HONYTON, Roger, of Goudhurst, Kent and Little Horsted, Suss.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. (1) bef. June 1407, Joan, da. and coh. of John Mayhew of Ashford, Kent; (2) bef. Nov. 1423, Alice, 2s.; (3) Joan.
Abp. Arundel’s constable of Saltwood castle, parker of Saltwood and bailiff of Hythe by Apr. 1403-19 Sept. 1407.
Constable of Queenborough castle in Sheppey c.1409-Mar. 1413.
Commr. of oyer and terminer, Queenborough Feb. 1412; to take musters, Kent Apr. 1430.
J.p. Kent 12 Feb. 1422-Mar. 1432.
Jt. guardian of the temporalities of the see of Chichester 15 July 1429-c. Jan. 1431.
This MP most likely came from Devon, perhaps from a family deriving its name from the town of Honiton. Certainly, his elder son was to inherit from him the Devonshire manors of Shilstone and Doddiscombe, together with a purparty of Doddiscombeleigh; and he himself is first recorded (in 1396) acting as proxy for the scholar, John Gyles, at his presentation to the west country rectory of St. Martins-by-Looe.1 How it came about that he entered the service of Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, and thus arrived in Kent a few years later, remains unclear. In association with the archbishop’s steward, Gregory Ballard, he was admitted to the fraternity of Christ Church cathedral priory, Canterbury, in 1401, and it was also in Ballard’s company that he witnessed deeds in Kent in 1406 and 1408. In the meantime, at some unknown date before the spring of 1403, the archbishop had conferred on him the offices of constable of Saltwood castle, keeper of the archiepiscopal parks at Saltwood, Aldington and Lyminge, and bailiff of the town of Hythe, all of which he surrendered in September 1407. But not with the intention of leaving Arundel’s employ, for the archbishop, granted Queenborough castle by Henry IV 18 months later, installed him as constable there not long afterwards. In March 1411, when the prince of Wales was in the ascendancy and the archbishop, removed from the King’s Council, was suffering a political decline, Honyton and the mayor of Queenborough were both required to enter into recognizances in £40 each with the King. Both bonds were subsequently cancelled ‘by command of the chancellor’ (probably Arundel after his reinstatement in the following year). As constable, Honyton was appointed in 1412 to a commission of oyer and terminer in respect of felonies committed in Queenborough and its liberty.2
After Arundel’s death (in February 1414) Honyton was retained by his successor in the see of Canterbury, Henry Chichele, in what official capacity is uncertain, but the connexion was evidently both continuous and close. In 1421 (the year of his only recorded election to Parliament) he was associated with Chichele’s kinsmen in their purchase on the archbishop’s behalf of three manors in Sussex and land in Kent once belonging to the Ashburnhams. He witnessed a deed at Otford (a residence of the archbishop) in March 1426; later that same year he attested a transaction whereby Mersea priory (Essex) was conveyed to the college Chichele had founded at Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire; and in 1428 he was present at Lambeth when the archbishop granted probate of the will of Thomas, earl of Salisbury. In 1429 he not only assisted Chichele to acquire two manors in Kent from the former Fitzalan estate by acting as one of his feoffees, but also by Chichele’s authorization he took on the administration of the will of Sir Thomas Culpepper. Doubtless it was Honyton’s connexion with the primate which led to his being appointed that July as a guardian of the temporalities of the vacant see of Chichester; and it is worthy of remark that when the keepership was renewed in 1430 the archbishop’s nephew, John Chichele, the London grocer, appeared as a surety on his behalf.3
Honyton’s links with Chichele lent him a certain standing in Kent, as is suggested by his presence at Tonbridge in 1430 as a witness to an important landed settlement made to the direct advantage of Humphrey, earl of Stafford, and his wife, Anne Neville. Ten years continuous service on the local bench was followed by his attendance at the parliamentary elections held at Canterbury in 1432, and, two years later, his name appeared on the list of gentry of Kent required to take the general oath not to maintain those who broke the peace. In April 1439, on behalf of William Froggenhall of Buckland, he entered into recognizances with John Stopyndoun, clerk (afterwards master of the rolls) and others, in 85 marks, payable in instalments up to Michaelmas 1442; and it was perhaps as a consequence of Froggenhall’s indebtedness to him that, on 3 Dec. following, Froggenhall having died in the meantime, Honyton was given the wardship of his lands together with the marriage of his heir.4
Such evidence as survives of Honyton’s dealings with property in the south-east, suggests that he was never a landowner of much consequence. True, he had acquired holdings in Goudhurst in 1405, and his first wife, Joan Mayhew, was coheir with her sister to premises in Ashford, and later, with her nephew, to the lands of her cousin, Master John Mayhew (d.1419). Although described as ‘of the diocese of Rochester’ when he received a papal indult for a portable altar in 1422, in later years he acquired property in or near Sussex. This included the lands in Lamberhurst which came to him through his second marriage, and the house in Bidborough robbed in £426 of valuables, notably a dozen silver spoons, two wine bowls with covers and two belts decorated with silver, all of which the thieves took to London to be sold. His most important purchase, completed in 1431, was of the manor of Worth in Little Horsted.5
Honyton was still alive in 1439, but died before 1458, by which date his widow had married John Threpland, esquire, with whom his elder son and heir, Thomas Honyton, gentleman, agreed, under penalty of £100, to a surrender of his reversionary interest in the family manors in Devon; and Thomas and his brother, John, duly gave up their title in the premises to their stepmother. The widow also retained as dower a third part of the manor of Worth.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Henyton, Honnigton, Honyn, Honynton, Honyndenne.
- 1. CCR, 1454-61, p. 295; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 134, 203, 319.
- 2. BL Arundel 68, f. 57; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 149, 291, 354; 1409-13, p. 200; CPR, 1408-13, pp. 59, 62; HMC 4th Rep. 437.
- 3. Suss. Feet of Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), no. 2893; CCR, 1422-9, p. 268; CPR, 1422-9, p. 474; Reg. Chichele, ii. 383, 386, 399; CP25(1)114/302/206; CFR, xv. 273, 323.
- 4. CCR, 1429-35, p. 357; 1435-41, pp. 258, 261; C219/14/3; CPR, 1429-36, p. 388; CFR, xvii. 119, 121.
- 5. CP25(1)112/264/262, 268/352, 114/295/27, 241/86/28; C1/7/290; CPL, vii. 325; Suss. Arch. Colls. xcvi. 28.
- 6. CCR, 1454-61, pp. 295, 340; 1461-8, p. 185; CP25(1)241/91/24. Thomas Honyton was later possessed of the manor of Moulsoe, Bucks., as an outcome of his marriage to Margaret, gdda. of Adam Bamme*, the London goldsmith: VCH Bucks. iv. 407; CCR, 1461-8, p. 174.