WHITING, John, of Shaftesbury, Dorset.
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Family and Education
Whiting, a lawyer by training, was closely involved in the affairs of members of the Anketill family, who were not only leading burgesses of Shaftesbury but also prominent among the local gentry. He acted for William Anketill† in 1395 (the year of his second return to Parliament) as attorney in his suit against the bailiff of his manor of Hinton Parva, in 1403 for his appeal against excommunication by the archbishop of Canterbury, at other times at the Dorchester assizes in pleas of novel disseisin, and in 1408 as feoffee of the manors of Almer and Lytchett Minster.1 Among his other associates of note was Thomas Cammell, his fellow Member for Shaftesbury in 1391, for whom in 1398 he provided securities at the Exchequer regarding a lease of part of the Poynings inheritance. In February 1402 Whiting appeared as attorney at the assizes for Katherine, widow of John Belvale, the keeper of Gillingham forest, who had been accused by the abbess of Shaftesbury, Cecily Fovent, of illegally occupying 40 acres of pasture just outside Shaftesbury, his plea on her behalf being that the land in question was held as parcel of the town of Gillingham by right of a grant by Edward III to her late husband and herself in survivorship. In April the abbess petitioned the King for a writ authorizing the justices to proceed with the hearing, but it was not until October 1403 that they were ordered to give judgement. Evidently no ill feeling between Whiting and the abbess resulted from the case: in the following year he became involved in preparations for the foundation of St. Katherine’s chantry in the conventual church, in his capacity as a feoffee of property in Shaftesbury on behalf of the kinsmen of the abbess, Robert* and Thomas Fovent, clerk, and their sister Agnes Fleming. He was, in fact, a party to the grant of lands to the abbey for the maintenance of the chantry, for which royal licence was obtained in 1406, and he witnessed the final conveyance in February 1407.