Morley, Robert de (DNB00)

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MORLEY, ROBERT de, second Baron Morley (1296?–1360), born about 1296, was eldest son of William, first baron Morley, who served with distinction in the Scottish wars, and was summoned to parliament as baron from 29 Dec. 1299 to 3 Oct. 1306 (Parl. Writs). Robert was first summoned to parliament in 1317, when he probably came of age. He appears to have joined Lancaster in his opposition to the king (cf. Ryner, ii. i. passim). On 21 Dec. 1324 he was summoned to serve in Gascony, but probably never went. In October 1326 he was at Bristol, when Prince Edward was declared 'guardian of the realm' (cf. Stubbs, ii. 375; Rymer, i. ii. 646). In April 1327 he was summoned to serve in Scotland. In right of his wife, daughter of William, lord Marshal, of Hingham, Norfolk, Morley had claims to the hereditary marshalship of Ireland, whither he was sent on 15 Oct. 1331. In March 1332-3 he was ordered to oppose the Scottish invasion. In August 1336 he was summoned to consult about the negotiations with Bruce and the king of France. In December 1338 he was commissioned to guard Yarmouth, Norfolk, from the French ships, and soon after was appointed admiral of the fleet from the Thames to Berwick. In that capacity, after having attempted to dissuade Edward from crossing from Orwell on 22 June (Murimuth, p. 311), he commanded at the battle of Sluys on 24 June 1340, when, breaking the first, second, and third lines of the French fleet, he won the greatest naval victory the English had yet achieved (Rymer; Eulog. Historiarum, iii. 205; Chronicles of Edward I and Edward II, ii. 293). Soon after he sailed to Normandy and burnt eighty of the French ships and two villages; on 10 April 1341 he was transferred to the command of the fleet from the Thames westward (Rymer, i. ii. 1156). In the same year he received various grants in reward for his services (ib.), and in November set out with Robert d'Artois and Sir Walter de Manny [q. v.] on the expedition to Brittany. In 1343 he held a tournament in Smithfield (Murimuth, p. 230); and on 25 Aug. 1346 was present at the battle of Crecy. On 31 March 1347 he was summoned to Calais, which Edward was then besieging, and dispersed the French victualling ships which attempted to enter the harbour. He was reappointed admiral of the fleet from the Thames westward in 1348 and again in 1354. In 1355 he received the constableship of the Tower, and in 1359 was again serving in the French wars. He died in March 1360.

Morley, who 'was one of the most famous warriors of the period,' married, first, Hawyse (b. 1301), daughter of William, lord Marshal, and sister and heiress of John, lord Marshal (d. 1317), of Hingham. She brought Morley estates in Norfolk, Essex, and elsewhere, besides the claim to the hereditary marshalship of Ireland. By her Morley had a son William, who succeeded him as third Baron Morley, being thirty, or according to another inquisition forty, years old at his father's death. He served in the French wars, was knighted in 1356, and died in 1379, having married Cicely, daughter of Thomas, lord Bardolf. His son and heir, Thomas (1354-1416), was in 1416 captain-general of all the English forces in France. The barony passed into the Parker family by the marriage of a descendant, Alice, baroness Morley, with Sir William Parker, grandfather of Henry Parker, lord Morley [q. v.], the poet.

Morley married, secondly, Joan, daughter of Sir Peter de Tyes; his son by her, Robert, served in the French wars, and his line became extinct with his son Thomas, whose daughter and heiress married Sir Geoffrey Ratcliffe.

[Rymer's Fœdera, passim; Dugdale's Baronage; Cal. Rotul. Parl.; Rolls of Parl. ii. 27 a, &c.; Eulogium Historiarum, ii. 205; Murimuth, passim; Chronicles of Edward I and Edward II, i. 353, ii. 293; Froissart, ed. Lettenhove, ii. 142, vi. 497, xxii. 244; Barnes's Hist, of Reign of Edward III, pp. 125, 181, 471; Burke's Extinct Peerage; G. E. C.'s Peerage; Blomefield's Norfolk, passim; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, passim.]

A. F. P.