Sir Ralph EURE, Knight
Born: 24 Sep 1508, Mitton, Yorkshire, England
Died: 6 Mar 1543/44, Ancrym, Moor, England
Father: William EURE (1° B. Eure of Witton)
Mother: Elizabeth WILLOUGHBY (B. Eure of Witton)
Married: Margery BOWES (dau. of Sir Ralph Bowes and Elizabeth Clifford) ABT 1524, Yorkshire, England
1. William EURE (2° B. Eure of Witton)
2. Ralph EURE
3. Margaret EURE
4. Anne EURE
5. Frances EURE
6. Anne EURE
7. Thomas EURE
8. Henry EURE
The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.
Son and heir app. of William 1st Lord Eure of Witton, co. Dur. by Elizabeth Willoughby. Married by 1529, Margery, da. of Sir Ralph Bowes of Streatlam, co. Dur., 3s. 2da. Kntd. Mar./Apr. 1536.
Dep. constable, Scarborough castle, Yorks. 1531-7, constable Jan. 1537-d.; j.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) 1536-d., (N. Riding) 1538-d.; commr. musters, Yorks. (N. Riding) 1539, 1542; keeper, Redesdale and Tynedale, ?1542-d.; dep. warden, middle marches by Aug. 1543, warden Mar. 1544-d.; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, Pickering, Yorks. Nov. 1543.
Although their name is said to derive from Iver in Buckinghamshire, the Eures were an old northern family. Sir Ralph Eure’s grandfather and namesake, twice sheriff of Yorkshire and once of Northumberland, lived until 1539, with a consequent risk of confusion between him and his grandson, but Stow’s report of the death in battle of ‘Sir Ralph Eure Lord Eure’ was a gratuitous conflation of son and father. It is as Sir Ralph Eure junior that Eure appears on the East Riding commission of Apr 1536. He appears to have been deputy constable of Scarborough castle since 1531 and was in command there during the Pilgrimage of Grace, although not formally constable until Jan 1537, after which he had to recover the castle at the time of the second insurrection; he then wrote to Sir John Bulmer in praise of the King’s magnanimity. He may himself have been in need of it, for a charge against him of peculation early in 1537 was followed by the graver accusation that in another letter to Bulmer he had cast reflections on Cromwell, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and the Council. His contention that the letter had been forged by his enemy Sir Roger Cholmley (not the Member of that name but his uncle of Roxby in Yorkshire) derives some colour from the fact that Eure could not read or write more than his own name. Although the affair came to nothing, it may help to explain why Eure had to wait so long for the outcome of his persistent soliciting of Cromwell in the matter of Sir Francis Bigod´s forfeited lands; only in Apr 1538 was he appointed chief steward of Bigod’s lands in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
Eure may have first entered Parliament for Scarborough in 1536 when George Flinton’s death left a vacancy to be filled otherwise than, as the King had asked, by the previous Member. His position in the town, which he was said in a lawsuit to rule ‘at his pleasure’, could have secured his election in 1539 as it was to do three years later. His attendance at the three sessions of the Parliament of 1542 was probably curtailed by his duties in the north. Appointed keeper of Redesdale and Tynedale by the Duke of Suffolk, during Suffolk’s wardenship of the marches in 1542, he retained the office until his death despite the objection that the same man ought not to govern both districts; his own wardenship of the middle marches may have antedated its conferment by patent in Mar 1544 when his father was made a baron and had his own patent as warden of the east marches renewed.
A leader of many raids from Berwick and a recipient of the King’s thanks for his part in the Earl of Hertford’s invasion in 1544, a raid to Melrose or Jedburgh led to Ralph Eure's death at the battle of Ancrum Moor on 27 Feb 1545, where the Earl of Angus ‘revenged the defacing of the limbs of his ancestors at Melrose upon Ralph Evers’. His companions Basford and a Scotsman John Rutherford of Edgerston cut down beside him. Regent Arran was shown Ralph's body by a man called Vicar Ogle, and said;
"God have mercy on him, for he was a fell cruel man and over cruel, which many a man and fatherless bairn might rue; and, wellaway that ever such slaughter and bloodshedding should be amongst Christian men."
The defeat at Ancrum was blamed on Ralph's over-reliance on his wavering Scottish allies and his foolhardy courage. Robert Bowes was made Warden of the Middle March in his place. To avenge Ralph, Henry Eure and George Bowes went to Bowmont in Teviotdale and demolished two towers and burnt farmsteads belonging to the Laird of Molle (Mow).
Eure, who appears to have left no will, was buried at Melrose; his offices passed to his father, who was to be succeeded in the barony by Eure’s son William, born on 10 Nov 1529. Eure had perhaps been re-elected for Scarborough to the Parliament summoned for Jan 1545 but prorogued until the following Nov; in that case the election held there on 17 Sep 1545 would have been needed to replace him and his fellow-Member, possibly Nicholas Fairfax, and his servant William Lockwood, one of those elected, would have made an appropriate successor.
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