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HERLE, WILLIAM de (d. 1347), judge, son of Robert de Herle, was probably born in Leicestershire, since both his father and he in 1301 and 1324 respectively were summoned by the sheriffs of that county to perform military duty and to attend the great council at Westminster (Parl. Writs, i. 355, ii. 639). Fuller, however, says that he was a native of Devonshire (Worthies, ed. 1811, i. 281). His lands lay principally in Leicestershire, but through his wife Margaret, daughter and heir of William Polglas and of Elizabeth, heiress of Sir William Champernon, he came into possession of considerable estates in Devonshire, including the manor of Ilfracombe. His name occurs frequently in the ‘Year-books’ of Edward II's reign. He became a serjeant-at-law, and as such was summoned to assist the parliament of the fourth and sixth years of that reign, and all the parliaments from the tenth to the fourteenth years. In the ninth year of Edward II he appeared for the king against the citizens of Bristol, and received a grant of 20l. per annum for his services. On 6 Aug. 1320 he received a grant of 133l. 6s. 8d. in aid of his rank as king's serjeant, and having been employed in conducting negotiations with the Scots, he received a grant of ten marks in 1325 (Rot. Parl. i. 359; Archæologia, xxvi. 345; Rymer, Fœdera, ii. 594). On 16 Oct. 1320 he was made a judge of the common pleas in succession to John de Benstede, and was knighted, and on the accession of Edward III, by patent dated 4 Feb. 1327, he was appointed chief justice of that court, and his salary was raised to 240 marks. On 3 Sept. 1329 he was displaced by John de Stonore, though he continued to act as a judge, and in December 1329 went as justice in eyre to Nottinghamshire, and in 1330 to Derbyshire. On 2 March 1331 he was again appointed chief justice, and was removed again on 18 Nov. 1333 in favour of Henry le Scrope, who, however, vacated the office immediately. De Herle returned to office and retained it until 3 July 1337, when he was allowed to retire at his own request upon the grounds of age and failing health. He was, however, a member of the king's council till he died in 1347.

[Foss's Lives of the Judges; Rymer's Fœdera; Cal. Inquis. p.m. ii. 135, 265; Nichols's Leicestershire, p. 622; Prince's Worthies of Devon.]

J. A. H.