Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Edgcumbe, Richard (d.1489)

EDGCUMBE or EDGECOMBE, Sir RICHARD (d. 1489), statesman, traced his descent from Richard Edgcumbe or Edgecombe, who in the reign of Edward I was in possession of the manor of Edgcumbe, Cornwall, which passed to his grandson, John Edgcumbe. John Edgcumbe's younger brother William, marrying Hillaria, daughter of William de Cotehele, and sister and heiress of Ralph de Cotehele of Cotehele, became possessed of that property. His great-grandson was Sir Richard Edgcumbe, who was the eldest son of Piers Edgcumbe, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Richard Holland. In 1467 Richard represented Tavistock in parliament, and was appointed escheator of Cornwall. He raised troops to join the Duke of Buckingham's rebellion, and on the failure of that movement a commission of oyer and terminer for his trial was issued (Ninth Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Records, p. 110). He concealed himself in his woods on the Tamar, and being discovered duped his pursuers by filling his cap with stones and throwing it into the river. He presently made good his escape to Brittany, where he joined Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, and returned with him to England. He fought with great valour at Bosworth, and after the battle was knighted by Henry on the field. The king further rewarded him by appointing him controller of his household, a chamberlain of the exchequer, and a member of the privy council, and granted him all the lands and property of John, lord Zouch, including the castle and manor of Totnes, and the manors of Cornworthy, Huishe, Lodeswell, and North Molton, and in addition Sir Henry Trenowth's estate of Bodrigam, and Lord Lovel's manor of Ridlington, Rutlandshire. Edgcumbe himself celebrated the victory by erecting a chapel in his hiding-place in the woods. On 5 Dec. 1485 he was placed on a commission to meet and treat with the inhabitants of various places in Devonshire, and to receive their allegiance. In 1487 he was sheriff of Devonshire. He brought aid to the royal forces at the battle of Stoke, and, going on with the king to Newcastle, was sent with Fox, bishop of Winchester, to Scotland to treat for a peace, and arranged a truce of seven years. In November of the same year he was again sent to Scotland to treat for marriages between Katherine, third daughter of Edward IV, and the Marquis of Ormonde, and between Edward's widow, Elizabeth, and James III. In June 1488 Edgcumbe went to Ireland with a force of three hundred men to take the oaths of allegiance of the nobility, gentry, and commonalty. Among the Cotton MSS. (Titus B. xi. ff. 332–77) is preserved a very full and minute diary of this embassy, which was believed by Anstis to have been written by Edgcumbe himself. The expedition lasted from 23 June to 8 Aug., and 300l. was allowed by the king for expenses. At a chapter held 16 Nov. 1488, Edgcumbe was nominated a knight of the Garter, and was strongly supported, but Sir John Savage was chosen. In December he was appointed ambassador with Dr. Henry Aynsworth to treat with Anne, duchess of Brittany, for the truce which was concluded in the following April. Whether he ever returned to England is not certain, but in 1489 he was sent to Charles VIII to offer Henry VII's mediation between him and the Duke of Brittany, and while engaged on this mission he died at Morlaix 8 Sept. 1489. He was buried in the church of the Friars-preachers in that town before the high altar, and a handsome monument was erected to his memory. Edgcumbe married Joan, daughter of Thomas Tremayne of Collacombe, by whom he had a son Piers, and three daughters, Margaret, Agnes, and Elizabeth.

Sir Piers Edgcumbe, his son, was one of the twenty knights of the Bath created by Prince Arthur on the eve of St. Andrew, 1489. He was sheriff of Devonshire in 1493, 1494, and 1497. He formed one of the expedition to France in 1513, and was made a knight-banneret for his valuable services at the battle of Spurs. He married Jane, daughter and heiress of Stephen Durnford, who brought into the Edgcumbe family the large estate of East and West Stonehouse, and who died in December 1553. By her he had three sons, Richard [see Edgcumbe, Sir Richard, 1499–1562], John, and James, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Jane, and Agnes. Secondly he married Catherine, daughter of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe, and widow of Sir Griffith Ryce, but by her he left no issue. He died on 14 Aug. 1539.

[Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, v. 306–21; Prince's Worthies of Devon, p. 344 (ed. 1810); Polwhele's Hist. of Cornwall, iv. 47, 49; Pole's Devon Collection, pp. 295, 596; Fuller's Worthies (ed. 1662), pp. 270, 271; Westcote's View of Devonshire in 1630, p. 494; Boase and Courtenay's Bibl. Cornub. p. 130; Ware's Hist. of Irish Writers, ed. Harris, bk. ii. 323; Stow's Annals, p. 474; Anstis's Order of the Garter, i. 364, ii. 231; Rymer's Fœdera, xii. 348, 355, 356, 357; Oliver's Monast. Dioc. Exon.; Add. Suppl. p. 20; Carew's Survey of Cornwall, ii. 114.]

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