BLOUNT, John II (aft.1345-1425), of Sodington, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1345, 2nd s. and event. h. of Sir John Blount (d.1358) of Sodington, prob. by his 1st w. Iseult, da. and h. of Thomas Mountjoy of Derbys.; er bro. of Sir Walter*. m. (1) Juliana (?Foulhurst), 2s. d.v.p.; (2) c. Apr. 1383, Isabel, da. of Sir Brian Cornwall† of Kinlet, Salop by Maud, da. of Fulk, 1st Lord Strange of Blackmere, sis. of Sir John Cornwall*, 1s.; ?(3) Ellen. Kntd. bet. Sept. 1403.
Escheator, Worcs. 24 Oct. 1392-24 Nov. 1394, 29 Nov. 1402-12 Nov. 1403.
J.p. Worcs. 18 June 1394-Feb. 1410.
Alnager, Worcs. 30 Nov. 1395-Oct. 1397.
Commr. of weirs, Worcs. June 1398; to collect an aid Dec. 1401; proclaim Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402; of array Sept. 1403; to raise royal loans June 1406; of inquiry June 1406 (concealments).
John was one of the sons of Sir John Blount, himself a younger son of Sir Walter Blount† of Rock, Worcestershire, and Joan, the heiress of the manor of Sodington. Among the more prominent members of the family, whose principal estates were at Belton in Rutland and Hampton Lovett in Worcestershire, had been Thomas, Lord Blount (d.1328), sometime steward of Edward II’s household, and John’s uncle, William, Lord Blount (d.1337); while the main line of the family ended in John’s lifetime at the death of Alice, the daughter and heiress of his grandfather’s eldest brother John, Lord Blount, and wife of Sir Richard Stury, one of the knights of Richard II’s chamber. The Blounts had established a tradition of service to the house of Lancaster: John’s grandfather had been of the Lancastrian party under Edward II, and his father had fought in Gascony under Henry, earl of Lancaster, who had granted him for life the manors of Passenham (Northamptonshire) and Tibberton (Gloucestershire). This connexion was long to continue, for John’s younger brother, Sir Walter, became one of John of Gaunt’s most trusted retainers, and his nephews, Sir John and Thomas Blount II*, were to have close associations with Gaunt’s son Thomas Beaufort, duke of Exeter.1
When Blount’s father died in 1358 the heir was his eldest son Richard, but the latter did not long survive, soon leaving the inheritance to young John. By settlements made in 1356 John had already obtained lands in Balterley, Biddulph, Fenton and Ramshorn, Staffordshire, from his aunt Margery (widow of William, Lord Blount and at that time the wife of Sir John Crophull of Nottinghamshire), and in June 1358 the King, respiting his homage for these lands until he should come of age, granted him seisin. The rest of his substantial paternal inheritance (which, besides Sodington, included the manors of Timberlake and Mamble and several other properties in Worcestershire) came to him only after he attained his majority. In 1364 he was evidently a ward of Nicholas Fitzherbert, for in that year Eleanor, countess of Arundel (daughter of Earl Henry of Lancaster) acknowledged receipt of 11 marks from Fitzherbert as ‘the guardian of the lands of my dear cousin Janckin Blount’. Ten years later Blount, no longer a minor, reached an agreement with his brother Walter that the latter should have all the Mountjoy lands in Derbyshire falling to them on the death of their mother, he himself to have other family properties in Staffordshire and Worcestershire in lieu; and accordingly, in 1381, Walter relinquished to him all claim to lands in Denstone, Elvaston, Quixhill and Waterfall.2
The importance of Blount’s second marriage, to Isabel, the daughter of a prominent Shropshire knight, Sir Brian Cornwall, is suggested by the terms of their marriage agreement made in 1383. In this, Blount promised to pay Cornwall the sum of 200 marks should he fail to obtain the royal licence necessary for the entail of his lands in Staffordshire on himself and Isabel and their issue. However, he did manage to procure the licence, even though it took him a year. In the 1390s Blount held office in Worcestershire for two years as escheator and two more as alnager, and he served on the local bench from 1394 right up until the deposition of Richard II. He may have owed these local appointments to his association with Sir John Russell* of Strensham, the master of the King’s horse, and one of the select company of knights of the chamber. This connexion dated from before the Parliament of 1393, in which Russell brought bills against Sir Nicholas Lilling*, the trusted councillor of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, alleging against him several crimes, among them the kidnapping and holding hostage in Wales of Blount’s son and his priest in order to obtain the release of three of Warwick’s bondmen whom Blount had taken to the duke of Lancaster’s castle at Tutbury (where, incidentally, his brother Sir Walter was constable). The incident may well have resulted from a personal quarrel between Warwick and Lancaster, which their followers had enthusiastically pursued in the localities. In November 1397 Blount witnessed a transaction on Russell’s behalf relating (among other things) to the manor of Earl’s Croome, which Russell had obtained from the Crown after it had been forfeited by Warwick. Despite this apparent friendship with one of Richard II’s most influential councillors, in June 1398 Blount saw fit to purchase a royal pardon.3
Both John and his brother Sir Walter sat in the assembly of estates which deposed Richard II and acclaimed the accession of Henry IV, and in the subsequent Parliament. There can be little doubt where their sympathies lay, for Sir Walter had always been closely attached to the new King’s father, John of Gaunt, and was still actively engaged in the executorship of his will. John’s service on the Worcestershire bench continued without interruption, and he officiated for another term as escheator in 1402-3. During this term his brother fell at the battle of Shrewsbury, and he himself may well have been involved in military action, since he was knighted before September 1403, when he was commissioned to array the men of Worcestershire and select the best soldiers for duty with the King’s army about to march into Wales. He was returned to Parliament for the second time in the following year. Family affairs, notably the administration of his late brother’s will, now took up much of his attention, and after 1410 he ceased to participate in local government. In 1415 when Alice Stu