Richard Curzon

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On October 2, 2003, the question of the parentage of Katherine Curzon, wife of Nicholas Griffin (1426-1482) of Braybrook was discussed on the Gen-Medieval list. You can find the discussion linked: here.

Secondary sources seem to be divided between placing her as either the daughter of an otherwise unidentified Richard Curzon, or as one of the unknown daughters of John Curzon of Kedleston (d. 1459/60), called “the white-haired.” In the 2003 discussion, it was suggested by the late Brice Clagett that if The Complete Peerage, Vol VII,(p.457) was correct in its contention that her father was Richard Curzon — an identification for which no sources are provided — then the most likely candidates for her parents were Richard Curzon (d. ca. 1450), esquire of the body to Henry VI, and his wife Isabel.

In a 1983 article, “The Curzons of Fifteenth-Century Derbyshire,” published in The Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (vol. 103, pages 107-117), Ian Ronwey conclusively argued that this Richard Curzon was not, in fact, a member of the Derbyshire family, but was instead of unknown ancestry and from Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

As outlined by Rowney and others, the career of Richard Curzon can be outlined as follows:

  • 1417 Retainer of the Earl of Warwick
  • 1420s Chamberlain of the Earl of Warwick
  • 1423 Married Isabel N.
  • 1424-1426 Undersheriff of Worcestershire
  • 1431 Grant by the king to be esquire "in attendence about his person" 24 Aug 9H6 (as cited later in CPR H6v3p19)
  • 1432-3 Captain of Sandgate Castle (see CPR H6v2p249)
  • 1435 Lt. of Chateau-Gaillard
  • 1439 An executor of the Earl of Warwick’s will
  • 1441 Captain of Honfleur
  • 1449 Lt. of Rouen
  • 1450 Surrenders Honfleur to the Count of Dunois

In 1441, Richard was granted the farm on all mines of gold, silver, and lead in Devon and Cornwall. The CPR also indicates that in 1443 Richard and Isabel (for having "divers times attended the person of Queen Katharine in the parts of France at the command of Henry V at her own costs without any award…") were given a “grant in survivorship” of 50 marks a year out of the issues of the counties of Warwick and Leicester.

Additionally, we also know that upon their marriage, the Earl of Warwick provided lands worth £40 a year to Richard and Isabel Curzon. In the VCH Warwick (1964), vol. 7, p. 70, it’s clear that at least one of the estates granted to the couple was a life-interest in the manor of Perry or Perry Barr. Likewise, in the VCH Worcestershire (1971), vol. 3, p. 317, a second holding can be indentified as a quarter of the manor of Earl’s Croome. Indeed, Isabel Curzon was found to hold a life-interest in this manor from 1431 to 1466. Given that Richard Curzon’s pension from the Crown was stopped in 1450, and Isabel’s interest in Earl’s Croome ended in 1466 it seems safe to conclude that Richard died in 1450 and Isabel in 1466.

Of particular interest to the question of whether or not Katherine Curzon, wife of Nicholas Griffin, was the daughter of this couple, however, is membrane 20 (30 Henry VI – Part 1) in the CPR (pp. 501-502), dated 28 September 1451, in which Isabel, now called Isabel Godard, “sometime wife” of Richard Curzon, “esquire of the body, executrix of his will, agreed to exchange the farm on the mines of Devon and Cornwall for a yearly payment of £100, until £1400 had been paid “to her, her executors and assigns.” My question, as it were, is if Katherine Griffin was indeed the daughter of Richard Curzon, wouldn’t she (and her husband — she’s known to have been married to Nicholas Griffin by 1450) have been included in this agreement (even if it was only to waive Katherine’s interest in the farm on the mines) as her father’s heir? Moreover, even if Isabel’s interests in the manors of Perry Barr and Earl’s Croome were for her life only, isn’t it likely that Nicholas Griffin would have made some attempt to put forth a claim on her property for either his wife or her children’s sake? If the answer to these questions is yes, then I would argue that it’s unlikely then that Katherine Curzon, wife of Nicholas Griffin of Braybrook, was the daughter of Richard and Isabel Curzon. However, as I’m far from an expert on such matters, it may be that the interests of a child of Richard and Isabel Curzon would not necessarily need to be included in any of these matters. So, I invite others to look over the information I’ve provided, research the matter, and contribute their views on the subject.

Jeff Duvall

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