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John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham

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Title: John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham  
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John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham

John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham (c. 1433–1501) was an English peer and politician. He was the Lord High Treasurer of England, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Baron Dynham. He was the owner of Souldern. He was one of the few men to serve as councillor to Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII and was trusted by all of them.


He was born at Nutwell in the parish of Woodbury in East Devon, eldest son and heir of Sir John IV Dynham (1406-1458)[1] by his wife Joan Arches (d.1497),[1] sister and heiress of John Arches and daughter of Sir Richard Arches (d.1417) of Eythorpe, Cranwell and Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire,[1] whose arms were: Gules, three arches argent. The Dynhams had been at Nutwell since about 1122 and were one of the leading gentry families in Devon.[2]His father died in 1458, but his mother was in occupation of the lands until her own death in 1496/7.[2]


His service to the House of York began in 1459 when the future Edward IV and his Neville relatives, fleeing the disastrous Battle of Ludford Bridge took refuge with his mother, for which Edward later rewarded her; John himself bought the ship on which they fled to Calais.[2] He was attainted by the Coventry Parliament and led two successful raids against the royal forces at Sandwich. During the first raid he captured Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers, thus producing the (in retrospect) comical scene where Rivers was humiliated for his low birth by his future son-in-law, King Edward IV.[3]

Under Edward IV

He was made High Sheriff of Devon and Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1460. After Edward IV's accession he became a member of the Privy Council and was created Baron Dynham in 1467, although no grant of lands accompanied the title, as was usual.[2] Ross[4] suggests that he did not become a leading figure in government until the death of Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Devon. During the years of crisis from 1469 to 1471 Dynham remained wholly loyal to Edward, and following Edward's return to power became one of the foremost members of the Government; he was Commander-in-Chief of naval forces during the brief Anglo-French War in 1475.[5] On the other hand the Crown was somewhat grudging with grants of land, his estates being confined to Devon and Cornwall.[2] Nor did he have a powerful network of family alliances: two of his sisters married into the Carew and Arundell families who were of purely local importance; the others married into the Zouche and Fitzwarin families, who were peers but not, until the accession of Richard III, of wide influence.[2]

Under Richard III

After Richard III's accession he continued to flourish, becoming Lieutenant of Calais. In that capacity he recaptured Hammes Castle, which had defected to Henry VII but was criiticised for allowing the garrison to depart. His marriage connections now became useful since John, 7th Lord Zouche had married his sister Joan. Zouche was one of the coming men in Richard's reign, but his prospects were ruined by the Battle of Bosworth.[6]

Under Henry VII

After Richard's death he remained at Calais until it became clear that Henry VII bore him no ill-will. In fact Chrimes suggests that Henry was anxious to obtain the services of a man with such a record of service and loyalty to the Crown.[7] While the Zouche connection had been useful, Dynham acquired a new patron in Lord Willoughby de Broke, his second wife's father, who was Steward of the Royal Household. Certainly Dynham flourished under Henry; he was made a Knight of the Garter,[2] and was Lord Treasurer from 1486 until his death: he took his duties at the Exchequer very seriously and spent most of his time at Lambeth for convenience. He received several grants and sat on numerous commissions.[8] He was one of the judges who tried the rebels after the Cornish Rebellion of 1497.

His career did not suffer from the execution for treason of his stepson Lord FitzWalter in 1495[9]; nor the attainder of his brother-in-law Lord Zouche; he was given an allowance to support his impoverished sister Lady Zouche, and Zouche after years of disgrace was eventually restored to a measure of favour.[10]


He married twice but left no surviving progeny:


He died at his home in Lambeth, 28 January 1501 and was buried in the London Greyfriars.[2]


His three brothers had all predeceased him and the title died with him. His estates descended to the heirs of his four surviving sisters; a 5th sister Edith, appears to have predeceased Dynham without issue:[13]

  • Margery Dinham, eldest sister[14]married Sir Edmund Carewe (d.1513) son and heir of Sir John Carew of Mohun's Ottery and Monkton, Devon.[14]
  • Elizabeth Dinham (d.1516), 2nd sister,[14] who married twice:
directed that he should be buried in Hartland Abbey, founded by the Dinhams in 1168/9[16] In a stained-glass window of Bampton Church are visible the arms of Sapcotes[17] (or Shapcott[18]) Sable, three dovecotes argent impaling quarterly of four, 1st & 4th: Gules, four fusils ermine (Dinham), 2nd & 3rd Gules, three arches argent (Arches, for Sir Richard Arches (d.1417) of Eythorpe, Cranwell and Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire, whose daughter Joan Arches (d.1497) was the wife of Sir John IV Dinham (1406-1458), and thus was Elizabeth Dinham's mother.[1]
  • Joan Dinham, 3rd sister, wife of John la Zouche, 7th Baron Zouche, 8th Baron St Maur (1459–1526)[1]
  • Katherine Dinham, 4th sister, who married Sir Thomas Arundell (d.1485) of Lanherne, St. Mawgan-in-Pyder, Cornwall, father of Sir John Arundell (1474-1545)[1]
  • Edith Dinham, Gentlewoman to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII. She predeceased her brother and died without issue,[13] having married Thomas Fowler, Esq., Usher of the Chamber to King Edward IV. Her monumental brass in Christ's College Chapel, Cambridge, (founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1505) shows the arms of Dynham quartering Arches.[19]



  • Chope, R. Pearse, The Book of Hartland, Torquay, 1940
  • Chrimes, S.B., Henry VII Yale University Press 1999
  • GEC Peerage, Vol IV, pp.369-382, Baron Dinham
Political offices
Preceded by
Edmund, Earl of Rutland

Deputy: John Talbot

Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir William Welles
Preceded by
John Tuchet, 6th Baron Audley
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Peerage of England
New title Baron Dynham
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