HONYTON, Roger, of Goudhurst, Kent and Little Horsted, Suss.
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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, cle