Family:Whitney, Robert (c1379-1441)

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Sir Robert Whiteney chivaler

Sir Robert Whitney (Robert, Robert, Eustace, Eustace, Robert, ...), son of Robert Whitney,[1] was born about 1379, Whitney, Herefordshire,[2] and died 12 Mar 1441, Whitney, Herefordshire.[3]

He married Joan or Wentliana/Wenllian Oldcastle, daughter of Sir Thomas Oldcastle.[4]

Sometime about 1406-1407 or 1417-1424, William Bourghchier, knight, and Anne, Countess of Stafford, brought suit against Sir Robert Whiteney, chivaler (knight), concerning riots in the town and lordship of Huntington, in the Marches of Wales (now Herefordshire).

He was listed in the Pipe Rolls for 1412/3.

He was listed as "Robertus Whyteney, Ch[ivale]r vicecomes" [High Sheriff of Herefordshire] in 1413-14. (E 372/259)

The name of "Robertus Whiteney, Chivaler," was returned in the list of gentry, &c., in this county, made by commissioners 12 Henry VI [1433-1434].[5]

He was of Whitney, etc., Knight. Granted Castle of Clifford and Lordships of Clifford and Glasbury by Henry IV., in 1404, on account of services of his father. Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1413, 1428, and 1433, and 1437. Member of Parliament in 1416 and 1422. Fought in French War under Henry V. Captain of Castle and Town of Vire in 1420. Named as one of the 5 knights in Herefordshire in 1433. Died March 12, 1441.[6]

Patent Roll 5 Henry IV., 1st Part, No. 372 (1404)[7]
The King to all to whom, etc., greeting. Know ye that Since the father of Robert Whitney esquire and his Uncle and a great part of his relatives have been killed in Our service at the capture of Edmund Mortimer, and his Property has been burnt and destroyed by our rebels of Wales, so that the same Robert has not any castle or fortress Where he can tarry to resist and punish our aforesaid rebels, As we accept. We of our special grace have granted to the Same Robert the Castle of Clifford and the lordships of Clifford and Glasbury together with all the lands, tenements, rents, services, fees, advowsons, royalties, liberties, franchises, juristictions, escheats, fines, redemptions, and other commodities whatsoever, to the same Castle and lordships in any manner belonging, and also full punishment and execution of all rebels who are or shall be of or in the above said lordships, with all forfeitures and esceats of the said rebels, which same Castle and lordships before that they were burnt, devastated and destroyed by our aforesaid rebels stood the value of one hundred marks per annum as is said.
IPM Robert Whyteney 1443.jpg
Inquisition Post Mortem for Robert Whyteney, dated 21 Henry VI (1443)

See Archive:E 153/971, Archive:E 101/70/4/651 and Archive:C 241/228/148.

The History of Parliament includes the following biographical sketch:[8]

WHITNEY, Sir Robert II (d.1443), of Whitney-on-Wye and Pencombe, Herefs.
Constituency - Dates
Family and Education
s. and h. of Sir Robert Whitney I*. m. aft. 1404, Wintelan (b.1392), da. of Thomas Oldcastle* of Eyton, Herefs. and sis. and coh. of Richard Oldcastle (d.1421), 1s. Eustace†.1 Kntd. bef. 1413.
Offices Held
Commr. to assess taxes, Herefs. Jan. 1412, Apr. 1431; raise the siege of Coity castle Sept. 1412; of array, Herefs. May 1418; inquiry July 1419 (rights of Henry Oldcastle†).
Sheriff, Herefs. 6 Nov. 1413-10 Nov. 1414, 7 Nov. 1427-4 Nov. 1428, 5 Nov. 1432-3, 8 Nov. 1436-7 Nov. 1437.
Captain of Vire 6 Dec. 1420-Feb. 1421.2
J.p. Herefs. 7 July 1423-Oct. 1432.
Escheator, Herefs. and adjacent March 5 Nov. 1430-26 Nov 1431.
Following the death of his father at the battle of Pilleth in 1402, Robert inherited the manors of Pencombe (near Bromyard) and Whitney-on-Wye, but his holdings (probably at the last named place, which lay on the border) were said to be so wasted by the Welsh that he had no fortress to hold against them. In February 1404, therefore, he received in compensation a royal grant of the custody, during the minority of Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, of the latter’s castle and lordship of Clifford and the lordship of Glasbury, as from the previous October. In the autumn of 1405 Robert was himself in action against the rebels, serving with Sir Richard Arundel’s force in South Wales; and he also saw service under the prince of Wales, who before Michaelmas 1407 granted him an annuity of 20 marks.3
In June 1410 Whitney acted as an executor of his brother-in-law, (Sir) Thomas Clanvowe*. The testator left him his favourite white horse, a gilt sword ‘ye callyd Warwik’ and a dagger. After the death of Clanvowe’s widow (Whitney’s sister, Perryne) in 1422, Sir Robert also appears to have come into possession of the Clanvowe manor of Ocle Pychard, near Hereford. Several years before this later date he had married Wintelan, one of the daughters of Thomas Oldcastle and ultimately a coheir of her brother, Richard.4 Meanwhile, by 1413, Robert had been knighted, and it was in November of that year that he was first appointed sheriff of Herefordshire. Only ten days after that appointment, he was one of those who found surety in the large sum of £4,000 that John Talbot, Lord Furnival, would keep the peace towards Thomas, earl of Arundel (then treasurer), a serious dispute having arisen between them over grazing rights in Shropshire. During Henry V’s first expedition to France, Whitney remained at home, being occupied between August 1415 and January 1416 as joint commander of a force safeguarding South Wales, his fellows being Richard Oldcastle (his wife’s brother) and John Merbury* (her stepfather). Save that he attended the Parliament of March 1416, nothing more is known about him until July 1417, when he stood surety for John ap Harry*, undertaking that the latter would not aid the lollard fugitive, Sir John Oldcastle*, or join him in rebellion.5 That Whitney himself had leanings towards lollardy is at least possible. His father had once protected the heretical evangelist William Swynderby, both his sister, Perryne, and her husband (Sir) Thomas Clanvowe were open to similar suspicions and, moreover, Sir John Oldcastle was his wife’s cousin. Admittedly, Sir Robert was in no way implicated in Oldcastle’s rising, but he did stand surety for ap Harry and in December 1419 he used his right of advowson to the church of Pencombe to present Robert Herlaston, the former vicar of Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire, who two years earlier had been indicted for having preached lollard doctrines in that county. (Whether Herlaston continued to spread heresy from Pencombe is not known, but he held the living until his death in about 1428.)6
Whatever Whitney’s religious sympathies, they seemingly in no wise affected his career. Having witnessed the county elections to Parliament in 1419, he joined Henry V in France in 1420, probably for the first time, and in December that year he was appointed captain of Vire in the Côtentin. However, his foreign service was brief, for he returned to England with the King in February 1421, then receiving robes of the royal livery for the coronation of Queen Katherine. He witnessed the indenture which recorded the result of the Herefordshire elections to the Parliament of the following May. Thereafter, he apparently stayed at home, representing his county for the second and last time in the Commons of 1422. He continued to be influential there during the reign of Henry VI, being the first to seal the county indenture of return to the Parliaments of 1425, 1426, 1427 and 1431, and acting as sheriff (three more times), escheator, and j.p. In July 1429 he served on a commission of inquiry concerning the right of Henry Oldcastle, son of Sir John, to his father’s forfeited manor of Almeley. In May 1434 he was required to take the oath devised by Parliament to combat maintenance of those who broke the peace.7
Little is known of Sir Robert’s later years. He may, however, safely be identified with the ‘Lord Whittney’ who, at the head of a royal commission, was sent to Carmarthen to arrest the powerful and unruly Gruffydd ap Nicholas. The latter, having first overawed him by the strength of his following, then stole his commission, it is said, threatened to hang him as an imposter, and sent him to Westminster humiliated and wearing Gruffydd’s own livery. The story is attributed to 1441, when Sir Robert must already have been well advanced in years. He died on 12 Mar. 1443, leaving as his heir his son, Eustace, who had been born in 1413.8
1.CCR, 1401-5, p. 306; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. x. 189; C139/112/62.
2.DKR, xlii. 382.
3.CPR, 1401-5, p. 354; Reg. Lacy (Canterbury and York Soc. xxii), 116; Reg. Spofford (ibid. xxiii), 354-5; E101/44/7; SC6/813/23.
4. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel, ii. f. 50; Fifty Earliest Eng. Wills (EETS lxxviii), 49-51; Feudal Aids, ii. 415, 420-1; T.R. Nash, Worcs. ii. 298.
5.CPR, 1413-16, p. 99; SC6/1222/14; CCR, 1413-19, p. 435.
6.Reg. Lacy, 116; Reg. Spofford, 354-5; KB9/209/45; C. Kightly, ‘Early Lollards’ (York Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1975), 185, 283, 297, 300.
7. C219/12/3, 5, 13/3-5, 14/2; CPR, 1429-36, p. 376.
8.Cambrian Reg. ed. Pughe, i. 59-61; R.A. Griffiths, Principality of Wales, i. 31, 143; NLW Jnl. xiii (pt. 3), 261-2; C139/112/62.

Children of Sir Robert and Wenllian (Oldcastle) Whitney:

i. Sir Eustace Whitney, b. 1410;[9] m. Jennet Russell and Jane Clifford.
ii. Blanche Whitney, m. Sir Lawrence Bullen and had: Sir Thomas Bullen.[10]
iii. Elizabeth Whitney, b. about 1414; m. Roger Blount, son of James Blount and Anne, daughter of James Parker de Lellinghall.[11] Children Roger and Elizabeth (Whitney) Blount:
a. Thomas Blount of Grendon.
b. Walter Blount of Eldersfield.
iv. (perhaps) Perin Whitney. She is listed as "Penyes or Perinda (?) da. of Sir Robt Whitney Kt.", the wife of "Sir Joh. Cheyney Kt. Sheriff of Bvcks & Beds 1423, 1425".[12] Other online sources date her marriage to about 1445 and her birth to anywhere from 1410 to 1421, and also name her Perin. If she is correctly placed in this family, she was no doubt named after her aunt Peryn Whitney.
a. John Cheyney, b. -----; d. 1496; "Esq." m. Elizabeth Brudenell, daughter of Edmund Brudenell and widow of Sir John Tyringham, d. 1484.


For more on the Blount Family, see A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain..., p. 166.


1.^  Melville, Henry, A.M., LL.B., The Ancestry of John Whitney: Who, with His Wife Elinor, and Sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan, Emigrated from London, England, in the Year 1635, and Settled in Watertown, Massachusetts; the First of the Name in America, and the One from Whom a Great Majority of the Whitneys Now Living in the United States Are Descended (New York, NY: The De Vinne Press, 1896), p. 216.

2.^  Source_of_birth.

3.^  Melville, Henry, A.M., LL.B., The Ancestry of John Whitney: Who, with His Wife Elinor, and Sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan, Emigrated from London, England, in the Year 1635, and Settled in Watertown, Massachusetts; the First of the Name in America, and the One from Whom a Great Majority of the Whitneys Now Living in the United States Are Descended (New York, NY: The De Vinne Press, 1896), p. 216.

4.^  Handwritten attestation by Rupert Taylor inserted in between pages 79 and 80 of Watkins's Hundred of Huntington indicates the IQM of Thomas Oldcastle's son Richard states Eustace Whitney was the son of Joan or Wentliana Oldcastle as one of the heirs.

5.^  Henry Austin Whitney, The First Known Use of Whitney as a Surname: Its Probable Signification, and Other Data (Boston, MA: Henry Austin Whitney, 1875), p. viii.

6.^  Melville, Henry, A.M., LL.B., The Ancestry of John Whitney: Who, with His Wife Elinor, and Sons John, Richard, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Jonathan, Emigrated from London, England, in the Year 1635, and Settled in Watertown, Massachusetts; the First of the Name in America, and the One from Whom a Great Majority of the Whitneys Now Living in the United States Are Descended (New York, NY: The De Vinne Press, 1896), p. 216.

7.^  See Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry IV, vol. 2, p. 354.

8.^  See


10.^  A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain by Bernard Burke, Harrison, Oxford University: 1863. pp. 1669-70.

11.^  The Visitation of Shropshire Taken in the year 1623, By College of Arms, Great Britain, Robert Treswell, Augustine Vincent, William Camden, George Grazebrook, John Paul Rylands. Published 1889. Blount Family Pedigree recited on pages 50 to 57. Page 55 indicates Rogerus Blount married Elizabetha fil. Rob'ti Whitney militus. For Parker and Blount families see also: The Blount and Blunt Pedigree Chart, Helen M. Prescott, compiler, Washtington, DC: Press of W.F. Roberts, 1902, revised in 1930. See also, The Visitation of the County of Worcester Made in the Year 1569, Harleian Society Publications, Pages 20-21 Blount Family Pedigree states that Roger Blount of Gryndon married Elizabeth daughter of Sir Robert Whitney, Knight, of Whitney and had issue Thomas Blount.

12.^  Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldics, p. 134 as found on Google Books.

Copyright © 2006, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group