John Touchet, 7th Baron Audley

TOUCHET, JAMES, seventh Baron Audley (1465?–1497), was descended from Adam de Aldithley or Audley, who lived in the reign of Henry I, and is considered the first Baron Audley or Aldithley (of Heleigh) by tenure. There were nine barons of the family by tenure, the first baron by writ being Nicholas Audley (d. 1317). His great-great-grandson, John Touchet, fourth baron by writ (d. 1408), served under Henry IV in the wars against Glendower and the French (Wylie, Henry IV). John’s son James, fifth baron, was slain by the Yorkists at the battle of Blore Heath, 23 Sept. 1458, leaving a son John, sixth baron (d. 1491), who had livery of his lands in 1459–60, joined Edward IV, was summoned to parliament from 1461 to 1483, and was sworn of the privy council in 1471. He was employed in Brittany in 1475, and was present at the coronation of Richard III, who appointed him lord treasurer in 1484. He died 26 Sept. 1491, having married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Itchingham. After her first husband’s death, she married John Rogers, by whom she had a son Henry. She died between 11 Nov. 1497, when her will was made, and 24 June 1498, when it was proved, outliving her second husband (Testamenta Vetusta, p. 436).

James, the son and heir of the sixth baron, born about 1465, was made K.B. at the creation of Prince Edward as Prince of Wales in 1475. He succeeded his father in the barony on 26 Sept. 1491, and was summoned to parliament from 12 Aug. 1492 to 16 Jan. 1496–7. He was in France with Henry VII on the expedition of 1492, and possibly may have there got into debt, and consequently became dissatisfied. One account makes him a petitioner for peace, but that was but a device of Henry to have an excuse for the peace of Etaples. In consequence of the Scottish war occasioned by Perkin Warbeck fresh taxation was necessary, and though it ought not to have pressed hardly on the poor, they seem to have been roused by agitators to resistance. The outbreak began in the early part of 1497 in Cornwall. The rebels, marching towards London, reached Well, and there were joined by Lord Audley, who at once assumed the leadership. On 16 June 1497 Blackheath was reached, and on 17 June the rebels were decisively defeated by the Earl of Oxford and Lord Daubeny. Audley was taken prisoner, brought before the king and council on 19 June and condemned. On the 28th he was led, clothed in a paper coat, from Newgate to Tower Hill, and there beheaded. His head was stuck on London Bridge. His body was buried at the Blackfriars Church. He married, first, Joan, daughter of Fulk, lord Fitzwarine, by whom he had a son John, who was restored in blood in 1512, and was ancestor of James Touchet, baron Audley and earl of Castlehaven [q. v.]; secondly, Margaret, daughter of Richard Dayrell of Lillingston Dayrell, Buckinghamshire, who long survived him.

[Busch’s England under the Tudors, pp. 110–12; Rot. Parl. vi. 458, 544; Collinson’s Somerset, iii. 552; G. E. C[okayne]’s Peerage, i. 200; Polydore Vergil’s Angl. Hist. p. 200; Letters and Papers of Richard III and Henry VII, ii. 292; Calendar of Inquisitions, Henry VII, i. passim.]

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 57
Touchet, James (1465?-1497) by William Arthur Jobson Archbold

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