The last Northumbrian Umfrevilles

The sons of Robert the second Earl of Angus and his second wife, Alienore De Clare, inherited the Umfreville lands in Redesdale, Coquetdale and Kyme when the third Earl, Gilbert, died at the age of 70 in 1380. This branch of the family contains two of the greatest and most famous members of the entire family in Robert the Vice Admiral and Gilbert Earl of Kyme. Both men fought at Agincourt and were favoured by Henry V.

Sir Thomas Umfreville the Elder c. 1324 - d. 21st May 1387

Baron of Holmside (Co. Durham) 1379 - 1387

Lord of Redesdale 1380-1387

Thomas must have been born in 1314 at the very earliest. Thomas inherited the Redesdale lands on the death of his half-brother, Gilbert in 1380. Sykes states that Sir Thomas held Harbottle, Holmside and Otterburn in the late 14th century. Thomas was the second son of Robert and Alienore De Clare, his elder brother Robert (he was MP for Northumberland in 1376) had died in 1379. Thomas also had a younger sister, Alienore who married Stephen Wallis the son and heir of Richard Wallis. By marriage to Joanna De Roddam Thomas had two sons, Thomas and Richard.

A ballad  called 'Lady Jean' by Robert White may commemorate the love of Thomas and Joanna. It tells the tale of a poor noblewoman betrothed to someone she doesn't care for (Lord Dacre) as she loves 'Umfreville of Otterburn'.

I never lov'd Lord Dacre yet;
I dinna like him still -
He kens, though oft he sued for love
Upon his bended knee,
Ae tender word, ae kinder look
He never gat frae me

(She has sent word to her lover Umfreville to rescue her and is sure he
will come to Bothal, despite the warnings of her cousin)

Ah! weel I ken his heart is true;
He will, he must be here;
A boon the garden wa's he'll wave
The pennon o' his spear.

(Lord Dacre arrives, and the lady turns pale, and "totters like to fa'"
when "List!" exclaims her cousin -)

A bugle note!
It sounds not loud but clear.
Up! up! I see aboon the wa'
Your true love's pennon'd spear!

An' up fu' quick gat Lady Jean,
nae ailment had she mair;
Blythe was her look and firm her step
As she ran down the stair.

An' thro' amang the apple-trees,
An' up the walk she flew;
Until she reached her true love's side
Her breath she scarcely drew.

Lord Dacre fain would see the bride;
He sought her bower alane;
But dowf and blunkit grew his look
When Lady Jean was gane.

Sair did her father stamp an' rage,
Sair did her mother mourn;
She's up and off wi' Umfreville
To bonnie Otterburne.

There are probably more verses to this ballad but as yet I do not have the full version.  I suspect the lady in question could be Joanna De Roddam who married Thomas Umfreville of Holmside or possibly the Joan Willoughby who married Gilbert Earl of Angus. Unless I can find names of other wives from say the 12th-14th century then these are the only possibilities. It must have been quite a scandal at the time to be commemorated by a ballad! It is very romantic that she spurned the rich and powerful Lord Dacre for Umfreville of Otterburn.

Sir Thomas Umfreville the Younger c. 1361 - 12th February 1390/1

Lord of Redesdale 1387-1390

It isn't known exactly when Otterburn tower was built but it was certainly standing in 1388 as shortly before the battle of Otterburn the Scots had laid seige to it. According to the chronicler Sir John Froissart, 'they attacked it so long and unsuccessfully that they were fatigued and therefore sounded a retreat'. Whether Thomas commanded the defence of the tower or not he led a contingent of men at the battle of Otterburn on the 19th August 1388 to attack the Scots camp, this done he returned to the English lines rather than take the Scots forces in the rear. The English commander, Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, had underestimated either the strength of the enemy forces or the mettle of his own and decided to attack rather than await reinforcements. The English were defeated and both leaders, Hotspur and Douglas fell.

Most sources say that Thomas was the bastard son of Thomas the elder, nevertheless he became Lord of Redesdale and MP for Northumberland in 1388 and 1390. Thomas married a woman called Agnes (d. 25/10/1420) and left one son, Gilbert, and 5 daughters, Elizabeth (b. c. 1385 - 23/11/1424), Maud (c. 1386 - 4/1/1435) , Joanne (b. c. 1387) , Margaret (c. 1388- 23/10/1443) and Agnes (c. 1389). One of the daughters, Margaret, married Sir John Constable before 1423. Joanne married Thomas or William Lambert and produced a son, William Lambert.

Sir Robert Umfreville aka Robin 'mend the market' c. 1363 - d. 27th January 1436

Vice Admiral of England 1410? - 1436

Lord of Redesdale 1421 - 1436

Lord? of Kyme 1421 - 1436

Knight of the Garter 1399

Robert is perhaps the most famous of all the Umfrevilles and certainly one of the most vigorous. The brother of the Sir Thomas who fought at Otterburn, Sykes claims that Robert was appointed Vice-Admiral of England by Richard II (1377 -1399) but Hedley believes he attained this position in 1410 and seems to have kept the title for the rest of his life.

In 1399 Robert was made keeper of Roxburgh castle and created a Knight of the Garter after routing a Scottish raid near Fullhope Law. In 1400, in small revenge for the defeat at Otterburn, Robert smashed a raiding party of 500 Scots who had come to raid, some 200 were slain outright. Hedley states that Robert earned his nickname from the amount of Scottish corn and livestock he sold in Northumberland market towns. Hedley says that on his appointment as Vice Admiral (he says 1410) Robert was given command of 10 ships with which he landed troops and plundered in the Firth of Forth for 14 days. Also in 1410 he had sacked Jedburgh and burned down the town. In 1414 he was made reciever of customs at Berwick for life and given Warkworth castle as part of the attainder against the Duke of Northumberland.

Robert fought at the battle of Yeavering in 1415 (22nd July) then sailed to France to join Henry V at the seige of Harfleur and took part in the battle of Agincourt. Robert would have inherited Redesdale and Kyme on the death of his nephew Gilbert in 1421. After 1425 when Henry died the English were in full retreat in France so it is unlikely that Robert had much time to enjoy Gilbert's French possessions. Robert was the last Umfreville to hold Otterburn hall and the last Umfreville Lord of Redesdale. Elsdon Pele tower (which dates from the late 14th century) bears the Umfreville coat of arms and the inscription 'R. Dominus de REDE'. The 'R' must surely stand for Robert.

Sir Gilbert Umfreville

b. aft. 1380 d. 1421

Earl of Kyme - 1421

Lord of Redesdale 1390 - 1421

Gilbert was the only son of Sir Thomas Umfreville and is known mostly for his exploits in France with Henry V. Aged 18 he accompanied his uncle Robert on a raid at Jedburgh. If he was born in 1380 then that would make this raid to have been in 1398, 8 years after the death of his father. Later he sailed to France with Robert and some 1200 archers on a mission for Henry IV to assist the Duke of Burgundy in his quarrel with the Duke of Orleans. Gilbert fought so well in this campaign that he was made Earl of Kyme by Henry. In 1415 Gilbert sailed with the new king, Henry V, to Harfleur as one of his captains (along with Sir John Holland, Sir John Cornwall and Sir Thomas Erpingham). After landing Gilbert was given the honour of leading the first patrol with Holland and Cornwall. When Harfleur surrendered it was Gilbert who stood at the King's right hand bearing Henry's tilting helmet on his pikestaff.

Leaving Harfleur Gilbert and Cornwall were given command of the vanguard. At the crossing of the Somme Gilbert and Cornwall distinguished themselves by leading 500 men to take the crossing while fighting off a French attack. Gilbert also fought at Agincourt, he was second in command of the right wing, then must have returned to England as in 1418 we hear that he has returned to France with more troops under Thomas Beaufort, Earl of Exeter, to support the king.In December he was in command of a contingent at Rouen when a group of citizens looking for a nobleman of Norman descent (someone who spoke French) attracted his attention and gave him a petition of surrender to give to Henry. The city finally surrendered in January 1419.

In May 1419, with Sir Walter Hungerford, Gilbert was given powers to negotiate a marriage between Henry and Princess Katherine of France. Late in 1419 he was given the lands of his distant kinsman, Pierre D'Amfreville at Amfreville-sur-iton in Normandy as well as the lands of the Seigneur d'Estouteville, the former commander of the Harfleur garrisson. In return Gilbert had to furnish 12 men-at-atms and 24 archers for the royal army. In 1420 after the seige of Melun he was made captain of the twon and on 21st may he was present at St Peter's Cathedral in Troyes for the signing of the peace treaty between England and France. Henry V became the heir to the Kingdom of France by the same treaty.

Sometime before 1421 he must have been made Marshal of France as he is reffered to as having this title when he was slain at Bauge in Anjou. The battle was a disaster for the English. The commander of the English force was the inexperienced Thomas Duke of Clarence, the kings heir and brother. Thomas wanted to intercept a Franco-Scots force, under the Earl of Buchan, comprising some 5,000 men and charged them against the advice of Umfreville. The English force numbered only 150 men-at-arms. Clarence, Holland, John Grey and Lord Roos were also killed while the Earls of Huntingdon and Somerset were taken prisoner.

The Umfrevilles donations to Hexham Abbey

The Inspeximus maximus of 1298 is a charter from the reign of Edward I and was written to legally establish which lands were donated to the upkeep of the Priory of St Andrews in Hexham as the previous records had ben destroyed by a recent Scots raid in 1296. The Abbey and town had been razed and a year later the Priory was attacked again by William Wallace. This is a very useful document as it lists property donated by specific landowners. It is witnessed by Gilbert Earl of Angus who was buried there 9 years later. The donations from the Umfreville family are listed here.

Modern name
Named Donator
Barweforde Barrasford Margerie De Umframvill
Cholverton Church Chollerton Odonell De Umframvill
Birteley Chapel Burtley? nr Wark Odonell De Umframvill
Chipchese Chapel Chipchase nr Barrasford Odonell De Umframvill
Gonewarton Chapel Gunnerton? nr Chollerton Odonell De Umframvill
Est-Swynburne Chapel Swinburn nr Chollerton Odonell De Umframvill
Parva Hinton Chapel Hetherington? Odonell De Umframvill
Colwelle Chapel Colwell, nr Chollerton Odonell De Umframvill
Mitchel-Croft ? Odonell De Umframvill
Beaumond Beaumont, nr Hexham Gilbert De Umframvill
Birteley Burtley? nr Wark Richard De Umframvill
Colden ? Richard De Umframvill
Prodehou Prudhoe Richard De Umframvill