Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Multon, Thomas de

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MULTON or MULETON, THOMAS de (d. 1240?), justiciar, was son of Lambert de Multon, and grandson of Thomas de Multon, who occur in the reigns of Henry I and Henry II as holding land in Lincolnshire. He is first mentioned as receiving the grant of a market at Flete in 1205 (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 20). In 1206 he was sheriff of Lincolnshire, an office which he held till 1208, but having offended the king he was on 21 July 1208 ordered to be imprisoned in Rochester Castle till he had discharged his debt to the crown. He accompanied John to Ireland in June 1210, and on 25 Feb. 1213 was appointed to investigate the extortion of the sheriffs of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire (Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 97), and in 1214 to inquire into the losses of the church in the bishopric of Lincoln during the interdict (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 164–6). As a northern lord he sided with the barons in 1215, and was one of the confederates at Stamford; in consequence he was one of those excommunicated by the pope in 1216. Before this Multon had been taken prisoner by the king at Rochester on 30 Nov. 1215, and placed in the custody of Peter de Mauley at Corfe. His lands were entrusted to Earl Ranulf of Chester, and, despite the efforts of his sons, he was not restored to liberty till 29 July 1217, when he made his peace with the crown (ib. i. 317b). In 1214 he had received the custody of the daughters of Richard de Lucy of Egremont, and in 1218 married Lucy's widow, Ada, daughter of Hugh de Moreville. For this marriage he had to pay a heavy fine, but obtained in consequence the office of forester of Cumberland. In 1219 he was one of the justices-itinerant for Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire, and during the next year for Yorkshire and Northumberland (ib. i. 434b). After 1224 he sat continually as a justice at Westminster. Fines were acknowledged before him from Easter 1224 to Easter 1236, and he was a justice-itinerant in various counties up to August 1234 (cf. ib. ii. 77 b, 151 b, 202, 205 b, 208 b, 213). In 1235–6 Multon occurs as 'Justiciarius de Banco,' and Dugdale, interpreting this as one of the justices of the common pleas, further suggests that he was 'capitalis.' Foss, however, does not consider that the term means more than a justice of the royal court, and rejects Dugdale's further suggestion. Multon was justice-itinerant at Dunstable in June 1224 with Henry de Braybroc [q. v.], when Falkes de Breauté, incensed at their action against him, endeavoured to seize them. Multon, more fortunate than his colleague, made good his escape. He was a witness to the confirmation of Magna Charta in 1225. In 1229 he tried a suit between the priory and town of Dunstable (Ann. Mon. iii. 122). From 1233 to 1236 he was sheriff of Cumberland. According to Matthew Paris (iv. 49) Multon died in 1240, but the 'Dunstable Annals' (Ann. Mon. iii. 144) give the date as 1236. Matthew Paris describes him as having been in his youth a bold soldier, but in his later years a very wealthy man and learned lawyer. It is implied that he was not always scrupulous in the means of acquiring wealth, for he is said to have done much injury to the abbey of Croyland, of which he was a neighbour (Matt. Paris, iv. 49). He was also defendant in a suit of novel disseisin with the abbot of Swineshead (Cal. Rot. Claus. ii. 124). He was, however, a benefactor of the monks of Calder and Holcotram, and of the hospital of St. Leonard, in Skirbec, Lincolnshire.

Multon married, first, a daughter of Richard Delfliet, by whom he had three sons Alan, who was taken prisoner with him at Rochester, Lambert, and Thomas, a clerk. Lambert and Alan married Amabel and Alice de Luci, their father's wards. Lambert acquired with his wife the barony of Egremont; his grandson Thomas was summoned to parliament from 1300 to 1321, and fought at Caerlaverock in 1300; on the death of John de Multon, Thomas's son, in 1334 the title fell into abeyance. Alan's son Thomas took his mother's name, and was ancestor of the Lucies of Cockermouth. By Multon's second wife he had a daughter Julian, who married Robert le Vavasour, and a son Thomas, who, by his marriage with Maud, daughter of Hubert de Vaux, acquired the barony of Gillesland. Thomas Multon, third baron of Gillesland, was summoned to parliament from 1297 till his death in 1313. Through his daughter Margaret the barony passed to Ralph Dacre; from this marriage sprang the titles of Baron Dacre held by Viscount Hampden, and Baron Dacre of Gillesland held by the Earl of Carlisle.

[Matthew Paris; Annales Monastici; Cal. of Close and Patent Rolls; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 567-9; Foss's Judges, ii. 415-19; Nicolas's Song of Caerlaverock, p. 109.]

C. L. K.