Edward Cherleton (Charlton), fifth Baron Cherleton of Powys nobleman, was the younger son of John Cherleton, the third baron, and his wife, Joan, daughter of Ralph Stafford, earl of Stafford.
He was mainly occupied in sustaining royal authority in the Welsh marches, where his own estates lay, and especially against Owain Glyn Dŵr. During the lifetime of his elder brother, John, the fourth lord, Edward married on 1st June 1399, the widowed Countess of March, Alianora Holland (Eleanor), daughter of Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, and widow of Roger (VII) Mortimer, Earl of March who died in 1398. Her dower lordships and castles of Usk and Caerleon thus fell into his hands. She died in childbed on 23rd October 1405. Cherleton continued to enjoy her dower estates and to bring up her daughters, Anne and Alianora. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Berkeley of Beverstone, Gloucestershire.
The possession of his first wife's estates brought him into contact with the chronicler Adam Usk, who speaks of him as ‘a most dignified young man’ (Chronicle of Adam of Usk, 147), and is loud in his praises. Usk claims to have negotiated peace between Charlton and Henry Bolingbroke, who in July 1399, according to Usk, was about to proceed from Bristol to ravage Alianora's lands; Henry was persuaded to spare Usk and to take Cherleton among his followers. Cherlwton then accompanied Henry to Chester in his march against Richard II, and was afterwards in high favour with the new king. About this time (1401) Charlton showed his personal severity and the extent of the franchises of a lord marcher by condemning to death the former seneschal of Usk for adultery with his natural sister, probably prioress of that town.
On 19th October 1401 the childless death of John Cherleton involved Edward's succession to the peerage and estates of Powys, which were delivered to him on 26th November. It was a critical period in the history of the Welsh marches. Owain Glyn Dŵr had already risen in revolt, and had ravaged Welshpool in 1400, the centre of the Chereltons' power. Edward was given particular responsibility for defending Powys and his wife's lordships, but he had inadequate resources to contend with so dangerous a neighbour as Glyn Dŵr; yet no border lord took a more prominent part in the Welsh war than he. In 1402 Glyn Dŵr overthrew the Mortimer castles of Usk and Caerleon, though next year Cherleton seems to have again got possession of them. In 1403 he urgently besought the council to reinforce the scanty garrisons of the border fortresses. In 1404 he was reduced to such straits that the council very unwillingly allowed him to make a private truce with the Welsh. In June 1406 Charlton defeated the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Bardolf, who had tried to combine with the Welsh rebels; he was commended in parliament for his efforts. In June also his charter to Welshpool shows a continuing suspicion of the Welsh, though in November he secured a royal pardon for his Powys tenants, most of whom had submitted. Cherleton was made a knight of the Garter about 1407. Meanwhile the Welsh revolt simmered, and in 1409 Glyn Dŵr and Siôn Trefor who died in 1412, the claimant to the bishopric of St Asaph, renewed their attack on his territories. Strict orders were sent from London that Cherleton was not to leave the district, but keep all his fortresses well garrisoned against the invaders and repudiate any of his officials who made truces with Glyn Dŵr. Finally, on 10th March 1414, Cherleton received the submission of former rebels at Bala, not far from Glyn Dŵr's home.
In January 1414 Sir John Oldcastle, the rebel and heretic, escaped to the Welsh marches, and ultimately took refuge in Powys. Although he lurked there for some time, the promise of a great reward and the exhortations of the bishops induced Cherleton to take active steps for his apprehension. At last, in 1417, the heretic was tracked to a remote farm on Cherleton's lands and, after a severe struggle, was captured by Cherleton's servants. He was first imprisoned in Powis Castle, and thence sent to London. For this service Cherleton received the special thanks of parliament. He rewarded the brothers Ieuan and Gruffudd ap Gruffudd for their share in Oldcastle's capture in 1419. In 1420 Cherleton conferred a new charter on the Cistercian abbey of Strata Marcella, of which his family was patron. He died on 14th March 1421. He left no sons, but two daughters with his first wife, Alianora:
Joan Cherleton who married Sir John Grey
Joyce Cherleton who married Sir John Tiptoft, who like Sir John Grey was a loyal Lancastrian knight.
The Charlton estates were divided between the coheirs, and the peerage fell into abeyance.
M. C. Jones, ‘The feudal barons of Powys’, Montgomeryshire Collections, 1 (1867–8), 257–423, esp. 284–326 · The chronicle of Adam Usk, 1377–1421, ed. and trans. C. Given-Wilson, OMT (1997) · Chancery records · parliament rolls · J. E. Lloyd, Owen Glendower (1931) · R. R. Davies, The revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr (1995) · T. B. Pugh, Henry V and the Southampton plot of 1415, Southampton RS, 30 (1988) · council records · J. L. Kirby, Henry IV of England (1970) · inquisition post mortem