HOUKYN (HOWKYN), Thomas (d.1407), of Oxford.
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Family and Education
Coroner of the hundred without the north gate of Oxford bef. 1377-aft. Jan. 1395,1 Oxon. ?Nov. 1398-July 1404.
Tax collector, Oxford 1384.
Bailiff, Oxford Mich. 1386-7.2
Houkyn is unusual among Oxford MPs of this period in that his principal allegiance seems not to have been to the corporation of the borough. By 1377 he was coroner of the hundred without the north gate, which, though it was almost co-extensive with the suburban parish of St. Mary Magdalen, was outside the jurisdiction of the town authorities. Nor was he merely resident there: he sat on local juries, witnessed many deeds, and owned several houses, a shop and a meadow in the area as well.3
Houkyn only once held a purely municipal office, that of bailiff in 1386-7, and it was while so engaged that he sat in Parliament for the borough. He is known to have been in the service of the abbot of Osney, whose estates also lay geographically just outside the jurisdiction of Oxford corporation. As the abbot’s servant in 1389 he formed part of a syndicate (with, among others, John Frome*, sometime MP for Buckinghamshire and Dorset) who were acquiring property for Osney abbey in Northgate hundred. A year later he shared with the abbot a seven-year grant of pavage for the repair of the road between Oxford and Woodstock, which of course passed through the same hundred. Furthermore, in 1395, he witnessed an Osney document relating to property at Little Tew.4
It was possibly on the retirement of Sir Gilbert Wace* in November 1398 that Houkyn was made county coroner. However, in July 1404, on grounds of age and ill health he was removed from the office and he died three years later, having left his property to his son, Thomas.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. Recs. Med. Oxf. ed. Salter, 41-47.
- 2. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxxvii. 18.
- 3. Ibid. xv. 455; lxiv. nos. 39, 42, 58, 62, 74, 87, 383, 532; lxviii. no. 855; lxxi. no. 190; lxxiii. 81; c. 76; Liber Albus Oxoniensis ed. Ellis, 192.
- 4. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xcvii. no. 174c; xc. nos. 882-9; CPR, 1388-92, pp. 185, 319; CP25(1)191/24/5.
- 5. CCR, 1402-5, p. 355; Oxf. Hist. Soc. ser. 2, xx. 224.