Humphrey Kynaston (A.K.A. Wild Humphrey Kynaston) (1474 - 1534) was an English highwayman who operated in the Shropshire area. The son of the local sheriff, he was convicted for murder in 1491. After being outlawed, he moved into a cave in the area and lived a lifestyle compared to Robin Hood.
1.1 Early life
1.2 Life of a Highwayman
2 Kynaston's Cave
4 Further reading
5 External links
Born in Myddle, Shropshire, England in 1474 to Roger Kynaston (c.1430 - 1495), the Sheriff of Shropshire, and Roger's second wife, Elizabeth Grey (c.1440-1501?). Humphrey was raised in Myddle Castle, which Roger had inherited from his first wife Elizabeth Cobham. He received his "wild" nickname from his outrageous lifestyle, which frequently got him into trouble with the law. Humphrey inherited Myddle Castle from his father, but later allowed the estate to fall into disrepair. He was married twice, firstly to Mariona ap Griffith, daughter of Willimus ap Griffith ap Robin. They had a two children, Edward (who died young) and Isabella. Humphrey later married Isabella verch Meredith ap Howell ap Morrice de Oswaldestre daughter of Maredudd ap Hywel ap Maurice of Glascoed and Thomasina Ireland of Wrexham, Denbighshire. They had six children, Margaretta, Edward, Thomasina, Robert, Roger, and Jana. On December 20, 1491, he was found guilty for the murder of John Hughes at Stretton,[disambiguation needed] and declared an outlaw by Henry VII. Some time after that, he moved from Myddle castle to a cave in Nesscliffe Rock. Some sources claim that the reason he moved was due to the criminal charges, and others claim that he was outlawed due to debts.
Life of a Highwayman
From 1491 to 1518, Kynaston supposedly lived a life that would match the fictional character Robin Hood. It seems he had a reputation for robbing from the rich, and giving to the poor. In return, the locals protected him, and gave him and his horse ('Beelzebub') food. One time, in an attempt to capture Kynaston, the local sheriff removed several planks from Montford Bridge, to keep him from crossing the River Severn, but his horse managed to leap and safely clear the distance. It is also said that he was a regular patron at the Old Three Pigeons tavern in Shropshire, and his original seat is still there. He may have been pardoned by Henry VII in 1493, but some accounts state that in 1513, Humphrey provided 100 men to aid Henry VIII in France, and in return received a royal pardon 3 to 5 years later.
Humphrey left a will dated May 1, 1534, and that will was proved January 26, 1535. While the year of his death is well known, how he died and where are disputed. Some sources claim he lived comfortably in an estate near Welshpool until he died, and others claim he died of illness in his cave.
Today the cave is known as Kynaston's Cave, and is located at 52°46'1.78?N 2°54'46.09?W? / ?52.7671611°N 2.9128028°W? / 52.7671611; -2.9128028. It has two rooms; he lived in one, and stabled Beelzebub in the other. The cave also featured an iron door for an entrance. This iron door is said to later have become the door for Shrewsbury gaol. There is also an engraving in the cave, which reads H.K. 1564. Although this engraving is concluded to be made by Humphrey, he was dead 30 years before the year 1564.
^ a b c d e f VirtualShropshire.com, Nesscliffe Country Park
^ a b c d e f g BBC News, Sir Humphrey Kynaston: The elusive highwayman
^ Bartrum, Peter C., Welsh Genealogies AD 1400-1500, 1983, Pg. 131
^ Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, David Faris, Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Genealogical Publishing Com, 2004, Pg. 455
^ a b c Gaskell Family History Website, Sir Roger Kynaston
^ a b c Trans. Shropshire Arch. & Nat. Hist. Soc. 2nd Ser. 6 (1894): 209-222 ("The quiant historian of Middle says the he 'for his dissolute and ryotous liveing was called the wild Humphrey. Hee has two wives, but both of soe meane birth that they could never claim to any Coat of Armes... being outlawed in debt, hee left Myddle Castle (which he had suffered to grow ruinous for want of repaire) and went and sheltered himself in a Cave near to Nescliffe, which to this day is called Kynaston's Cave, and of him the people tell almost as many romantick storyes as of the great outlawe Robin Whood." He was outlawed in 1491, and pardoned two years later).
^ a b The Flude Genealogy Website Roger Kynaston (c. 1450-1517)
^ a b c d e f Subterranea of Great Britain, Kynaston's Cave
^ a b c Discovering Shropshire's History, From Castle to Cave: The Story of Wild Humphrey Kynaston, October 2, 2006
^ Spence, Elizabeth Isabella, Old Stories, Longman & Co., 1822
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Hudson, Henry, The Robin Hood of Shropshire, published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner Ltd, 1899 (A semi-fictional account).