BECKET, John (d.1416), of Salisbury, Wilts.
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Family and Education
s. of Walter Becket of Shrivenham, Wilts.1 m. Alice. 1s. illegit.
Reeve, Salisbury 1 Nov. 1408-9; mayor 1414-13.2
Becket’s parents lived at Shrivenham, near Swindon, where he himself was probably born. He moved to Salisbury to set up in business as a grocer before 1405, when he acquired a reversionary interest in a messuage there; and a few years later he took possession of eight more houses and six shops in the city. Prior to February 1407 he also owned premises in English Street, Southampton, which he doubtless used while trading through the port. Becket was a member of the convocation of Salisbury from at least 1409 until his death. His surety for attendance at the Parliaments of 1407 and 1414 (Apr.) was John Noble*.3
Becket’s will, made on 24 Sept. 1416 and proved on 16 Nov. following, shows him to have been a man of considerable substance. Certainly, it refers to his ownership of five tenements and ten shops in Salisbury, together with several houses in the market place at Southampton. After his death his widow Alice was to have an interest for life in the most important Salisbury properties: these were in Winchester Street and were eventually to be granted to the corporation, so that their rents might help meet the payment of taxes levied on the city. Becket also left money to various religious institutions in the town, and he bequeathed £1 each to the parish churches of East Ildsley, Berkshire, and Shrivenham. His executors included his widow and two prominent fellow citizens, Henry Man* and William Alexander*. The widow survived until at least 1432.4