Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Scrope, Henry le (d.1336)

SCROPE, Sir HENRY le (d. 1336), chief justice of the king's bench, was the eldest son of Sir William le Scrope of Bolton in Wensleydale. His mother was Constance, daughter of Thomas, son of Gillo de Newsham. His brother Geoffrey is separately noticed. Their father, who was bailiff of Richmondshire in 1294, and was knighted at the battle of Falkirk, came of an obscure family originally seated in the East Riding and North Lincolnshire. No connection can be established with the Scrupes of Gloucestershire or with Richard FitzScrob [see Richard, (fl. 1060)]. The name is said to mean crab, and a crab was their crest. Scrope's paternal estate was small (Kirkby's Quest, pp. 150, 152, 176). He studied the law, and first appears as an advocate in 1307, the year before his elevation (27 Nov. 1308) to the bench of the common pleas. Attaching himself to Edward II, with whom he went to Scotland in 1310, Scrope withdrew from the parliament of 1311, in which the magnates placed restraints upon the king, and was peremptorily ordered to return. Edward entrusted him with a mission to Wales in 1314, and, on shaking off the control of the magnates promoted him (15 June 1317) to the chief-justiceship of the king's bench. Five years later Scrope received a share of the estates forfeited by the Earl of Lancaster's supporters, to which Edward added early in 1323 the Swaledale lands of Andrew de Harclay [q. v.] But towards the close of that year, for some unexplained reason, he was superseded as chief justice. He was almost immediately, however, appointed justice of the forests north of Trent, received a summons with the justices to the parliament of 1325, and in March 1326 was trying Yorkshire offenders by special commission (Parl. Writs, ii. i. 284, 335). On Edward III's accession he was replaced (5 Feb. 1327) on the bench as ‘second justice’ (the title was new) of the common pleas, his old post being occupied by his brother (Foss; cf. Scrope and Grosvenor Roll, ii. 13). In the summer he held an inquiry into a fray between the English and Hainaulters at York (Fœdera, iv. 292). From 28 Oct. 1329 to 19 Dec. 1330 he took the place of his brother, then absent abroad, as chief justice of the king's bench. On the latter date he was made chief baron of the exchequer, a post which he held until his death, though for a moment in November 1333 transferred to be chief justice of the common pleas; perhaps without his consent, for within twenty-four hours he received a new patent restoring him to his old place. Like his brother, Scrope was a knight banneret. He died on 6 Sept. 1336, and was buried in the Premonstratensian abbey of St. Agatha at Easby, close to Richmond, the patronage of which, with Burton Constable and other lands, he had purchased from the descendant of Roald, constable of Richmond, who founded it in 1151. Scrope was considered its second founder. He had greatly augmented his paternal inheritance (Kirkby's Quest, pp. 230, 335–7, 354, 358). His wife was Margaret, daughter either of Lord Roos or of Lord Fitzwalter. She afterwards married Sir Hugh Mortimer of Chelmarsh, Shropshire, and lived until 1357. Their three sons—William, Stephen, and Richard—were all under age at his death. William, born 1320, distinguished himself in the French and Scottish wars, and died 17 Nov. 1344, of a wound received at the battle of Morlaix in Brittany, two years before. He left no issue, and his next brother, Stephen, having predeceased him, the estates passed to Richard (1327?–1403) [q. v.], first Baron Scrope of Bolton and chancellor of England.

[Foss's Judges of England, iii. 499; Scrope and Grosvenor Roll ed. Nicolas, 1832, i. 94–5, 98, 127, 132, 142, 145, 222, ii. 11; Rotuli Parliamentorum, ii. 10; Parliamentary Writs, ed. Palgrave; Rymer's Fœdera, orig. ed.; Inquisitiones post mortem, ii. 72, 125; Kirkby's Quest (Surtees Soc.); Dugdale's Baronage and Origines Juridiciales; Scrope's Hist. of Castle Combe, 1852.]

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