Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Twyford, Nicholas

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

TWYFORD, Sir NICHOLAS (d. 1390), lord mayor of London, belonged perhaps to the Twyfords of Derbyshire, which was frequently represented in parliament in the fourteenth century, first by John Twyford and then by Sir Robert Twyford (Official Returns, i. 48, 54, 57, 152, 177, 179, 182, 187, 208). Nicholas was brought up as a goldsmith in London, residing in the parish of St. John Zachary, Aldersgate ward, and afterwards became warden of the Goldsmiths' Company. He was the leading goldsmith in the city, and probably about 1360 was appointed goldsmith in ordinary to the king. On 26 Jan. 1368–9 he was one of those commissioned by Edward III to assay gold and silver ({sc|Rymer}}, Fœdera, Record ed. iii. 858). On 16 Jan. 1376–7 he was paid 2l. 10s. ‘for engraving and making a seal ordered by the king for the lordship of Glamorgan and Morgannock lately belonging to Edward, lord le Despenser’ (Devon, Issues, p. 201). On 16 July 1378 he received the large sum of 22l. 17s. 4d. from Richard II for ‘two drinking-cups and two silver ewers’ (ib. p. 211). Richard II and John of Gaunt bought some of their wedding and new year's gifts of plate and jewellery from him, and in 1384 he purchased a quantity of ‘old and broken vessels of white silver’ for 389l. 11s. 8d.

Twyford meanwhile was taking a prominent part in city politics; he was alderman of Coleman Street ward in 1376 (Riley, Munimenta Gildhalliæ, iii. 424; Memorials, pp. 351, 400), and in 1378 was sheriff (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1377–81, pp. 146, 267). He belonged to John of Gaunt's party which was led by John Northampton [q. v.] in opposition to the court party led by Sir Nicholas Brembre [q. v.]; and in 1378, when Brembre was lord mayor, Twyford came into collision with him. Brembre had imprisoned a member of the Goldsmiths' Company and one of Twyford's suite for brawling in St. Paul's Churchyard during sermon time. Twyford resented this, with the result that he was himself for a short time imprisoned (Riley, Memorials, pp. 415–17). In 1380 he was commissioner for building a tower on either side of the Thames. In 1381 Twyford was with Sir William Walworth [q. v.] when Wat Tyler was killed, and was on that occasion knighted by Richard II for his services (Collections of a London Citizen, p. 91; Knighton, Chron. ii. 138; Fabyan, Chron. p. 531). In the same year he acquired two parts of the manor of Exning, Suffolk, about which and other property he was involved in various disputes in 1384 (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1381–5, pp. 58, 504, 579, 582, 596; Rot. Parl. iii. 186, 298, 399).

When Brembre sought re-election as lord mayor in 1384, Twyford was his chief opponent; party feeling ran high, and, in spite of extraordinary precautions, a disturbance broke out; Twyford's supporters were compelled to flee, and Brembre was elected (Higden, Polychron. ix. 50–1). On 12 Oct. 1388, however, Twyford was himself elected lord mayor with little opposition (ib. ix. 199; Stow, Survey, ed. Strype, bk. v. p. 115).

Twyford died probably in July 1390; by his will, dated 11 June 1390, he left his lands in Tottenham and ‘Edelmeton,’ Middlesex, to his wife Margery, and after her death to his kinsman John Twyford; he also bequeathed certain rents to the Goldsmiths' Company to keep his obit in the company's parish church of St. John Zachary in Maiden Lane (Calendar of Wills proved in the Husting Court, ii. 283–4). He was buried in that church, where a monument was erected to himself and his wife, who died before 1402; the church was destroyed in the fire of 1666 (Stow, Survey, ed. Strype, bk. iii. pp. 96–7; Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 375). Twyford mentions, but does not name, his children in his will; a William Twyford was valet to Thomas, earl of Arundel, in 1413 (Devon, Issues, p. 327).

[Authorities cited; Sharpe's London and the Kingdom, i. 227, 239; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. ii. 166, 237, 411; Riley's Memorials, passim; Sir W. S. Prideaux's Memorials of the Goldsmiths' Company, 2 vols. 1896, supplies such inadequate details from the records of the company that Twyford's name is not even mentioned.]

A. F. P.