1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Scrope

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SCROPE, the name of an old English family of Norman origin. Sir William le Scrope, of Bolton, in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, had two sons, Henry (d. 1336) and Geoffrey (d. 1340), both of whom were in succession chief justice of the king's bench and prominent supporters of the court in the reign of Edward II. Henry was father of Richard le Scrope, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton (c. 1327–1403), chancellor of England, an active adherent of John of Gaunt. Having been knight of the shire of Yorkshire in the parliament of 1364, he was summoned to the upper house as a baron by writ in 1371, when he was made treasurer and keeper of the great seal. In 1378 Lord Scrope became chancellor, in which office he attempted to curb the extravagance of Richard II., an offence for which he was deprived of office in 1382. Scrope engaged in several disputes with regard to his armorial bearings, the most celebrated of which was with Sir Richard Grosvenor as to his right to the shield blazoned “Azure, a bend or,” which a court of chivalry decided in his favour after a controversy extending over four years. Both as a soldier and a statesman Lord Scrope was a man of high attainments, his integrity and prudence being conspicuous. His eldest son William (c. 1350–1399) was created earl of Wiltshire in 1397 by Richard II., of whose evil government he was an active supporter. Wiltshire bought the sovereignty of the Isle of Man from the earl of Salisbury. In 1398 he became treasurer of England. His execution at Bristol was one of the first acts of Henry IV., and the irregular sentence of an improvised court was confirmed by that monarch's first parliament. Wiltshire's father, Lord Scrope, and his other sons were not included in the attainder, but received full pardon from Henry. Scrope, who was the builder of Bolton Castle, his principal residence, died in 1403. He was succeeded in the barony by his second son, Roger, whose descendants held it till 1630. Henry, 9th Baron Scrope of Bolton (1534–1592), was governor of Carlisle in the time of Elizabeth, and as such took charge of Mary Queen of Scots when she crossed the border in 1568; and he took her to Bolton Castle, where she remained till January 1569. He was grandfather of Emmanuel Scrope, 11th baron (1584–1630), who was created earl of Sunderland in 1627; on his death without legitimate issue in 1630 the earldom became extinct, and the immense estates of the Scropes of Bolton were divided among his illegitimate children, the chief portion passing by marriage to the marquis of Winchester, who was created duke of Bolton in 1689; to the Earl Rivers; and to John Grubham Howe, ancestor of the earls of Howe. The barony of Scrope of Bolton seems then to have become dormant; but the title might, it would appear, be claimed through the female line by the representative of Charles Jones (d. 1840) of Caton, Lancashire. From Stephen, third son of the 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton, were descended the Scropes of Castle Combe, Wiltshire, the last of whom was William Scrope (1772–1852), an artist and author, who was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott. His daughter married George Poulett Thompson (1797–1876), an eminent geologist and prolific political writer, who took the name of Scrope, and who after his wife's death sold Castle Combe, of which he wrote a history. Probably from the same branch of the family was descended Adrian Scrope, or Scroope (1601–1660), who was prominent on the parliamentarian side in the Civil War, and one of the signatories of Charles I.'s death warrant.

Sir Geoffrey Le Scrope (d. 1340), chief justice of the king's bench as mentioned above, uncle of the first Baron Scrope of Bolton, had a son Henry (1315–1391), who in 1350 was summoned to parliament by writ as Baron Scrope, the designation “of Masham” being added in the time of his grandson to distinguish the title from that held by the elder branch of the family. Henry's fourth son was Richard Le Scrope (c. 1350-1405), archbishop of York, who took part with the Percies in opposition to Henry IV., and was beheaded for treason in June 1405. Henry Le Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham (c. 1376-1415), was a favourite of Henry V., by whom he was made treasurer in 1410 and employed on diplomatic missions abroad. But in 1415 he was concerned in a conspiracy to dethrone Henry and was executed at Southampton, when his title was forfeited. It was, however, restored to his brother John in 1455; and it fell into abeyance on the death, in 1517, of Geoffrey, 11th Baron Scrope of Masham, without male heirs.

See Sir N. H. Nicolas, The Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy (2 vols., London, 1832), containing much detailed information about the various branches of the Scrope family; J. H. Wylie, History of England under Henry IV. (4 vols., London, 1884-1898); Edward Foss, The Judges of England (9 vols., London, 1848-1864); G. P. Scrope, History of the Manor and Ancient Barony of Castle Combe, Wills (London, 1852); G. E. C., Complete Peerage, vol. vii. (London, 1896). (R. J. M.)