Grosvenor, Robert (d.1396) (DNB00)

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GROSVENOR, Sir ROBERT (d. 1396), knight, defendant in the case of Scrope and Grosvenor, was descended from Gilbert le Grosvenor, nephew of Hugh Lupus, earl of Chester, in the time of William I. Sixth in descent from Gilbert was Sir Ralph Grosvenor of Hulme, Cheshire, who died in or before 1357, leaving his son Robert under age. Robert Grosvenor's guardian was Sir John Daniell of Tabley, who married his ward to his daughter Joan. Grosvenor must at this time have been nearly twenty years of age, for we are told that he was harbinger to Sir James de Audley [q. v.], and present with him at the battle of Poitiers. He afterwards served in Guienne and Normandy, and in 1367 took part in the expedition to Spain, and was present at the battle of Nájara on 3 April, and in 1369 was with Sir James Audley at the capture of La Roche-sur-Yon. Next year he was in the service of the Black Prince at the siege of Limoges. During all these campaigns Grosvenor is stated to have used as his coat of arms, 'azure, a bend or,' and while he was yet a minor his guardian challenged John Carminow, a Cornish squire, who had had a like dispute with Sir Richard Scrope for bearing them. In 1385 Grosvenor was engaged in the expedition against Scotland, and was there challenged by Scrope as to his right to bear his arms. On 17 Aug. a proclamation was made for the trial to be held at Newcastle on 20 Aug., whence it was almost at once adjourned to meet at Whitehall on 20 Oct. Meetings were held at intervals till 16 May 1386, when Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, who presided as constable of England, ordered both parties to appear with their proofs on 21 Jan. 1387, and appointed commissioners to collect evidence. The autumn of the year was occupied with this business, and on the appointed day the court met again, the constable being present in person, and Sir John de Multon being lieutenant for the marshal. A host of witnesses were summoned on either side; for Grosvenor, nearly all the knights and gentlemen of Lancashire and Cheshire, together with some abbots, who testified to the use of the bend or by Grosvenor and by his ancestors. But even now there were constant adjournments, and it was only on 12 May 1389 that the constable gave judgment against Grosvenor, who was condemned with costs; but in consideration of the strong evidence which he had adduced had assigned to him as his arms 'azure, a bend or, with a plain bordure, argent, for difference.' Against this decision Grosvenor at once appealed, especially against the assignment of arms for which he had never petitioned. The summons to the parties in the suit to appear before the king was issued on 15 May (Fœdera, vii. 620), commissioners were appointed to hear the case, and the trial commenced May 1389; the royal decision was given on 27 May 1390, when the judgment of the constable was confirmed, but the award of distinctive arms was annulled (ib. vii. 676). Grosvenor and his descendants, scorning to bear the other coat with a difference, adopted in its place 'azure, a garbe or,' which is still retained in the family coat of arms. On 28 Nov. 1390 letters patent were issued directing that Grosvenor was to be held liable for the costs, which amounted to 466l. 13s. 4d., and on 3 Oct. 1391 a further fine of fifty marks was inflicted for his contumacy. But this latter was forgiven on the intercession of Sir Richard Scrope, and the two parties were made friends before the king in parliament. Grosvenor was appointed sheriff of Cheshire, 'quam diu nobis placuerit,' on 1 Jan. 1389, and was again sheriff in 1394. He died on 12 Sept. 1396. By his first wife he had no children; by a second, Julianna or Joanna, daughter of Sir Robert Pulford, he had a son, Sir Thomas Grosvenor of Hulme, from whom the Duke of Westminster is descended.

[Rymer's Fœdera, original edition; Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy, 2 vols., 1832, edited by Sir N. H. Nicolas (the first volume contains the official record of the trial and the depositions of the witnesses, printed from the original documents now in the Record Office; the second, biographical notices of Scrope and his witnesses; a third volume, treating of Grosvenor and his witnesses, was projected but never finished; only a hundred copies were printed for private circulation); Ormerod's Cheshire, iii. 84-8 ; Nichols's Herald and Genealogist, i. 385 sqq., v. 498-507; Harleian Society, xii. 385-8. xviii. 107; Scrope's Hist. of Castle Combe; Collins's Peerage, viii. 60-4, ed. 1779.]

C. L. K.