Nielsen Hayden genealogy

William Tailboys

Male Abt 1415 - 1464  (~ 49 years)


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  • Name William Tailboys  [1, 2, 3
    Born Abt 1415  [4, 5
    Gender Male 
    Alternate birth 1418  [6
    Alternate birth Abt 1416-1419  of South Kyme, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Died 26 May 1464  Sandhills, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 8, 9, 10
    Alternate death 20 Jul 1464  Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 11
    Buried Grey Friars Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 7, 9
    Person ID I2994  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 9 Jan 2018 

    Father Walter Tailboys,   b. of Goltho, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1444 
    Mother (Unknown first wife of Walter Tailboys) 
    Family ID F5892  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Bonville,   d. 14 Feb 1491 
    Children 
    +1. Robert Tailboys,   b. Abt 1441-1451, of Kyme, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Jan 1494  (Age ~ 43 years)
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2018 11:32:40 
    Family ID F2594  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • "The identity of William's mother is unknown, but his father married in 1432 Alice, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford and widow of Sir Edmund Cheyne, which made him one of the wealthiest men in Lincolnshire, and he was also very active on local commissions." [Oxford Dictionary of National Biography]

      Justice of the peace in Lincolnshire and Northumberland, 1441 onwards. Knight of the shire for Lincolnshire 1445. King's esquire. Captain of Alnwick Castle 1462. Styled "Earl of Kyme" upon inheriting the castle and estate of Kyme.

      Described in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on his father-in-law William Bonville as "one of Suffolk's henchmen," referring to William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, beheaded 1450. Described in the first line of his own Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry as "Tailboys, Sir William (c.1416–1464), landowner and gang leader."

      From Foundation: The History of England from its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors by Peter Ackroyd (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011):

      John Paston wrote of one hired gang that 'no poor man dare displease them, for whatsoever they do with their swords they make it law'. He had direct experience of such violent behaviour. In a petition to the archbishop of York he wrote of 'a great multitude of riotous people, to the number of a thousand persons or more' who 'broke, despoiled, and drew down' his manor house at Gresham; they 'drove out my wife and servants there being, and rifled, took, and bore away all the goods and chattels'. The gang then fortified the manor, and kept out Paston himself as well as the king’s Justice of the Peace.

      Another gang, commanded by William Tailboys, was under the protection of Suffolk; it will be remembered that Suffolk, with the queen, helped to control the council of the realm. Tailboys and his 'slaughterladdes' were accused of three murders as well as charges of trespass and assault; but Suffolk helped him to escape justice. 'On lordship and friendship', it was said, 'depends all law and profit.' The spirit of misrule prevailed over the land, and the king could do nothing about it.

      From Wikipedia:

      William Tailboys, de jure 7th Baron Kyme (c. 1415-26 May 1464) was a wealthy Lincolnshire squire and adherent of the Lancastrian cause during the Wars of the Roses.

      He was born in Kyme, Lincolnshire the son of Sir Walter Tailboys and his first wife. Sir Walter had inherited considerable estates in Northumberland and Lincolnshire (with the main estate being at Goltho, Lincolnshire), and had been High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1423. William gained a reputation as a troublemaker, continually disputing with his neighbours, particularly Lord Cromwell, the ex-Treasurer.

      He was Justice of the Peace for Lincolnshire and for Northumberland from 1441 and in 1445 became Knight of the shire for Lincolnshire. However his unruly character led to his temporary imprisonment in the Marshalsea, London in 1448 for a series of murders and trespasses. He was also accused of having attempted to murder Lord Cromwell in the Star Chamber in 1449.

      He espoused the Lancastrian cause and was knighted at the Second Battle of St Albans in 1461. He also fought at the Battle of Towton in 1461, escaped and was declared a rebel and had his property confiscated by King Edward IV. He was with Queen Margaret in Scotland in 1461 and was Captain of Alnwick Castle for the restored King Henry VI in 1462.

      In 1464 he fought at the Battle of Hexham, where the Lancastrian forces were totally routed, but managed to escape the field. He was later discovered hiding in a coal pit near Newcastle with some 3000 marks (2000 pounds) of Lancastrian funds which had been intended as pay for the army. He was taken to the Sandhills in Newcastle and there beheaded.

      From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

      Nothing is known of William Tailboys's early life but he may have been 'the young layman by name Tailboys' who was living at Bardney Abbey in 1437 and 'did most foully browbeat and scold' one of the monks there (Virgoe, 462). By 1441 he was one of the king's household retainers, and remained so until at least 1448. His inheritance of his father's lands brought him election as knight of the shire for Lincolnshire in 1445 and appointment to the Northumberland and all three Lincolnshire commissions of the peace. But he rapidly became involved in a series of disputes which led to a great deal of violence. By 1448 he and his followers were accused of involvement in three homicides and many other crimes. Tailboys saw Lord Cromwell of Tattershall Castle as his greatest enemy and John, Viscount Beaumont, and William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, as his patrons. When writs of exigent were issued against Tailboys and his followers in 1449 Suffolk persuaded the sheriff of Lincolnshire, Mauncer Marmyon, not to execute them, promising Marmyon a pardon -- incidents that formed part of the charges against Suffolk in his impeachment in 1450. Near the beginning of the parliament of November 1449 Tailboys and his band of 'slaughterladdes' assaulted and allegedly tried to kill Lord Cromwell at a meeting of the king's council. The Commons, perhaps inspired by Lord Cromwell, brought an impeachment against Tailboys -- the first for over half a century -- demanding that he, 'named and noysed for a comon murderer, mansleer, riottour and contynuell breker of your peas', be put in the Tower of London, to stay there for twelve months while actions could be brought against him (RotP, 5.200). The king was forced to agree to the main clause and it is clear that this impeachment formed the model for the much more serious impeachment of the duke of Suffolk in January 1450, also perhaps inspired by Lord Cromwell.

      [...] Tailboys remained in the Tower for a year and then in the custody of the sheriffs of London for another four years. After the Yorkist victory of St Albans in 1455 Tailboys received a general pardon and was restored briefly to the peace commission in Kesteven. He was certainly much damaged by his years of imprisonment, even though in 1457 Lord Cromwell's executors forgave him much of the £2000 awarded seven years earlier. His activities over the next three years seem to have been equally violent and in the Coventry parliament of 1459 the Commons petitioned that he, then living at Enfield, and other criminals be imprisoned.

      As the civil wars grew closer, however, Tailboys's influence in Lincolnshire, where he presumably remained friendly with Viscount Beaumont, became increasingly important to Henry VI. He served loyally on the Lancastrian side during the last four years of his life, being knighted in February 1461 at St Albans, where Lord Bonville, whose daughter, Elizabeth (d. 1491), he had married, was executed. He fought at Towton, defended, then surrendered Alnwick, and finally fought at the battle of Hexham in May 1464. After this battle he was discovered hiding in a coalmine near Newcastle with some 3000 marks intended for the Lancastrian forces. He was executed on 20 July 1464 at Newcastle and buried at the Greyfriars in Newcastle.

  • Sources 
    1. [S789] The Wallop Family and Their Ancestry, by Vernon James Watney. Oxford, 1928.

    2. [S877] Mark Noble, "History of the Beautiful Elizabeth Blount." The Genealogist volume II, p. 44. London, 1878.

    3. [S1378] The Royal Descents of the Fosters of Moulton and the Mathesons of Shinness & Lochalsh by William Edward Foster. London: Phillimore and Company, 1912.

    4. [S128] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Full citation details here.

    5. [S145] Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700, by Frederick Lewis Weis and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. 8th edition, William R. Beall & Kaleen E. Beall, eds. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004, 2006, 2008.

    6. [S876] The Victoria County History of Durham. Portions online, linked from medievalgenealogy.org.uk.

    7. [S142] Royal Ancestry, by Douglas Richardson. Kimball G. Everingham, ed. 2013.

    8. [S142] Royal Ancestry, by Douglas Richardson. Kimball G. Everingham, ed. 2013., date only.

    9. [S160] Wikipedia.

    10. [S128] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Full citation details here., date only.

    11. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-ongoing).