THORNES, Roger, of Shrewsbury and Shelvock, Salop.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Glos., Herefs., Worcs., Salop Oct. 1397 (breaches of the 1390 statute relating to shoemakers and tanners), Salop and the adjacent march Oct. 1410 (administration of the lordship of Caus during the minority of Humphrey, earl of Stafford), Salop May 1422 (concealed crown income).
Borough attorney, Shrewsbury July 1401-8.2
Roger Thornes, a lawyer by training, is first heard of in February 1393 when he stood surety in Chancery for two men from Wellington, Shropshire, then answering pleas of debt. Early in 1399 he became involved in the disputes and disturbances then prevalent in Shrewsbury: in Chancery on 22 Jan. along with six members of the Biriton family, he entered into recognizances for £100 with Edward, duke of Aumâle as guarantee of good behaviour; Nicholas Gerard* undertook not to assault him or William Biriton (at that time Robert Thornes’s co-bailiff); and he and the Biritons all provided pledges not to harm Gerard.3 This feud with Gerard was undoubtedly part of the general disorder in Shrewsbury which led to the removal of the bailiffs at Whitsuntide following. In 1400-1 Thornes received from the borough £1 for prosecuting Gerard and his colleagues, £2 for rendering its account at the Exchequer, and a further £1 for his activities in the court of common pleas in the capacity of its attorney (a post which he continued to hold for some seven years, and was occupying at the time of his second election to Parliament in 1402). In 1407-8, after representing the town at the assizes in a suit between Nicholas Gerard and Urian St. Pierre*, he was paid a reward of 13s.4d., and he then also received 8s.8d. expenses, £1 for his fee at the common bench, and 26s.8d. for work on the borough accounts. In the meantime, in January 1400, he had been a juror at the sessions of the peace held in Shrewsbury, and in 1402 and 1404 he had made appearances in Chancery and the Exchequer as a surety, mainly in relation to lawsuits. Thornes occasionally witnessed conveyances in Shrewsbury, but he was never made a bailiff, perhaps because he was not a member of the guild merchant. He attended the shire elections to the Parliament of 1413 (May).4
In the spring of 1407 Thornes, with the help of his brother, entailed on the children of his wife, Cecily, the estates he had acquired by marrying her, including the manor of ‘Starteclonde’, 16 messuages, over 200 acres of land and £1 in rents (along with the office of bailiff of ‘Aldermore’) in Shrawardine, Hopton, Great and Little Ness, Milford and elsewhere. By September 1419 he had inherited all his father’s and brother’s holdings in Shropshire, too, but then relinquished possession of some, if not all, of these to Roger Corbet* of Moreton Corbet. Nevertheless, he was still a man of property, able to settle on his son, Thomas, in 1428 two tenements in Castle Foregate, six more in High Street, and two under one roof in ‘Lestalles’, Shrewsbury; and in November 1431, described as ‘gentleman’, he was still in possession of premises in the town and land at Eaton Mascott, worth over £10 a year.5 Nothing more is heard of him.6