HORE, John I (d.c.1434), of Great Childerley, Cambs. and Great Raveley, Hunts.
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Family and Education
m. (1) bef. Sept. 1393, Joan (b.c.1379), da. of Anne, da. of William Ellesfield (d.1398), of Ellesfield and Chalgrove, Oxon., coh. of the estates of Sir Baldwin Berford (d.1405), 1s. Gilbert†; (2) between Oct. 1412 and May 1415, Joan (b.c.1363), da. of Sir Edmund Vauncy (d.1372) of Westley Waterless, Cambs. by Joan, da. of William Crek, sis. and h. of Edmund Vauncy (d.1300), wid. of Thomas Priour* of Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex, coh. of Sir William Moigne* (d.1404) of Sawtry and Great Raveley; (3) bef. June 1427, Margaret, wid. of Sir Robert Butveleyn of Flordon, Norf.
Escheator, Cambs. and Hunts. 6 Nov. 1424-24 Jan. 1426.
Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 15 Jan.-12 Dec. 1426.
John’s background is obscure, although there is a possibility that he came from the Hore family established at Elmdon in Warwickshire, with which he had dealings in the early 15th century. He acquired the manor of Great Childerley in Cambridgeshire by some as yet undiscovered means before 1393, when he and his first wife gave Nicholas Hemingford, one of the clerks of Chancery, an annuity for life of £2 charged on the property, in gratitude for his ‘manifold willing services’. Hore subsequently held land in Little Childerley, too, and acted as patron of the local church.1 By 1401 his landed holdings in Cambridgeshire had extended to Swavesey, Fen Drayton, Chesterton and Rampton, and he also had some property in the shire town, although whether these were obtained by purchase or in some other way is not clear. There is no doubt, however, that his three marriages greatly enhanced his standing as a landowner, for they provided him with interests in other counties, too. His first wife, Joan, a grand daughter of William Ellesfield, became in 1398 coheir with her aunt Joan, wife of Thomas Loundres, of her grandfather’s manor of Ellesfield and holdings at Chalgrove in Oxfordshire, all of which eventually came into the Hores’ possession on the failure of Joan Loundres to leave issue. They proved less successful, however, in their claims to a former Ellesfield manor in Berkshire at Aston Tirrold.2 Hore’s first wife was also coheir to the widespread Berford estates, situated in seven counties, under the terms of an entail made long before in 1342, for she and her fellow heirs ( Sir Baldwin St. George*, Sir Philip St. Cler and Maud, wife of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn*) were descendants of sisters of Edmund Berford, whose illegitimate son, Sir Baldwin, held the estates until his death, childless, in 1405. By an agreement made with Sir Baldwin in 1401, the Hores were allotted the reversion of the manors and advowsons of Wishaw (Warwickshire) and Wittenham (Berkshire), in which Berford’s widow had an interest for life, but when she eventually died in 1423 (at least ten years after Joan Hore’s own demise) John was only able to take possession of Wishaw. Meanwhile, in 1406, the Berford coheirs had joined forces to bring a lawsuit in the court of common pleas against the influential family of Hasilden for an estate at Clopton in Cambridgeshire, which, after successfully establishing their title, they divided between themselves.3 This interest in the Berford inheritance also led Hore to be concerned with transactions regarding the manor of Stoneythorpe in Warwickshire, a property which Sir Baldwin had apparently sold to Thomas Hore of Elmdon in 1393. In 1407 John and Joan Hore made a formal quitclaim of Stoneythorpe, for which the former alone subsequently received a payment of £20.4
In September 1412 Hore was named as overseer of the will of the former Cambridgeshire MP, Thomas Priour. The task must have brought him into close contact with Priour’s widow, Joan Vauncy, and before very long he married her. As her own inheritance from the Vauncys, Joan held the manors of Westley Waterless (Cambridgeshire) and Lockleys in Welwyn (Hertfordshire),5 but it was the property of her late kinsman, Sir William Moigne, which probably interested Hore most. Moigne’s estates in Huntingdonshire had been divided in 1412 between three descendants of his aunts, including Joan Priour, but Hore’s ambitions led eventually to their being reunited under his single ownership. This process began in 1413 with his acquisition from Joan, widow of John Tyndale* of Deene, of the manor of Raveley, land at Sawtry, and the advowson of Sawtry church. In order to secure full possession of the Moigne estates, he appears to have sold or exchanged his wife’s manor at Westley Waterless with Sir Richard Waldegrave the younger, by transactions completed in 1422.6
Curiously, Hore’s evident standing as a landowner, which enabled him to secure election to Parliament by two shires, never led to his employment by the governments of the first two Lancastrian kings for work in local administration. His career had begun promisingly enough as a member of Richard II’s household, where he could boast the acquaintance of Sir Baldwin Berford, a knight of the King’s chamber and keeper of the royal mews. He was wearing royal livery as a ‘King’s esquire’ by the autumn of 1393, and it was in the retinue of Sir Baldwin Raddington†, controller of the Household, that he served in Ireland from July 1394 to April 1395. Shortly before embarkation he had been granted custody of lands late of William Gambon† along with the marriage of the heir, and he remained sufficiently high in royal favour for a pardon for homicide to be issued at his request in December 1395. Yet after 1396 he left the King’s service, and was then excluded from appointment to local office, even as a commissioner, for nearly 30 years, indeed until after the infant Henry VI had succeeded to the throne.7 The reason for this is not known. It was not as an outcome of unpopularity in Cambridgeshire, for he was evidently well regarded by certain members of the community. For example, Thomas Morys of Chesterton named him not only as a trustee of his property, but also (in 1414) as an executor of his will, and he was a friend of the lawyer, John Burgoyne* of Dry Drayton. Yet he did have enemies: in February 1417 a royal commission was set up to inquire who had assaulted him at Cambridge, on the same occasion as another man had been killed. Hore attended the shire elections held at Huntingdon later that year, and those conducted at Cambridge for the Parliaments of 1423, 1427, 1429, 1431, 1432 and 1433.8
In the meantime, Hore had married for the third time, probably gaining as a consequence certain of the Butveleyn holdings in Norfolk at Gissing and Flordon, as his wife’s dower portion as widow of Sir Robert Butveleyn. The trustees of his Huntingdonshire estates, appointed to effect a settlement on his new wife in 1427, included John Wodehouse*, the former chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster.9 Indeed, by this stage in his life Hore had formed several connexions of importance. In July 1428 he joined with the former chancellor of England, Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham, and with the then keeper of the privy seal, William Alnwick, bishop of Norwich, in making a grant in mortmain to Croyland abbey of two messuages in the parish of St. Giles, Cambridge, which were to serve as the residence of monks of the Benedictine order studying canon law and Holy Scripture in the schools of the university. Thus, he was party to the initial foundation of Buckingham college (later refounded as Magdalene). He won the confidence, too, of Philippa, dowager duchess of York, who named him as an executor of her will in March 1431 (making him a bequest of £20 for his trouble), and as a feoffee of certain of her estates four months later. The overseer of the duchess’s will was Sir John Tiptoft* (by then Lord Tiptoft), a prominent member of the King’s Council, for whom Hore witnessed an important transaction that same year. Hore is not recorded alive after May 1434, when he was listed among the Cambridgeshire gentry required to take the general oath not to maintain those who broke the King’s peace.10
Before his death Hore entered various agreements with the Benedictines of Ramsey abbey, which did not reach fulfilment until 1453, after the decease of Gilbert Hore (the issue of his first marriage), who had sat as shire knight for Cambridgeshire in 1437. Then, John’s grandsons conveyed the manor of Great Raveley and lands at Sawtry to the abbey, in return for the sum of £20 and an undertaking that a chantry would be maintained in the conventual church, where masses would be said for the souls of members of the Hore family, including John and his first two wives.11