Thomas de Dent

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Dent, Cumbria, birthplace of Thomas Dent, present day Main Street, Dent.jpg
Dent, Cumbria, birthplace of Thomas Dent, present day

Thomas de Dent, or Thomas Dyvelyn, or Thomas of Dublin (died after 1361) was an English born cleric and judge who held high office in Ireland, and was praised as a diligent and hard working Crown official, who damaged his health through overwork. [1]

Contents

He was born at Dent, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire (now in Cumbria). [2] During his years in Ireland he was sometimes known as Thomas Dyvelyn, which was an early form of "Thomas of Dublin". [3] He took holy orders, and became a clerk in the Royal service. He is first heard of as the defendant in a lawsuit for trespass at Ingleton, North Yorkshire. [2]

Career

He came to Ireland to serve as King's Attorney (the office which was later called Serjeant-at-law) in 1331 and in 1334 he was appointed a justice of the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland). [4] He was transferred to the Court of King's Bench (Ireland) in 1337. He became Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1341, as part of a widespread reform of the Irish judiciary. He later complained that for some time he sat on the Court alone, with no puisne justices to assist him. He was back in England in 1343, when he served on a Royal Commission at Kendal. He was then appointed Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, and served in that office from 1344–58. [4] He stepped down as Chief Justice of the Pleas in 1358, due according to his own account to his "infirmity". His salary, according to his own petition for payment of it, was seriously in arrears when he retired. [5]

He was granted a lease of the royal manor of Esker, near Lucan in County Dublin in 1351: [2] Esker was often leased out to royal servants who were in high favour with the Crown. In 1355, on his own petition, he was granted a special allowance of £13 for his "great and strange labours" in 1354-5, when he served as Chief Justice without any puisne judges to assist him, injuring his own heath thereby, and for his general diligence in the King's business. [6]

Petition for payment of his salary

He is last heard of in 1361, when he was visiting England. [7] He may have been in some financial distress in his last years, judging by his petition to the English Parliament asking for payment of the sums due to him, which he evidently made shortly after he left office in 1358. According to the petition he was forced to step down as Chief Justice due to ill-health, and his fees were now seriously in arrears. He requests that the arrears be paid from the King's Treasury in England, or any other suitable source. [8]

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References

Notes

  1. Close Roll 29 Edward III 30 July 1355
  2. 1 2 3 Ball p.74
  3. National Archives SC/8/44/2189
  4. 1 2 Hart p.167
  5. National Archives /SC/8/44/2189
  6. Close Roll 29 Edward III 30 July 1355
  7. Hart p.74
  8. National Archives SC/8/44/2189

Sources