Flower, Roger (DNB00)

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FLOWER, ROGER (d. 1428?), speaker of the House of Commons, son of William Flower, sheriff of Rutland in 1386-7, by Elena his wife, was returned to parliament for the county of Rutland in 1396-7, again in 1399, 1402, 1404, 1413-14. He was one of the feoffees of the Brigitine nunnery founded by Henry V in 1414. Still representing Rutland county he was chosen speaker four times—in 1416, 1417, 1419, and 1422—a distinction hitherto unprecedented except in the case of Thomas Chaucer [q. v.] From his holograph will (dated 15 April 1424, proved 20 June 1428) it is clear that he was a lawyer. Not only is it plainly the composition of one well versed in legal technicalities, but it contains a bequest of chattels 'in mine inn' in London, where the inn referred to can only be one of the Inns of Court. From this document it appears that besides his ancestral manor of Okeham or Oakham in Rutlandshire, he held estates in Leicestershire; that he had four sons, Robert, Roger, John, and William, and two daughters, Anneys and Joan, the latter being married to Sir Henry Plesyngton of Burley in Rutland, grandson of Sir Robert Plesyngton [q. v.], chief baron of the exchequer in the reign of Richard II, and that his wife, Cecile, daughter of Anneys Sainon, was then living. The latter was his second wife, his first wife being Catherine, daughter and heiress of William Dalby of Exeter, founder of certain almshouses mentioned in the will, and of which Flower seems to have been the patron. The probate of the will being dated 20 June 1428, Flower presumably died in that year. The manor of Okeham was in the possession of Sir Richard Flower, a descendant, who died in 1523. Sir William Flower, Sir Richard's great-great-grandson, distinguished himself during the Irish rebellion of 1641, and was grandfather of William, created Baron of Castle Durrow (Irish peerage) in 1733, whose son Henry was created, in 1751, Viscount Ashbrook (Irish peerage), a title still extant.

[Wright's Rutland, i. 29, 136; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament; Rot. Parl. iv. 95 a, 107 a, 117 a, 170 a; The Fifty Earliest English Wills (Early English Text Soc.), 55-64; Manning's Speakers, 62.]

J. M. R.