HAMPDEN, John (c.1387-c.1459), of Great Kimble, Bucks.

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

b.c.1387, s. of Thomas Hampden of Kingsey by his w. Margaret. m. 2s.

Offices Held

Commr. to assess liability to contribute to a subsidy, Bucks. Apr. 1431; distribute tax rebate May 1437; of inquiry, Dec. 1438 (forestallers and regrators of corn); array Sept. 1457.

J.p. Bucks. 19 Feb. 1433-July 1459.


Although John Hampden’s branch of the family never achieved such prominence in national politics as that seated at Great Hampden, some members of it did fill a useful role in the local community. Their landed holdings were comparatively insignificant: in 1384 Thomas and Margaret Hampden (afterwards John’s parents) received by settlement certain properties in Kingsey, only to give up other holdings in the vicinity to Sir Robert Marney* and Alice his wife by a transaction which they confirmed in October 1386. This last deed was attested by William Noble, Thomas Hampden’s kinsman by marriage, who was then in possession, ‘by the courtesy’ of the manor of Upton in Great Kimble. Thomas predeceased Noble, on whose death in the summer of 1391 John, said to be aged four-and-a-half, inherited the manor as being next in line to Noble’s late wife, Maud (d.1377), the heiress of the Uptons. Since certain of Maud’s lands (seven acres of meadow in Kingsey) were held of the King in chief, Hampden’s wardship was at the Crown’s disposal, and on 22 July custody of land worth about ten marks a year was granted, together with the boy’s marriage, to Richard II’s esquire, William Mackney*. In due course Hampden did fealty to the King and secured possession of his inheritance in February 1410.2

Although somewhat older than his namesake of Great Hampden, and first of the two to be elected knight of the shire for Buckinghamshire, John of Great Kimble lagged behind as regards appointment to public office—there is in fact no evidence that he served on royal commissions before 1431. Nor can it be said that he attended parliamentary elections in Buckinghamshire before 1427 (when John Hampden of Great Hampden was elected for the first time). Thereafter, however, he did make occasional appearances at the hustings, as in 1429 (being named on the false indenture returned by (Sir) Thomas Waweton*), 1431, 1433 and 1447. He and his namesake shared many interests and acquaintances, although the latter was nearly always given precedence in legal documents. At some unknown date John of Great Kimble acted as a pledge for the prosecution of a suit in Chancery brought by the other John, who claimed that a certain clerk had conspired to defraud him of his interest in a house in Wycombe. Both men were named among the notables of Buckinghamshire required in 1434 to take the oath against maintenance. In 1437, they together assisted Robert Whittingham*, receiver of the estates of the late duke of Bedford, to acquire the manor of Dinton in reversion from Isabel, widow of John Barton II*, and thereafter they continued to act on Whittingham’s behalf. In a lawsuit brought in Chancery a few years later, concerning Whittingham’s purchase of the manor of Stone from the same lady, she and her second husband, Sir Robert Shotesbrooke, alleged that our John Hampden, who was ‘of counseal’ with Whittingham, had given an account of the several complicated transactions needed to effect the sale in the presence of Ralph Butler, Lord Sudeley. Again in Whittingham’s interest, the two John Hampdens were co-trustees of the manor and lordship of Salden (including the reversion of that third part which Jacquetta, the widowed duchess of Bedford, held for life), having been enfeoffed of the manor by Cardinal Beaufort in 1440.3

Whittingham and John Hampden of Great Hampden were party to an agreement made in December 1440 on behalf of John of Great Kimble, whereby the latter and his heirs received from the Bedfordshire esquire, Robert Mordaunt*, an annual rent of £8 from his manors of Mordaunts and Ardes, in return for John’s promise not to eject Mordaunt and his wife from certain lands in Buckinghamshire. Another participant was our MP’s brother-in-law, John Brecknockt, then clerk of controlment in Henry VI’s household. In his turn, Hampden supported Brecknock in his negotiations between 1437 and 1459 for the purchase of the manor of Horsenden, and in 1446 he agreed to act as a feoffee of the manor of Ellesborough which Brecknock was in the process of buying from Sir John Cheyne II*. This last operation led him into trouble, for when Brecknock failed to pay 530 marks on the appointed day, Cheyne first attempted to recover Ellesborough from Hampden and a co-feoffee, and then, faced with their adamant refusal to relinquish possession, petitioned the chancellor to have them summoned to court to explain themselves.4

Hampden sat continuously on the Buckinghamshire bench for 26 years from 1433. However, he only occasionally served on other ad hoc commissions, such as the commission of array to which he was appointed in 1457, at the age of about 70. It would seem that he did not long outlive his namesake of Great Hampden (who died early in 1458), although the precise date of his death is not known. Last recorded in March 1459, he was not re-appointed as a j.p. four months later. Hampden was survived by two sons: Thomas (d.1485) who inherited the estate at Great Kimble, and Richard who, through marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Singleton, brought to the family the manor of Hartwell to which she was heir.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Care has been taken to distinguish him from his younger namesake, John Hampden of Great Hampden, who sat for Bucks. in 1427, [1429], 1431, 1432 and 1445. This kinsman, the s. and h. of Edmund Hampden*, served as a j.p. in the shire from July 1422, and as sheriff of Beds. and Bucks. in 1434-5, 1438-9, 1450-1 and 1456-7. It was presumably he, too, who officiated as escheator from May 1422 to Nov. 1423, and again in 1431-2, as he afterwards obtained a royal pardon as ‘late escheator’: C67/38 m. 21. This John, a Lincoln’s Inn lawyer, moved in more exalted circles than our MP, being closely associated with Thomas Chaucer* and his son-in-law, William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk. He died on 17 Feb. 1458; C139/167/9.

  • 1. On both occasions as ‘of Great Kimble’: OR, i. 294, 329.
  • 2. CCR, 1381-5, p. 450; 1385-9, p. 267; C136/72/50; CPR, 1388-92, p. 487; VCH Bucks. ii. 301; CFR, xiii. 174-5.
  • 3. C219/13/5, 14/1, 2, 4; CPR, 1429-36, p. 397; 1436-41, pp. 51, 394; C1/16/704, 69/67.
  • 4. Beds. N. and Q. iii. 246-7; CCR, 1461-8, p. 161; 1468-76, no. 1319; VCH Bucks. ii. 254; CAD, i. B1452; C1/17/151.
  • 5. C139/167/9; CPR, 1467-77, pp. 471-2. G. Lipscomb in Bucks. ii. 301-2, stated that John himself married Elizabeth Singleton, and this is repeated as fact in VCH Herts. ii. 246 and elsewhere. However, the only pertinent contemporary evidence is the inquisition post mortem on Singleton’s widow, Agnes Petit (d.1479), whose heir was her grandson, William Hampden, then aged 25 (and so b.c.1454): C140/70/34. Since it seems unlikely that John Hampden would have fathered a son at the age of 67 or so, the version of the pedigree given in Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 169-70 and followed in VCH Bucks. ii. 296, is much more credible.