Sir Roger de Wingfield

Roger de Wyngefeld (Wingfield) (d. before 18 September 1315) cleric, clerk, chief accounting officer, prebendary, and precentor.  He was the fourth son of Sir John de Wingfield, Lord of Wingfield and Dennington, and his wife Anne de Peche, daughter of John de Peche, Esquire. In the Additional Manuscript 19155 (folio 304), notes that Roger de Wyngefeld may have actually been the eldest son.

Relatively little is known of Roger’s early life, but he was likely raised at Wingfield Hall (sometimes called Old Wingfield Hall). He was the first member of the Wingfield family of Suffolk of note that rose through royal service to become a senior financial officer in the household of Edward II of England (25 April 1284-aft. 21 September 1327).

In 1306, at the end of Edward I of England (17/18 June 1239-7 July 1307) reign, Roger was appointed a clerk of the Wardrobe, and was made clerk of the kitchen in 1306.

In the accession of Edward II of England in 1307, Roger continued to account in the wardrobe as clerk of the united “offices” of kitchen, pantry, and buttery.

On 20 September 1307, when the lands of the disgraced Walter Langton (died 9 November 1321), Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield and Lord High Treasurer of England were taken into the king’s hands, Roger, Ingelard Warley and Sir William Inge, jointly received the custody of Bishop Langton’s lands.

By 1309, Roger was the “prominent Receiver of the Charter” – i.e. Chief Accounting Officer.

On 11 August 1309, Roger was nominated by Alice de Cranlee as her attorney for two years.

Between June and August 1309, Roger received charge of important Templar manors in Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire, for which the sheriffs had previously been responsible.  At the time, Roger appears in the accounts as clericus camera regis. As early as July 1309, other keepers were order to account to him. Before long accounting to Roger and to the chamber were used interchangeable.

On 28 October 1309, Roger was presented to the church of Byrnton, in the diocese of Lincoln.

On 16 November 1309, Roger was presented to the church of Sheriff Hutton, diocese of York.

On 20 December 1309, Roger was Rector of Brington, Northamptonshire.

Early in 1310 we find Roger acting as general keeper of all the Templars’ lands, with under-keepers under his direction responsible to him for their issues (included responsibilities for receiving monies).  His charge also included the maintenance of the imprisoned Templars, which Roger was acting as early as 11 February 1310.

It is not quite certain how long Roger continued to be clerk of the chamber, but it is evident that he acted up to midsummer 1314.  We know that between 1310 and 1313 he was constantly receiving monies into the king’s chamber. He was, in fact, the clerical head, the chief accounting officer of the chamber, and he, therefore, personally rendered his accounts independently of the wardrobe to the exchequer. It is clear that with Ingelard of Warley, Roger made his position as the reformer of the chamber and when Ingelard of Warley became keeper of the wardrobe in 1309, the chamber remained the exclusive sphere of Roger’s activity.

On 10 March 1310, Roger was presented to the church of Wetheringsett in Suffolk, in the diocese of Norwich.

On 1 April 1310, Roger de Wyngefeld, Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford and Marshall of England (1 April 1274 – 24 June 1314), and John de Charlton, 1st Lord Charlton of Powys (1268-1353) received into the chamber monies that came from Emericus and Bettinus de Friscobaldis, merchants of the society of Friscobaldi of Florence, on account of the issues of the customs upon wool, hides, and wool-fells, which they held by grant of the king.  In this patent Roger is mentioned first and charged therewith in his account at the Exchequer, which was mandated in the pursuance to the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer.

On 12 April 1310, Roger was presented to the church of Worlingham in Suffolk, in the diocese of Norwich.

In the wardrobe accounts immediately preceding the Ordinances of 1311, Roger was making 6.5 pence per day, compared to other clerks of the wardrobe, Nicholas de Huggate (later to become Cofferer of the Household) and Roger de Sheffield (clerk of the privy seal) was making 4.5 pence per day. The Ordinances of 1311 were a series of regulations imposed upon Edward II by the peerage and clergy of the Kingdom of England to restrict the power of the king.

On 9 October 1311, Roger was granted the manor of the Templars of Bisham, Berkshire (manor house built around 1260 as a community house for two Knights Templar). This manor house was used as a place of confinement from 1310-March 1312 for Elizabeth de Burgh, Queen consort of Scotland (died 27 October 1327) and wife of Robert I of Scotland (11 July 1274-7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce.

On 24 January 1312, Roger purchased for 80 pounds from the king the custody of the manor of Halsham, Yorkshire with its members and appurtenances, during the minority of the heir of Godrey de Melsa, tenant in chief.

On 28 January 1312, Roger was presented to the church of Lamprobes in the diocese of Exeter.

On 28 October 1312, Edward II made a grant of the castle and town of Orford, Suffolk to Nicholas de Segrave for life; and in pursuance of this grant a mandate was issued to Roger de Wyngefeld to deliver to Nicholas de Segrave the castle and town with the armor, which at the time were in Roger’s custody.

On 9 May 1313, Roger was presented to the church of Dungarvan in the diocese of Lismore, Ireland.

In June 1313, Roger and William le Parker, William de Fewelle, and William de Alvyryate went beyond seas on the king’s service.  It is not explicitly stated in the Calendar Patent Rolls, Edward II, Vol. I, 1307-1313, but in this same month, or just prior, Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (died 23 June 1324) had been negotiating with France to resolve the long-standing disagreements over the administration of Gascony, and as part of this Edward II and his Queen consort Isabella (died 22 August 1358) agreed to travel to Paris in June 1313 to meet with Philip IV (died 29 November 1314), Isabella’s father. The visit, included a grand ceremony in which the two kings knighted Philip IV’s sons and 200 other men in Notre Dame, large banquets along the River Seine, and a public declaration that both kings and their queens would join a crusade to the Levant. It is my suspicion that Roger and the above clerk had joined Edward II in his travels to France.

On 24 November 1313, Roger was presented to the church of Kempsey, in the diocese of Worcester.

On 24 November 1313, it is recorded in the Calendar of Patent Rolls, a Sir William de Bovile granted the reversion of his manor of Dennington in Suffolk, with the advowson of the church of that town, which William de Reppes held for the term of his life and upon the demise of the said William de Bovile to Richard de Wyngefeld and heirs, with remaining failing such issue to Roger de Wyngefeld and his heirs.

On 4 February 1314, Roger was granted the precentorship of the church of St. Patrick, Dublin, which is a person who helped facilitate worship.

On 24 March 1314, Roger was presented to the church of Bredon, in the diocese of Worcester.

Battle of Bannockburn
Battle of Bannockburn

In June 1314, Roger de Northurgh, Keeper of the Privy Seal, was accompanied by two of his clerks, Roger de Wyngefeld and Thomas de Switon when they traveled to Scotland with Edward II and his army to relieve Stirling Castle, which was under siege by Robert the Bruce’s younger brother, Edward Bruce (died 14 October 1318).  Northburgh, Wyngefeld, and Switon were captured after the decisive Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn (23-24 June 1314) and held as prisoners at Stirling Castle (or possibly Bothwell Castle).

The depiction from the Scotichronicon (c. 1440) is the earliest known image of the Battle of Bannockburn.  Robert the Bruce wielding an exe and Edward II fleeing toward Stirling feature prominently, conflating incidents from the two days of battle.

Roger was thought to have been slain the Battle of Bannockburn.  His benefices were conferred on others, and others took up his work in the chamber.  When he came back safe from Scotland, his reappearance seems to have been resented rather than welcomed.  In Thomas Tout’s book, “Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: The Wardrobe, the Chamber and the Small Seals”, he states that “We cannot find that he resumed his work in connection with the chamber.”

Roger’s actual date of death is uncertain, however as recorded in the Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II, Vol 2, 1313-1318, on 15 August 1314 in York:

To J. bishop of Norwich. Order to sequestrate all the ecclesiastical goods in his diocese of Roger de Wyngefeld, clerk, by the view of Richard de Wyngefeld his brother, and to cause them to be safely kept until Roger render the king an account of moneys received by him in the king’s name. By K.

The above record, appears to show Roger was likely still a prisoner at Stirling Castle, and living.

However, as recorded in the Calendar Patent Rolls, Edward II, Vol. I, 1313-1317, on 18 September 1314 in York:

Notification to the dean and chapter of the church of St. Patrick, Dublin, that whereas the king by his letters patent granted to Roger de Audele, king’s clerk, the prebend lately held by Roger de Wyngefeld, deceased, in their church, which was void and in his gift by reason of the voidance of the archbishopric of Dublin…..

We cannot be certain if Roger was indeed dead as of the above date, or if he was still being held a prisoner at Stirling Castle. Ransoms were supposedly paid for Roger de Northburgh and others, having been released five months after the Battle of Bannockburn.  Possibly Roger was released with him.

One of the last records regarding Roger, was recorded in the Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II, Vol 3, 1333-1337, on 1 October 1334 in Westminster:

To the same. Order to discharge and acquit Roger de Sheffeld of 40 marks for the ferm of the church of Kirkeby Fletham, co. York, which belonged to the order of Knights Templars, charging therewith the heirs and executors of the will of Roger de Wyngefeld, and the tenants of the lands which belonged to Roger; as Roger de Sheffeld has besought the king by his petition before him and his council in the last parliament at York, to provide him with a remedy, although his writ has been taken away from him, as he held the said church, which came into the late king’s hands by the cession of the said order, for rendering a certain ferm to the late king, and had paid 40 marks of that ferm by reason of a writ of the late king under the privy seal, which writ had been taken away from him by the Scots at Strivelyn, to Roger de Wyngefeld, deceased, then clerk of the late king’s chamber and receiver of the money coming to that chamber of the issues of the lands of the said order, as appears by an indenture made thereupon between the said Roger and Roger under the seal of Roger de Wyngefeld; and the said 40 marks are exacted of Roger de Sheffeld by summons of the exchequer, and he has been several times distrained for the reasons aforesaid; and the king has granted Roger’s petition because R. bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and Richard de Ayremyn, canon in the church of St. Mary, Salisbury, have testified before the king and his council in the said parliament, that 40 marks were paid by Roger de Sheffeld to Roger de Wyngefeld as aforesaid.

Sources

Wingfield, Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt, ed., Muniments of the Ancient Saxon family of Wingfield (privately printed, London, 1894), Wingfield Family Society, Durham, North Carolina, (1987)

Wingfield, Jocelyn, Sir John de Wingfield III (ca.1307-1361) How a local Anglo-Saxon rose in Norman-run England to become Executive Officer for the Black Prince, (2012)

Tout, Thomas Frederick, Chapters in the administrative history of mediaeval England; the wardrobe, the chamber, and the small seals, Vol. 2, University of Manchester at the University Press, (1920), pages 24, 286, 294-296, 316-331, and 343

Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Edward II, Vol 1, 1307-1313 (1894)

Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Edward II, Vol 1, 1313-1317 (1898)

Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Edward II, Vol 3, 1313-1321 (1903)

Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II, Vol 1, 1307-1313, (1892)

Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II, Vol 2, 1313-1318, (1893)

Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II, Vol 3, 1318-1323, (1895)

Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, Vol 3, 1333-1337, (1898)

Calendar of the Fine Rolls, Edward II, Vol. 2, 1307-1319, (1912)

"Posse Nolle Nobile" — Latin for "To have the power without the wish is noble."
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