Sir Robert Waterton, Esq., of Methley

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Sir Robert Waterton, Esq., of Methley

Also Known As: "Robert I /De Waterton/"
Birthplace: Methley, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: January 14, 1425 (54-55)
Methley, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Waterton, Lord of Waterton in the Isle of Axholme and Cecily Waterton
Husband of Joan de Waterton and Margaret Clarell, ‘Dame of the Garter’
Father of Joan (or Cecilia) Welles and Sir Robert Waterton

Occupation: Landowner and Master of the King's horses and armour; high sheriff of Lincolnshire
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir Robert Waterton, Esq., of Methley

Sir Robert Waterton, Master of the Horse & Hounds, Bailiff of Hatfield, Keeper of Pontefract Castle, was of Methley, West Riding, Yorkshire, England, and died there 17 Jan 1425.

He married 2) Joan de Everingham, daughter of William de Everingham and Alice de Grey, before August 1398; widow of William Elys 2) Margaret Clarell, daughter of Thomas Clarell, Esq. and Maud Montgomery, in 1422. She survived him.

His children by his first wife were Robert and Joan (also seen as Cecilia).

The WATERTON’S of Methley, Waterton, and Walton Hall.

Compiled by the Rev. H Armstrong-Hall BD in 1909

ROBERT WATERTON, OF METHLEY AND WATERTON. 1399 He is already a person of mature years and of some importance. As a Lincolnshjre landowner, he is assessed for property "betwixt the town of Pokelington and the rivers of Humber and Derwent," and he has been appointed by the Duc D'Aumarle (Albemarle) to be " Master of the King's horses and armour," in place of "Monsr. Roberd de Neville." In the same year (November 20 there is recorded a grant to "the King's esquire, Robert de Waterton, whom the King has retained for life," and his heirs, of the manor of Dubbuldyke and the advowson of the church of Gosberkirk, and lands in Gosberkirk, Spalding, &c., which John Bussy, chivaler, purchased from the feoffees or exors. of John, late Lord de la Warre, and which came into the King's hands by his forfeiture. This "manor'of Doubildyk in Gosberkirk, with advowson of the church of Gosberkirk," which was to play a part in bringing Robert Waterton to Methley, had been delivered in I393 by the above Lord de la Warre and Elizabeth his wife to Roger Gayton, parson of Wath, and others.

140I (May 3rd)· Appointed on a commission with Sir William Sturmey to receive the homage of the Duke of Gueldres; is styled scutifer."

I40I (August 12th). Is sent abroad to treat for a marriage between Ludovic, eldest son of Rupert, King of the Romans, and Blanche, eldest daughter of the King; is styled "domicellus to the King."

I402. Is still "master of the King's horses,"and as such pays £I36 6s. 8d to the keeper of the King's wardrobe. I402 (May 14th and 26th). Witness, together with Sir Hugh Waterton and others, to proposals for marriage between Princess Philippa and Eric XIII, King of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and between Prince Henry of England and Katherine, sister to King Eric; styled "camerae armiger to the King."

I403 (July 2nd). Joined in a commission with Ralph, Earl of Westmorland the King's brother, and others, to assemble men to go with the resist Henry, Earl of Northumberland.

I403 (October 7th and 8th). Ordered to arrest Elizabeth, widow of Sir Henry Percy, and to bring her before the King. . I404 (July 3rd). Grant to him of a large quantity of valuable loot, "late of Thomas, the Earl of Worcester, found within the castle of Wresill, and pertaining to the King on account of his forfeiture."

1405(March I2th). Grant to him for life of the office of "master of the King's running dogs called herthoundes," in succession to Edward, Duke of York

. 1405 (March 14th). Appointed steward, master forester, and bailiff of the lordship of Haylefeld, in the county of York, so long as it be in the King's hands. Is on the commission of the peace for the West Riding.

I408. Is chief steward of the northern parts of the Duchy of Lancaster.

1408 (April 8th). Appointed on a commission to treat with the ambassadors of France as to a prolongation of the truce. The com- mission issued from Pontefract Castle, and is addressed to "nos amez & foialz Robert Waterton escuier de nostre Escuierie rt Maitre Richard Helm Chanoign d'Everwik nostre conseiller." The result of the conference was confirmed at Pontefract a week later, and reaffirmed on April 30th.

1408 (April 25th). Appointed on a commission of six (two, of whom Robert Waterton must be one, to be a quorum), to settle fines and deliver pardons to persons concerned in the rising of the Earl of Northumberland.

1409 Is married. Confirmation to him "et Cecilia: uxor" of the manor of Walwick Grange, within the liberty of Tynedale with lands in Fangfosse, &c. The original grant had been made to Robert Waterton on August I8th,1403

1410 Is high sheriff of Lincolnshire.

I410 (July 5th). Appointed on a commission of array against the Scots.

1411 Exchanges the advowsons of Gosberkirk and Wath with Thomas Towton, master of the Hospital of St. Nicholas, Pontefract, for the manor of Methley.

1413· Is an executor to King Henry IV.

14I4 Is appointed upon the commission to bring about the French marriage, and receives a safe conduct. Is owner of Waterton and other lands in Lincolnshire.

14I5 (May 29th). Appointed on a West Riding commission of array, the King being about to leave the kingdom and wishing to protect it "against the malice of our external enemies"; commission ordered to prepare "bekyns" in the usual places. Has resigned the office of master of the horse, for "John Waterton, esquire," is present at Agincourt in that capacity. Robert Waterton was certainly not at the great battle.

14I7 (June Ist). Is ordered to convey the Duke of Orleans from Windsor to Pontefract, and is authorised to procure any needed assistance by the way.

14I8 (April 1st). Is appointed on a commission of array.

14I9 Has charge, as the following letter from the King to the Bishop of Durham shows, of the Duke of Orleans, and perhaps of the Duke of Bourbon. It will appear later that others of the prisoners taken at Agincourt were also in his keeping:-- "Worshypfull Fader in God, Right Trusty & Wellbeloved, We greet yow Well. And we Wol and pray Yow, and also charge Yow that as We Trust unto Yow,.And as ye Loke to have our good Lordship, ye see & Ordeyne that good heed be taken unto the seure Keeping of our Frensh Prisonners withynne our Reanme of England: and in especial the Duc of Orleins and after to the Duc of Borbon. For their Eschaping, and Principally the saide Duc of Orleins, might never have been so harmful ner prejudicial unto Us, as hit might be now, if any of them Escaped, and namely the saide Duc of Orleins; which God Forbede. And therefor as we trust, yow seeth that Robert Waterton, for no Trust, faire Speche ner Promesses, that might be maad unto Hym, ner for noon other cause, be as Blynded by the saide Duc, that he bee the more recheles of his Kepyng; but that in Eschuying of all perils that may falle, he take as good Heed unto the seure Kepyng of his Personne as is possible. "And enquireth if Robert Waterlon useth any recheles Governance about the Kepynge of the saide Duc, and writeth to him thereof, that hit be amended.

" And God have Yow in his Keping. "Yeven under oure Signat, at oure Town of Gizors, the Furst nay of October. "To the Worshipfuil Fader in God, our Right Trusty And Well- beloved the Bishop of Duresme, our Chancellor of England."

1420 Is commissioned by the King to endeavour to stir up the Yorkshire gentlemen to go out to the French war. The King's letters, unfortunately, have not survived, but here is Robert Waterton's reply:-- "Ryght Excellent, High and Ryght Myghty Prince, and most Dredde Soverayne Lord. I recomaunde me to zour Hegnes als lowely as any symple trewe Legeman and Sugette Kan best thynke or devyse, Thanking Allmyghty God of zour gracious Spede and right Grete Conquest, with the Prosperitie of zour awne Persone, My I.ord of Clarence, My Lord of Exetre, and all my Lordes beyng there in zour ·worshipfull Servyce wyth alle the Remnant of zour Right Worshipfull Oste, as I have conceyvid by zour Right Honorable Letters, Wryten at zour Citee of Rouen, the 12th day of Marche, the whych I have receivid ryght late syth Pask, wyth othir zour Lettres undir zour Pryve Seale, Chargyng me to assay by all the menesse that I kan to exyte and stirre sych, as bene able Gentlemen, wythin the Shyre and the Contree that I dwell in, to come ovyr to zowe at zour wage, Armyd and Arayde, as longys to thaire Estate to do zowe Service. And for to Certifie als well to zowe as to zour Counsell, of thaire answere and thaire Will. The which zour Hegh Comaunde ment I harve begunne to labour upon and fall trew for the dayly wyth all my myght, till I have performed zour forsayde Comaunde ment, And upon Wedynsday next sall zour Justice sitte at Zorke, opon the Deliverance of the Gaole there, and a Cession of the Pees also; at which tyme I suppose to speke with many of the Gentyls there; And als sone aftyr as I may be answerid, I sall Certifie as zowe hase lykid to comaunde me, wyth all the haste possible. "Ryght Excellent, High and Ryght Myghty Prince, and Most D)redde Sovereyne Lorde, I beseche the Blissid Trinitie to spede zowe, and keep zowe, and all zour Worshipful Oste, and send zowe sone in to zour Roialme of Inglande, with a joyouse Maryage,and a ,gude Pees, for his Mykill Mercy. "Writin at zour awne Logge of Metheleye the 12th daye of Aprill. "Zour trewe Liegeman and Subgitte, "Robert Waterton." 1423 (May 15th and 21st). Robert Waterton asks the Council to reimburse him for his expenses in connection with the charge of the Duke of York, and the custody of the Conte d'Eu, Arthur de Bretaigne, the Marshal Buchecaud, Perron de Lupe, and Cuchard de Sesse, who are stated to have been captured at Agincourt, and to have been placed in Robert Waterton's charge by the ordinance of the King,zud his Council; also for the expenses of his servants in conducting the Duchess of York to London

. 1423 (July 6th and 12th and December 3rd). Appointed on a commission to treat with the ambassadors of Scotland; styled "Domicellus to the King."

I423 (December 4th). Appointed on a commission to treat for the release of King James styled'[Scutifer."

1424%C2%B7 Is constable of Pontefract. ';Rex, dilecto armigero suo, Ruberto Waterton, constabulario castri nostri de Ponfreyt, salutem"· orders him (May list) to deliver David, eldest son and heir of the Earl of Athol, Alexander Earl of Crauford, Alexander Lord Gordon, John de Lyndesay, and others, hostages for the King of Scots, to Robert Scot, locum tenens of the constable of the Tower of London.

I425· Makes his will, dated fanuary I0th. Probate was granted March 2nd following.

Of the persons mentioned in the will:-- (I) Sir Robert Bapthorp, esquire, of the body and controller of the household to Kings Henry IV, V, and VI, was at Agincourt with five men-at-arms and fifteen foot, and was an executor to Henry V. He married Eleanor, daughter of John de Waterton, who was lord of Waterton in 11 Henry IV--the year of the acquisition by Robert of the manor of Methley. The manor of Waterton appears to have passed into the hands of the Bapthorps towards the Close of the fifteenth century.

(2) Thomas Metham, aged fifteen in 1416, married Mundane, daughter of John Waterton, of Methley, his guardian. He died July 26th, I472.

(3) The arms and names of William Scargill and Thomas Wombewell are upon the chapel screen, together with those of John Waterton--instead of, as we should have expected, those of Sir Robert Bapthorp, their co-executor. From the foregoing historical notices, we may conclude that (pace Shakespeare, Whitaker, Stonehouse, Foster, &c. &c.) Robert Waterton, notwithstanding his remarkable services, was never knighted. It is not open to reasonable doubt that the chantry chapel on the south side of the pariah church of Methley, and of the precise length of the old chancel, erected half a century later by "Christopher Willoughby, Robte. Dymmok, knight, and theires of Robte. Waterton, knight," was a fulfilment, however tardy, especially as Whitaker informs us, I know not on what authority, that the frieze of the chapel screen once bore the Iegend--

Pray for the soule of Robert Waterton and Cecily his Wyf: That God wil take to hys kingedom their poor and endles lyf, and that the effigies upon the cenotaph in the wall dividing the chancel from the chapel, and which bears the arms of Waterton and Fleming, are those of the same Robert Waterton and Cecilia Fleming, his wife.

The delay in the building of the chapel may have been due at the commencement to the minority of the testator's grandson, but later on to the troubles in which the strong Lancastrian partisanship of the family involved their fortunes. For Lionel Lord Welles, who had married Cecilia, daughter of Robert Waterton, fell in I46I at the disastrous battle of Towton, still in Leland's days called PaIme- sundayfeld." Richard Lord Welles, Cecilia's only son, was eventually restored to his father's honours, and by his marriage with Joan, daughter and heiress of Baron Willoughby d'Eresby, became Lord Willoughby and Welles, and was summoned to Parliament as such. Unfortunately, Sir Robert Welles, Lord Willoughby's son and heir, was induced by the Earl of Warwick in 1469 to raise the standard of Henry VI in Lincolnshire. Edward at once summoned Lord WilIoughby and Sir Thomas Dymoke (who had been knighted at the battle of Northampton, July I0th, I460, and had married Lord Willoughby's sister Margaret) to Court. They obeyed; but hearing on their arrival in London that the King considered them implicated in Sir Robert Welles' insurrection, they took sanctuary at Westminster. Edward sent to guarantee them life and liberty if they would march with him into Lincolnshire, and use their influence with Sir Robert to lay down his arms. This offer they at once accepted, and Edward's army having arrived within striking distance of the rebels, Lord Willoughby made an appeal to his son. Sir Robert, however, was too deeply involved, and declined to disband his men, whereupon the King at once, and in defiance of his plighted word, executed Lord Willoughby and Sir Thomas Dymoke, "to the terrible example," says Hall in the Chronicle, "of others which shall put their confidence in the promise of a prince." In the ensuing battle, known till long afterwards as " Loose-coat-field," from the eagerness with which the panic-stricken Lincolnshire men flung off their clothes that they might run away with the greater ease, Sir Robert Welles, together with Sir Thomas de la Laund (who had married Catherine, another daughter of Sir Lionel Welles), were taken prisoners, and executed. So no less than four members of the family were put to death within a few days of each other. Sir Robert Waterton would seem to have had too much sense or too little courage to be drawn into the wild schemes of his relatives, and apparently remained quietly at Methley; but the times were not such as to favour church building.

Amongst the church documents at Methley is a. piece of paper, 8 by 31/4 inches, on which is written as follows:--

"HIC S'VBSVNT DVO QVI SVN'T FRATRES VTRI... SOLV... DEM FIT DOMVS PER ILLOS Epitaphia servientis ad lege & presbyteri saecularis sepulti in nave ecclesiae de Meathly qui fuerunt ut videtur fiudatores primi Cantariae de Meathley & no p heredes Rob Waterton militis tep R 3......"

The inscription runs round two effigies still in ;Methley Church, the one of a priest in surplice, chasuble, maniple, &c., the other of a layman in a cassock; obviously they once lay side by side. The copyist was not very accurate; the letters actually run:-- HIC SVBSVNT BINI QVI SVNT FRATRES VTERI SOL V S NAM FIT DOMUS I A PER LLOS

The first line is simple enough:-- HIC SVBSVNT BINI QVI SVNT FRATRES VTERINI (Hereunder lie two brothers, sons of one mother) The latter part of the second line is equally obvious:-- NAM FIT DOMVS ISTA PER ILLOS (for they built this house.') This line, like the first, is a hexameter, and as we have 'bini' rhyming with'uterini'in the first line, the's' which precedes'nam' probably itself follows an 'o'-'os' to rhyme with 'illos'; not improbably the word is 'eos.' But what are the missing words? The 'Sol v....' is a puzzle these letters occupy the entire space (19 inches) below the feet of the layman;'sol' occupies the first 61/2 inches, then the tail of the dog on which the feet of the effigy are resting sweeps over the stone and fills up the next I0 inches-- no letters ever came between 'sol' and 'v'--and the 'v' is at the end of the space, Most unfortunately, the space at the feet of the priest, where the inscription would follow on, is entirely broken away. 'The corresponding spaces at the heads of the effigies are utilised by 'Hic sub' in the case of the priest and 'sunt bi' in that of the layman, so that we should not expect more than six letters between 'v' and 'os.' It is possible that two letters may have come between 'uterini 'and' Sol,' but it is not very likely. Here, then, is a missing word competition of rather a fascinating character. It is interesting to note that the lacunae to-day are no greater than they ware three:hundred years ago, and this is the more remarkable as the effigies have wandered from nave to chantry chapel, from chantry chapel to belfry, from belfry to porch, and now back to the church again. But the present importance of the matter lies in the commentary writtten beneath the copy of the inscription by one who, as we know from his very tiresomely illegible handwriting, was a scribe at Methley (probably in the employment of Sir John Savile) at the close of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries:--

"Epitaphs of a lawyer & a secular priest buried in the Nave of the Church of Methley, who were as it appears the first founders of the Chantry of Methley, & not by the heirs of Rob. Waterton, knight, in the time of Richard III......:

"The oldest inhabitant: remembers the effigies as in the chantry chapel fifty years ago; they may have been moved there at a post- Reformation pewing two and a half centuries earlier. "They built this house; the commentator probably assumed that the "house': which the brothers built was the chapel in which he found their effigies. But this of course was not so; we know who did build the chapel, and when and why. What house, then, did the brothers build? Not of course the Saxon church, or the Norman church that followed it; but the epitaph may refer to the Early English reconstruction, and the effigies are not, in character, inconsistent with that date.

The death of Robert Waterton senior was followed with dramatic suddenness (Wednesday after St. Hilary) by that of another Robert Waterton, armiger, who was without any reasonable doubt the son of the former. His inquisition, taken at Wakefield June 11th, 1425, shows him to have married Joan, daughter of William de Everingham, of Laxton, and widow of Sir William Elys, knight. by her first marriage she had a son, Robert Elys, now forty years of age, and co heir with his mother to the Elys and Everingham properties; he was living at Methley in I427· BY her marriage with Robert Waterton Joan had again a son--another Robert--now sixteen years of age, who was subsequently knighted, and who married Beatrice, daughter of Thomas Clifford. Sir Robert, who was high sheriff of York in I44I, died December I3th, I476, and his inquisition, taken at Went- bridge October 26th, 1477, States that his heirs are the four daughters of his sister Cecilia, who had married Lionel Lord Welles--their only brother, Richard, Lord Willoughby and Welles, and his son, Sir Robert Welles, having both been put to death, as already stated, in 1469. Lady Waterton died March 11th, 1480, Henry Clifford, grandson of her brother Thomas, being declared her heir. Here, then, so far as Methley" is concerned, the Waterton history comes to an end. An Act of Partition was drawn up later (April 26th, 1488), between the representatives of the four sisters, the result of which was to give--

(T) To Thomas Laurence, son of Eleanor Welles, the manors of Barley and Waterton, lands in Adlingfleet, Carthorpe, Lodington, Ampcotts, and Westwood in the Isle of Axholme, and certain lands in Norttlamptonshire.

(2) To Sir Christopher Woughby, son of Cecilia Welles, the manor of "Dobledik," some parcels of land in Methley, including " Oterford Ferry" over the Calder, with the boat and access thereto, and also some lands in Altofts and Normanton.

(3) To Robert Tempest and Dame Katherine (Welles) his wife, the manors of Halghton and Poterton, with some parcels of land in Methley, including Dunford House and West·houses (? Westhall), and some lands in Nottinghamshire.

(4) To Sir Robert Dymmok, son of Margaret Welles, the manors - of Mlethley and Woodhall in Methhley, including Hesill (now Hazel) House, and all lands in Methley except those already assigned.' A century later Robert Dymmok's descendant, "Edward Dymocke of Skrilsbie, co. Linc., esquier," mortgaged his Methley estates; the mortgagees foreclosed, and the estates passed into the hands of the ancestor of the present proprietor.

It remains to enquire into the ancestry of Robert Waterton, and to notice those of his contemporaries who bore his surname. Waterton Hall lies about a quarter of a mile' west of the Trent, and about three miles due south of the junction of that river with the Ouse; Garthorpe and Adlingfleet are just to the north of Waterton Hall, Luddington and Amcotts are to the south; Westwood (now Westwoodside) is close to Haxey, five or six miles south of Waterton Hall The land in this neighbourhood was granted at the Conquest . to Geoffrey de Wirce, but soon afterwards the wastes in the s Crowle, including Waterton, passed into the hands of the abbot of Selby, and in II59--II70 Abbot Gilbert granted Waterton to Reiner son of Norman de Normanbi for a rent of 12s. per annum. Stone- house considers that there is "a strong presumption" that Reiner was saxon descent, being sprung from a family holding lands in the North Riding prior to the Conquest. Reiner adopted "Waterton" as his surname. In the next century William de Waterton (dead in I255) married Dionysia........,:: and had a son Reiner living in I215· This Reiner--or Rayner--is mentioned in grants from Abbot Thomas of Selby, in the collltnissions of sewers, in charters of Walter de Crull, in a deed of John Mowbray and the abbot of Selby, &c. &c., at various dates down to I3I0 Reiner's son and heir was one William, alive in 1284 The will of a William de Waterton, dated 1302, is in the possession of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. Another William de Waterton was member of an inquest jury in 1314, and the Coucher Book of Selby Abbey mentions a William son of Rayner de Waterton in 1352 A Richard de Waterton was executor to John de Bekeryng in 1376 The courage of that most intrepid of all artificers, the family genealogist, would be necessary to construct a satisfactory pedigree from such meagre materinls. Stonehouse, Glover, and others have light-heartedly made the attempt, and with the assurance of the youngest of young men; the results would be amusing if they did not contain just a sufficient element of truth to entrap the incautious reader. All that the present writer dares to do is to append tables showing (1) those generations of the family of Waterton from the time of Robert upwards which are capable of proof, together with a hypothetical arrangement of names occurring in documents of the period; and (2) the descent from Robert Waterton until the Methley estates paused into the hands of the Dymocks. The second table is, happily, historical throughout. It would be delightful to be able to unite these two tables with links which are above suspicion, but this appears impossible at the present time. It is well, however, to notice that, as Robert Waterton could hardly have been less than sixty at the time of his death, in I425--we have seen that he had at that date a grandson aged sixteen--it is unlikely that he was born later than 1365, a date which brings him into touch with, and makes it possible for him to have been the son of, William son of Rayner, if that were necessary. It is fairly safe to assume that he was son either of William or of William's son John, for these were the domini de Waterton, and Robert was himself to be the owner of the manor later on. Ou the whole, it is perhaps more easy to think of him as son of John, and elder brother of Eleanor, who married Sir Robert Bapthorp. The John Waterton presently to be noticed may have been the younger brother of Robert, and the bend across his arms in the chapel, and the muliet on his seal, may signify this. Further than this one dare not travel along the seductive path of supposition.

And now as to the Watertons contemporary with Robert. Of one of these, "THOMAS WATERTON, esquire," nothing is known except that he was present at Agincourt with a retinue of eight men- at-arms and twenty-four foot archers. He was obviously a person of substance.

SIR HUGH de WATERTON was a man of no small importance. He gave evidence at the celebrated Scrope and Grosvenor trial, and, already a knight, acted as attorney to Henry, Duke of Hereford, during his absence from England. In I399 he was executor to John of Gauut, who died in February of that year; and in the following December he received the grant of the office of steward and receiver of the castle and town of Swayneseye (Swansea), with the lordship of Gower; he had the same year (June 3oth) been appointed keeper of "le Haywode" in the county of Hereford. The professional guesser would not perhaps be wholly unjustified if he were to suggest--but let him not breathe his heresy at Methley--that it was Sir Hugh, and not "Sir Robert," who was one of the heroes of Shakespeare's" eight tall ships" story. This is made the more likely when we find that in October, I401, Sir Hugh was appointed guardian for one year of the King's son, Thomas of Lancaster, Lieutenant of Ireland, and was associated in this office with Thomas Erpingham, another of the Argonauts. Next year (July 5th,:1402) Sir Hugh was made governor of the King's children, John and Philippa, and of the Earl of March and his brother at Berkhamstede Castle during the King's absence in Wales. In 1403 and I404 he "as appointed, with others, to hear the appeal relating to the ransom of the Count of Denia. In I405 (February 5th) he was made constable of Windsor Castle for life. He was on the commission of the peace for the county of Hereford from I399 onwards. He was twice married-- first to Katherine......., and secondly to Ellen, daughter of Thomas Mowbray. He died in 1409, seised of the manor of Wroot and two parts of the manor of Epworth in Lincolnshire, of the manor of Eton Tregoz and the advowson of the chapel there and of the manor of Credenhall in the county of Hereford, and of the manor and advow son of Bramsbergh in the county of Gloucester. Possibly his west of England estates came to him through his first wife.

What relation, if any, was Sir Hugh to Robert Waterton? Stone- house asserts that he was frrst cousin to Robert's father, and that it was through Sir Hugh that Robert and John were introduced to the house of Lancaster. Sir Hugh certainly had a brother John,'and if that John was dominus de Waterton, Robert may have been Hugh's nephew. But a John de Waterton was living at Kingston-on-Hull in I38I, and as there was unquestionably a branch of the family resident in Yorkshire, it seems impossible to state the relationship with any degree of certainty. Sir Hugh's name is often linked with that of Robert in the Calendar of Patent Rolls. This may, of course, be only coincidence, both men being prominent in the royal service; but one of these associations would seem to imply a closer connec- tion. A licence was issued May Ist, I402, for the King's knight, Hugh de Waterton, Robert de Waterton, John Nevylle of Shirwode, Richard, vicar of the church of Darthyngton, and Thomas Mountefort, chaplain, to found a chantry in honour of St. Mary in the said church, and to grant in mortmain lands and rent to the value of ten marks yearly to a chaplain to celebrate divine service in the church for the good estate of the King and his heirs, and for his soul after death, and the souls of his progenitors, and of Thomas Mauncell and Agnes his wife and their ancestors, heirs, and benefactors. Thomas Mnunsell died in I396; his will is dated July 12th of that year. He directs his body to be buried in the "new chapel" of the church of All Saints at Darthyngton-evidently the Skargill Chapel, which from the testator's expression we may assume to have been now recently erected, and of which we may guess that Thomas Mountefort was capellanus. No other chapel was built, and we may therefore suppose that if the licence was acted upon at all, it was only to the extent of further endowing the already existing Skargill Chapel. And indeed when the chantry commissioners visited Darthyngton--which is, of course, Darrington, near Pontefract--nothing was said of the Skargill foundation, nor was the connection of the Watertons with the endow- ment remembered, but the chantry was said to be "of the ordinaunce of Thomas Mauncell, whereof they sheme no wrytinge." Darrington of to-day knows neither Maunsell nor Waterton, nor are: there in the church any arms or other traces of either family. But why were Hugh and Robert associated--with others it is true--in the licence for founding the chantry?

The early history of JOHN WATERTON is difficult to disentangle, on account of the existence at the same time of the John Waterton to whom reference has already been made as dominus de Waterton, and possibly father of Robert. Thus, a John Waterton was sheriff of Lincolnshire in I401, and from 1388 to 1409 the name of John Waterton appears in the schedule of Lincolnshire names, and in the view of Banks between Boston and Friskeney: these references are probably to John the elder. In I409 a gift in special tail of land and tenements in the city of York, formerly belonging to William de Rowes, is made to John Waterton--which of the two it is not possible to say. But in I4I5 John-almost certainly the younger-- had succeeded Robert as master of the horse. On July 24th of that year King Henry made his will--no one could tell what might happen to him in France--and to John Waterton he left "omnes equos nostros," except (and the exception, as usual in testamentary documents, was an important one) "those eight which we have left to our two brothers, and eight others'de. proprie melioribus.'" One wonders what would have been left for the master of the horse, and whether he would have found it worth his while to bring the remnants of the, royal stable back to Englandl However, King Henry lived, and fought and won at Agincourt, where he probably left the bones of some of the "proprie meliores," and John Waterton, though he did not get the horses, had at least the honour of having been mentioned in the Kiag's will. But before the expedition left England a tragedy took place. Lord Scrope of Masham and others were accused of high treason, tried, and summarily executed at South- ampton. Scrope's head was sent up to York to be placed on Micklegate Bar, and John Waterton was sent up also to seize Scrope's goods in the name of the King--"the head came along with the mandate." It appears to have occurred to the Mayor of York that he might himself lay hands upon the spoil, and going to the treasury of the Minster, where it was stored, to his annoyance found John Waterton--who had certainly lost no time--there before him with a warrant from the King. On August 24th a ship laden with goods belonging to the Duchess of York was seized at St. Leonard's landing. The redoubtable John again overrides the civic authority, and draws up an indenture--"parentre Johan de Waterton, esquier, & notre tresredoubte sieur le roy, d'une parte, & Johane, duchesse d'Euerwyk, d'autre parte"--in accordance with which the goods remain in the possession of the duchess during the Kings pleasure.' We have already seen that the lady was sent to London, in the chnrge of Robert Warterton. In I414 and the follorving year, as has already been mentioned, John Waterton is associated in Methley deeds wiith Richard Fleming as a family trustee, and two at least of these deeds bear escellent impressions of his seal. Two years later (November 29th,, 3 Henry) there is a confirmation of the manor of Little Limbergh to Robert and John Waterton, esquires, by William Lodyngton, one of the judges of the King's Bench. John Watererton was made guardinn to Thomas Metham,, and very appropriately found a wife for his ward in his own daughter, Mundane. In Foster's Visitation he is described as "Sir John Waterton of Methley and "Sir John Waterton of Methley lord of Walton, Waterton and Gosberton." He is not spoken of as a. knight in any Methley deed, and he certainly was never "lord of Walton, Waterton and Gosberton. His arms and name, as already stated, are on the chapel screen at Methley the name of RICHARD WATESRTON is of considerable interest on account of his connection with Walton. Everybody knows that a Branch of the Waterton family, culminating, so far as Walton is con cerned, in Charles Waterton the well-known naturalist, had been settled at Walton for many generations. Everybody · knows that there is a so-called Waterton Chapel in Sandal Church, situated. like· the chapel of Our Lady at Methley, at the east end of the south aisle; and both these chapels, as everybody knows, are associated with the name of Sir Robert Waterton. Hence no little confusion. How the Sandal tradition arose it is not possible to say with certainty. When the chantry commissioners visited Sandal the people of the parish were as ignorant of the nams of Waterton as were the parishioners of Darrington. 'I'heir chantry·, they said was "of the foundacion of John Lake & other- feoffies of certen copiehold landes lying in Ossett & other wher.:' Robert Waterton, however, was knighted by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, at the surrender of Berwick, on August 24th, 1482. He may have been the son of Richard of Walton and if so, the Sandal chantry may have been erected by· him about the date mentioned. The Methley Chapel, as we have seen, was erected by the heirs of the other Sir Robert a few years earlier. In this simple way the two chapels and the two Sir Roberts might easily have become confused, but, unfortunately, this is mostly con- jecture. In any case, there is no connection whatever between the Sandal Chapel and the Methley family.

Richard Waterton was a much younger man than Robert of Methley--he died in I480-and I have ventured to suggest, very diffidently, that he may have been the son of Robert's brother John --if, indeed, John was Robert's brotherr. Now Walton incontestably was originally held by the de Burghs, under the Earls of Warenne, and passed from them to the Ashenhulls.' The latter family ended in three coheiresses, one of whom, Constance, inherited Walton, and married Richard Waterton; another inherited Calthorn, and, dying s.p., left it to Waterton. So at least says Dodsworth. Richard Waterton, ancestor of a line of sterling and distinguished Yorkshire gentlemen, noted for their consistent adherence to the Roman Catholic faith, does not appear to have taken any very active part in public affairs.

The Watertons of Walton, whilst using the same arms as Robert of Methley--barry of six, eirmine and gules, over all three cresents sable--appear later to have assumed as crest an otter bearing a fish in its mouth. I cannot find the origin or authority for this. On the helmet of Robert Waterton in the chapel at Methley is a single crescent, and from the helmet issue three plumes, which, in the "Armes taken out of churches, &c. &c., Anno Dmi., 1585,)" are blazoned as follows:--" Waterton's crest of Medley. Crest, over helm and mantling, on a terce, a plume of feathers, gules, argent & sable, issuant from a crescent sable," and Mr. Ellis tells me that a deed of Reiner de Waterton in the Harl. MSS. has a seal bearing a crescent, above which is a mullet, the latter being, I suppose, a mark of cadency. Such is the Waterton story·so far as it seems possible to elucidate it in 1907 It is not without interest, but it would be more interest- ing still if it were less speculative. It is much to be hoped that evidence may arise to clear away some of the discrepancies at present existing. These notes will have served their purpose if they act as an incentive to further and more illuminating search.


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Sir Robert Waterton, Esq., of Methley's Timeline

Methley, Yorkshire, England
Methley, West Yorkshire, England
Methley, Yorkshire, , England
January 14, 1425
Age 55
Methley, Yorkshire, England