SHELDWICH, John II (d.c.1455), of Canterbury, Kent.
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Family and Education
?s. of John Sheldwich I*. m. bef. Jan. 1420, Isabel, ?1s.
Bailiff, Canterbury Mich. 1418-19; jurat 1419-21, 1422-4, 1426-8, 1432-4, 1438-40, 1441-3, 1444-6, 1447-8.2
Commr. of array, Canterbury Nov. 1435, Mar. 1443, Kent Dec. 1450.
Sheldwich, who was elected to Parliament for Canterbury on 14 occasions all told, was a lawyer like his presumed father. Indeed, in this as in many other respects, his career closely resembled that of his older namesake.
Sheldwich’s wife, Isabel, was the heir to an estate including several acres of land situated on the outskirts of Canterbury at Westgate and Hackington, of which the couple acquired a reversionary interest by 1420, but had still not actually gained possession II years later. In 1427 Sheldwich obtained a number of properties in Canterbury itself, as well as outside the city at Westbere, Sturry and elsewhere, but none of them was mentioned in the assessments made for the purposes of taxation in 1431. Then, merely the land he held in gavelkind at ‘Stowysete’ was taken into account (and valued at £1 a year), even though the assessors were aware that he had other, unspecified, holdings.3
Sheldwich was regularly employed by the commonalty of Canterbury to do its business at Westminster and elsewhere. For instance, in 1415 he was paid expenses incurred while obtaining royal letters patent for a commission of array; and in 1420 or 1421 he rode to Dover to gain the goodwill of the lieutenant of the castle, Geoffrey Lowther†, regarding the muster of armed forces at Canterbury. On another occasion he went to Rochester to make representations on the city’s behalf before the justices of assize; and, moreover, journeys to London and the central courts were quite frequently undertaken with a brief from the civic dignitaries in hand. While up at Westminster for the first session of the Parliament of 1427-8, he was named as overseer of the will of Henry Lynde*, his companion in the Commons; and shortly after the session ended, in December, he conveyed as a feoffee the manor of Eythorne, Kent, to Sir Walter (now Lord) Hungerford*, the treasurer of the Exchequer, and others. His acquaintance with members of his profession engaged in the central courts led to his being asked in 1433 to deliver to John Fortescue* (the future chief justice) the fee which Canterbury paid him for his counsel. Sheldwich attested the electoral indenture recording the returns for Kent and its boroughs to the Parliament of 1437. Although he had only once been chosen as bailiff of Canterbury, he served 16 years all told as a jurat, and during his term in 1438 he was one of five citizens who formally engaged carpenters to help build a guildhall. In 1447-8 he and another resident recovered from the community a sum of £10 given by them to Queen Margaret when she made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas.4
Sheldwich had sometimes been party to litigation in Chancery on his own account, as when (quite likely between 1426 and 1432) he and others sued Thomas Tropham in connexion with the settlement, after arbitration, of messuages and land in Wingham and Goodnestone, of which they were acting as feoffees. He is last recorded in June 1454 in the midst of a similar suit, brought against him and William Benet* as trustees of the property of the late John Pirie† (whom Sheldwich had also served as an executor). It was alleged that the two of them had unjustly favoured Pirie’s half-sister Christine, wife of William Baker, while refusing to countenance the claims to the estate of Joan Fermory of London (and, indeed, Sheldwich and Benet had released to the Bakers all their interest in Pirie’s property two years earlier). Sheldwich died before March 1458.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. The parliamentary indenture (C219/12/2) lists Richard Stopyndon in place of Sheldwich, although the latter was named on the dorse of the writ, and it was he who received payment at Canterbury for attendance in the House of Commons (Canterbury Cathedral, City and Diocesan RO, city accts. FA1, f. 131). Stopyndon had been admitted to the freedom of Canterbury on 11 Apr. 1401 by redemption (ibid. f. 50) and served as cofferer Mich. 1405-6, jurat 1412-13, 1415-17 and bailiff 1413-14 (ibid. ff. 104, 115d, 122). He had an influential kinsman in the person of John Stopyndon (d.1447), at that time a clerk in Chancery, who was to become master of the rolls under Henry VI: HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, pp. 138-9; Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Stafford, f. 148.
- 2. List Canterbury Officials comp. Urry and Bunce, 49; Canterbury accts. FA1, ff. 139-302, 2, ff. 3, 16d.
- 3. CP25(1)113/291/306, 114/300/167; Feudal Aids, iii. 160.
- 4. FA1, ff. 114, 148d, 153d, 170, 174d, 219; HMC 9th Rep. pt 1, p. 140; Canterbury consist ct. wills, 1, f. 19; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 445-6; L.F. Salzman, Building in Eng. 510-12; C219/15/1.
- 5. C1/7/87, 252, 24/63-67; CAD, iii. C3005; Canterbury burghmote reg. O/A1, ff. 45d, 48d. He is more likely to have been the gdfa. than the fa. of Nicholas Sheldwich† (d.1494), who was admitted as a freeman of Canterbury by birth in 1469 as son of a John Sheldwich: Freeman Canterbury 1392-1800 ed. Cowper, col. 77.