Social and Economic

Marriage of Robert Plumpton to Agnes Gascoigne, 13 July 1477

The Plumpton family were influential merchants operating mainly in London. They were wealthy by the standards of the day and had dealings with Parliament and the nobility. The Gascoigne family were from the gentry, reasonably well off and with channels of communication to the nobility. In modern terms, the families were upper middle class rather than aristocrats. The wedding contract for the marriage of Robert Plumpton and Agnes Gascoigne was granted on 13 July 1477. Typically, a wedding ceremony could be held straight after such an arrangement was agreed, unless dispensation was also required: it was not in this case.

However, legal proceedings were taken that included representation from the King’s treasury which delayed the ceremony. Why? Robert Plumpton’s father had made promises in the marriage contract:

“William Plumpton, knight, shall by the grace of god, shall make of cause to be made unto the said Robert and Agnes a sufficient and lawful estate of lands and tenements to the yearly value of xx over all manner of charges and reprises within the lordship of Kenalton within the county of Nottingham, within a month next after said marriage had… also grants unto William Gascoigne that he nor any other feoffee shall not make use of any feoffee, or lease of any manors, land or tenement…” Plumpton Letters

The case was settled after William Plumpton’s death, though the couple married before the legal dispute had been concluded. Land management and the system of enfeoffment could be a complex issue, especially when affected by war and attainders.

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