COTTERSTOCK, William, of Bedford.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Jan. 1397
May 1413

Family and Education

Offices Held

Commr. to take assizes, Beds., Bucks., Cambs., Hunts., Norf., Suff. Feb. 1392, July 1393, Hunts. Oct. 1397; of inquiry, Beds. Aug. 1405, Norf., Suff., Cambs., Hunts., Beds., Bucks., Norwich June 1414 (escapes of felons); oyer and terminer, Norf. July 1406, Bucks. Feb. 1407, Northants. May 1410, Beds. Aug. 1416 (treasons), Aug. 1416 (raid on Roger Hunt’s* manor of Chawston).

Mayor, Bedford 1399, 1404, 1408-9, 1410.1

J.p. Beds. 27 Feb. 1406-22.


Cotterstock was already practising as a lawyer in 1387, when he appeared as William Key’s attorney at Westminster. He had twice been made a justice of assize in the south-east before his first election to Parliament in 1394, and after his third Parliament he was again appointed to a commission of assize in Huntingdonshire. His services as a feoffee and attorney were very much in demand in Bedford at the beginning of the 15th century; and he appears to have prospered as a result of his flourishing legal practice. He could certainly afford to be a generous patron towards the Church, for in November 1406 he granted the parson of All Saints, Bedford, a messuage in the town to be used for the building of a parsonage. Again, just over two years later, he was a benefactor of Newnham priory, Bedfordshire, with land in Bedford and elsewhere in the county.2 He owned other property in the town: indeed, the assessment of 8s. entered against his name on the lay subsidy roll of 1417, shows him to have been one of its richest inhabitants. Nor was his influence confined to Bedford alone. From 1405 until 1416 he was appointed to a number of royal commissions of inquiry and oyer and terminer not just locally but in the adjacent counties of Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, and in East Anglia as well. Cotterstock attested the indenture for the Bedford election to the Parliament of November 1414, having by then represented the borough for the fourth and last time. He continued to sit on the Bedfordshire bench for another four years at least, although it looks as if he either died or retired from public life before February 1422, when he disappears from the commission of the peace.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Contemporary form: Cotherstoke, Getherstoke, Gotherstoke and Gotterstoke.

  • 1. C.F. Farrar, Old Bedford, 111; Ancient Chs. and Muns. Bedford (1895), no. 18; Beds. RO, DDW 18, 19.
  • 2. CP25(1)5/69/16, 6/76/2, 74/17; Bedford Town Hall, DDX 67/49-53; CCR, 1422-9, p. 31; CPR, 1405-8, p. 273; 1408-13, p. 57.
  • 3. Beds. RO, DDTW 342-3; Bedford Town Hall, unnumbered subsidy roll for 1417; C219/11/4.