440, d. 1513-


Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition ...-,+Sir,+Sheriff+of+Lancashire&source=bl&ots=kwiEPULO59&sig=UIH9h9gDesuBhIUM-xeOIZb13ag&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiGgurBmoDYAhVL2mMKHeT0BWEQ6AEINjAG#v=onepage&q=Nicholas%20Longford%2C%20Sir%2C%20Sheriff%20of%20Lancashire&f=false

86 Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol.21, No.882 (HMSO, 2002). I am grateful to Paul Reed, FASG, for providing this information.

88 Margaret Radcliffe is identified as sister of Sir Thomas Radcliffe in a suit after Sir Ralph’s death, Margaretthat was the wyfe of Rauf of LONGEFORD, knyght,' v. Thomas of RADCLYF, knight, her brother.: Refusal to make a defeasance to a statute merchant made that the said Mergret shuld not be ravysshet.': PRO C 1/1507/4.

89 After her husband’s death in 1431 she sued “Nicholas Botiler and Katerine his wife, late wife of Thomas Radclyffe, and Richard Radclyffe, son of the said Thomas and Katerine” for an annuity payable for lease of her dower and lands in Clitheroe and Astley: PRO C 1/39/46.

90 Identified as Richard son of Thomas Radcliffe in Calendar of Close Rolls, 1405-1409 (HMSO, 1931, p.246). I would like to thank Peter Stewart for providing this information.

91 Jeayes (1906) No.1874.

92 Their grandfather had been constable of Lancaster Castle to John of Gaunt, who had referred to him as one of his “trechers Esquiers” in his will made in 1399 (Raine, 1836, p.238).


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Sir Ralph Longford 1, Knight's Timeline

October 27, 1400
Longford, Derbyshire, England
Age 15
Age 17
Age 21
Age 23
Age 25
Age 30
Age 31
Age 31
Longford, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England