DYMOKE, the name of an English family holding the office of king's champion. The funftions of the champion were to ride into Westminster Hall at the coronation banquet, and challenge all comers to impugn the king's title (see Champion). The earliest record of the ceremony at the coronation of an English king dates from the accession of Richard II. On this occasion the champion was Sir John Dymoke (d. 1381), who held the manor of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, in right of his wife Margaret, granddaughter of Joan Ludlow, who was the daughter and co-heiress of Philip Marmion, last Baron Marmion. The Marmions claimed descent from the lords of Fontenay, hereditary champions of the dukes of Normandy, and held the castle of Tamworth, Leicestershire, and the manor of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire. The right to the championship was disputed with the Dymoke family by Sir Baldwin de Freville, lord of Tamworth, who was descended from an elder daughter of Philip Marmion. The court of claims eventually decided in favour of the owners of Scrivelsby on the ground that Scrivelsby was held in grand serjeanty, that is, that its tenure was dependent on rendering a special service, in this case the championship.
Sir Thomas Dymoke (1428?-1471) joined a Lancastrian rising in 1469, and, with his brother-in-law Richard, Lord Willoughby and Welles, was beheaded in 1471 by order of Edward IV. after he had been induced to leave sanctuary on a promise of personal safety. The estates were restored to his son Sir Robert Dymoke (d. 1546), champion at the coronations of Richard III., Henry VII. and Henry VIII., who distinguished himself at the siege of Tournai and became treasurer of the kingdom. His descendants acted as champions at successive coronations. Lewis Dymoke (d. 1820) put in an unsuccessful claim before the House of Lords for the barony of Marmion. His nephew Henry (1801-1865) was champion at the coronation of George IV. He was accompanied on that occasion by the duke of Wellington and Lord Howard of Effingham. Henry Dymoke was created a baronet; he was succeeded by his brother John, rector of Scrivelsby (1804-1873), whose son Henry Lionel died without issue in 1875, when the baronetcy became extinct, the estate passing to a collateral branch of the family. After the coronation of George IV. the ceremony was allowed to lapse, but at the coronation of King Edward VII. H. S. Dymoke bore the standard of England in Westminster Abbey.
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