John SCUDAMORE of Holme Lacy

Born: ABT 1494, Fawnhope, Herefordshire, England

Died: 25 Sep 1571, Holme Lacy, Herefordshire, England

Father: William SCUDAMORE of Holme Lacy

Mother: Alice MYNORS

Married 1: Sybil VAUGHAN (d. 1559) (dau. of Walter Vaughan y Elizabeth Baskerville)


1. William SCUDAMORE of Holme Lacy

2. Richard SCUDAMORE (b. 1526 - d. 1586)

3. Catherine SCUDAMORE



6. Elizabeth SCUDAMORE

7. Phillip SCUDAMORE




Married 2: Joan RUDHALL (b. ABT 1500) (dau. of William Rudhall and Anne Milbourne) (w. of Richard Reade)

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Son of William Scudamore of Holme Lacy by Alice, dau. of Richard Mynors of Treago. Married first Sybil, dau. of Walter Vaughan of Hergest, 4s. 5da.; and secondly Joan, dau. of William Rudhale of Rudhall, wid. of Richard Rede of Boddington (d. 18 Jul 1544), Glos., s.p.

Gent. usher, the chamber by 1524-35, esquire of the body ?1535; sheriff, Herefs. 1524-5, 1536-7, 1543-4, 1552-3; steward, duchy of Lancaster, Glos. and Herefs. 1524-d.; j.p. Herefs. 1528-d., Worcs. 1532-58/59, Oxford circuit 1540, Glos. 1554-58/59, Salop 1554; receiver, diocese of Hereford 1535, ct. of augmentations, Herefs., Salop, Staffs. and Worcs. Apr. 1536-54; commr. musters, Herefs. 1542, 1546, chantries, north and central Wales 1546, goods of churches and fraternities, Herefs. 1553; other commissions 1530-48; member, council in the marches of Wales 1553-?d.; custos rot. Herefs. by 1561; steward, Hereford and high steward, Archenfield, Herefs. in 1564.

His father was a son of Phillip Skydmore (b. 1416 - d. 1488) and his wife Wenyllan Osborne.

His uncle John Skydmore was the first of the name to settle at Denham (which is in Buckinghamshire but adjoins Uxbridge in Middlesex), where he purchased a messuage and a burgage on 10 May 1477 from William Dyer of Uxbridge and his wife Alice (who was the widow of John Spore of Denham). On 9 Nov 1498 the premises of the late William Spore of Denham are described as between that of “John Skydmore on the east and the abbots of St Peters, Westminster on the west, and abutting on the king’s highway on the south, and the lands of the abbots called Churchefelds on the north”. John Skydmore, called a husbandman, alienated these premises to Thomas Barnard of Denham on 10 Febr 1483. On 31 Mar 1502 John Skydmore “of Denham” gave a deed to Thomas Jordan of the same place of a parcel or meadow at Southmede called Spertmede. He was dead before 12 Oct 1505 when Thomas Bannister and Margaret (the widow of John Skydmore) gave a bond in the sum of £10 to John Miklowe to protect him in his possession of certain lands in Denham that were once the property of John Skydmore, deceased. His heir was his first son, also John Skydmore, was the first of the name at Kingsbury. A younger son, Thomas, was recruited by the Abbess Agnes Jordan as a lay brother for Syon.

The Scudamores of Holme Lacy were a cadet branch of the family settled at Kentchurch: they had acquired Holme Lacy by marriage in the mid 14th century and John Scudamore was himself to augment it. He also built a house there on a site which, according to tradition, had been the dwelling-place of Walter de Lacy and his heirs. Further additions were to be made to the estate by the marriage of Scudamore’s son William with the heiress of Sir John Pakington of Hampton Lovett, Worcestershire.

John Scudamore had early combined service in the royal household with duties in local administration. In 1534 he and his fellow-justices were asked by the mayor of Hereford to examine Richard Stopes alias Pewterer, a report of whose treasonable words went to Cromwell. That Scudamore had early found favour with Cromwell is shown by a letter of Jul 1534 from Scudamore to Alderman Ralph Warren, in which he deplored a fight which had taken place between ‘a lewd boy of mine’ and a servant of Cromwell’s, ‘a good master of mine’, and promised to put the offender in prison for a year if he caught him. Cromwell appointed Scudamore to make leases of the lands of the bishopric of Hereford after the death of Bishop Charles Booth in 1535. He also seems to have ignored Bishop Rowland Lee’s objections to Scudamore when the president of the council in the marches sought to prevent his promotion in those parts, ‘as he is a gentleman dwelling nigh the welshry and kinned and allied in the same’. Scudamore’s opinion of the Welsh clearly differed from Lee’s, for he asked Cromwell whether he should not treat those parts of the marches annexed to the county as shire ground, adding that ‘the people are not well furnished but seem willing to serve the King if need be’.

Scudamore’s Membership of the Parliament of 1529 is revealed by a lawsuit which arose out of it. In 1535 he brought a case in the Exchequer against Sir Edward Croft, who had been sheriff of Herefordshire in 1533-4. (A similar case was brought in Chancery against Croft by the executors of Sir Richard Cornwall, another knight of the shire for Herefordshire.) Scudamore claimed that on 2 Apr 1534 —three days after Parliament was prorogued — he had obtained a writ de expensis which he had delivered to Croft at Hereford on 20 Jun, and which the sheriff had executed at Ross on 20 Oct: since then, however, Croft had refused to pay him the sum due and had caused him damages which he estimated at £20. As the amount involved, £30 16s., represented his wages for the 154 days which he had spent in going to, attending and returning from the fifth and sixth sessions of the Parliament, it is clear that he had been by-elected in place of John Rudhalle, whose sister he was later to marry. His choice had evidently owed something to Cromwell, who had placed a circle against his name on a list of nominees to vacancies. Scudamore’s name next appears on another of Cromwell’s parliamentary lists written on the back of a letter of Dec 1534 and thought to be of Members having a particular, but unknown, connexion with the treasons bill then on its passage through Parliament; he was also the ‘Mr. Skydmore’ who served on a committee for the Act regulating the keeping of sheep which was passed during the sixth session. He may have sat again in the short Parliament of 1536, in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members, but it is unlikely that he did so thereafter, except perhaps in 1545 when the names of the Herefordshire knights are lost. As the result of his suit against Croft is unknown, we cannot say whether financial considerations deterred him from seeking to prolong his parliamentary career, but its comparative brevity may have been due simply to the shire’s evident predilection at this time for regular change in its representation, few of its Members sitting more than once.

Scudamore was no stranger to the administration of ecclesiastical property when in Apr 1536 he became augmentations receiver for Hereford and the neighbouring counties. Although Edward Fox had received the temporalities of the see of Hereford in the previous September, Scudamore had continued to administer them because of the Bishop’s preoccupation with the King’s business in Germany: in a letter of 31 Aug 1535 Fox had thanked him for his diligence and had referred all suitors to him. In Jan 1536 he is described as ‘farmer of the parsonage of Bridstow’, and in the following month Walter Devereux, 3rd Lord Ferrers received his fee of £5 as the bishop’s steward over the signature of Scudamore as ‘receiver of the bishop’s lands’. The receivership was well paid but Scudamore had to work hard in it at least until the court of augmentations was reconstituted in 1547. He was then one of seven out of the original 29 receivers who were reappointed. As an augmentations official he was able to benefit considerably from the Dissolution, his major acquisition being the house and lands of Abbey Dore, Herefordshire, which he purchased in 1540 for £379.

During the northern rebellion of 1536 Scudamore was appointed to attend upon the King with 40 men and eight years later he served in the army against France. Shortly before the dissolution of the court of augmentations in 1554 he was made a member of the council in the marches of Wales, an appointment which he may have owed to his Catholicism but from which he was not removed on the accession of Elizabeth. It was as a member of the council, custos rotulorum and steward of Hereford that in 1564 he headed Bishop John Scory’s list of those in authority in Herefordshire who were unfavourable to the Elizabethan settlement: if his religion did not prevent his continued employment, he himself was sufficiently accommodating to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity.

Scudamore’s will, made on 20 Jul and proved on 17 Nov 1571, was nevertheless as firmly Catholic as that of the more intransigent Thomas Havard, who had refused to subscribe. He bequeathed his soul to God, the Virgin Mary and the company of heaven and gave £20 to the poor to pray for his soul; a further £100 was to be bestowed on his funeral if he died at or near Holme Lacy but otherwise was to be ‘distributed amongst poor people to pray for my soul and all Christian souls and in amending of highways’. His eldest son William had died before 1560 but he still had a large family to provide for, including several grandchildren. Of his daughters, Jane was then married to Sir William Devereux of Merevale, Warwickshire. The residuary legatee was Scudamore’s grandson and heir, John, who was to serve in six Elizabethan Parliaments as junior knight for Herefordshire: he was named executor together with Edward Cooper, archdeacon of Hereford, with Richard Seborne as overseer. Scudamore died on 25 Sep 1571 and was buried beside his first wife at Holme Lacy, the inscription on their altar-tomb praying passers-by ‘of their charity to say for their souls a paternoster and an ave’.


Edwards, A. J.: SCUDAMORE, (SKYDMORE), John (by 1503-71), of Holm Lacy, Herefs.

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