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Sir William Trussell
(Died 1345)

Sir William Trussell, sometimes styled Baron Trussell, was the son of William Trussell of Billesley in Warwickshire. He was pardoned as one of the adherents of Thomas of Lancaster on 1st November 1318 and was returned as Knight of the Shire for Northampton in 1319. Both he and his son were in arms with Thomas of Lancaster against the King at Boroughbridge on March 22nd 1322. He is said to have fled beyond the seas after Lancaster's overthrow, but he was still in Somerset with some outlaws like himself in August 1322. He escaped abroad, however, not to return until 24th September 1326, when he landed with Isabella at Harwich. On 27th October 1326, the elder Hugh Le Despenser was tried before him at Winchester, Trussell being described as "justiciarius ad hoc deputatus," and sentenced by him to be hanged, the younger Despenser suffering a like fate on 24th November 1326. Trussell delivered judgement in a long speech full of accusation of a very unjudicial character.

On Monday 26th January 1327, Trussell, acting as procurator of the whole parliament, solemnly renounced allegiance to Edward II at Berkeley (Glos). On 12th February, he received a commission of oyer and terminer but, on 28th February, was named as one of the envoys sent to the Pope by King Edward to obtain the canonization of Thomas of Lancaster. Despite his absence, he seems to have held the office of Escheator, but he probably returned to England by 18th August. He was appointed to a mission, in March 1328 and also in May 1330, to negotiate an alliance with the Kings of Aragon, Portugal, Majorca and Castile, but it seems likely that his departure was delayed till late in September. Part of his mission was to negotiate a marriage between Peter, the eldest son of the King of Aragon, and King Edward's sister, Eleanor. He still continued to act, occasionally, as justice, but on 28th June 1331, a commission of oyer and terminer to him had to be confided to Richard De Willoughby, as he was too much occupied with other business of the King to act. On 25th June, he received a hundred marks for his expenses while thus engaged. On 15th July 1331, he received power, with John Darcy, to treat for a marriage between Edward, the King's son, and the daughter of the King of France. On 18th October, Edward granted him the Lordship of Bergues in Flanders for his services. In February 1332, he and his son, William, were sent on the King's service to the King of France and the Court of Rome, receiving 60 from the Bardi for the expenses Expenses. On 24th February 1333, he, and three others, received power to treat with Ralph, Count of Eu, for a marriage between his daughter, Joan, and John, Earl of Cornwall and, on 26th March 1334, he and others received power to renew the negotiations commenced at Montreuil, Agen, and elsewhere. On 16th July 1334, he was appointed to arrange a marriage with the daughter of the Lord of Lara for John of Cornwall and, on 2nd August, to receive the homage of the Count of Savoy. On 28th March 1335, the King appointed him to carry out his orders to prevent the members of the University of Oxford retiring, for study, to Stamford. On 6th July 1330, he was appointed one of an embassy to treat with King Philip of France for a joint expedition to the Holy Land, and to arrange an interview between the two Kings of France. On 13th April 1337, he went, with five others, to treat with the Count of Flanders and the cities of Bruges, Ghent and Ypres. He was one of the envoys appointed to treat for peace with France on 13th April 1343, May 1343 at Rome, and to treat with Flanders in July of the same year; in February 1345, for a marriage of one of the King's daughters with the son of the King of Castile; and, in the same year, was one of the counsellors of the King's son, Lionel. He was summoned to a council which was not a regular parliament on 25th February 1342 and he is not, therefore, reckoned a peer. His son, nor any of is descendants, were ever summoned to parliament. It is quite uncertain whether it was he or his son who was one of those appointed to try the Earls of Monteith and Fife who were taken in the Battle of Neville's Cross, for rebellion.

William married Maud, daughter of Warin Mainwaring, and together they had at least three sons, John, William and Warin, and a daughter, Isabelle, who married John de St. Pierre. The life of the middle son is often confused with that of his father, as is that of John's son, also William. The date of Sir William's death is uncertain, but appears to have occurred around 1345. Stow mentions the monument of "Sir William Trussell, knight, Speaker to the House of Commons at the deposing of King Edward II" in St. Michael's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. After his death, his widow remarried to King Edward II's favourite, Oliver De Bordeaux. William's estates were inherited by his eldest son, John.

Edited from Leslie Stephens & Sidney Lee's "Dictionary of National Biography" (1891).

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