Segrave, Nicholas de (d.1322) (DNB00)

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SEGRAVE, NICHOLAS de, Lord of Stowe (d. 1322), was the second son of Nicholas de Segrave, first baron Segrave [q. v.], and his wife Matilda de Lucy. He was born later than 1256, the probable birth year of his elder brother, John de Segrave, second baron Segrave [q. v.] He became active in the service of Edward I during the later years of his father's lifetime, though it is not always easy to distinguish his acts from those of his father. It is probably the younger Nicholas who appears in 1291 as warden of the castles of Dumbarton and Ayr, and as receiving fifteen shillings a day for his expenses in that capacity, besides other sums for stores and strengthening their defences (Cal. Doc. Scotl. ii. 547). He remained castellan of these fortresses at least until May 1292 (ib. ii. 302). At the end of his father's life Nicholas was summoned to the parliament of 1 Aug. 1295 as ‘Nicholas de Segrave, junior’ (Parl. Writs, i. 832–3). Henceforth Nicholas was regularly summoned to parliament until 25 May 1321. It is curious that his elder brother received no summons before 26 Aug. 1296. Meanwhile Nicholas continued to be occupied in the Scottish wars. In 1298 he fought at Falkirk, bearing the new arms adopted by his father, with a label gules by way of distinction (‘Falkirk Roll of Arms’ in Gough's Scotland in 1298, p. 133). In June 1300 he was at the siege of Carlaverock, attending in the train of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, the constable of England (Nicolas, Siege of Carlaverock, p. 12). He acted on this occasion as the deputy of the constable (Hist. Doc. Scotl. ii. 415). In 1301 he attended the parliament at Lincoln, and signed the letter of the barons of 12 Feb. to the pope, as ‘Nicholas de Segrave, lord of Stowe’ (Fœdera, i. 927).

Segrave took part in the campaigns of 1303 and 1304 which secured the temporary subjugation of Scotland to Edward I. While in the field with the king a violent quarrel broke out between Segrave and Sir John de Cromwell, who accused each other of grave offences. Segrave challenged Cromwell to trial by battle, but Edward refused to allow his nobles to fight with each other instead of with the Scots. Segrave then challenged Cromwell to fight in France, and withdrew from the army in the midst of the campaign to wage his private battle. The warden of the Cinque ports vainly attempted to prevent him crossing the Channel, but Cromwell does not appear to have followed him, and Segrave soon returned to Dover. There the warden of the Cinque ports arrested him as he was staying in the house of Nicholas the archer. Twenty-one ‘barons’ of Dover combined in rescuing Segrave, who now got safely back to his home at Stowe. But Edward I had returned from Scotland, and on 21 Jan. 1305 ordered the sheriff of Northamptonshire to summon him to the forthcoming parliament at Westminster, to abide by the king's judgment. On 28 Feb. parliament met, and Segrave duly appeared and made his submission. He was sent to the Tower, and pronounced by the magnates as worthy of death. Sentence was perhaps passed, but the lords interceded for him, declaring that he had left the realm for no treasonable purpose, but to meet his accusers. He was soon pardoned on condition of seven sureties being found for his going to prison and surrendering his goods if called upon. On 29 March the manucaptors gave their undertaking on his behalf. Segrave was at once restored to favour, and took part in Edward's last campaign against Robert Bruce (Rot. Parl. i. 171, 172–4, 181, and Flores Hist. iii. 121–2, give full and substantially harmonious accounts of the trial).

Under Edward II, Nicholas de Segrave was in high favour. Unlike his brother John, Nicholas adhered to Edward II in his early troubles with his barons. He was one of the four great personages who alone heartily supported Piers Gaveston (Chron. de Lanercost, p. 212). Accordingly he figures among the bad counsellors that Edward promised to remove at the parliament of Northampton in August 1308 (Ann. Paulini, p. 264). Segrave, however, soon reappeared at court. He was one of the barons who signed the letter of 6 Aug. 1309 to the pope (Ann. Londin. p. 162). In the same year he became governor of Northampton Castle, and on 12 March marshal of England (Fœdera, ii. 38). The office of marshal was vacant by the death of Roger Bigod, the last earl of Norfolk and marshal of his house. But William Marshal, a peer of parliament, and a collateral representative of the great Marshal family, claimed the office as devolving on him by hereditary right, and so fierce was the strife between the two claimants that on 20 July 1311 they were both forbidden to attend parliament with arms (ib. ii. 140). In 1310 Segrave was again engaged in Scotland, and had license to convert his manor-house of Barton Segrave, Northamptonshire, into a castle. On 20 Sept. 1312 Segrave with his old enemy, John Cromwell, and others visited the Londoners at the Guildhall, and asked for security from the citizens for fulfilling their promises to the king (ib. p. 215). The death of William Marshal at Bannockburn deprived him of a rival, and in 1316 the marshalship was definitively granted to Thomas of Brotherton [q. v.], the king's brother. Before long Segrave resented Edward's policy, and attached himself closely to Thomas, earl of Lancaster [see Thomas, (1278?–1322)]. In 1317 Edward issued orders for his apprehension, which were, however, cancelled on 24 Sept. (Cal. Close Rolls, 1313–18, p. 569). In 1318 he was serving under Thomas of Lancaster against the Scots. In October 1320 he appeared at the Westminster parliament as one of Earl Thomas's proxies (Ann. Paulini, p. 290). He died in 1322.

Segrave married Alice, daughter of Geoffrey of Armenters, who had previously married Gerard Lisle. This union brought to Nicholas the manor of Stowe. The only child of the marriage was a daughter Matilda, who married Edmund de Bohun, a kinsman and political supporter of the Earl of Hereford (Rot. Parl. i. 410). She was thirty years old at her father's death. The barony thus became extinct, and Stowe passed to Alice's son by her former marriage (Baker, Northamptonshire, i. 441).

In the poem on the siege of Carlaverock, Segrave is described as one ‘whom nature had adorned in body and enriched in heart.’ The ‘Flores Historiarum’ (iii. 121) describes him as ‘unus de præstantioribus regni.’ His power centred in Northamptonshire, where he had his main seat at Stowe ‘of the nine churches’ near Daventry, and at his new castle of Barton Segrave. He also owned the manor of Weston in the same county, and the manors of Haydon, Essex, and Peasenhall, Suffolk, about which last he had a long suit with Alice, widow of Earl Roger Bigod (Cal. Close Rolls, 1307–13, pp. 152, 282, 504–5). Thomas de Flore, the executor of his will, had not wound up the business of his estate so late as 1329 (Cal. Close Rolls, 1327–30, p. 572).

[Rolls of Parliament, vol. i.; Rymer's Fœdera, vols. i. and ii.; Parliamentary Writs; Flores Historiarum, vol. iii.; Ann. Londin. and Ann. Paulini in Stubbs's Chronicle of Edward I and Edward II, both in Rolls Ser.; Hist. Documents relating to Scotland; Calendars of Close and Patent Rolls, Edward I and Edward II; Chronicle of Lanercost (Maitland Club); Nicolas's Siege of Carlaverock, p. 11, with a short biography, pp. 122–5; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 675; Gough's Scotland in 1298; Baker's Northamptonshire, vol. i.]

T. F. T.