Maltravers, John (DNB00)

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MALTRAVERS, JOHN, Baron Maltravers (1290?–1365), was son of Sir John Maltravers (1266–1343?) of Lytchett Matravers, Dorset, who was himself son of John Maltravers (d. 1296), and a descendant of Hugh Maltravers, who held lands at Lytchett in 1086. The father was knighted with Edward, prince of Wales, on 12 May 1306; was a conservator of the peace for Dorset in 1307, 1308, and 1314; served in Scotland on various occasions between 1314 and 1322, and was summoned to go to Ireland in February 1317 to resist Edward Bruce, and in 1325 for service in Guienne. He was again summoned for service in Scotland in 1327 and 1331, and in 1338 had orders to guard his manors near the sea against invasion. The statement that he was ever summoned to parliament appears to be inaccurate. He died between 7 Sept. 1342 and 2 July 1344, having married (1) Alianor before 1292, and (2) Joan, daughter of Sir Walter Foliot. John was his son by his first wife. Dugdale confuses father and son.

John Maltravers the younger was born about 1290, and was knighted on the same occasion as his father, 12 May 1306. He is said to have been taken prisoner at Bannockburn in 1314. On 20 Oct. 1318 he was chosen knight of the shire for Dorset. He seems to have sided with Thomas, earl of Lancaster [see Thomas], and was throughout his early career an intimate associate of Roger Mortimer, earl of March (d. 1330) [q. v.] In September 1321 he received pardon for felonies committed in pursuit of the Despensers, but in the following December is described as the king's enemy (Part. Writs, i. 192, ii. 165, 172). In the spring of 1322 he was in arms against the king, and attacked and burnt the town of Bridgnorth. He was present at the battle of Boroughbridge on 16 March, and after the execution of Earl Thomas fled over sea (ib. ii. 174-5, 201). He would appear to have come back with Mortimer and the queen in October 1326, for he received restitution of his lands on 17 Feb. 1327, and on 27 March had a grant out of the lands of Hugh Despenser. On 3 April he was appointed one of the keepers of the deposed king, the other being Thomas Berkeley. Murimuth and Baker say that while Berkeley acted with humanity, Maltravers treated his prisoner with much harshness. Murimuth says that Edward was killed by order of Maltravers and Thomas Gourney [see under Gourney, Sir Matthew], but from the circumstance that in 1330 Maltravers was condemned, not for this but for another crime, it would appear that he was not directly responsible for Edward's death. Edward was murdered on 21 Sept. 1327. Maltravers and Berkeley remained in charge of the body till its burial at Gloucester on 21 Oct. (see their accounts in Archæologia, 1. 223-6).

During the next few years Maltravers was employed on frequent commissions of oyer and terminer, the most important occasion being in February 1329, when, with Oliver de Ingham [q. v.] and others, he was appointed to try those who had supported Henry, earl of Lancaster [see Henry], in his intended rising at Bedford (Chron. Edward I and II, i. 243). He was also on several occasions a justice in eyre for the forests (cf. Cal. Pat. Rolls of Edward III), and was in 1329 made keeper of the forests south of Trent. On 4 April 1329 the pardon granted to him two years previously was confirmed, in consideration of his services to Queen Isabella and the king at home and abroad. In May he accompanied the young king to France. He is on this occasion spoken of as seneschal or steward, and next year he appears as steward of the royal household (ib. p. 517). About the same time he had a grant of the forfeited lands of John Gifford of Brimsfield. Maltravers was actively concerned in the circumstances which led to the death of Edmund, earl of Kent [see Edmund], in March 1330, and was on the commission appointed for the discovery of his adherents (ib. p. 556). On 5 June 1330 he was summoned to parliament as Baron Maltravers; he was already described as 'John Maltravers, baron,' in November 1329 (ib. p. 477). On 24 Sept. he was appointed constable of Corfe Castle, but on the fall of Mortimer shortly afterwards, Maltravers, like the other supporters of the queen-mother and her paramour, was disgraced. In the parliament held in November he was condemned to death as a traitor on account of his share in the death of the Earl of Kent. On 3 Dec. orders were given for his arrest, to prevent his going abroad (Fœdera, ii. 801), but he managed to escape to Germany, and lived there and elsewhere in Europe for many years (Murimuth, p. 54). He would appear to have chiefly spent his time in Flanders, where he seems to have acquired considerable wealth and sufficient influence to make it worth the while of Philip of France to offer him a large bribe for his services. But, apparently during the troubles which attended the death of Jacob van Artevelde, he lost all his goods and suffered much oppression. When Edward III came to Flanders in July 1345, Maltravers met him at Swyn, and petitioned for leave to return to England, pleading that he had been condemned unheard. In consideration of the great service he had done the king in Flanders, he was granted the royal protection on 5 Aug., and allowed to return to England (Fœdera, iii. 56; Rolls of Parl. ii. 173 a). The confirmation of his pardon was delayed owing to his employment in 1346 on urgent business abroad, but the protection was renewed on 28 Dec. 1347 (Fœdera, iii. 146). In June 1348 he was sent on a mission to the commonalties of Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres (ib. iii. 162). Final restitution of his honour and lands was not made till 8 Feb. 1352 (Rolls of Parl. ii. 243). He was governor of the Channel Islands in 1351. A John Maltravers fought at Crecy and Poitiers, but there were other persons of the same name (e.g. his own son, and a cousin, Sir John Maltravers of Crowell), and it is not clear which is meant. Maltravers died on 16 Feb. 1365, and was buried at Lytchett.

Maltravers married (1) Ela or Eva, daughter of Maurice, lord Berkeley, and sister of the keeper of Edward II, and (2) Agnes, daughter of Sir William Bereford. Maltravers's second wife had previously married both Sir John de Argentine (d. 1318) and Sir John de Nerford (d. 1329). She died after 1374, and was buried at Greyfriars, London (Coll. Top. et Gen.} By his first wife he had a son John, who died 13 Oct. 1350 (1360 according to Nicolas), leaving by his wife Wensliana a son Henry and two daughters, Joan and Eleanor. Henry Maltravers died before his grandfather, at whose death the barony fell into abeyance, between his granddaughters, Joan, who was twice married but left no children, and Eleanor, who married John Fitzalan, second son of Richard, third earl of Arundel. John Fitzalan, her grandson, succeeded as sixth earl of Arundel in 1415, and Thomas, son and heir of William, ninth earl, sat in parliament during his father's life, from 1471 to 1488, as Baron Maltravers. Mary, daughter of the twelfth earl, carried the title to Philip Howard, fourth duke of Norfolk. In 1628 the barony of Maltravers was by act of parliament annexed to the earldom of Arundel, and the title is consequently still held by the Duke of Norfolk.

Maltravers re-founded in 1351 the hospital of Bowes at St. Peter's Port in Guernsey (Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. 711). His name is usually given by contemporary writers as Mautravers or Matravers.

[Murimuth's Chronicle (Rolls Ser.); Baker's Chronicle, ed. E. M. Thompson; Rolls of Parliament; Parliamentary Writs; Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward III, 1327-30; Rymer's Fœdera (Record edit.); Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 101; Hutchins's Dorset, ii. 315-21; Collectanea Top. et Gen. v. 150-4; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, pp. 308-9, ed. Courthope.]

C. L. K.