SABRISFORTH, John, of Huntingdon.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by Sept. 1400, Christine.1
Bailiff, Huntingdon Mich. 1397-8, 1404-6.
Collector of a tax, Huntingdon Dec. 1406.
Sabrisforth’s first term as bailiff was marked by two lawsuits brought against him in his official capacity. One, begun in December 1397, involved a claim for rent made by the abbess of Elstow, while the other resulted in an assize of novel disseisin arraigned against the entire community by the abbot of Ramsey, who advanced a title to property in Huntingdon. An influential figure in the town, Sabrisforth was an ideal person to stand surety for newcomers to the freedom, and in 1399 John Rous I* prevailed upon him to perform this service on his behalf. Persons holding local office were not supposed to exploit their position by trading in food or wine, although the temptation to corner the market in certain commodities was too great for some, including Sabrisforth, who fell foul of law on this count. Even so, he was sufficiently well connected to secure a royal pardon, dated March 1406; and at the end of the year he was actually appointed to a commission for the collection of taxes in the borough.2
With the passage of time, Sabrisforth and his wife, Christine, were able substantially to extend their possessions in Huntingdon. In September 1400, for example, they acquired a tenement in St. Benedict’s parish, to which they added in the following spring. They subsequently purchased a croft called ‘Kyrnellisorchard’ in St. John’s parish; and in November 1405 (while he was bailiff) Sabrisforth negotiated a lease at the Exchequer for the farm of the castle and honour of Huntingdon. Guarantees of his ability to pay the annual rent of £3 10s. were provided by his kinsman, Nicholas Sabrisforth, and Robert Peck II*, who himself later took on the lease.3