WARNER, John, of Bishop's Lynn, Norf.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Lynn Jan. 1429 (breach of contract for sale of wheat).
Warner entered the freedom of Lynn in 1401-2 ‘by patrimony’, but the name of his father is not given. There, he traded as a merchant and also ran a local tavern. In the controversies which split the town during the later part of Henry IV’s reign, he was of the party of the mediocres, who opposed the rule of the potentiores because of their severe mismanagement of the borough’s finances; and he was among those who entered bonds in December 1411 for the observance of ordinances to be made in an attempt at reform. However, when this failed, he forebore to join the extremists, led by the mediocres Bartholomew Petipas† and John Bilney II* along with the inferiores William Halyate* and John Tilney*, and seems to have adopted a neutral position. Indeed, his tavern actually became a haunt of the potentiores, and it was following a gathering there on the night of 20 Aug. 1414 that Thomas Waterden* and others of his persuasion were assaulted by a mob encouraged by the leaders of the popular party.1
While these quarrels were still unresolved, in the autumn of 1414 Warner attested the Lynn electoral indenture to the November Parliament. When elected himself (two years later), he was accompanied by another of his own party, the mediocris William Herford, and on 2 Dec. 1416, after their return home, these two made a report about the proceedings to the mayor and commonalty assembled in the guildhall. The potentiores regained control not long afterwards, and although there was a relaxation of their oligarchic powers Warner himself was never re-elected to the House of Commons. Nevertheless, he continued to take an interest in parliamentary elections, and when other mediocres were returned he acted as their mainpernor, doing so for Philip Frank (1419), John Parmenter (1421), Bartholomew Petipas (1422) and Thomas Burgh† (1425).2
Warner never achieved appointment to an important office in the government of the town, but having become a member of the influential guild of the Holy Trinity, he did serve as a scabin of the same at some point before 1422, when it was noted that as much as £84 14s.3d. was still owing to him on his account. Furthermore, he was associated with Thomas Beaufort, duke of Exeter, and the lawyers William Paston (afterwards j.c.p.), John Manning† and Thomas Derham* as feoffee of a number of properties in Lynn, of which they were allegedly disseised in 1420 by John Wentworth’s* son. By Michaelmas 1428 Warner had been made one of the 24 jurats of Lynn, a position of some eminence. Consequently, he was among the local notables obliged, along with members of the gentry of Norfolk, to take the general oath against maintenance administered in the spring of 1434. He evidently died before July 1440, for his name does not appear in a list of burgesses compiled at that time.