Rempston, Thomas (d.1406) (DNB00)

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REMPSTON or RAMSTON, Sir THOMAS (d. 1406), constable of the Tower, son of John Rempston, was born at Rempston, Nottinghamshire, where the family had long been settled. In 1381 he was knight of the shire of Nottingham, which he also represented in the parliaments of 1382, 1393, and 1395. In 1398 he adopted the cause of Henry, earl of Derby, who had been exiled by Richard II, and in the following year made his way to France to join the earl. He was one of the fifteen lances who embarked with Henry at Boulogne and landed at Ravenspur in July 1399. In Shakespeare's ‘Richard II’ (act ii. scene i. 298) his name is given as Sir John Ramston, probably to suit the metre, as Shakespeare's authority, Holinshed, has ‘Sir Thomas.’ On 7 Oct. he was appointed constable of the Tower, and in this capacity had custody of Richard II; he was present at Richard's abdication, and was one of the witnesses to the form of resignation signed by the king (Capgrave, De Illustr. Henricis, p. 106). In February 1400 he was on a commission to inquire into treasons in London and the neighbourhood, and shortly after was appointed admiral of the fleet from the Thames eastwards; in August he was made a knight of the garter, and about the same time steward of the king's household. In 1401 he was made admiral of the fleet from the Thames westwards, and was placed on a commission to deal with infractions of the truce with France, and to settle the question of the still unpaid ransom of the late King John. He was summoned to the great council held in that year. In December 1402 he was negotiating with the Duke of Orleans, and, after prolonged negotiations, concluded a treaty with the French at Lüllingen on 17 June 1403. In 1404–5 he was made a member of the privy council, and was recommended by parliament to Henry IV as one of those whose services merited special recognition; in the same year he was employed on a mission to the Duke of Burgundy. Early in 1406 he was captured by French pirates while crossing the Thames from Queenborough to Essex, but was soon released; in the same year he was vice-chamberlain to the king. He was drowned in the Thames, close to the Tower, on 31 Oct. 1406.

Rempston was the founder of his family's fortunes; he acquired extensive property in Nottinghamshire, including the manor of Bingham, which he made his seat. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Simon Leeke, and widow of Sir Godfrey Foljambe; by her he had several children, of whom Thomas [q. v.] is separately noticed.

[Rolls of Parl. vol. iii.; Cal. Rot. Pat. pp. 236 b, 244; Rymer's Fœdera, orig. ed. vol. viii. passim; Cal. Doc. relating to Scotland, vol. iv. passim; Nicholas's Proc. Privy Council, i. 159, 238, 244; Palgrave's Antient Kalendars, ii. 48–49; Beltz's Memorials of the Garter, p. clvi; Capgrave's De Ill. Henricis, Trokelowe's Annals, Waurin's Croniques (all in Rolls Ser.); Monk of Evesham, ed. Hearne, p. 51; Creton's Cronique de la Traïson et Mort, ed. Williams, pp. 215, 289; Plumpton Corr. (Camden Soc.), p. xxvii; Raine's Test. Ebor. (Surtees Soc.), ii. 224 n.; Holinshed, ii. 852, iii. 43; Hall's Chron. p. 36; Fabyan's Chron. p. 572; Leland's Collect. ii. 485; Thoroton's Nottinghamshire, i. 58, 60–1; Wylie's Henry IV. i. 66, 108, 382, ii. 409, 480, &c.; Brown's Nottinghamshire Worthies.]

A. F. P.