FORSTER, John, of Oxford.

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




Family and Education

m. bef 1386, Alice.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Oxford Mich. 1388-9, 1390-1.2


Forster was established as a shoemaker in Oxford by 1380, when he paid the comparatively small sum of 1s. as poll tax. In August 1389, when first in office as bailiff, he was wounded while attempting to arrest John Coughwhel of Watlington, ‘a common disturber of the peace, a brawler and a malefactor’, who had already attacked several citizens with a sword. Coughwhel ‘would not surrender himself, but resisted the bailiff and took him by the neck and held him with force, so that he drew blood’.3

Forster was a trustee of the property used to endow Gerland’s chantry in the church of St. Mary the Virgin, but in 1392 he and his associates transferred it to Oriel college, which thus became responsible for the maintenance of the chantry.4 He himself owned premises in All Saints’ and St. Ebbe’s parishes, and rented a messuage in Market Street. He apparently kept a shop in the parish of St. Mary Magdalen without Northgate, where he was twice amerced for selling shoes at excessive prices. He stood surety for the attendance of John Ottworth at the Parliament of 1406, but was dead by 1417, by which time his widow and executrix had married Thomas Hampton, the mayor’s serjeant.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: Charles Kightly


  • 1. Oxf. Hist. Soc. (ser. 2), xiv. 44.
  • 2. Ibid. xxxvii. 18.
  • 3. Ibid. xviii. 38; Recs. Med. Oxf. ed. Salter, 55.
  • 4. Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxxv. 146-50.
  • 5. Ibid. lxxiii. 81, 83, 94, 100, 102; (ser. 2), xiv. 44; Bodl. Twyne ms 23, f. 374; Queen’s Coll. deed 2298; C219/10/3.