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Arms of John Tiptoft, Baron Tiptoft
John Tiptoft, Baron Tiptoft  (1375?-1443)

JOHN TIPTOFT or TIBETOT, Baron Tiptoft (1375?-1443), born probably about 1375, was son and heir of Sir Pain de Tibetot by his wife Agnes, sister of Sir John Wroth of Enfield, Middlesex. Sir Pain, who acquired wide estates in Cambridgeshire, was the youngest son of John, second baron Tibetot or Tiptoft (d. 1367), by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Aspall and widow of Sir Thomas Wauton.

John Tiptoft was in 1397 in the service of Henry, Earl of Derby, afterwards Henry IV, with 7 1/2d. a day wages.1 Probably he shared Derby's exile in France during the next two years, and returned with him when he came to overthrow Richard II in 1399. He was rewarded by various grants, among them being the apparel of the attainted Thomas Mowbray, first Duke of Norfolk.

In 1403 he was styled 'miles camerarii regis et aulae,'2 and he was elected for Huntingdonshire to the parliament which sat from 3 Dec. in that year to 14 Jan. 1403-4. In November 1404 a vessel which he had sent to the relief of Bayonne was captured by Castilian pirates and sold at Bilbao with a cargo worth £2,500.3 Tiptoft was again returned for Huntingdonshire to the parliaments which met at Coventry on 6 Oct. 1404 and at Westminster on 1 March 1405-6. In the latter he was elected speaker, and was naturally accepted by Henry IV, though officially protesting his 'youth' and 'lack of sense.'

In spite of his close personal connection with the king, Tiptoft seems to have acted with considerable independence; his tenure of the speakership, extending over two sessions, March-April and November-December 1406, was marked by several important advances in the power of the Commons, and the parliament of 1406 seems almost to stand for an exponent of the most advanced principles of mediaeval constitutional life in England.'4 It attained a less enviable fame by its severe legislation against the lollards, for which Prynne unjustly held Tiptoft to be especially responsible.5

On 8 Dec. 1406 Tiptoft, who was succeeded as speaker by Sir Thomas Chaucer, was appointed Keeper of the Wardrobe, Treasurer of the Royal Household, and Chief Butler, in succession to Chaucer. In 1407 he received, on the forfeiture of Owen Glendower, considerable estates in South Wales, and on 8 Feb. 1407-8 he was made steward of the Landes and constable of Dax in Aquitaine. On 17 July he resigned his keepership of the Wardrobe, and in the same month he was made Treasurer of England.

On 8 Sept. he was appointed prefect of Entre-deux-Mers, a district near Bordeaux. He was a witness to the will signed by Henry IV on 21 Jan. 1408-9, and in March following was in attendance on the king at Greenwich. In August he was selected by Henry to meet the envoys of the Hanse Towns and persuade them to postpone their demand for the repayment of the loan they had advanced to the king. On 11 Dec. following he resigned the treasurership. On 20 May 1412 he was appointed steward and constable of the castles of Brecknock, Cantresell, Grosmont, and Skenfrith.

Tiptoft retained royal favour under Henry V. He represented Somerset in the first parliament of the reign, which was summoned on 5 Feb. 1413-14, and in the same year served on a committee of the privy council which reported against aliens being permitted to bring into the realm bulls and letters prejudicial to the king;6 but he was soon more actively employed in Henry's designs abroad. On 8 May 1415 he was appointed seneschal of Aquitaine, and on 4 June following received letters of protection on setting out thither.7

In 1416 he took an important part in negotiating alliances between England and various foreign princes preparatory to Henry's invasion of France. On 13 Jan. he was commissioned to treat with the king of Castile, and on 4 May with the archbishop of Cologne.8 On 1 Sept. he was granted letters of protection for a vear's sojourn at the court of the king of the Romans. On 9 Dec. he was appointed commissioner to treat for an alliance with the king of Aragon, the German princes, the Hanseatic league, and the Genoese.9 On 17 Jan. 1416-17 he was sent on a secret mission to the Emperor in connection with the Duke of Burgundy's alleged offer to recognise Henry as king of France.

After the conquest of Normandy Tiptoft had a prominent share in the organisation of its government. He was appointed captain of Dessay on 12 Oct., of the castle and town of Bonmoleyns on the 17th, and treasurer of Normandy and president of the exchequer and all other courts of justice in the duchy on 1 Nov.10 On 11 Jan. 1418-19 he was made commissioner of array at Caen and Bayeux. On 8 May following he was appointed one of the commissioners to treat for peace with France. He was employed in all the negotiations preliminary to the conclusion of the treaty,11 and then went to resume his duties as seneschal of Aquitaine,12 where he also had command of Lesparre, an important fortress to the north-west of Bordeaux.13

On the death of Henry V, 22 Aug. 1422, Tiptoft was appointed an assistant councillor to the regency during the minority of Henry VI, but on 1 Nov. following he appears to have become a full member of the privy council. He was a regular attendant at its meetings, and took an important part in its deliberations.14 He was present at the council during the winter of 1422-3, when arrangements were made for carrying on the government during the young king's minority.15 His signature, with the words 'nolens volo,' appended to a minute of the council dated 16 July 1428, is of considerable interest as showing that privy councillors signed the acts of the council whether agreeing with them or not.16

In 1425 Tiptoft became chief steward of the castles and lordships in Wales, and about the same time he married, as his second wife, Joyce, second and youngest daughter of Edward Charlton or Cherleton, fifth and last Lord Charlton of Powys, by his first wife, Eleanor, sister and coheiress of Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent, and widow of Roger Mortimer, fourth Earl of March. This marriage added considerably to Tiptoft's importance, and on 17 Jan. 1425-6 he was summoned to parliament as Baron Tiptoft; he also assumed the title of Powis in his wife's right, and in 1440 he was styled 'Johannes dominus de Tiptot et de Powes baro, consiliarius noster'.17 From 1427 onwards he frequently acted as a trier of petitions in parliament, and was also employed in hearing and determining petitions left unanswered by parliament.18

On 22 Feb. 1427-8 he appears as Steward of the Household, and in April 1429 he was placed in command of a contingent of the army which accompanied Henry VI to France.19 He was dismissed from the stewardship of the household on 1 March 1431-2, when Cromwell, the Lord Treasurer, and other ministers lost their offices,20 but he remained a constant attendant at the meetings of the privy council.

In 1436 he was again sent with reinforcements to France. On 10 Nov. following he was commissioned to treat with envoys from Prussia. In March 1437-8 he was negotiating with the king of Scotland, and in 1440 with the envoys from the Teutonic knights and the archbishop of Cologne. His last attendance at the privy council was on 24 Aug. 1442, and he died on 27 Jan. 1442-3.

Tiptoft's first wife was Philippa, daughter of Sir John Talbot of Richard's Castle, Herefordshire, and widow of Sir Matthew de Gournay. By her he had no issue. By his second wife, Joyce, he had issue one son—John, who succeeded as second Baron Tiptoft and was in 1449 created Earl of Worcester—and three daughters, who became coheiresses of their nephew Edward on his death in 1485: (1) Philippa, who married Thomas de Roos or Ros, tenth Baron Roos or Ros by writ; from her descend in the female line the earls and dukes of Rutland and the barons De Ros; (2) Joan, who married Sir Edmund Ingoldsthorpe; (3) Joyce, who married Sir Edmund Sutton, eldest son of John (Sutton) Dudley, Baron Dudley (1401?-1487).

1. 7 1/2d. in 1397 was roughly equivalent in purchasing power to £18 in 2010.
Source: Measuring Worth.
2. i.e., Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Outer Chamber.
3. British Library Harleian MS. 431, f. 134.
£2,500 in 1404 was roughly equivalent in purchasing power to £1,560,000 in 2010.
Source: Measuring Worth.
4. Stubbs, Constitutional History, iii. 57.
5. cf. Manning, Speakers of the House of Commons, pp. 40-2.
6. Nicolas, Acts of the Privy Council, ii. 60.
7. Rymer,Foedera, ix. 239.
8. ib. ix. 328, 343, 346, 364.
9. ib. pp. 385, 410, 427, 430.
10. Hardy, Rotuli Normanniae, pp. 180, 205.
11. Rymer, ix. 749 et. passim.
12. ib. x. 43, 129.
13. Drouyn, La Guienne Militaire, 1865, ii. 151, 337.
14. see Nicolas, Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy council of England, vols. iii-v., where there are between two and three hundred references to him.
15. Stubbs, iii. 97-8: Rymer, x. 270-1, 282, 289, 290, 341 et seq.
16. cf. Nicolas, Acts P. C., vol. ii. pref. p. liv.
17. Rymer, x. 834. i.e., John Lord Tiptoft and Baron Powys, our Councilor.
18. Rot. Parl. vol. iv. passim.
19. Ramsay, Lancaster and York, i. 486.
20. Stubbs, iii. 114-15.

      Excerpted from:

      Pollard, A. F. "John Tiptoft, Baron Tiptoft"
      Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XIX. Sidney Lee, Ed.
      New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909. 889-891.

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