Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Sir Richard Willoughby (c.1290-1362)

Richard was the son of Sir Richard Willoughby of Willoughby-on-the-Wolds, a lawyer, who served as Chief Justice of the Bench in Ireland from 1323-1325. Richard attended Parliament in 1324 and inherited the estate from his father the following year. Richard was a successful lawyer and increased his wealth greatly by his legal career. He was appointed one of the justices of Common Pleas in 1328 and one of the justices of King's Bench in 1330. He was briefly Chief Justice between 1338-1340, but was demoted and charged with corruption. He threw himself on the King's mercy and was pardoned on payment of 1200 marks. In 1343 he was re-appointed as a justice, and served until 1357.

His father had purchased Wollaton Old Hall and its estate from Roger Morteyn in around 1314-1319. Through his marriage to Roger's daughter, Richard acquired land in Derbyshire and in Dunsby, Lincolnshire. He also purchased additional land in Nottinghamshire and other counties.

Sir Richard was buried at Willoughby-on-the-Wolds, where there is a monumental effigy. The core of the family estates at Willoughby and Wollaton were inherited by his son Edmund, but the Risley estate in Derbyshire passed to his son Hugh and his descendants.

Tomb of Sir Richard Willoughby (c.1290-1362) in Willoughby-on-the-Wolds parish church


Sir Richard married 1stly, in 1310, Isabel, daughter of Roger Morteyn (d 1332) and had:

  • Sir Richard (d 1369), m Maud (d 1405), no children
  • Thomas, no children
  • Roger, no issue
  • Marjory, m - Mallory
  • Joan, m Bartram Monboucher
  • Hugh, rector of Wollaton, inherited Risley (d 1406), lived with Joan Spenser and had:
    • Hugh, clerk (d 1442), m Joan, daughter of Sir John Dabridgecourt (d 1422), and had:
      • Hugh (d 1491), m Isabel, daughter of Sir Gervase Clifton (d 1462). Ancestors of further generations of the Willoughby family of Risley, down to Sir Henry Willoughby, baronet, who died without male issue in 1649

Sir Richard married 2ndly, in 1333, Joan, daughter of Sir Guichard de Charron, and widow of Sir Bertram Monboucher (d 1342), and had:

  • Edmund, m Alice Somerville, and had:
    • Edmund, m Isabel Annesley, and had:
      • Hugh (c.1380-1448)
      • William
      • Joan, m John Gayton

Sir Richard married 3rdly, Elizabeth, widow of Champernowne of Modbury, Devon

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, settlements, estate and legal papers relating to Sir Richard Willoughby's ownership of the Willoughby estates are part of the Middleton Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

Published Sources

  • Bloom, M.R., The Careers of Sir Richard II de Willoughby and Sir Richard III de Willoughby, Chief Justice of the King's Bench (1338-40) and the Rise of the Willoughbys of Nottinghamshire , D.Phil., Oxford, 1985 [King’s Meadow Campus Ref Not 1.V32 WIL]
  • S. J. Payling, ‘Willoughby, Sir Richard ( c. 1290–1362) ’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Oxford University Press, 2004 [ available online to subscribers

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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