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executioner's block and axe

Henry le Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham (1376?-1415)

HENRY LE SCROPE, third Baron Scrope of Masham (1376?-1415), eldest son of Stephen, second baron, by Margery, widow of John, Lord Huntingfield, was 'upwards of thirty years old' at his father's death in January 1400. He accompanied John Beaufort on the crusade to Barbary in 1390.1 On the suppression of Thomas Mowbray's rebellion in 1405, Scrope received a grant of his manors of Thirsk and Hovingham.2 He and his father must have carefully dissociated themselves from Mowbray's fellow-rebel, Archbishop Richard Scrope, who was Scrope's uncle.

Immediately after succeeding to his father's honours [1400], he assisted in escorting Henry IV's daughter Philippa to Denmark on her marriage. In May 1409 he executed an important mission in France with Henry Beaufort. Scrope enjoyed the friendship and confidence of the young prince of Wales [later Henry V], then in opposition. According to Monstrelet, they sometimes shared the same bed.3 When the prince ousted Archbishop Arundel (January 1410) from the chancery, in favour of Thomas Beaufort, he put in Scrope (who was also given the Garter) as Treasurer. Next year he took his second wife, Joan Holland, from the royal family, the lady's father being half-brother of the late king, Richard II. When, at the end of 1411, the prince for the time retired from the government, Scrope resigned the treasurership, 16 Dec. 1411.4

After the accession of Henry V Scrope was entrusted with delicate foreign negotiations. In July 1413 he accompanied Bishop Henry Chichele on a mission to form a league with the Duke of Burgundy.5 He headed the embassy to Charles VI in the early months of 1414, and another in the summer to Burgundy.6 At the end of April 1415 he contracted to serve in France with thirty men at arms and ninety archers, and as late as 27 May there was talk of sending him again to John of Burgundy.7

His complicity, therefore, in the plot discovered at Southampton on 20 July to dethrone Henry in favour of the Earl of March ('if King Richard be really dead') caused general surprise. It seemed strangely inconsistent with his character as well as his past career. He himself pleaded that he had become an accessory in order to betray the conspiracy.8 It has been suggested that Scrope was drawn into the plot by his connection with Cambridge, whose stepmother he had married for his second wife. She was a daughter of Richard II's half-brother, Thomas Holland, second Earl of Kent (d. 1397). Rumour ascribed the conspiracy to bribery with French gold; if so, it is possible that Scrope was the go-between.

His claim to be tried by his peers, though allowed, availed him nothing, and the king marked his sense of Scrope's ingratitude by refusing to reduce the sentence to simple beheading, as in the case of his fellow-conspirators, the Earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey. Immediately after his condemnation (5 Aug.) he was 'drawn' right across Southampton, from the Watergate to the place of execution outside the north gate. His head was sent to York to be placed on one of the bars. His lands were forfeited, and those in Wensleydale and its vicinity granted to his cousin and neighbour, Henry, Lord Fitzhugh. Others, perhaps Upsal and his East Riding estates, went to Sir William Porter.9 In his interesting will (23 June 1415) he bequeathed numerous books in Latin and French.10

Though twice married, Scrope left no issue. His first wife was Philippa, granddaughter and coheiress of Guy, Lord Bryan, a famous warrior and Knight of the Garter, and widow of John, Lord Devereux (d. 1396). Though related in the third and fourth degrees, they married without a dispensation, but the difficulty was surmounted by the good offices of his uncle, the archbishop (11 July 1399). She died on 19 Nov. 1400. Scrope married secondly, aboutSeptember 1411, Joan Holland, daughter of the second Earl of Kent. He was her third husband, and after his death she took a fourth, Sir Henry Bromflete, dying in 1434.

Scrope had four younger brothers, of whom the eldest, Geoffrey, died in 1418,11 and the youngest, William (1394?-1463) was archdeacon of Durham.12 The second brother, Stephen, took orders, became secretary to his uncle the archbishop, Prebendary of Lichfield and York, and Archdeacon of Richmond (1400-1418). He was Chancellor of the university of Cambridge in 1400 and 1414, and is said to have written 'quaedam de rebus Anglicis' (tanner, p. 668). Dying on 6 Sept. 1418, he was buried near the archbishop in St. Stephen's Chapel in York minster, which was now the family burial-place, and afterwards known as the Scrope Chapel.13

The third brother, John (1388-1455), was admitted by Henry V on his deathbed to be the victim of injustice owing to the inclusion of the entailed estates in his brother's forfeiture. The king made Fitzhugh and Porter, the grantees, promise to surrender them. But, though John Scrope was on the council of regency for Henry VI, he did not recover them all till 1425, after Fitzhugh's death.14 In 1426 he was summoned to parliament as fourth Baron Scrope of Masham. He was afterwards employed in important foreign negotiations, and by favour of Humphrey of Gloucester held the office of Treasurer of England from 26 Feb. 1432 to July 1433. He died on 15 Nov. 1455. By his wife Elizabeth (d. 1466), daughter of Sir Thomas Chaworth of Wiverton, Nottinghamshire, he had three sons and two daughters. The only surviving son, Thomas (1429?-1475), succeeded him as fifth baron, married about 1453 Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph, seventh Lord Greystock, and perhaps for that reason (his father-in-law being a Lancastrian) did not definitely throw in his lot with the Yorkist cause until the accession of Edward IV; his four sons, Thomas, Henry, Ralph, and Geoffrey (a clerk), each in turn held the barony. On the death, without issue, in 1517 of Geoffrey, ninth baron, the title fell into abeyance between his three sisters (or their issue): Alice, wife of Sir James Strangways of Harlesey; Margaret, wife of Sir Christopher Danby of Thorpe Perrow; and Elizabeth, wife of Sir Ralph Fitz-Randolph of Spennithorne.



1. Devon, Issues, p. 245.
2. Dugdale, Baronage, i. 659.
3. Monstrelet, Chronique, ed. Panthéon Litteraire, p. 306; cf. Gesta Henrici V. p. 11 n.
4. Wylie, History of Henry IV, iv. 51.
5. Rymer, Foedera, orig. ed., ix. 34.
6. ib. ix. 102, 136.
7. ib. ix. 230; Ordinances of the Privy Council, ed. Nicolas, ii. 167.
8. Rotuli Parliamentorum, iv. 66.
9. ib. iv. 213; Dugdale, i. 660.
10. Foedera, ix. 272.
11. Testamenta Eboracensia, Surtees Society, iii. 35.
12. ib.
13. Test. Ebor. i. 385, iii. 33; Scrope and Grosvenor Roll, ed. Nicolas, ii. 135.
14. Rot. Parl. iv. 213, 287.





      Excerpted from:

      Tait, James. "Henry le Scrope, third Baron Scrope of Masham."
      Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XVII. Sidney Lee, Ed.
      New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909. 1077-8.




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