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Babthorpe family (per. c.1501–1635), gentry, in Yorkshire, could boast of an ancient pedigree which included a number of medieval knights who had been soldiers and courtiers. The family's principal seat was at Osgodby in the extensive East Riding parish of Hemingbrough, where they had been lords of the manor since about 1440. In addition they had residences at Babthorpe in the same parish and, from 1543, at Flotmanby in the parish of Folkton, near Filey. For many years they were involved in a dispute with the Plumpton family over the descent of their ancestral estates. The issue was finally resolved in 1565 when an arbitration award left them in possession of the manors of Osgodby, Babthorpe, and Brackenholme and of other property in the East Riding. The most notable of the Tudor Babthorpes was Sir William Babthorpe (c.1490–1555), son of William Babthorpe and Christina Sothill; succeeding his father aged eleven in 1501, he then became a ward of the crown. He was a lawyer who served as a legal member of the council in the north from 1525 until his death. He was a thrusting and ambitious man, and his steady accumulation of offices in the East Riding made him a powerful figure there. These covered a wide range of functions: commissioner for musters, justice of the peace, and custos rotulorum; steward of the lordship of Beverley; constable of Wressle Castle and steward and master forester of Wressle (offices in the gift of the earls of Northumberland who employed him as a legal adviser); and steward of Howden and Howdenshire. In April 1536 he was named as one of the commissioners for surveying the lands and goods of the dissolved religious foundations in the East Riding, but in October he joined the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace, a decision which owed much to the influence of his kinsman Robert Aske, and it was no doubt with his connivance that Wressle Castle became the rebels' headquarters. When it became clear that the uprising had failed, however, Babthorpe rapidly changed sides. In January 1537 he sought to prevent another uprising in the East Riding, and in May he was appointed as one of the special commissioners who were responsible for processing the indictments against his former associates. His initial stance did him no harm: he continued as a member of the council in the north and was able to purchase a considerable amount of monastic property, including the manor of Flotmanby, and to acquire leases of the rectories of Drax and Adlingfleet. That Babthorpe was a politically important figure is demonstrated by his election to the parliaments of 1547 and April 1554 as one of the Yorkshire knights of the shire. At the coronation of Edward VI in 1547 he was made a knight of the Bath. Babthorpe married Agnes, a daughter of Brian Palmes of Naburn, and they had two sons and two daughters. He died on 27 February 1555. His heir, Sir William Babthorpe (c.1529–1581), apparently received some part of his education at the Middle Temple in London and was knighted in 1560 by the duke of Norfolk at Berwick while serving in his expeditionary force. Sir William was married twice, first to Barbara, daughter of Sir Robert Constable of Everingham, and then, in 1564, to Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Dawney of Sessay, and from these two marriages he had one son and four daughters. In a report on the Yorkshire justices of the peace which was compiled in 1564 Sir William was described as a man who was no favourer of religion as established by the Elizabethan settlement. In April 1565 Archbishop Young of York was in correspondence with Sir William Cecil about Babthorpe's unseemly talk, as he termed it, which was regarded as highly inflammatory. Cecil had already rebuked Babthorpe and his associates, and the archbishop

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assured him that they were now in great awe and obedience. When the northern rising broke out in 1569 Babthorpe demonstrated his loyalty by joining the royal army under the earl of Sussex. As a suspected recusant Sir William came under pressure from the northern high commission. In 1580 he produced a certificate of conformity for himself and his family but admitted that his wife refused to go to church. A few months later he was entertaining Edmund Campion. In his will Babthorpe gave direction that he should be buried in the family chapel at Hemingbrough parish church. Although he was basically dependent on his estate revenue he had managed to buy some additional property, including the manor of Bowthorpe. He died in 1581. Sir William was succeeded by his son, Sir Ralph Babthorpe (1561–1618), who had been admitted as a fellow commoner at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1576. During his time there the younger Babthorpe consorted with other Roman Catholic undergraduates and was alleged to have worn a crucifix in bed. In 1579 he married Grace Birnand [Grace Babthorpe (c.1563–1635)], the daughter and sole heir of William Birnand of Knaresborough; they had four sons and three daughters. It was a marriage with major consequences in religious and ultimately in financial terms. Grace Babthorpe was a zealous Roman Catholic who later earned the praise of a Jesuit chaplain as ‘the pillar of religion’ in the East Riding. She had her children baptized at home by a Roman Catholic priest, took great pains over their religious upbringing, and kept them away from protestant services. In 1599 the Babthorpes were employing a Roman Catholic schoolmaster, William Boyes, who found himself in trouble for teaching without a licence. Sir William Babthorpe (1580–1635), the eldest son, refused to go to church while a pupil at a clandestine school. In 1599 he was enrolled as a student at Gray's Inn in London. Not long afterwards he married Ursula Tyrwhitt, the daughter of a Roman Catholic squire seated in Lincolnshire, with whom he had six sons and four daughters. Of his three brothers Robert became a Benedictine monk, and Ralph and Thomas entered the Society of Jesus after studying at the English colleges at St Omer and Rome. His sister Barbara joined the Institution of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been founded by her cousin Mary Ward (who had been brought up at Osgodby Hall) and eventually held the office of superioressgeneral. During Elizabeth's reign Ralph Babthorpe thought it expedient as head of the family to hide his religious sympathies under the cloak of outward conformity. For some years the family was left in peace, but in 1592 Henry Hastings, third earl of Huntingdon, the lord president of the council in the north, launched a vigorous campaign against the recusant wives of well-todo squires who were church papists. On 25 March the northern high commission under Huntingdon's chairmanship ordered Babthorpe to have daily prayers in his house as appointed in the Book of Common Prayer, and to allow no recusants under his roof. Subsequently, on 13 April, his wife was taken into custody and was sent to Sheriff Hutton Castle where, with other gentlewomen, she was kept a prisoner for almost two years. Despite his wife's refusal to conform, Babthorpe appears to have emerged from this episode without any damage to his reputation; it is significant that in 1595, for example, he was serving as a deputy lieutenant. In 1603 he was one of many Yorkshire gentlemen knighted by

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James I on his journey south, and his son William probably received his knighthood at the same time. Shortly before the accession of James I, Grace Babthorpe persuaded her husband to abandon his conformity by encouraging him to read two books which advanced the claims of the Roman Catholic church, to which he was consequently reconciled, though only gradually did his conversion become a matter of public knowledge. In a survey of Yorkshire Catholics carried out in 1604 it was noted that Sir Ralph and Sir William Babthorpe had recusant wives but that they themselves were only non-communicants. In 1607, however, the crown granted the benefits of Sir Ralph's recusancy to James, Lord Colville, who had to be bought off. Two years later Babthorpe managed to secure a lease of his estate at the modest rent of £62 12s. a year, which was subsequently reduced to £50. At the same time his new-found commitment had other consequences for him. From 1607 onwards he was frequently summoned to appear before the northern high commission, and on hearing that a warrant was on its way he took flight in order to escape the fine which would otherwise have been imposed. Sir William was then living in Lincolnshire, outside the jurisdiction of the commission, and after a while he was joined there by his father and the rest of the family. The religious activities at Osgodby Hall were described by Father James Sharpe, a former chaplain, in an account written in 1610. According to this account all the servants were Roman Catholics and there were always two chaplains, one serving the household and the other looking after the spiritual needs of neighbouring families. On work days the normal schedule consisted of masses at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., evensong, and matins, while on Sundays there were sermons and other additional features. In 1612 the government decided that the leading recusants in each county should be called before the privy council and tendered the oath of allegiance which denounced the pope's deposing power. For anyone refusing the oath the statutory penalty was imprisonment for life and forfeiture of all property. The Babthorpe knights were both included in the Yorkshire list, but Sir Ralph had already departed for the continent and his son may also have taken avoiding action. Sir Ralph and his wife eventually settled at Louvain, where in 1618 he died of a stroke while engaged in spiritual exercises. Three years later Lady Babthorpe became a nun at the convent of St Monica in Louvain, where she died in 1635. At the height of his prosperity Sir Ralph enjoyed a landed income of some £1300 a year and maintained an establishment of thirty servants or more. Although the manor of Bowthorpe had been sold in 1604 the estate was still largely intact at the time of his death. Within the next three years, however, Sir William disposed of virtually the whole of his patrimony. Such a financial catastrophe, which was without parallel among the recusant gentry of Yorkshire, can have been the product only of special factors. Probably the most important of these was an episode described in his mother's account of the family. She relates that when two priests were discovered in his house Sir William managed to hold off the pursuivants seeking to arrest them until they were safely away. As a result he was imprisoned for nearly a year and was forced to pay such a heavy fine that he was reduced to great poverty. Having lost his houses at Osgodby and Babthorpe Sir William moved to his remaining property at Flotmanby, but in 1633 this too was sold. Now completely landless, he joined the Spanish army in the Netherlands and quickly attained the rank of captain. He was killed in 1635 while

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fighting against the French near Ardres in the Pas-de-Calais. J. T. Cliffe Sources J. Morris, ed., The troubles of our Catholic forefathers related by themselves, 1 (1872) [account of the Babthorpe family and Lady Babthorpe's recollections] · J. Morris, ed., The troubles of our Catholic forefathers related by themselves, 3 (1877) [Father James Sharpe's recollections of the Yorkshire mission] · CSP dom., SP 1 (Henry VIII) · CSP dom., SP 10 (Edward VI) · CSP dom., SP 11 (Mary) · CSP dom., SP 12 (Elizabeth) · high commission act books, Borth. Inst., vols. RVII/A/4 and RVII/AB/3, 4, 12, 15, 17–18 · TNA: PRO, chancery proceedings, ser. I, C.2 James I/B31/38 and S22/39 · TNA: PRO, chancery proceedings, six clerks' ser., C.5/589/2 and C.8/49/47 · BL, Lansdowne MS 153, fols. 52, 130, 301 · J. T. Cliffe, The Yorkshire gentry from the Reformation to the civil war (1969) · T. Burton, The history and antiquities of the parish of Hemingborough in the county of York, ed. J. Raine (1888) · HoP, Commons, 1509–58, 1.357–8 · A. Gooder, ed., The parliamentary representation of the county of York, 1258–1832, 2, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 96 (1938), 8–11 · H. Aveling, Post Reformation Catholicism in east Yorkshire, 1558–1790, East Yorkshire Local History Society, 11 (1960) · state papers, domestic, Mary, TNA: PRO, SP 11 © Oxford University Press 2004–5 All rights reserved: see legal notice Babthorpe, Sir Robert (d. 1436), soldier and administrator, rose to prominence in the service of the Lancastrian dynasty. The family came from Babthorpe, in the parish of Hemingbrough, Yorkshire. Details of his parentage are not easy to establish, but he seems to have been the son of Robert Babthorpe and his wife, Margaret, who were in possession of the manor of Babthorpe in 1412. The lordship of Hemingbrough belonged to the priory of Durham, and Ralph Babthorpe, Sir Robert's grandfather, had been the prior's steward there. It was in the service of Henry IV that Robert Babthorpe built his career. He was described as a king's esquire by 1403, though there is no record of him in Lancastrian service before the usurpation of 1399. It is possible that he owed his preferment to an association with John Waterton of Waterton, Lincolnshire, whose brother Sir Hugh and cousin Robert were leading figures in the new regime. Certainly, Babthorpe later married John Waterton's daughter and heir Eleanor, probably in 1409–10. After Eleanor's death he took as his second wife Bridget Pilkington, of the Lancashire family. In 1406, after the death of the leading Lancastrian retainer Sir Thomas Rempston on 31 October, Babthorpe received his first appointment to major office. On 4 November he was granted the stewardships of the duchy of Lancaster's honour of Leicester in Leicestershire and Warwickshire, including Castle Donington and Kenilworth, and of the duchy's lands in Northamptonshire, including Higham Ferrers, all of which had previously been held by Rempston. These offices, which he held for life, formed the basis of his political influence, but under Henry V he was promoted further. He served on the Agincourt campaign, and it was probably at this point (certainly by March 1416) that he was knighted. He remained with the king in France for much of the rest of the decade, and was active at the siege of Rouen in 1418–19. He was controller of the king's household from 1416, and served as steward of the household from September 1421 to April 1424; by 1423 he was steward of Queen Catherine's

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Leicestershire estates. He was named an executor and administrator of Henry V's will. His brother William, a lawyer, was also promoted by Henry, becoming his attorney-general in 1419. Babthorpe served as sheriff of Staffordshire in 1414–15; as an outsider in the shire he seems to have played a mediating role as part of Henry V's intervention to settle the disorder that had developed there in the latter years of the previous reign. It was not until the following decade that Babthorpe served as a JP, presumably because of his absences in France between 1415 and 1420. He was appointed to peace commissions in Leicestershire, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire in 1422, and served thereafter on the bench in Warwickshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, as well as on a number of other commissions in Yorkshire. On 1 March 1432 Babthorpe was reappointed as steward of Henry VI's household, a post he held until the summer of 1433, when he was replaced by the earl of Suffolk. He also seems to have served as a member of the king's council in 1433. The timing of Babthorpe's tenure of office suggests that his appointment formed part of the duke of Gloucester's attempt to take over control of government in 1432–3. Babthorpe's replacement as steward in 1433 therefore seems to be both an indication and a consequence of Gloucester's failure. Babthorpe was also replaced as steward of the duchy of Lancaster in Warwickshire in July 1433. Babthorpe died in August 1436, and is said to have been buried in the church at Hemingbrough; seven years earlier, like his grandfather, he had been appointed the prior of Durham's steward there. His heir was his son Ralph, who was killed—together with his own son, another Ralph—fighting against the Yorkists at the first battle of St Albans in 1455. Helen Castor Sources R. Somerville, History of the duchy of Lancaster, 1265–1603 (1953) · Chancery records · T. Burton, The history and antiquities of the parish of Hemingborough in the county of York, ed. J. Raine (1888) · W. Hardy, ed., ‘Calendar of the Norman rolls, Henry V’, Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, 41 (1880), appx I, pp. 671–810; 42 (1881), 313–472 · The Plumpton letters and papers, ed. J. Kirby, CS, 5th ser., 8 (1996) · M. J. Stanley Price, ed., Yorkshire deeds, 10, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 120 (1955), 95 [deed 260] · J. L. Watts, Henry VI and the politics of kingship (1996) · E. Powell, Kingship, law, and society: criminal justice in the reign of Henry V (1989) · R. A. Griffiths, The reign of King Henry VI: the exercise of royal authority, 1422–1461 (1981) © Oxford University Press 2004–5 All rights reserved: see legal notice

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Babthorpe family _1501-1635_  

That Babthorpe was a politically important figure is demonstrated by his election to the parliaments of 1547 and April 1554 as one of the Yo...

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