HARRIS, John (d.1429), of Whitchurch, Hants.
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Family and Education
m. Sibyl, wid. of John Mohun of ‘Byeastwall’ in East Stoke, Dorset, ?2s.1
Dep. warden of Chute forest, Wilts. by 1412-aft. Apr. 1422.2
Commr.Commr. of array, Hants Apr. 1418; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419.
Verderer, Buckholt forest, Hants bef. Apr. 1429.
In 1390 a John Harris of Whitchurch (perhaps this John’s father) purchased property in Broughton, which was to remain in the possession of the family until the 17th century. According to the assessments for taxation made in Dorset in 1412, our John Harris’s holdings of one third of the manor of ‘Hampne Moun’ and lands in East Stoke (all of which he held jure uxoris) were worth £20 a year; but the assessments made in Hampshire stated that his holdings in that county (at Broughton, Otterbourne, Whitchurch and Swampton) together with his lands in Dorset and Devon were worth no more than £23 p.a. In any case, his tenure of his wife’s dower lands in Dorset was precarious owing to lawsuits brought by relatives of her former husband.3
Harris is an obscure figure, most of the known details about him concerning his involvement in the affairs of other local gentry. In 1410, for example, he was acting on behalf of Thomas Ringwood with regard to property in Hampshire and Wiltshire inherited by Ringwood’s wife, and several years later he again acted as his feoffee, this time in the acquisition of the manor of Sherfield English (Hampshire) from Sir Robert Shotesbrooke†. Then, too, he was closely associated with John Lisle* of Wootton, esquire, by whom he was employed as deputy in the wardenship of Chute forest, a post which involved him in the lawsuits brought by Sir William Sturmy* over land alleged to pertain to the neighbouring forest of Savernake. Harris served as a trustee of Lisle’s estates in Hampshire and Wiltshire, and in the same capacity for Sir Walter Sandys* in Hampshire and Sussex. Harris’s connexions with John Fromond, steward of the estates of Winchester college, led to his involvement in several transactions relating to the endowment of Fromond’s chantry at the college, including the sale of certain of his estates to John Roger I* of Bryanston, who had supplied materials and workmen for the building. An Edward Harris of Broughton, who studied at the college between 1418 and 1422, may well have been John’s son, and have provided him with an even closer involvement in college affairs. Harris was returned to Parliament only once, but a continuing interest in the county’s representation is suggested by his attendance at no fewer than six elections held at Winchester between 1419 and 1426.4 He died shortly before 24 Apr. 1429.5