2013-07-03 21:05:21 UTC
Complete Peerage, 10 (1945): 126-129 (sub Ormond) includes a well written account of James Butler (or Ormond), Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, who died 1 May 1461. Regarding his 2nd marriage to Eleanor Beaufort, the following information is given on pages 128-129:
"He married, 2ndly, Eleanor, sister and coheiress of Henry and Edmund (Beaufort), Dukes of Somerset, being eldest daughter of Edmund (Beaufort), Duke of Somerset, by Eleanor (widow of Thomas, Lord Ros), daughter and coheiress of Richard (Beauchamp), Earl of Warwick. He died as aforesaid, s.p., 1 May 1461 ... His widow married, apparently in or before 1470, Sir Robert Spencer, of Spencercombe, Devon, and died 16 August 1501." END OF QUOTE.
Eleanor Beaufort and her 2nd husband, Sir Robert Spencer, are perhaps best known as the maternal grandparents of William Carey, Esq., Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, who was the husband of Mary Boleyn (sister of Queen Anne Boleyn).
In footnote e on page 129 of the Ormond account, Complete Peerage adds the following additional information regarding Eleanor Beaufort and her issue by Sir Robert Spencer:
"Her heirs were her daughters by Spencer: Catherine, wife of Henry Algernon (Percy), Earl of Northumberland, aged 24, and Margaret, wife of Thomas Cary, or Carey, aged 30." END OF QUOTE
The ages of the two daughters Katherine and Margaret Spencer are taken from the inquisition post mortem of Eleanor Beaufort which is dated 1502 [see Cal. IPM Henry VII 2 (1915): 327–328].
Elsewhere I note that Complete Peerage 9 (1936): 720 (sub Northumberland) repeats that claim that Eleanor's 2nd husband, Sir Robert Spencer, was "of Spencercombe, Devon."
In neither Complete Peerage account is any evidence advanced which documents the statement that Sir Robert Spencer was "of Spencercombe, Devon."
I'm not sure of the exact origin of the statement that Sir Robert Spencer was "of Spencercombe, Devon."
I can say that this claim is advanced in several early secondary sources, among them Risdon, Chorographical Description or Survey of Devon (1811): 101, which reads as follows:
"Vincent upon Brooke and Mills maketh mention of sir Robert Spencer, who married Eleanor, the fourth sister of Edmond Beauford, duke of Somerset, who was lord of Spencer Combe, and captain of the castle of Homet and Thomeline, in Normandy." END OF QUOTE.
The material is Risdon may be viewed at the following weblink:
Westcote, View of Devonshire in MDCXXX (1845): 126 echoes the same claim:
"... yet I may not pass Spencer's-Comb, now abbreviated Spence-Comb; the seat anciently of the Spencers of this country, who lived here in great estate and reputation; as may appear by the last male of the house, Sir Robert Spencer, who married Eleanor, eldest daughter to Edmund Beaufort ... Duke of Somerset ... By her he had two co-heirs; the eldest, Katherine, married to Henry Lord Percie .... Earl of Northumberland; Margaret, the second was wife of Thomas Cary of Chilton-Foliot ..."
The material is Westcote may be viewed at the following weblink:
While Westcote claims Sir Robert Spencer the "last male of the house" of Spencers of Spencercombe, Devon, I've never found any contemporary record which supports that statement.
The following two Chancery lawsuits prove that Sir Robert Spencer was the son and heir of John Spencer, esquire, by his wife, Joan.
C 1/160/2: Robert Spenser, knight, son and heir of John Spenser, esquire. v.
Robert Cotes, feoffee to uses.: A moiety of the manor of Brompton Ralph and the advowson of the church.: Somerset.
Date: 1486–93, or 1504–1515.
C 1/480/13: Thomas, son and heir of William Cary and of Alice, his wife, daughter of Baldwin Folford, knight. v. John Fuleford, esquire.: Detention of
deeds relating to the manor of Ashbury, Devon, and half the manor of Brompton
Ralph, Somerset, claimed by complainant in right of Margaret, his wife, daughter
and heir of Robert Spencer, knight, son and heir of John Spencer and of Joan, his wife.
The above Chancery lawsuits indicate that Sir Robert Spencer's family held land interests in Ashbury, Devon and Brompton Ralph, Somerset, but not at Spencercombe, Devon.
The evidence such as it is unclear where Sir Robert Spencer actually resided. There are various records generated by Sir Robert and his wife, Eleanor, during their marriage, but none indicate a residence for Sir Robert Spencer. Until now, all that is known, is that Sir Robert Spencer was living at Chilton Foliat, Wiltshire at the time he made his will, which will was proved 12 April 1510 (P.C.C. 27 Bennett).
The question arises: Did Sir Robert Spencer reside at Spencercombe, Devon or elsewhere? To answer that question, I recently went through various lawsuits of the Court of Common Pleas which are now available on the website, Anglo-American Legal Tradition [http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT.html].
I located no less than eight lawsuits for Sir Robert Spencer, ranging from 1460 to 1510 (the year of his death). I've abstracted all eight lawsuits below.
The lawsuits indicate that Sir Robert Spencer resided initially in London, where he first appears as a gentleman, then later as a knight. Sometime before 1483, he was evidently living in both London and Bridport, Dorset. By 1510 (the year of his death), he had removed to Chilton Foliat, Wilshire. To my knowledge, these lawsuits provide the first indication of Sir Robert Spencer's actual place of residence during his adult life. I've found no evidence which connects Sir Robert Spencer to Spencercombe, Devon.
1. In 1460, as “Robert Spencer, Gent., of London,” he served as a surety in a lawsuit in the Common of Common Pleas for Richard Renton, yeoman, of Waltham, Essex regarding a debt which the said Renton owed William Skypwyth, Gent., of Norwich, Norfolk.
2. In 1483 Alarius Albych (alias Alcharius Albeche/Alcario Albych), goldsmith, of Southwark, Surrey, sued Robert Spenser (or Spencer), Knt., of London (alias Roger Spenser, Gent., of London) in the Court of Common Pleas regarding a debt.
3. In 1483 John Philip, Citizen and tailor of London sued Robert Spencer, Knt., of Bridport, Dorset in the Court of Common Pleas regarding a debt.
4. In 1484 John Philip, Citizen and tailor of London, sued Robert Spencer, Knt., of Bridport, Dorset regarding a debt execution.
5. In 1484, “as Robert Spencer, Knt.,” he sued Richard Syngelton, yeoman, of Rammemsham, Dorset, and two others in the Court of Common Pleas regarding a trespass at Puncknowle and Toller Porcorum, Dorset.
6. In 1484 John Amadas, Citizen and goldsmith of London, sued Robert Spencer, Esq., of London (alias Robert Spencer, Esq., of Bridport, Dorset) regarding a debt.
7. In 1495 Thomas Pays, Citizen and skinner of London, sued Robert Spencer, Knt., of London, regarding a debt.
8. In 1510 John Wendover, administrator of Thomas Pays, Citizen and skinner of London, sued Robert Spencer, Knt., of Chilton, Wiltshire regarding a debt.
The above lawsuits may be viewed at the following weblinks:
Court of Common Pleas, CP 40/817, rot. 104 (available at www.british-history.ac.uk/source.aspx?pubid=1272). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/883, rot. 59f (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT3/E4/CP40no883/aCP40no883fronts/IMG_0059.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/883, rot. 695d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT3/E4/CP40no883/bCP40no883dorses/IMG_0695.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/883, rot. 815d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT3/E4/CP40no883/bCP40no883dorses/IMG_0815.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/888, rot. 303f (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT3/R3/CP40no888/aCP40no888fronts/IMG_0303.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/888, rot. 1212d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT3/R3/CP40no888/bCP40no888dorses/IMG_1212.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/888, rot. 1236d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT3/R3/CP40no888/bCP40no888dorses/IMG_1236.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/931, rot. 87f (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT4/H7/CP40no931/aCP40no931fronts/IMG_0087.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/931, rot. 1380d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT4/H7/CP40no931/bCP40no931dorses/IMG_1380.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/990, rot. 167d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/H8/CP40no990/bCP40no990dorses/IMG_0167.htm). Court of Common Pleas, CP40/990, rot. 864d (available at http:// aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/H8/CP40no990/bCP40no990dorses/IMG_0864.htm).
Finally I should note that in one lawsuit cited above dated 1483 that Sir Robert Spencer is given an alias of Roger Spencer, Gentleman. I'm sure most people would be puzzled by that statement. Over the course of years, I've learned that Robert and Roger are sometimes interchangeable in contemporary records, much like Elizabeth and Isabel.
Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah