DOREWARD, John (d.1420), of Bocking, Essex.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of William Doreward of Bocking by Joan, da. and h. of John Oliver† of Stanway, Essex. m. (1) bef. 1370, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Rochford;1 (2) bef. May 1386, Katherine (d.c.1397), da. and coh. of Sir Walter Walcot† of Gunton, Norf., 1s. 3da.; (3) 1399, Isabel (d. 22 Oct. 1426), da. of Thomas Baynard2 of Messing, Essex, sis. of Richard Baynard* of the same and wid. of Walter Bygood of Alfriston in Great Dunmow.
Commr. to make redress for the rebels’ actions, Essex July 1381; of inquiry Dec. 1384 (disseisin), July 1391 (weirs), Glos. Feb. 1400 (encroachments on royal rights by Cirencester abbey), Essex, Herts. Aug. 1404 (treasons and felonies), Essex Sept. 1413 (wastes, alien priory of Benstede); oyer and terminer June 1394, Nov. 1397; gaol delivery, Colchester Feb., Apr. 1397, Feb. 1399; to treat for payment of a fine of £2,000, Essex, Herts. Dec. 1397; of array, Essex Dec. 1399, July 1402, Aug.-Nov. 1403, July 1405, May 1415; to determine appeals from the admiral’s ct. Dec. 1400, Feb., June, Nov. 1401, Aug. 1402, Jan. 1403, Nov. 1405, from the constable’s ct. Feb. 1401, Nov. 1403, Nov. 1408; make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well, Essex May 1402; negotiate for the submission of Welsh border lordships Aug. 1405.
J.p. Essex 18 Feb. 1386-July 1389, 28 June 1390-July 1397, 28 Nov. 1399-Dec. 1411, 16 Nov. 1413-d.
Steward of the franchise of Bury St. Edmund’s abbey, Suff. 16 Feb. 1390-Sept. 1397.3
Sheriff, Essex and Herts. 22 Aug.-19 Sept. 1399.
Dep. butler, Colchester 15 Sept.-14 Oct. 1399.
Speaker 15 Oct.-19 Nov. 1399, 3-9 June 1413.
Member of Henry IV’s council 1 Nov. 1399-May 1406.
Steward of the estates of Edward, duke of York, in Essex by Jan.-bef. May 1401.
By the late 14th century the Dorewards had come into possession of considerable estates, situated mainly in eastern Essex. John inherited some 12 manors from his parents, including Leaden Roding which had been settled on him and his first wife. To these he added Wickhambrook (Suffolk) by purchase, and Bacons in Dengie and Alfriston (Essex) together with manors in West Tofts and Marham (Norfolk) through marriage to Isabel Baynard, his third wife. In 1412 his properties in Essex alone were estimated to be worth £135 a year, and this sum did not cover the estates of West Mersea priory, of which he was then in possession.4
Doreward may have received his education in the law at Cambridge, for in 1380 he was associated with the master of the college of Corpus Christi and St. Mary. In the following year he was party to the first of several religious benefactions, this one being to the Austin canons in Great Dunmow. From 1384 onwards he was much involved in the affairs of the Coggeshall family; and a lifelong friendship was formed with Thomas Coggeshall* and his nephew Sir William*, which was eventually to be cemented by the marriage of Doreward’s son, John, to one of Sir William’s daughters. As a feoffee of the latter’s estates Doreward acted in association with Richard II’s personal friend Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford, and he was able to make use of this connexion in 1386 when he asked de Vere to obtain for him ratification of a charter of King John relating to his lands at Rawreth. But before de Vere’s fall Doreward came into contact with the circle of the earl’s enemy, Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, and of Woodstock’s mother-in-law, Joan de Bohun, countess of Hereford, perhaps being introduced to them by Thomas Coggeshall, who was of that affinity. Thus, in 1387 he was involved in transactions with Thomas Feriby, the duke’s chancellor, and Sir John Gildesburgh*, his retainer, and in the following year he stood surety for Gildesburgh at the Exchequer. In 1394 he was appointed to a commission of oyer and terminer concerned with the misdeeds of a former receiver of Gloucester’s, and in February 1395, during his first Parliament, he and his fellow shire knight, Thomas Coggeshall, were both named by Duke Thomas himself as his attorneys while he was absent in Ireland. The following year, and again in association with Coggeshall, Doreward witnessed a conveyance by the duke and duchess to their new collegiate chapel in Pleshey castle. Meanwhile, he had acted as co-feoffee with Countess Joan of part of the former Orreby estate inherited by John de la Mare of London. Before long, he also came to the notice of the countess’s brothers — Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, who in that same or the next year granted him the manor of High Roding for life,5 and Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, whose name Doreward included on the bede roll of the chantry he founded in Bocking church in 1397. Doreward’s involvement in the affairs of Sir William Coggeshall (acting as his attorney when he was overseas and assisting him in the sale of East Tilbury) brought him into contact with John, Lord Cobham. He was, therefore, closely associated with two of the former Lords Appellant of 1387-8 (Gloucester and Arundel) and their supporter (Cobham); and he had also benefited from their doings in the Merciless Parliament by securing leases of lands forfeited by Sir James Berners* and by purchasing (with others) an estate confiscated from Sir John Holt. As a result, Richard II had very good reason to doubt his loyalty. After the arrest of Gloucester and Arundel in the summer of 1397, Doreward was removed from his office as steward of the great franchise of Bury St. Edmunds abbey and replaced by Sir John Bussy*, one of the King’s staunchest supporters. On 28 Aug. he and Thomas Coggeshall were both required to make loans to the King of 100 marks each, and four months later they were appointed to the commission to levy the punitive fine of £2,000 on the commonalties of Essex and Hertfordshire which had clearly demonstrated their support for the late Appellants. In the following year Doreward prudently purchased royal pardons.6
Doreward retained connexions with Eleanor, the widowed duchess of Gloucester, and before her death in October 1399 she made him a feoffee of her estates. There can be no doubt that his sympathies lay with Henry of Bolingbroke, and immediately after the latter seized power he was appointed sheriff of Essex and deputy butler of Colchester (as it happened, mere interim measures). He was returned to Parliament with his friend Thomas Coggeshall to witness Richard’s deposition and confirm Henry’s accession. On 15 Oct. Sir John Cheyne I of Beckford was discharged as Speaker of the Commons, purportedly on grounds of ill-health but more probably because Archbishop Arundel had openly expressed his objection to him as a renegade clerk and enemy of the Church. The Commons’ second choice was Doreward himself, a man of proven orthodox opinions and clearly acceptable to the archbishop, with whom he was personally acquainted. On 1 Nov., during the Parliament, both he and Coggeshall were appointed members of the new King’s Council and allocated annual fees of 100 marks each. Other handsome rewards followed soon after: that same month Doreward was granted the estates of the alien priory of West Mersea, a dependency of the abbey of St. Ouen at Rouen, for a payment of 140 marks a year (he subsequently purchased the priory from the abbey and obtained a royal waiver of the rent); in December he was granted the fee farm of Colchester (£35 a year) for life — though he was to relinquish it in 1404 in return for exemption from further royal service against his will; and in 1400 he was given the patronage of the hospital of Holy Cross in Colchester. Doreward became an active member of the Council, and over the next few years he was often engaged as its delegate or as intermediary between it and the King. For instance, in August 1400 he was sent to discuss conciliar business with Archbishop Arundel at Otford; in March 1401, after the King’s departure for the country before Parliament had been dissolved, he was sent by his fellows to declare their advice with regard to the Commons’ request that the Council and important officers of State should be appointed and sworn in full Parliament; and in July that year he took reports to the King of the progress of conciliar negotiations with the French about the repatriation of Richard II’s queen, returning with Henry’s instructions for the summons of a great council. Later in 1401 he was awarded £40 to cover expenses incurred on these and similar missions.7 Doreward was naturally among those summoned from Essex to great councils in 1401, 1403 and 1405, and during his fourth Parliament, in 1404, he was one of the King’s Council formally named to the assembly. Many of his other activities stemmed directly from his position as a councillor: he was appointed to several commissions to determine appeals against judgements in the courts of chivalry, and nominated as an arbiter in the disputes between William, Lord Clinton, and Sir John Russell* of Strensham, and between the men of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. In 1402 he was one of 12 members of the Council who guaranteed repayment of a loan made to the Crown by John Hende, the wealthy London draper, who was, incidentally, the stepfather of his wife.8 Doreward himself occasionally made loans to Henry IV, in particular to aid royal garrisons in South Wales. In 1405 with Sir John Cheyne, his fellow councillor, he was appointed to negotiate for the submission of the rebels of Usk and Caerleon, provide for the administration of those and other border lordships, and report personally to the King on the state of affairs in the marches. Yet, despite all such services, when, in May 1406, the Council was reconstituted in Parliament, he and all other commoners were excluded. A year later he was still owed 200 marks of his salary, but he generously agreed to waive it in return for royal licences to found a chantry in Stanway church, to augment the income of the chaplain at West Bergholt and to alienate his manor of Tendring to St. John’s abbey in Colchester. In 1411 it was further granted that no servants of the King would be lodged in his houses nor anything of his taken by royal purveyors, and he also obtained another exemption from official commitments.
Doreward’s position as councillor to Henry IV and his evident expertise as an advisor on legal matters, made him much sought after by the gentry of Essex to assist in their property transactions. Among those with whom he was connected were Sir Thomas Erpingham (the King’s chamberlain) and Sir William Marney*, a retainer of Joan, countess of Hereford. His own association with Countess Joan long continued, and he married one of his daughters to the grandson of another member of her circle, Sir Richard Waldegrave*. Doreward served for a short while as steward in Essex for the duke of York,9possibly coming to his attention through the duchess Philippa, the stepmother of Walter, 4th Lord Fitzwalter (d.1406), for whom he acted as a feoffee. He also came to the notice of the countess of Hereford’s grand daughter Anne, countess of Stafford, whose third husband, Sir William Bourghchier, was his fellow shire knight in 1404. The trustees of Doreward’s own estates included many prominent figures, among them William Loveney*, John Tyrell*, Erpingham, Bourgchier and Cheyne.
Having been elected to the first Parliament of Henry V’s reign, Doreward was once more chosen as Speaker, on this occasion replacing William Stourton, the Commons’ first choice, who had exceeded the powers given him and had then fallen ill. He officiated for no more than a few days before the session ended. In June 1415 he was appointed by the King’s brother Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, as a trustee of his estates, but he was not on good terms with another of the King’s kinsmen, for in the following year he was at variance with the chancellor, Bishop Beaufort of Winchester, over possession of a clearing in the woods between Lexden and Stanway. Doreward’s last appearance of importance was at a meeting of the Council held by the duke of Bedford in January 1418, during Henry V’s absence in France.10Whether he attended other council meetings at that time is unknown.
Doreward made his will on 1 Feb. 1418 and died on 12 Nov. 1420. His widow survived him by six years.11
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Based on the article by J.S. Roskell in Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. ser. 3, viii. 209-23, unless otherwise indicated.
- 1. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 162.
- 2. Not John Baynard as in Roskell, 210 (from P. Morant, Essex, ii. 384); Richard Baynard called Isabel his sister in his will (Guildhall Lib. London 9171/3, f. 372v.).
- 3. Cott. Tiberius BIX, ff. 38v, 69v-70, 87-88.
- 4. C136/102/5; Feudal Aids, vi. 440.
- 5. CIMisc. vi. 242-3.
- 6. C67/30 mm. 12, 25.
- 7. TRHS, ser. 5, xiv. 43, 46, 50, 54, 61-63; Cal. Signet Letters ed. Kirby, 42-43; E404/16/72, 17/200, 280, 21/18.
- 8. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 134; 1413-19, pp. 371, 375; 1419-22, p. 8.
- 9. Harl. Ch. 111D43; CPR, 1405-8, p. 446; 1413-16, p. 400; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 161-2; E326/8464.
- 10. Cal. Signet Letters, 816.
- 11. C138/52/104; C139/31/61.