Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Plesyngton, Robert de

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PLESYNGTON, Sir ROBERT de (d. 1393), chief baron of the exchequer, was no doubt a member of the Lancashire family which derived its name from Pleasington, near Blackburn, and was perhaps a cousin of the first of that name, who owned Dimples in Garstang, Lancashire, where the family survived until the rebellion of 1715 (Chetham Soc. Publ. lxxxi. 61, xcv. 75, cv. 232). Sir Robert himself would appear to have acquired lands in Rutland, though he had charge of certain property at Lancaster in 1376. In early life he probably held office in the exchequer, and on 6 Dec. 1380 was appointed chief baron. He is mentioned as levying a fine in 1382–3 (Surrey Fines, Surrey Archæol. Soc.) In November 1383 he pleaded in parliament for confirmation of a pardon lately granted him (Rolls of Parliament, iii. 164 b). Dugdale, through an error, thought that Plesyngton was removed from the bench on 27 June 1383, but this really took place on 5 Nov. 1386. The ostensible reasons for his removal were that he prevented the king from receiving certain fines for marriage, and refused to hear apprentices and others of the law, telling them they knew not what they said, and did more harm than good to their clients, so that pleaders did not dare appear before him against sheriff's escheators, &c., and the king lost many fines (Foss; Deputy-Keeper Publ. Rec. 9th Rep. p. 244). The true reason would, however, appear to be that he was closely attached to the party of Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester [q. v.], and had so incurred the king's enmity. In the parliament of 1387 Plesyngton was spokesman for the Duke of Gloucester and other lords appellant, but he was not restored to his office. He died on 27 Sept. 1393 (Chetham Soc. Publ. cv. 232). But nevertheless, on the fall of Gloucester in September 1397, Plesyngton was condemned for his support of the duke, and his property was declared forfeit; this sentence was reversed in the first parliament of Henry IV in 1399 (Rolls of Parliament, iii. 384, 425, 450). By his wife Agnes he had a son, Sir Robert de Plesyngton, who was twenty-four years of age in 1393, and represented Rutland in the parliament of January 1397 (Return of Members of Parliament, i. 252). This Robert had two sons, Henry and John; his male line became extinct in William, son of Henry. John de Plesyngton was ancestor in the female line of the families of Flowers of Whitwell, Rutland, Stavely of Nottinghamshire, and Sapcott of Burleigh (Visitation of Rutland, pp. 29–30, Harleian Society).

[Foss's Judges of England, iv. 67–70; Bridge's Northamptonshire, ii. 505; Wright's History of Rutland, p. 29; Abram's History of Blackburn, p. 612; other authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.