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

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HANKEFORD, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1422), judge, was probably a younger brother of Sir Richard Hankeford, who held extensive estates near Bulk worthy in the parish of Buckland Brewer, Devonshire, and died in 1419-20. He was appointed king's serjeant in 1390, was present at, and a consenting party to, the proceedings of the parliament of 1397-8, which reversed the attainder of the judges who had in 1387, at the council of Nottingham, pronounced against the legality of the ordinances by which Michael de la Pole had been removed from his offices [cf. Bealknap, Sir Robert de]. On 6 May following he was appointed a justice of the common pleas. He was continued in office by Henry IV, at whose coronation he was created a knight of the Bath, and he held office during the whole of his reign. Ten days before the coronation of Henry V he was transferred to the chief justiceship of the king's bench (29 March 1413). He was one of the triers of petitions in the parliament of 1413, and is mentioned as present at a meeting of the privy council on 10 July of the same year. He lived to see the accession of Henry VI (1 Sept. 1422), by whom he was continued in office; but he died on 20 Dec. following. In one form of the legend of the committal of Prince Henry to the King's Bench prison Hankeford takes the place of Gascoigne. He is said to have caused his own death by wandering about at night in his own park at Annery Monkleigh, Devonshire, and refusing to answer when challenged by his keeper. It is, however, a suspicious fact, that Holinshed, to whom we are indebted for this story, dates the occurrence in 1470, nearly half a century after Hankeford's death. He left two sons: (1) Richard, whose daughter, Anne, became the Countess of Ormonde, and the mother of Margaret, lady of Sir William Boleyn and grandmother of Anne Boleyn; (2) John.

[Cal. Inq. P. M. iv. 44, 155; Dugdale's Chron. Ser. 54-5; Rot. Parl. iii. 358, iv. 4, 7; Nicolas's Hist, of British Knighthood, iii. vi.; Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, ii. 132; Collins 's Peerage, ed. Brydges, ix. 73; Risdon's Survey of Devon, ed. 1714, p. 81; Holinshed's Chron. ed. 1808, iii. 299-300; Bellewe's Ans du Roy Richard II, p. 207 et seq.; Year-books Henry IV to Henry VI.]

J. M. R.