WESTBURY, John (d.c.1443), of Hill Deverill, Wilts.
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Family and Education
yr. s. of John Westbury of Westbury, Wilts. by his 1st w. Agnes; bro. of William Westbury j.KB. m. by 1412, Elizabeth.
Commr. of inquiry, Wilts. Feb. 1410 (theft from Monkton Farleigh priory), Glos. July 1412 (concealments), Wilts., Som. Apr. 1413 (ownership of land), Wilts., Dorset July 1433 (intrusions, Ivychurch priory); array, Wilts. June 1421; to assess a parliamentary grant Apr. 1434; of gaol delivery, Salisbury Aug. 1435.
J.p. Wilts. 8 Nov. 1415-July 1432, 2 Nov. 1438-May 1443.
It is difficult to disentangle John’s career from that of his father and namesake, who may have lived on until 1430, or even later. It seems likely, however, that John junior was professionally active over the same period of time as his brother, William (who was practising in the courts by 1406, took the coif in 1417, and became a judge in the King’s bench in 1426). The father and his two sons witnessed a deed together in 1398, so presumably both the latter were of age by that date. In 1404 the elder John and his second wife, Agnes, widow of Robert Balle, successfully upheld their right to the property called ‘Ballisland’ in Maiden Bradley, and other premises in Codford and Hill Deverill, all once belonging to Balle, and the remainder interest in some land in Hill Deverill was settled on John junior for life; and in 1417 other agreements were reached with Balle’s relations whereby he was given the manor of Hill Deverill in fee simple, and permitted to hold that of Maiden Bradley until his death, paying a rent of ten marks a year. By 1428 he had also come into possession of property in Wick near Tisbury which he occupied for life by grant of Reynold, Lord West.1 In right of his wife, Westbury held property at Berwick St. James and Uppington, for which he paid six-and-a-half marks annual rent, and in Dorset they shared an interest in property at Wareham and near Corfe.2
John was always overshadowed by his brother, and save for his public service as a royal commissioner, which began in 1410, and as a j.p., for 22 years after 1415, his career was somewhat uneventful. He appeared as a mainpernor in Chancery on occasion, notably on behalf of Walter Beauchamp*, the future Speaker, in 1411, while an even more important connexion had been forged by 1414, when he was made a feoffee of the valuable estates of Sir Walter Hungerford*, the chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster south of the Trent. The association between the two men, which lasted nearly 20 years, may well have been significant in the context of Westbury’s two elections to Parliament, for Hungerford was undoubtedly influential in the community of the shire and would have supported his candidacy. Our MP also came into friendly contact with Sir William Cheyne* and his wife Cecily, who lived at Brooke in Westbury, near the family home.3
In 1434 three members of the Westbury family were required to take the oath against maintenance: William, John ‘senior’, and John ‘junior’. It is possible that the last was William’s son of this name, and that the father of the MP had already died. There is no doubt that he did so before 1437, the year in which the judge founded a chantry in Westbury church, where services were provided daily for the good estate of William himself and his brother John, and for the souls of their parents. Two years later John made a quitclaim to his brother of two manors in Hill Deverill and property in Maiden Bradley, Codford, and elsewhere. He is last mentioned in 1443, when Henry VI, making a grant to King’s college, Cambridge, of the manor of Brixton Deverill, also gave the farm for the manor due from him for the period Easter 1442-3, which amounted to 47 marks. He died before 1448 (the date of his brother’s will).4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. CCR, 1413-19, p. 382; 1419-22, pp. 128-9; Tropenell Cart. ed. Davies, ii. 96-104, 116-18, 128-9; Feudal Aids, v. 258, 267, 275; vi. 540