Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bathe, Henry de

BATHE or BATHONIA, HENRY de (d. 1260), judge, is said to have been a younger brother of Walter de Bathe, and to have been born at the family seat, Bathe House, North Tawton, Devon (Prince, Worthies of Devon, p. 55; Polwhele, History of Devon, i. 243), but Foss throws doubt on these statements. On 18 Aug. 1236 he is entered in the Fines Rolls as succeeding to the chattels of Hugh de Bathonia ‘clericus’ (probably therefore his uncle, though he himself, a layman, is once called ‘clericus’), and officer of the king's wardrobe under John, sheriff of Buckinghamshire 7 Henry III, and of Berkshire 11 Henry III, and justice of the Jews. In 1226 Henry de Bathonia was engaged as attorney for Warin le Despenser in a suit against Nicholas de St. Bridget for a debt of 4½ marks. He was a judge of the common pleas (Polwhele) from midsummer 1238 to 1250. In 1240 he was on the commission of assize for Hertford and the southern counties, being next in rank to William of York, ‘præpositus de Beverley,’ and holding the office ‘a die nativ. D. Jo. Bapt.’ (Dugdale, Orig. Juridic. (Chron. Series), sub anno). Thenceforth he was a busy judge. Dugdale describes him as ‘justiciarius de banco’ with Hugh Giffard in 1247, and in November of that year an amerciament was made before him and other judges (Rot. Fin. ii. 23). From 1247 onwards he was in various commissions of assize, usually as presiding judge; in 1248 he filled that post in Surrey and Essex; in 1249 in Kent, Middlesex, Southamptonshire, and Wiltshire; and in the next year in Lincolnshire. In 1250 100l. a year was granted him ‘in officio justiciarii.’ Dugdale refers him at this date to the court of common pleas. He was certainly at the time senior judge, but that he was chief justiciary is doubtful. That office was probably vacant from Stephen de Segrave's resignation in 1234 to Hugh Bigot's appointment in 1258. Bathonia was charged in November 1250 with extortion, taking bribes, letting a convicted criminal escape, and raising the barons in revolt against the king, by one Sir Philip d'Arcy or Darcy, and twenty-four knights gave bail for his appearance before parliament on 17 Feb. 1251. ‘If any man will slay Henry de Bathonia,’ said the king, ‘he shall not be impeached of his death, and I now pronounce his pardon.’ But John Mansel and Fulk Basset, bishop of London [q. v.], saved his life. Richard, earl of Cornwall, made interest for him, and Sir W. Pole says (Devon, p. 86), ‘Bathe's wife feed ye great men in those days 2,000 marks’ to procure his pardon. He was fined 2,000 marks, part of which was still unpaid at his death. He was restored to favour in 1253, and had a grant of land; and in August of that year was ‘justiciarius assignatus ad tenendum placita coram rege’ (Polwhele and Dugdale). In 1260 he went circuit ‘per provisionem magnatum Angliæ qui sunt de concilio regis ad meliorationem status totius regni’ (Dugdale, Origines Juridic. (Chron. Ser.)), and presided over the commission in Huntingdon, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. At the end of this year he died. Though he left a large fortune, his son John on his death was allowed time by the king in which to pay the remainder of his fine. His wife, a lady descended from the Bassets and Sandfords, afterwards married Nicholas de Yatingdon.

[Foss's Lives of the Judges, sub tit. and preface to vol. iii.; Matthew Paris (Rolls ser.) iv. and v.; Polwhele's Devon and Pole's Devon; Madox's Excheq. i. 234.]

J. A. H.