BROUGHTON, John (bef.1331-1403), of Broughton, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1331, s. and h. of Robert Broughton of Broughton by Pauline, sis. of Thomas Forester (d.1361) of Puxley, Northants. m. Agnes (d. 11 Oct. 1399), 1s. 1da.
Escheator, Beds., Bucks., Cambs., Hunts. 12 Dec. 1372-4.
Sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 1 Oct. 1375-26 Oct. 1376.
Commr. of inquiry, Bucks. Nov. 1375 (forfeited goods); oyer and terminer Sept. 1393.
Tax collector, Bucks. Mar. 1377, Mar., Oct. 1393.
The Broughtons took their name from the place where, from at least the mid 12th century, they held a manor. As this was sold to the Aylesburys in 1334 by John Broughton’s father, his inheritance in Broughton was limited to a few other properties (eventually, however, of manorial status). John succeeded his father by 1351, only to deplete the family holdings elsewhere, in North Crawley, by conveying to his neighbour, John, Lord Bohun (d.1367), 60 acres of arable land, an acre of meadow, and 2s. rent, and by relinquishing to Bohun in 1361 all other land there once belonging to his forebears. (Sixty-six years were to elapse before his grandson successfully sued for recovery of the same.) These transactions apart, Broughton seems to have made a valiant attempt to restore the fortunes of his family. As chance would have it, following the death of his maternal uncle, Thomas le Forester, he inherited a share (with two aunts) of certain properties in Northamptonshire (including one at Puxley); and, having added to his holdings in Buckinghamshire by purchasing land in Wolverton, Padbury, Newport Pagnell and Chichele in the 1360s, he later acquired more at Willen and Great Linford, in the same area of the county. He vigorously pursued claims to rights at Broughton by prosecuting the dean and chapter of Lincoln for patronage of the local church (1380), and by suing John and Maud Wood for ownership of a messuage (1393). Doubtless his being impleaded by Sir John Aylesbury* in an assize of nuisance in Milton Keynes, was a consequence of his determination to consolidate the Broughton estate.1
Some aspects of Broughton’s career suggest that he was trained in the law. Early on he is recorded in connexion with local monastic houses: for example, as a witness to a deed for Stonleigh abbey (Warwickshire) in 1362, and as attorney at the assizes for the abbot of Lavendon (Buckinghamshire) in 1367. During his first term as escheator, in August 1373, a commission of oyer and terminer was set up to investigate reports that he and others had broken into the house of William Porthors at Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdonshire, and taken away his goods. Perhaps he had been over-zealous in the performance of his official duties, but even if so, the authorities took a lenient view, for he was re-appointed escheator for a second consecutive term, and then, in 1375, made sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. At the beginning of his shrievalty, in October that year, he provided securities in Chancery for Edmund Giffard’s† lease of the cloth subsidy in the neighbouring counties of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. That same year, he agreed to act as a trustee of the lands of John Kyngsfold (d.1381), thus affirming a friendship which was to lead in 1378 to allegations in the court of common pleas that he and a lawyer acting as counsel to Kyngsfold had induced the then sheriff to array a Buckinghamshire jury partial to their client, in his suit regarding the marriage of Sir Laurence Linford’s son. This allegation, which the justices found to be proven, had perhaps something to do with Broughton’s long absence from royal commissions from then until 1393. Apparently, however, his local reputation was little if at all affected, for both his elections to Parliament took place during this period of relative inactivity. Meanwhile, in March 1379, he had made the Crown a loan of £5 towards the cost of the war with France.2
In 1375 Broughton had taken on the feoffeeship of the manor of Willen on behalf of Thomas Pever† of Toddington, Bedfordshire, in furtherance of a settlement on Pever and his wife Margaret, the daughter and coheir of Sir Nigel Loring KG. As an eventual outcome of this association — one strengthened perhaps by their shared experience as Members of the Commons in 1382, when Broughton sat for Buckinghamshire and Pever for Bedfordshire — Broughton’s son and heir, John, was married in about 1390 to the Pevers’ only child, Mary. The match was of considerable importance for the future of Broughton’s family, for in due course the Pever and Loring estates were all to come into his grandson’s possession. Broughton’s daughter Katherine also married into a Bedfordshire family, albeit a less prominent one: in 1386 the manor of Meppershall in that county was settled on her and her husband, John Meppershall, as part of their marriage contract.