ALFRAY, John I, of East Grinstead, Suss.
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Family and Education
The family of Alfray had lived in East Grinstead since the early 14th century, and John’s namesake and putative father had represented the borough in four of the Parliaments of the 1360s.1 John himself acted as mainpernor for one of the parliamentary burgesses elected in January 1380. He served on the jury which at East Grinstead in July 1388 provided information about the landed possessions of the late Sir John St. Cler†. That same month he was acquitted at the Sussex assizes after being charged with ousting the rightful owner of property in the town. Alfray acquired a messuage and some 30 acres of land at Worth, a few miles from East Grinstead, in 1389. Of his holdings in the town itself few particulars survive, although it is recorded that in 1396 the annual rent he paid to the duchy of Lancaster for a house there was increased by 2d. following his construction of a new entry, including steps and ditches. Earlier, he and Nicholas Boyle, the former ranger of Ashdown forest, had been fined 12d. having conspired to carry away certain stones from duchy property.2
Alfray procured a royal pardon in June 1398. This may possibly have been because of his links with retainers of Richard, earl of Arundel, who had been executed for treason just a few months before. For instance, he was well acquainted with Richard Wayville*, for whom he was to act in 1400 as a trustee of estates held jure uxoris in Sussex and Middlesex; and Thomas St. Cler* was to ask him to be a feoffee-to-uses of property in East Grinstead and land at Lingfield, Surrey.3 Alfray himself extended his holdings to include a messuage and 55 acres in East Grinstead, acquired in 1407; and ten years later, together with his son John, he purchased yet more farmland at Worth.4 The date of his death is not known.
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Suss. Feet of Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), no. 2015.
- 2. C219/8/4; JUST 1/1503 m. 61d; C137/57/9; CP25(1)240/77/26; DL29/441/7094, 7097. This ‘new rent’ continued to be recorded as such as late as 1438: DL29/442/7114.
- 3. C67/30 m. 7; CP25(1)240/80/14, 81/32, 290/59/13; CCR, 1413-19, p. 328.
- 4. CP25(1)240/81/27, 83/25.