Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trussell, William

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TRUSSELL or TRUSSEL, WILLIAM, sometimes styled Baron Trussell (fl. 1330), was son of Edmund Trussel of Peatling in Leicestershire and Cubblesdon in Staffordshire (Cal. Rot. Chart. Rec. Comm. p. 166). He was pardoned as one of the adherents of Thomas of Lancaster on 1 Nov. 1318, and was returned as knight of the shire for Northampton in 1319. Both he and his son were in arms with Thomas of Lancaster against the king at Boroughbridge in March 1322. He is said to have fled beyond seas after Lancaster's overthrow (French Chronicle of London, Camden Soc. p. 44), but he was still in Somerset with some outlaws like himself in August 1322. He escaped abroad, however, not to return until 24 Sept. 1326, when he landed with Isabella at Harwich. On 27 Oct. 1326 the elder Hugh le Despenser [q. v.] was tried before him at Winchester, Trussel being described as ‘justiciarius ad hoc deputatus,’ and sentenced by him to be hanged, the younger Despenser suffering a like fate on 24 Nov. 1326. Trussel delivered judgment in a long speech full of accusations of a very unjudicial character (Annales Paulini, i. 314, 317; Gesta Edwardi II, pp. 87–9).

On Monday, 26 Jan. 1327, Trussel, acting as procurator of the whole parliament, solemnly renounced allegiance to Edward II at Berkeley. On 12 Feb. he received a commission of oyer and terminer, but on 28 Feb. was named as one of the envoys sent to the pope by King Edward to obtain the canonisation of Thomas of Lancaster (Rymer, ii. 695). Despite his absence, he seems to have held the office of escheator (Cal. Pat. Rolls, p. 27), but he probably returned to England by 18 Aug. He was appointed to another mission in March 1328 (ib. p. 250), and also in May 1330 to negotiate an alliance with the kings of Aragon, Portugal, Majorca, and Castile, but it seems likely that his departure was delayed till late in September. Part of his mission was to negotiate a marriage between Peter, the eldest son of the king of Aragon, and the king's sister Eleanor. He still continued to act occasionally as justice, but on 28 June 1331 a commission of oyer and terminer to him had to be confided to Richard de Wylughby, as he was too much occupied with other business of the king to act (ib. p. 138). On 25 June he received a hundred marks for his expenses while thus engaged (ib. p. 150). On 15 July 1331 he received power with John Darcy to treat for a marriage between Edward, the king's son, and the daughter of the king of France. On 18 Oct. Edward granted him the lordship of Bergues in Flanders for his services. In February 1332 he and his son William were sent on the king's service to the king of France and the court of Rome, receiving 60l. from the Bardi for the expenses (Pat. Rolls, pp. 233, 255). On 24 Feb. 1333 he and three others received power to treat with Ralph, count of Eu, for a marriage between his daughter Joan and John, earl of Cornwall (ib. p. 413), and on 26 March 1334 he and others received power to renew the negotiations commenced at Montreuil, Agen, and elsewhere (Rymer, ii. 881). On 16 July 1334 he was appointed to arrange a marriage with the daughter of the lord of Lara for John of Cornwall (Cal. Pat. Rolls, p. 564), and on 2 Aug. to receive the homage of the Count of Savoy (Rymer, ii. 891). On 28 March 1335 the king appointed him to carry out his orders to prevent the members of the university of Oxford retiring for study to Stamford (ib. p. 903). On 6 July 1336 he was appointed one of an embassy to treat with Philip of France for a joint expedition to the Holy Land, and to arrange an interview between the two kings of France (ib. p. 941). On 13 April 1337 he went with five others to treat with the Count of Flanders and the cities of Bruges, Ghent, and Ypres. He was one of the envoys appointed to treat for peace with France on 13 April 1343, May 1343 at Rome, and to treat with Flanders in July of the same year; in February 1345 for a marriage of one of the king's daughters with the son of the king of Castile; and in the same year one of the counsellors of the king's son Lionel (ib. iii. 50). He was summoned to a council which was not a regular parliament on 25 Feb. 1341–2, and he is not therefore reckoned a peer (G. E. C[okayne], Complete Peerage, vi. 432); neither his son nor any of his descendants was ever summoned to parliament. It is quite uncertain whether it was he or his son who was one of those appointed to try the earls of Monteith and Fife, who were taken in the battle of Neville's Cross, for rebellion. The date of his death is also uncertain. Stow (Survey, ed. Strype, bk. vi. p. 21) mentions the monument of ‘Sir William Trussel, kt., speaker to the House of Commons at the deposing of King Edward the Second,’ in St. Michael's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. Dean Stanley (Memorials, p. 178 n.) says he died in 1364, but inconsistently identifies him with William Trussell who was speaker in 1366 (Rot. Parl. 1369). He founded in 1337 at Shottesbrooke in Berkshire a college for a warden and five priests (Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. 1447).

The elder Trussel had a son William whose biography is difficult to disentangle from that of his father. It must have been the son who had to flee the country while Roger Mortimer remained in power (1327–1330), as the father acted as ambassador, and seems to have retained his escheatorship between the failure of Henry of Lancaster's movement of insurrection at the end of 1328 and the fall of Mortimer in October 1330. It is also probable that it was the son who was admiral of the fleet west and north of the Thames in 1339 and 1343.

[The chronicles collected in Stubbs's Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, and Murimuth, Knighton, and Robert of Reading (Flores Historiarum, iii.), afford many indications, but the most important sources are the Rolls of Parliament, Parliamentary Writs, Rymer's Fœdera, and the Cal. of the Charter Rolls (Record Comm.), and the Calendars of the Close Rolls, 1307–23, 1327–30, and Patent Rolls, 1327–34, published by order of the master of the rolls; Cal. Inq. post mortem, ii. 262; Dugdale's Baronage of England, ii. 141, 142, and Foss's Judges of England.]

W. E. R.