Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt.

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ChartsAncestors of Edward Ambrose Cooke
Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt., son of John Colpeper, died after 1311.1

Most pedigrees agree in giving John as the Recognitor's son, followed by Sir Thomas as his grandson. If the pedigrees are correct then this Sir Thomas, of Bayhall, must have been an old man in 4 Edward II [1310] Assuming that the grandfather was fifty years of age when he served as Recognitor, then the two generations succeding him must have covered a period of some eighty years. This would make Sir Thomas Colepeper a fairly old man in 4 Edward II when his son Thomas and Margery his wife purchased from him 50 acres in Foulsden. Although, indicted in 1305 with his son Thomas for stealing the goods of the vicar of Ringmer, he likely was not an active participant in the matter. For this reason it was not probable that it was this Thomas who was porter or janitor of Leeds Castle in 1292; it was more likely his son of the same Christian name.

In 25 Edward I [1296] there is an important reference to Thomas Colepeper, sen when the executors of the will of Sir William de Montfort brought an action against Thomas Colepeper and John his son concerning the manor of Newenton, in Kent.

From this it is clear that there was, besides his sons Thomas and Walter, who were executed, another son John, and there was doubtless another son named Nicholas. All four were implicated in the Earl of Lancaster's rebellion, but John and Nicholas evidently in a Iesser degree than Thomas and Walter. There was an order issued in 1322 to the Sheriff of York to receive John Colepeper and others into custody in York Castle. This looks as if John Colepeper took part in the Battle of Boroughbridge, and Weaver, in his Ancient Funeral Monuments, p. 272, speaks of Sir Thomas Colepeper siding with the Earl of Lancaster and being hanged, drawn and quartered at Winchelsea. The Earl was executed at Pontefract, so it seems certain that both Thomas and John were with Lancaster's forces at Boroughbridge.

After remaining a close prisoner during the remainder of the reign in the Castles of Berkhampstead and Gloucester, John Colepeper was released on the accession of Edward III [1327]. The new king restored many of the confiscated lands, and those of John Colepeper, of Lynlegh, were included. He was alive eleven years later, when John Colepeper, of Lynlegh, with Johanna, his wife, appear as deforciants in a fine relating to 20 acres of land in Wythyhame.

With regard to the other two sons of Sir Thomas Colepeper, sen., Walter and Nicholas, they both suffered for their refusal to admit Queen Isabel to Leeds Castle. Walter "sticked not to tell him" (the Queen's marshal) "that neither the Queen nor any other should be lodged there without the commandement of his Lorde the owner." On the Queen coming to the gate in person "the Captaine most malapertly repulsed her, insomuch that shee complained grievously to the King," who besieged the place and eventually took it. "Then tooke he Captaine Colepeper and hoong him up." Captain Colepeper was doubtless Walter, as the release of Nicholas, his only brother yet unaccounted for, forms the subject of the following order issued in 1323 to Henry de Cobeham, Constable of Rochester Castle: "Whereas Nicholas Colepeper and others are imprisoned in Rochester Castle because they adhered to certain rebels who held the King's Castle of Ledes against him. The King, compassionating their estate, and being unwilling to detain them longer in prison, orders the Constable to release those of them whom he shall find by Inquisition to have no lands, and to cause those of them who have lands to come before the King within 15 days from Easter at their own cost and to do and to receive what the King's Court shall consider in the matter."

Of the four sons of Thomas Colepeper, grandson of the Recognitor, the authors found no trace of John and Nicholas, while the Colepepers of Oxenhoath and Aylesford stem from Captain Walter Colepeper .

The eldest son, Sir Thomas Culpeper, who was executed at Winchelsea in 1321, seems to have married Margery, a daughter of the Bayhall family, and either by this match, or by purchase, to have acquired their estates. This Thomas is called in 1306 "fil' Thom' Colepeper de Brenchesle."2


This person was last edited on9 Jul 2016


  1. [S1912] F. W. T. Atree and J. H. L. Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," Sussex Archaelological Collections 47 (1904): 47-81 and 48 (1905): 65-98, at chart facing 56, further cited as Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers."
  2. [S1912] Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," 49.