Local History Notebook

Sir Ralph de Eure

"The most important member of the northern gentry in the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV"

Mark Arvanigian

Younger but surviving son of Sir John de Eure and Margaret de Grey?2,  born about 1350 1

Married Isabelle de Atholl c before 1369


Margaret, born about 1374

Married Catherine Aton about 1387.


Ralph (o.v.p. 5) 7
Robert, b. c 1388, d. 3 Feb 1480 3??
Catherine 5, b. c 1390, d. c 31 Aug 1459
William b. c 1396, d. 20 Jul 1465
Isabel 5
Joan 5
John (o.v.p. 5)

Married Maud Greystoke in 1400

Died on the 10th of March 1421/2 3 (10th Mar. 1423 5)

The younger son of John de Eure, Ralph de Eure inherited on the death of his older brother Robert in 1368 when Ralph was still a minor (19).  in 1371 he was named one of the Commissioners for the Subsidy for that year.12

As normal for the period he initially followed in a military career being abroad in the retinue of Richard Earl of Warwick in 1378, in Scotland under the Duke of Lancaster in 1383 and under the King in person in 1385.

Ralph de Eure inherited his estate from his father and built it up up by his three marriages but most of his landownings were acquired as a result of his ......

Palatine Steward for Durham for some years under Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham (1388-1406), and then under Bishop Langley until his death in 1422.

M.P. for Northumberland 1380, 1381 e
Sheriff of Northumberland 1389-97
Constable of York 1391
Sheriff of York 1392, 1396i
M.P. for Yorkshire 1393, 1397, 1399 e
Governor of the castle of Newcastle


1    Age stated as 19 at the Inquisition Post Mortem (IPM) for his brother Robert in 1369 but 24 in the IPM for his mother in 1377 or 1378. However it is known that he was appointed a commissioner for the subsidy in 1371. The evidence in the 1369 IPM is more credible. Douglas Richardson j says that Ralph de Eure was aged 36 or more in 1386 (see references j and k)

There is an entry in charters at the Bodleian Library, Oxford where a Sir Ralph de Eure, knt, witnesses an agreement at Stokesley in 1347. Obviously not this Sir Ralph.

2    Mark Arvanigian says grandson of John, Lord Clifford, on his mother's side. To what extent would Ralph's actual mother affect the inheritance?

11    "...palatine records for 1416, which tell of the mines as Railey, Caldhurst, Hertkeld, Hetherlong, and Evenwood in South Durham already having been leased to his palitine steward, Ralph Eure, for the princely annual sum of 112-13s-4d, a bargain agreed to sometime after 1409.61 Eure was an important regional landowner and politician, who had been sheriff of York and an MP on several occasions; he had also a few years before shown his worth to Heny IV in dramatic fashion, when he helped put down Archbishop Scrope's rebellion.62 Interestingly, in 1408, Langley had occasion to repay Eure a loan of 133 6s 8d - a sum identical to that paid to the governor of the Whickham mines for maintenance and repairs.63 It seems that Langley borrowed the money from his steward for that purpose, and this became the basis for Eure's lease of the south Durham mines.

....Eure was already an important landowner in that part of the county; apart from Witton and lands around Bishop Auckland, he held the manors of Bitforth and Matwell - with 80 additional acres - and the villages of Hopland, Bradley and Escombe, as well as significant portions of the villages of North and South Bedburn and Wolsingham.64 These holdings, combined with his south Durham and North Yorkshire estates, gave him a significant presence round the town of Darlington.65 Sir Ralph had already been steward of Durham for some years under Langley's predecessor, Walter Skirlaw, bishop of Durham, a job he retained until his death in 1422." a

12    1371 subsidy. Commissioners appointed by the Bishop of Durham included Thomas Surtees, John Conyers, William Claxton and Ralph Eure. b

13    "For this property and an additional sixty acres of urban and rural property in and around Witton-le-Wear, Eure paid 9 4s 8d each year into the Durham exchequer.24 These estates in the Wear Valley suffered no significant waste or decay during Sir Ralph's lifetime, and accounted for about half of his landed wealth in Durham.

... This series of commissions in the far North soon led to higher employment. In 1391, Eure was appointed sheriff of York and constable of the castle there. 47 Thus began a rather remarkable string of high offices that would keep him well occupied in the North for the remainder of his ...." d

Sir Ralph Eure, of Witton, Knt, granted his manor of Kymblesworth (with Bradley in Weardale, and all his lands from Herperleyburn to Stanhope Park,) to Roger Flower, Walter St. Germayn, Robert de Leeg, Robert de Wyclyff, John Dalton, and William Paxton, Chaplains, on trust for his second son Robert Eure of Bradley (fn. 56) , whose son, another Robert, left three coheirs, Isabel (fn. 57) , wife of William Constable, Anne, wife of Ralph Constable, and Elen (fn. 57) of Henry Thwaites (fn. 58) .

From: 'Chapelry of Witton Gilbert', The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 2: Chester ward (1820), pp. 368-376. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=76317  Date accessed: 26 November 2010.

William Fordyceh records
"Bishop Bury granted a pardon to Ralph Eure, Chiv., brother and heir of Sir Robert Eure, as seised  of the manor of Witton, held of the Bishop in capite by military service, for marrying without a licence. Bishop Hatfield, in 1370, gave lands in Witton, and licensed William Eure to marry. In an inquisition in the 24th year of that prelate after the death of Robert Eure, it is stated that he held of the bishop "the manor of Wotton in Weardale, by military service, homage, fealty, and suit at the county de quindena in quindenem; also the manors of Rutynford (Redford) and Hopyland, held of the bishop in capite by homage, fealty and 2s. rent; also the manor of Bradley, with lands in Sunnyngside".

Since Richard de Bury was bishop 1333-1345 and Ralph was only born c1346, either the wrong bishop is referred to here or a different Ralph Eure. The reference to William Eure and the date 1370 would imply a brother of Sir Ralph de Eure. The 24th year of Bishop Hatfield would be 1369/70 and thus Sir Robert de Eure must have died before this date.

4    Properties owned by Sir Ralph de Eure at the time of Bishop Hatfield's survey

Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland - About the same time (1405) , finding that his rival Westmorland, whom he was in the habit of accusing of spite and ingratitude, was staying at a castle which Mr. Wylie identifies with that of Witton-le-Wear,belonging to Sir Ralph Eure, he marched by night with four hundred armed men in the hope of surprising him; but Westmorland was forewarned,and left before he arrived.

The 'castle'  in 1405 would probably have been Witton Hall on the north side of the river rather than Witton Castle. Its ability to withstand 400 armed men is doubtful.


Sir Ralph EURE  (1350-1423)

 Son of Sir John de Eure(d.1393)and his wife, Isabel. (Clay p.54)  [NO]

1 = Isabel, daughter of Sir Adomar de Atholl. (ibid.)

Daughter, Margaret = Sir John Pudsey of Bolton(q.v.). (ibid.)

 2 = Katherine, daughter of Sir William de Aton, Lord Vesci. (ibid.)

Children: Sir William(q.v.), Ralph(o.v.p.), John(o.v.p.), Robert. (ibid.)

              Catherine = Sir Alexander Neville(q.v.). (ibid.)

              Isabel 1 = Sir William Claxton of Claxton. (ibid.)
                        2 = Sir John Conyers of Ormesby(q.v.). (ibid.)

              Joan 1 = Sir Thomas Surtees of Dinsdale(q.v.). (ibid.)

                    ?2 = Sir William Hilton. (ibid.)

             Margaret = Peter Buckton. (ibid.)

     Nov.1380    M.P. Northumberland. (H.O.C. III pp.38-43)

            1381    M.P. Northumberland. (ibid.)

            1393    M.P. Yorkshire. (ibid.)

    Jan.  1397    M.P. Yorkshire. (ibid.)

            1399    M.P. Yorkshire. (ibid.)

30 Nov.           He was granted 50 a year at the Exchequer.  (C.P.R.1399-1401 p.143)

30 Nov.           He was granted exemption from being put on any jury or inquisition or

                        from holding offices against his Will.  (ibid.p.146)

            1408    On a commission of array for Darlington.


            1412    He was granted all lands in Fairhill and two parts of Whittenstall by

                        Isabella, widow of Sir William de Claxton.


            1413    He granted Whittenstall to Sir William Claxton. (ibid.)

            1414    On a commission of array for Darlington.


  9 Sep.1422    Made his Will. (Clay p.55)

10 Mar.1423    Died. (ibid.)

 www.girders.net/Er/Eure,%20Sir%20Ralph,%20(1350-1423).doc 12 January 2008

John de Eure joint Sheriff of York 1309 i
Sir William Eure Sheriff of York 1444-45, 1482-83
Sir Ralph Eure 1510-11, 1593-94

6    The demesne and park were not long after held by a branch of the family of Eure. Henry Eure, Esq. second son of the first Lord Eure, of Witton, is described of Bishop Middleham in 1564. In 1594 William Ewrye, Esq. surrendered to George Frevile, of Hardwick, Esq. 1. Grange-medow, Edmundes-medowe or New-medowe. 2. The Eland Close, near the site of the manor of Middleham. 3. The cottage and garden, called the Nether-hall, and the Horseker. 4. A messuage near the Manor-place and the Wellowker; reciting that the whole

From: 'Parish of Bishop Middleham', The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 3: Stockton and Darlington wards (1823), pp. 1-24. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=76337  Date accessed: 26 November 2010.

7    Ralph's mother Margaret in her will of 1378 mentions her son Ralph and his children Ralph and Margaret. This means the latter were born before 1378.

8    Eure's father-in-law by his first wife (Isabel Percy), Sir Aymer Athol, died sometime in 1403.14 Sir Aymer had been a tenant of David Strathbogie, the last earl of Athol, whose lordship had gone into abeyance when he died without heirs in 1369. Sir Aymer's estates were located in the barony of Milford, Northumberland, and Eure inherited a one-third share of them through Isabel, with the assumption that any details could be negotiated amongst her and her two sisters and co-heirs. These estates were attractive to Eure, not only because they complemented his own in Northumberland but also because their ultimate feudal ownership was in dispute.

9    Will - Testamenta eboracensia: Vol 6 of 6: Surtees Society Volume 106

10   " In the paroche chirch of Sockbourn is the tumbe of Sir John Coniers that married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Bromflete, Lord Si John and Bromflet, and as I saw it written was made Lord Vescy by k. Hen. VI. for he had much of the Lord Vescey land by marrying the daughter and and heir of Ayton a knight, that came lineally of a doughter. Anastasia, the 2d doughter, was married to the Lord Clifforde, and Catherine to Eure."  Leland quoted by William Hutchinson Vol 2 1823

11    Lyonel Claxton, 1336, married Mary, d. of Ra. Eure, Knt (William Hutchinson 1823 Vol 3 Pedigrees)


a    14th Century England, volume 4 by J.S. Hamilton. pages 186,

b    Ibid    page 72

c    Eure family tree on http://www.tudorplace.com.ar

d    Mark Arvanigian, Landed Society and the Governance of the North in the Later Middle Ages: The Case of Sir Ralph Eure, in: Medieval Prosopography 22, 2001, p. 65-88

e    http://www.girders.net/Er/Eure,%20Sir%20Ralph,%20(1350-1423).doc

Walter EURE  (fl.1400)
16 Feb.1400    He and Thomas Taillour(q.v.) were appointed attorneys in Ireland of  William Carlele(q.v.) for one year.  (C.P.R.1399-1401 p.74)

f    The extinct and dormant peerages of the northern counties of England John William Clay  J. Nisbet & Co., ltd., 1913 - 255 pages

g    "Plantagenet ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham" Genealogical Publishing Com, 2004 - 945 pages  Eure Pedigree

h    "The history and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham" William Fordyce Vol 1

i    History and antiquities of the city of York  By Francis Drake  1788

j    "Plantagenet ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham" Genealogical Publishing Com, 2004

k    Biographical note in  "De controversia in curia militari inter Ricardum Le Scrope et Robertum Grosvenor milites." Vol II Sir N. Harris Nicholas, K.H. 1832