Poynings, Michael de (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 46
Poynings, Michael de

by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford
The first Lord Poynings, according to the ODNB.

POYNINGS or PONYNGS, MICHAEL de, second Baron Poynings (1317–1369), was eldest son of Thomas, first baron, by Agnes, daughter and coheiress of Richard de Rokesle. The family had been settled at Poynings, Sussex, as early as the reign of Stephen, and Michael's grandfather, Michael de Poynings (d. 1316), received a summons to parliament on 8 June 1294; but it was not renewed, and it does not appear that it can be regarded as constituting a regular summons to parliament (Nicolas, Historic Peerage, pp. 117–18, 389). His son Thomas was, however, summoned on 23 April 1337. The latter was one of the guardians of the sea-coast of Sussex on 1 April 1338, and on 22 June 1339 one of the witnesses to the treaty with Brabant (Fœdera, ii. 1025, 1083). He was killed in the assault of Hunycourt in Vermandois on 10 Oct. 1339 (Hemingburgh, i. 341), though it is commonly stated that he was killed in the sea-fight off Sluys on 24 June 1340 (Le Baker, ed. Thompson, p. 243; Barnes, Hist. Edward III, p. 183). He left three sons—Michael, Richard, and Luke. The last-named married Isabella, sister and coheiress of Edmund, lord St. John of Basing, and was summoned to parliament in 1368, probably in right of his wife, as Baron St. John.

Michael de Poynings was twenty-two years of age when he succeeded his father as second baron in 1339. He served in Flanders in 1339 and 1340, and on 4 Nov. 1341 was summoned for service in the Scots war (Fœdera, ii. 1181, 1184). On 4 Oct. 1342 he is mentioned as being with the king at Sandwich, when on his way to Brittany (ib. ii. 1212). He again served in France in 1345, and in 1346 took part in the campaign of Crécy (Barnes, Hist. Edward III, pp. 320, 354). In 1351, and again in 1352, he was one of the guardians of the sea-coast of Sussex (Fœdera, iii. 218, 245). He was employed in the French expedition of the king in 1355, and in the campaign of Poitiers in the following year. In August 1359, together with his brothers Richard and Luke, he joined in the great invasion of France, and was still abroad in April 1360 (ib. iii. 445, 483). On 22 June 1362 he was one of the signatories to the treaty with the king of Castile (ib. iii. 657). Poynings died on 15 March 1369. He had been summoned to parliament from 25 Feb. 1342. By his wife Joan, widow of Sir John de Molyns, who must be distinct from Sir John de Molines or Moleyns (d. 1365?) [q. v.] he had two sons—Thomas and Richard—and four daughters. Of the latter, Mary married Sir Arnold Savage [q. v.] Joan de Poynings died on 11 May 1369, and was buried with her husband at Poynings, where the existing church was erected in accordance with their wills.

Robert de Poynings, fifth Baron Poynings (1380–1446), Michael's grandson, and son of Richard de Poynings, fourth baron, was born on 30 Nov. 1380. He was summoned to parliament in 1404, is several times mentioned as attending the council under Henry IV (Nicolas, Proc. Privy Council, ii. 7, 99, 156), and served in the French wars during the reigns of that king and his successors. In 1420 he had custody of the Duke of Bourbon (Devon, Issues of Exchequer, p. 363). He was present at the battles of Crevant in July 1423 and Verneuil on 16 Aug. 1424, and died on 2 Oct. 1446. By his first wife, Isabella, daughter of Reginald, lord Grey of Ruthin—to whom Richard II gave a ring in 1397 (ib. p. 265)—he had three sons. Richard, the eldest, was M.P. for Sussex in 1428, but died in 1430 (Testamenta Vetusta, p. 217), leaving a daughter Eleanor, who married Henry Percy, afterwards third earl of Northumberland [see under Percy, Henry, second Earl of Northumberland]. Robert de Poynings, second son of the fifth baron, was born in November 1419. He was concerned in Jack Cade's rebellion, and was killed at the second battle of St. Albans on 17 Feb. 1461 (Paston Letters, i. 133, ii. 329 et passim). By his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Paston [q. v.], he was father of Sir Edward Poynings [q. v.] The wills of several of the chief members of the Poynings family are summarised in Nicolas's ‘Testamenta Vetusta.’ The Poynings' arms were barry of six, or and verte, a bendlet gules.

[Sussex Archæological Collections, xv. 5–18, with a full genealogical table; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 133–6; Palgrave's Parliamentary Writs, iv. 1306–7; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, vi. 299; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, ed. Courthope; Testamenta Vetusta, pp. 73, 82, 92, 122, 217; authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.