Molines, John de (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38
Molines, John de

by Albert Frederick Pollard
Sir John Moleyns in the ODNB.

MOLINES, MOLYNS, or MOLEYNS, Sir JOHN de (d. 1362?), soldier, son of Vincent de Molines, who was returned to parliament as knight of the shire for Southampton in 1301 (Parl. Writs, i. 471), and his wife, Isabella (Dugdale, Baronage, ii. 147), is said to have been descended from a Robert de Molines of Molines in the Bourbonnais, who came into England in the time of Henry I, and was probably connected with the Molines or Molyneux of Sefton, Lancashire, who traced their origin to the same town [see Molyneux, Adam de]. John de Molines appears to have been in the service of the chancellor in 1325 (Rymer, Fœdera, II. i. 164), and was perhaps a clerk in chancery. In 1329 he was sent abroad on some mission with William de Montacute [q. v.], afterwards first earl of Salisbury, in whose service he was. Both had returned in 1330, and in October were employed to penetrate Nottingham Castle and arrest Roger Mortimer, first earl of March [q. v.] (Lingard, iii. 49 ; Stubbs, ii. 390 ; Dugdale, ii. 145). Molines was formally pardoned for killing one of Mortimer's attendants, and during the next few years Molines received numerous grants from Edward III, chiefly of manors and seignorial rights (cf. Cal Inquisitionum post Mortem; Rymer, Fœdera ; Dugdale, Baronage, passim ; and especially Cal. Rot. Pat. in Turri Londin. i. 113-39, where nearly every page contains some grant to Molines) . He had previously acquired Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, by his marriage with Egidia, cousin and heir of Margaret, daughter of Robert Poges of Stoke Poges, and her husband, John Mauduit of Somerford, Wiltshire, and his favour with the king enabled him to 'multiply his territorial possessions to an enormous and dangerous extent' (Lipscomb, Buckinghamshire, passim). In 1335 he received pardon for entertaining John Mautravers, lately banished, Thomas de Berkeley, and others. In the same year he is spoken of as 'valettus' to the king, and received lands in the manors of Datchet and Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, for services to the king and to Montacute (Cal. Rot. Pat. in Turri Londin. i. 123 b ; Abbreviatio Rot. Orig. ii. 65), and the king granted him the manor of Ludgershall, forfeited by Hugh le Despenser the elder (1262-1326) [q. v.] During the next two years Molines was serving under Montacute in the Scottish wars, for which in 1338 he received 220/. 10s. Id. as wages and compensation for the horses he had lost. In 1337 he is again spoken of as 'valettus' to the king, and was treasurer of the king's chamber, in which capacity, perhaps, he was commissioned to seize all the Lombard merchants in London 'exceptis illis qui sunt de societatibus Bardorum et Peruch' and hand them over to Montacute, governor of the Tower (Abbreviatio, ii. 116). On 1 July he was commissioned to seize the goods of the French king (Rymer, n. ii. 982) ; before the end of the year was sent on a mission to Flanders in connection with the negotiations with the Flemish princes and burghers, and was made overseer of certain royal castles and lands in the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, and Yorkshire (Abbreviatio, ii. 118). In 1338 he received the custody of the king's hawks and other birds and numerous other grants (ib. passim), was created a knight-banneret, and employed in negotiating an alliance with the Duke of Brabant. In November he was sent on a similar mission to the German nobles.

In 1340 he was one of those who undertook to raise wools for the king's aid ; but the supplies which reached Edward were quite insufficient. The king was compelled to raise the siege of Tournay, returned suddenly to London on 30 Nov., and arresting Stratford, to whose party Molines may have belonged, and the chief treasury officials, including Molines, imprisoned them in the Tower (Stubbs, ii. 402 ; Cal. Rot. Pat. in Turri Londin. I. i. 139 b ; Rolls of Parl. ii. 119 a ; Le Baker, Chron., ed. Maunde Thompson, p. 72 ; Year-books of Edward III, Rolls Ser. 1341, pp. 138-46 ; Dugdale, ii. 146). Molines was apprehended by Montacute, but escaped from the Tower, and apparently refused to appear before the king's justices. For this l rebellion ' his lands were forfeited. In 1345, however, he was pardoned, and his lands were gradually restored to him, with numerous additional grants. On 18 Sept. 1346 he was directed, with all the men-at-arms and archers he could muster, to proceed to the defence of Sandwich, then threatened by the French ; and in 1347 he was summoned as a baron to attend a council or parliament. But this summons did not entitle him to an hereditary writ, and neither his son nor his grandson received it. In the same year he was summoned to serve in the war against France (Rymer, iii. i. 120). In 1352 he became steward to Queen Philippa and overseer of her castles, and in 1353 the commons petitioned against the excessive

fines he levied; he had previously, in 1347, been accused of causing waste in Bernwood forest, and the king promised redress to the victims (Rolls of Parl. ii. 253 a). An inquiry was instituted into these ‘treasons’ (Cal. Rot. Parl. in Turri Londin. 167 b), Molines was thrown into prison, and his lands were forfeited; in 1358, however, his son William was admitted to some of them, and his wife Egidia retained others. In 1359 Molines was removed from Nottingham Castle, the scene of Mortimer's arrest, to Cambridge Castle. In 1362 he was accused of falsely indicting Robert Lambard for breaking into the queen's park (Rolls of Parl. ii. 274 b). His death took place probably in this year in Cambridge Castle, and he was buried in Stoke Poges Church, where a monument without any inscription, close to the altar, is said to be his. He was a considerable benefactor to religious foundations, especially to the canons of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, who inscribed his name in their martyrology, and to St. Frideswide's, Oxford. His wife Egidia died in 1367, seised of most of Molines's lands, which passed to his eldest son, William, who in 1355 had been in the expedition to France, was in 1379 knight of the shire for Bucks, and died in 1381, having married Margery, daughter of Edmund Bacoun. His son Richard died in 1384, and his grandson, William, was killed at Orleans in 1429, leaving an only daughter, Alianore, who married Robert Hungerford, lord Moleyns and Hungerford [q. v.]

[Lansdowne MS. 229; Cal. Rot. Pat. in Turri Londinensi, passim; Rolls of Parl. passim; Cal. Inquisitionum post Mortem; Inquisit. Nonarum; Year-books of Edward III, passim; Rymer's Fœdera, vols. ii. iii. passim; Abbreviatio Rot. Originalium, ii. passim; Cal. Rot. Chartarum et Inquisit. Ad quod Damnum, passim; Geoffrey le Baker, p. 72; Stow's Annals, p. 238; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 145–8; Monasticon, passim; White Kennett's Parochial Antiquities of Ambrosden, Burcester, &c., passim; Barnes's Edward III, pp. 47, 101, 104, 213; Sheahan's Hist. of Bucks; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, passim; A Brief Hist. of Stoke Poges; Burke's Extinct Peerage; G. E. C.'s Peerage.]

A. F. P.