DURANT, Thomas, of Padbury and Bourton, Bucks. and Salford, Beds.
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Family and Education
s. of Richard Durant (d.c.1369) of Padbury and Bourton by his w. Alice. m. Alice,1 s.p.
Coroner, Bucks. bef. 13 May 1390-aft. 12 May 1400.
Commr. of arrest Mar. 1399.
J.p. Beds. 29 Dec. 1404-Feb. 1406.
This Member’s ancestors are known to have lived in Bourton on the outskirts of Buckingham from the early 13th century onwards, occupying the sub-manor of Durants, to which they gave their name. It was in 1365 that his parents, Richard and Alice Durant, acquired a manor nearby in Padbury although Richard died some four years later, leaving Alice in sole possession of both properties. She conveyed what appears to have been a life estate in Padbury to a kinsman of the previous owners in 1375, but evidently retained some land in the area, since she was later able to lease part of it out to a local farmer. Moreover, an exchange of 1379 shows clearly enough that she was anxious to consolidate what remained to her in Padbury; and on her death these holdings passed to Thomas, who eventually recovered the manor also. Nearer to the neighbouring county of Bedfordshire, he had agricultural interests at least by 1388 at Whaddon and Nash, but we do not know how he gained possession of the lands and tenements just across the border in Salford, which, in 1412, bore a valuation of at least £20 a year. They were probably in his hands well before 1404, when he was returned as an MP for Bedfordshire and also obtained a seat on the local bench.2
Durant came of age either in or before 1379, since he was then able to confirm the property transactions carried out by his mother. He next appears in November 1398 when he agreed to act as a mainpernor in Chancery for a clerk charged with offences against the royal prerogative, but it seems likely that he was already serving as coroner of Buckinghamshire, a post which his father had occupied at the time of his death. Repeated attempts were made to remove him from this office: in both May and June 1390 the sheriff was ordered to replace him, but nothing was done, and similar orders were issued with equal lack of success in July 1398 and December 1399. The grounds for his dismissal were changed, in May 1400, from lack of proper qualifications to non-residence in the county, so it may be that he had already begun to spend most of his time in Bedfordshire. Meanwhile, in February 1392, one John Barlay was bound over in securities of £500 to keep the peace towards him. Later in the year he witnessed a deed for the abbot of the Cistercian house of Biddlesden in Buckinghamshire, but no more is known of his activities until, in 1401, he entered Parliament for the first time. Durant sat only once for Buckinghamshire, being returned on the next two occasions as Member for Bedfordshire, where he also served very briefly on the bench. During the first session of the Parliament of 1406, he joined with two other shire knights — (Sir) Leonard Hakluyt (sitting for Somerset) and Thomas Holgot (for Herefordshire) — in offering pledges of £75 to the prominent Lancastrian, Sir Hugh Waterton.3 Although he played no active part in public affairs after this date, Durant attended at least three parliamentary elections, witnessing the Bedfordshire indenture of 1407 and the returns for Buckinghamshire to the first and last Parliaments of Henry V’s reign (May 1413, December 1421). Meanwhile, in 1410, he stood bail for a Buckinghamshire tradesman charged with breaking his contract of employment.4
There is no means of telling when Durant died, and he does not seem to have left any children of his own. In March 1438 William Savage, his next heir, confirmed his widow, Alice, and her second husband, Thomas More†, in possession of certain land in Padbury; and it was to More’s descendants that Durant's manor in Bourton also passed.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
The MP is not to be confused with Thomas Durant, teller of the Receipt of the Exchequer c.1362-1398 and servant to Richard II (Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. xxix. 36n) with whom he appears to have had no connexion of any sort.
- 1. Cat. Archs. All Souls Coll. ed. Martin, 94, 100; CCR, 1369-74, p. 9. Browne Willis’s† speculation in Buckingham, 31, that Thomas Durant’s w. Alice (afterwards wife of Thomas More) was a da. of Isobel Fowler, sis. of John Barton I* and John Barton II*, arose from his confusion of the descent of the separate properties in Bourton owned by the Durants and the Bartons. Nor is the matter sufficiently clarified in VCH Bucks. iii. 485, where Alice’s first marriage is overlooked.