BOSENHO, John, of Hanslope and Hartwell, Bucks.
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Family and Education
Keeper of the King’s forest of Salcey, Northants. 7 May-13 Oct. 1389; verderer bef. 26 Sept. 1414-aft. 18 Jan. 1425.
Commr. to raise a royal loan, Bucks. Jan. 1420; of inquiry Feb. 1422 (counterfeit weights and measures).
Tax collector, Bucks. Dec. 1421, Oct. 1422.
This MP’s ancestors took their names from Bosenho in the Northamptonshire village of Ashton, although by the early 14th century they had extended their holdings to include land in Hanslope. According to instructions sent to the local escheator in March 1407, Bosenho held one knight’s fee there in the right of his wife, Eleanor, whom he clearly married with the intention of consolidating his position as a landowner. On the death without issue of her young brother, William (b.c. 1378), she inherited the manors of Hartwell and Little Hampden and the advowson of Hampden in Buckinghamshire, although her father’s widow, the long-lived Katherine Luton (d.1436), retained other property in Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. In 1409, Eleanor and John Bosenho conveyed her share of the Luton estates to an impressive body of feoffees, including John Giffard*, Ralph Parles*, Sir John Trussell* and Thomas Wydeville*. Besides her valuable patrimony, Eleanor also possessed a claim to part of the manor of Stoke Goldington, which had been settled as a dower upon her by her former husband, John Stokes; and in 1403 she and Bosenho went to law to assert their title. The couple were probably married by 1398, since Bosenho was already then living at Hartwell, which remained his home for the next 24 years at least. He also owned land in Lathbury, Buckinghamshire, which he acquired in the spring of 1415 from one of his neighbours at Hanslope.2
Bosenho was probably still quite a young man when, in May 1389, he became keeper of the King’s forest of Salcey. His tenure of this office was, however, remarkably short-lived, for barely five months later he resigned in favour of Reynold Braybrooke*, who was then one of the King’s esquires. He may have been compensated with the post of verderer, which he held in September 1414. It was then that the sheriff of Northamptonshire received instructions to replace him with someone who was better qualified, although nothing appears to have been done; and in June 1415 similar orders were issued on the grounds of Bosenho’s age and infirmity. We need not take these allegations too seriously, since by February 1420 he was said to be so busy on the King’s business in Northamptonshire that he had no time to devote to his duties as verderer. Even so, the sheriff made no attempt to elect a successor, and as late as January 1425 the Crown was still trying to find a more suitable candidate for the job.3 Meanwhile, in February 1397, Bosenho acted as a mainpernor at the Exchequer for John Warwick II*, who had just taken on the farm of the Northamptonshire manor of Bozeat. In June of the following year he obtained letters of pardon from Richard II, although there is nothing to suggest that his previous conduct was either politically or legally suspect. Indeed, in May 1399, he agreed to supervise the affairs of his friend, Thomas Wydeville, while the latter was in Ireland with King Richard.4
Comparatively little evidence has survived to illuminate the more personal aspects of Bosenho’s career over the next 15 years. In July 1406 he offered bail of £20 on behalf of another associate, Laurence Dyne, whose quarrel with a local man had by then come before