Hungerford, Walter (d.1449) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 28
Hungerford, Walter (d.1449)

by Sidney Lee
Contains subarticle Robert Hungerford (1409-1459).
1904 Errata appended.

HUNGERFORD, 'Sir WALTER, Lord Hungerford (d. 1449), son and heir of Sir Thomas Hungerford [q. v.], by his second wife, Joan, was strongly attached to the Lancastrian cause at the close of Richard II's reign, his father having been steward in John of Gaunt's household. On Henry IV's accession he was granted an annuity of 40l. out of the lands of Margaret, duchess of Norfolk, and was knighted. In October 1400 he was returned to parliament as member for Wiltshire, and was re-elected for that constituency in 1404, 1407, 1413, and January 1413-14, and represented the county of Somerset in 1409. He acted as speaker in the parliament meeting on 29 Jan. 1413-14, the last parliament in which he sat in the House of Commons (cf. Manning, Lives of the Speakers, p. 55).

Hungerford had already won renown as a warrior. In 1401 he was with the English army in France, and is said to have worsted the French king in a duel outside Calais; he distinguished himself in battle and tournament, and received substantial reward. In consideration of his services he was granted in 1403 one hundred marks per annum, payable by the town and castle of Marlborough, Wiltshire, and was appointed sheriff of Wiltshire. On 22 July 1414 he was nominated ambassador to treat for a league with Sigismund, king of the Romans (Rymer, Fœdera, vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 186), and as English envoy attended the council of Constance in that and the following year (cf. his accounts of expenses in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 24513, f. 68). In the autumn of 1415 Hungerford accompanied Henry V to France with twenty men-at-arms and sixty horse archers (Nicolas, Agincourt, p. 381). He, rather than the Earl of Westmoreland, as in Shakespeare's `Henry V,' seems to have been the officer who expressed, on the eve of Agincourt, regret that the English had not ten thousand archers, and drew from the king a famous rebuke (ib. pp. 105, 241). He fought bravely at the battle of Agincourt, but the assertion that he made the Duke of Orleans prisoner is not substantiated. He was employed in May 1416 in diplomatic negotiations with ambassadors of Theodoric, archbishop of Cologne (Rymer, vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 158), and in November 1417 with envoys from France (ib.vol.iv.pt.ii.p.25). In 1417 he was made admiral of the fleet under John, duke of Bedford, and was with Henry V in 1418 at the siege of Rouen. In November of the latter year he is designated the steward of the king's household (ib. vol. iv. pt. iii. p. 76), and was granted the barony of Homet in Normandy. He took part in the peace negotiations of 1419, and on 3 May 1421 was installed knight of the Garter (Beltz, Hist. of Garter, p. clviii).

Hungerford was an executor of Henry V's will, and in 1422 became a member of Protector Gloucester's council. In 1424 he was made steward of the household of the infant king, Henry VI, and on 7 Jan. 1425-6 was summoned to the House of Lords as Baron Hungerford. The summons was continued to him till his death. Hungerford became treasurer in succession to Bishop Stafford, when Bishop Beaufort's resignation of the great seal in March 1426-7 placed Gloucester in supreme power. He acted as carver at Henry VI's coronation in Paris in December 1430 (Waurin, Chron., Rolls Ser.,iv.11), but on the change of ministry which followed Henry VI's return from France in February 1431-2, he ceased to be treasurer. He attended the conference at Arras in 1435 (Wars of Henry VI in France, Rolls Ser., ed. Stevenson, ii. 431). He died on 9 Aug. 1449, and was buried beside his first wife in Salisbury Cathedral, within the iron chapel erected by himself, which is still extant, although removed from its original position. By his marriages and royal grants Hungerford added largely to the family estates. He was a man of piety, and built chantries at Heytesbury and Chippenham, and made bequests to Salisbury and Bath cathedrals. In 1428 he presented valuable estates to the Free Royal Chapel in the palace of St. Stephen at Westminster. He also built an almshouse for twelve poor men and a woman, and a schoolmaster's residence at Heytesbury. The original building was destroyed in 1765, but the endowment, which was regulated by statutes drawn up by Margaret of Botreaux, wife of Hungerford's son Robert, still continues (Jackson, Anc. Statutes of Heytesbury Almshouses, Devizes, 1863). Hungerford's will is printed in Nicolas's `Testamenta Vetusta,' pp. 257-9. He left his 'best legend of the lives of the saints' to his daughter-in-law, Margaret, and a cup which John of Gaunt had used to John, viscount Beaumont.

Hungerford married first, Catherine, daughter of Thomas Peverell; and secondly, Alianore, or Eleanor, countess of Arundel, daughter of Sir John Berkeley, who survived him. By the latter he had no issue. By his first wife he was father of three sons, Walter, Robert, and Edmund. Walter was made a prisoner of war in France in 1425, was ransomed by his father for three thousand marks, was in the retinue of the Duke of Bedford in France in 1435, and died without issue. Edmund was knighted by Henry VI after the battle of Verneuil on Whit-Sunday 1426 (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 1), married Margaret, daughter and coheiress of Edward Burnell, and by her had two sons, Thomas, ancestor of the Hungerfords of Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, of the Hungerfords of Windrush, Oxfordshire, and the Hungerfords of Black Bourton, Oxfordshire; and Edward, ancestor of the Hungerfords of Cadenham, Wiltshire.

Robert Hungerford, Baron Hungerford (1409–1459), the second but eldest surviving son of Walter, lord Hungerford, served in the French wars, and was summoned to parliament as Baron Hungerford from 5 Sept. 1450 to 26 May 1455. He died 14 May 1459, and in accordance with his will was buried in Salisbury Cathedral (Nicolas Testamenta Vet. p. 294). His son Robert, lord Moleyns and Hungerford (1431-1464), is noticed separately. Through his mother (Catherine Peverell) and his wife Margaret, the wealthy heiress of William, lord Botreaux, he added very largely to the landed property of his family in Cornwall (Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 357). His wife lived till 7 Feb. 1478, surviving all her descendants, excepting a great-granddaughter, Mary [see under Hungerford, Robert, 1431-1461]. Her long and interesting will, dated 8 Aug. 1476, is printed in Nicolas's 'Testamenta Vetusta,' pp. 310 sq., and in Hoare's 'Modern Wiltshire, Hundred of Heytesbury.' A list of the heavy expenses she incurred in ransoming her son Robert appears in Dugdale's 'Baronage,' ii. 204 sq.

[Authorities cited; Dugdale's Baronage; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Collinson's Somerset, iii. 354; Hoare's Hungerfordiana, 1823; Maclean's Trigg Minor, i. 358 sq.; Hoare's Mod. Wiltshire, Heytesbury Hundred; Rymer's Fœdera; Stubbs's Const. Hist.; Nicolas's Battle of Agincourt, 1832; Monstrelet's Chroniques, ed. Doüet d'Arcq (Soc. de l'Hist. de France), 1862, ii. 404, iv. 93, vi. 314; Manning's Lives of the Speakers.]

S. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.162
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
259 i 13f.e. Hungerford, Sir Walter, Lord Hungerford (d. 1449): omit after the battle of Verneuil
ii 16  for 1461 read 1464