East Grinstead


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer


1388 (Feb.)John Dyne II
 John Heldele
1388 (Sept.)William Nelond
 Richard Woghere
1390 (Jan.)
1390 (Nov.)
1391John Alfray I
 John Dyne II
1393Thomas Alleyn
 Thomas Rasse
1395Thomas Farlegh
 William atte Hull
1397 (Jan.)John Dyne II
 John Punget
1397 (Sept.)John Dyne II
 John Punget
1399John Dyne II
 Richard Woghere
1402John Dyne II
 Richard Woghere
1404 (Jan.)
1404 (Oct.)
1407John Dyne II
 Richard Woghere
1413 (Feb.)
1413 (May)Thomas Alleyn
 John Hoke
1414 (Apr.)
1414 (Nov.)John Dyne II
 John Woghere
1416 (Mar.)John Ermyte
 John Mason
1416 (Oct.)
1419William Fenningham
 John Hamme
1421 (May)Richard Fowell II
 John Woghere
1421 (Dec.)John Alfray II
 John Woghere

Main Article

East Grinstead, situated in the midst of royal forests, passed in 1372 into the possession of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, together with Ashdown forest, the manor of Willingdon and Maresfield, and the rape and castle of Pevensey, after the duke had formally surrendered to the Crown certain other properties in the east of the county. Little of significance is recorded of the town previously, and, although there had been 23 taxpayers there in 1332 (of whom the wealthiest paid 13s.10d., the rest 5s.4d. or less) and 16 in 1341, there is no indication of the size of its population later on in the century.1 The inhabitants regularly paid John of Gaunt and his heir, Henry IV, annual rents of assize fixed at 26s.d., a tax called ‘stretgavel’ assessed at 5s. a year, and 20s. p.a. for land held in common, together with variable dues such as rent for the butchers’ shambles in the High Street. Perquisites from the borough court (no more than 7s.6d. a year), together with those of the more profitable hundred court, ranged from £1 3s. to £2 17s. annually in the period 1382 to 1409 (that is, until Henry IV granted East Grinstead along with other duchy estates in the county to his henchman (Sir) John Pelham*). Tolls collected in the marketplace never amounted to more than one mark in the course of a year. The official given responsibility for accounting for these issues to the duchy was called bailiff, but whether he owed his appointment to the lord or to free election by the townspeople is uncertain. It was quite common for a bailiff to serve for two or more consecutive years: thus, Thomas Wykes held the post from 1384 to 1388, and Thomas Cook from 1397 to 1402 and again throughout the period 1406-9.2 That the Sussex assizes were sometimes held at East Grinstead may be attributed more to the town’s convenient location in the north of the county, from the justices’ point of view, than to its intrinsic importance as a centre of administration or trade.

East Grinstead had first made returns to the Commons in 1301, but until John of Gaunt became its lord it was represented in no more than one out of every three Parliaments summoned. From 1372 onwards elections were held with greater regularity, but even so for the period 1386 to 1421 returns survive for only 16 of the 32 assemblies called. The names of East Grinstead’s represen