WASHBOURNE, John (d.c.1430), of Little Washbourne, Worcs.
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Family and Education
s. of Peter Washbourne of Little Washbourne. m. (1) Joan, da. of Sir John Musard† of Worcs., 1da.; (2) by 1412, Margaret, da. and coh. of John Power of Wichenford, 1s.
Dep. sheriff, Worcs. (by appointment of Thomas, earl of Warwick) Mich. 139-17 July 1397.
Escheator, Worcs. 25 Jan.-13 Feb. 1391,1 26 Nov. 1399-24 Nov. 1400, 16 Nov. 1420-20 May 1422.
J.p. Worcs. 18 Jan. 1404-6, 7 May 1406-Feb. 1407.
Commr. of gaol delivery, Worcester July 1416; array, Worcs. May 1418.
The manor of ‘Knights’ Washbourne on the border with Gloucestershire was held by the Washbourne family as tenants of the Beauchamp earls of Warwick from before the mid 13th century. As a youth, in 1368 John was engaged in a suit over this manor with Katherine, the widow of his cousin, another John Washbourne, who had died without issue, and in this he evidently proved successful, although Katherine, who continued to hold the family manor of Stanford in dower, then married Sir John Musard and lived on until 1413, so it was many years before Washbourne obtained his full inheritance. However, amicable relations were evidently resumed in the meantime, with the young man’s marriage to Katherine’s stepdaughter no doubt serving to bring their quarrel to an end. Through his second wife, Margaret Power, Washbourne acquired two manors (Westmancote and Moreton) in Bredon, and a third at Wichenford.2
Washbourne, having entered the service of his feudal lord, Thomas, earl of Warwick, held office by the latter’s appointment as deputy sheriff of Worcestershire for nearly seven years in the 1390s. In February 1391, during his first term, he obtained at the Exchequer a lease of the Worcestershire manor of Inkberrow, which had previously belonged to the earl of Pembroke, most of whose estates had fallen to Warwick’s brother William, Lord Beauchamp of Abergavenny; and a year later he shared a lease of 10s. rent from six shops in Worcester. By virtue of his office he is recorded holding the Worcestershire elections of 1391 and 1393, on both occasions returning men with close connexions with Earl Thomas, and he was probably also responsible for conducting the three subsequent elections. He was still deputy sheriff at the time of the earl’s imprisonment on charges of treason in the summer of 1397, and, no doubt as a consequence, he saw fit to purchase a royal pardon in the following year.3
At the Worcestershire elections to the Parliament of 1399, which was destined to acclaim Henry of Bolingbroke as King, Washbourne stood surety for the attendance of John Blount II of Sodington, one of Bolingbroke’s supporters. He was re-appointed escheator of the shire not long afterwards, perhaps so that he might facilitate the return to his lord the earl of Warwick of his forfeited estates. Shortly after the assembly of his only known Parliament in 1404 he was made a j.p. Washbourne continued to show an interest in parliamentary affairs, at least to the extent of attending numerous local elections: he did so in 1410, 1414 (Nov.), 1419, 1420, 1421 May), 1421 (Dec.), 1422, 1423 and 1425; and on occasion he provided securities for the attendance in the Commons of those chosen—John Wood I in 1414, Thomas Morant in 1419 and John Brace in 1425. That Wood, Morant and Brace were all Beauchamp retainers lends credence to the supposition that Washbourne himself had remained in the service of the earls of Warwick.4
By his first wife Washbourne had a daughter named Iseult, who married first John Salwey (d.1420) of Cannock, Staffordshire, and then Thomas Harewell, another Beauchamp retainer. After Katherine Musard’s death Iseult came into possession of the Washbourne manor of Stanford, but when her father died controversy arose as to the ownership of the manor between her son, Humphrey Salwey, and Norman Washbourne, John’s son by his second wife. The outcome was not to be finally decided until 1479. There were also difficulties over the descent of Little Washbourne, which John had settled on Norman in 1429, shortly before his death, although Norman was clearly successful in securing possession, for in 1436 his landed holdings in Worcestershire were estimated to be worth £46 a year.