Jean Mautravers

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John Mautravers, Warden of the Isles 1349-1354

Family

John Mautravers, 1st Baron de Maltravers of Woolcombe, Dorset, was born about 1290 in Lytchett Maltravers, Poole, Dorset. He was the son of Sir John Maltravers and Eleanor de Gorges and was himself knighted in 1306

Early career

He fought at Bannockburn, 24 June 1314, and was taken prisoner. In October he was returned as a knight of the shire for Dorset, and was going to Gascony on the King's service in March 1320. He espoused the cause of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and received several pardons in 1321; but on 6 December his goods were ordered to be seized, and on 5 January 1322 he and his brother Edward were under order of arrest.

He took part in the attack upon and burning of Bridgnorth, and on 16 March fought for the Earl of Lancaster at Boroughbridge. He escaped capture, and appears to have returned home. His lands were seized, but he escaped overseas. He returned with Queen Isabel and Roger de Mortimer in September 1326, and soon rose to high favour, receiving in March and April 1327, for his services to Queen Isabel and the King abroad and at home, Winterborne Hutton and other manors.

Early in April he and Thomas de Berkeley received charge of the deposed King, who was then in the custody of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, at Kenilworth, and took him by night to Corfe Castle and thence, via Bristol, to Berkeley Castle, where, it is said, the King was murdered. At the end of the month he and Maurice and Thomas de Berkeley were sent to Bristol to collect arms for the Scottish expedition.

Keepers of the Peace

In July he and Thomas de Berkeley were appointed chief keepers of the peace in the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Gloucester, Hereford, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. In 1328 he was keeper of the castles of Corfe and Corregcennen (Carmarthen), and Steward of the King's household. In 1329 he was Keeper of the Forest south of Trent, and justice in eyre of the forest of Berkshire.

He was summoned to Parliament on 25 January and 23 October 1330, by writs directed Johanni de Mautravers Juniori, whereby he is held to have become Lord Mautravers. He was summoned again on 15 November 1350. In February 1330 he was appointed joint commissioner to inquire of felonies, in London. Early in 1330 Edmund, Earl of Kent, being persuaded that his brother Edward II was still alive, entrusted letters addressed to him to Mautravers, who delivered them to Roger de Mortimer, which led to the arrest, confession, condemnation, and execution of the Earl a few weeks later.

Death sentence

The part he had played in bringing about the judicial murder of the King's uncle served Mautravers ill when Mortimer fell from power in October. Mautravers was condemned in the Parliament which met on 26 November 1330, and was sentenced to hanging and beheading; a reward of 1,000 marks was offered for taking him alive, and a price of £500 placed on his head, and his lands and offices were forfeited.

He escaped by way of Cornwall to Germany, where he lived in obscurity for several years. In 1334 he offered to make a confession, and William de Montagu was sent to interview him. In 1339 he received a grant of £100 per annum, presumably in consideration of his scheming with Jacob van Arteveldt to bring Flanders to the King's side in the coming war with France; and in February 1342 his wife Agnes had licence to stay with him in Flanders, apparently on the King's service.

In October 1343 he was commissioned to obtain justice from Flemish burgomasters and others for certain merchants of England wrongfully imprisoned in Flanders, contrary to the proclamation. In May and June 1344 he and his son John appear to have been in Ireland on the King's service. For some time past the way had been prepared for his reconciliation with the King, and when Edward III arrived in Flanders in July 1345 to meet Jacob van Arteveldt, Mautravers humbly submitted himself, and asked for a trial, as he had been condemned unheard.

The King granted him a safe conduct in August, so that he might appear at the coming Parliament, doing this in consideration of the good place Mautravers had held for the King in Flanders and elsewhere, thereby losing all his goods in the cause and being unable to stay safely in that country. In October he was sent on an embassy to Ghent.

Channel Islands

In June 1348 he was sent on another mission to that city, and was appointed Warden of the Channel Islands a year later. In September 1350 he and his wife had licence to cross the seas on a pilgrimage to Rome. On 20 June 1351 his outlawry was annulled, and he was fully restored 8 February 1352.

His appointment as Warden was by letters patent of 26 May 1349, giving him office until 27 September, when the appointment was renewed until 17 April 1351:"a die confeccionis presencium usque ad festum Pasche proximo futurum et ab eodem festo usque ad idem festum in unum annum tunc proximo sequens"

At the end of this period his appointment was again continued for a year, until 1352.

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