FARNALES, John (d.c.1403), of Bridgnorth, Salop.

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



Feb. 1388
Jan. 1390

Family and Education

Offices Held

Bailiff, Bridgnorth Sept. 1385-6, 1391-2.1

Tax collector, Staffs. Nov. 1386.

Commr. of inquiry, Salop Dec. 1390 (maladministration of Alberbury priory).


Farnales, a lawyer by profession, is first heard of described as ‘of Shropshire’ in February 1384 when providing securities for the Exchequer lessee of the manor of Chelmarsh, some three miles from Bridgnorth, but in the same month and in July following it was as ‘of Staffordshire’ that he acted similarly in Chancery on behalf of a local cleric and certain men from Appleton, Berkshire. Although apparently active in both Staffordshire and Shropshire, his more permanent connexion was with the latter county and in particular with the borough of Bridgnorth. It was when bailiff there in 1385 that he first sat in the Commons; and in 1386, 1387 and 1388 as the town attorney he rendered account at the Exchequer for Bridgnorth’s fee farm.2

Clients continued to come to Farnales from outside the town: in 1387 he stood surety for a Staffordshire man taking out a lease on the manor of Shrewley, Warwickshire; early in 1388 he brought a successful action in the common pleas on behalf of the parson of Norbury, Shropshire; and on 6 Mar. that year, when up at Westminster for his second Parliament (the Merciless Parliament) he found mainprise for the custodian of lands at Ollerton, Shropshire. Probably in connexion with another lawsuit, in July 1389 Farnales entered into recognizances under penalty of £200. In December 1390 he stood surety, along with Sir Hugh Cheyne* and his own fellow Bridgnorth MP in five Parliaments, William Palmer I, for the good behaviour of Sir Richard Ludlow, at that time representing Shropshire in the Lower House. In January 1392 he did likewise for Sir Adam Peshale*. Later that year he was acting as attorney for the sheriff of Shropshire, Sir William Hugford*.3

In November 1392 Farnales obtained for himself the Exchequer lease of lands in ‘Achesley’ (?Astley) near Bridgnorth, which he continued to hold for about 11 years. In the meantime, during his fifth Parliament (1394) he appeared for the defendants in a suit brought by the chaplains of St. Paul’s and also for a Bedfordshire family; and he provided securities for the appearance of one William Cooper at the Berkshire assizes. Later that year Farnales was nominated as one of the attorneys of Richard Chelmswick*, who was then about to depart for Ireland. He died in about 1403.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Farnall, Farnhale, Farnhales. There is no evidence to connect him with the Fernyhalgh family of Leek, Staffs. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiii. 155; xvii. 11.

  • 1. E372/231 m. 42d, 237 m. 42d.
  • 2. CFR, x. 39; CCR, 1381-5, pp. 433, 566; E372/232 m. 41d, 233 m. 41d, 234 m. 39d.
  • 3. CFR, x. 203, 212; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 52, 302, 531; Yr. Bk. 1387-8 ed. Thornley, 126; E372/238 m. 44d.
  • 4. CFR, xi. 63; xii. 211; E372/238 m. 44d, 239 m. 40, 245 m. 45d, 248 m. 41, 249 m. 42, 250 m. 39d; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 270, 272, 288; CPR, 1391-6, p. 498.