WILTSHIRE, John, of Arundel and Lyminster, Suss.
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Family and Education
?s. of John Wiltshire by Isabel, da. of John Clothall of West Grinstead, Suss. m. ?1s. 2da.1
Tax collector, Suss. Dec. 1402.
Mayor, Arundel Oct. 1404-5.2
Bailiff of the manor of Arundel by appointment of Thomas, earl of Arundel, Mich. 1408-9.3
Commr. to assess tax on parishes, Suss. Apr. 1428.
Wiltshire’s connexion with the Fitzalan earls of Arundel and their retainers suggest that he was related to his namesake, Sir John Wiltshire (d.1428/9), an intimate associate of Earl Thomas.4 Members of the family had been living in Arundel since the mid 14th century, and John himself held a large number of properties there, including two messuages, five tenements, three gardens, and six acres of land, for all of which he paid rent to Earl Richard (d.1397). Besides this, he was a free tenant of the Fitzalans on their manors at Poling and Offham. Described as ‘of Lyminster’, near Arundel, he stood surety at the Exchequer on 20 Oct. 1397 for Edward, duke of Aumâle and others including John Warnecamp†, when they were granted the lands in Sussex pertaining to the Norman abbey of Seés, thereby taking over the lease previously held by Earl Richard, who had been executed for treason just a few weeks earlier. He acted likewise for Warnecamp (a local man) and two monks from Seés when they obtained custody of the same estates in November 1399, after Aumâle had been deprived of his dukedom by Henry IV. Then, on 1 Dec. 1400, probably after his election to the Parliament due to assemble in January following, Wiltshire himself, together with a Benedictine nun from the abbey of Almen‘ches (in the diocese of Seés), undertook to keep the alien priory of Lyminster and the churches of Climping and Poling, for which they agreed to pay 20 marks a year. Two retainers of Thomas Fitzalan, the new earl of Arundel (Robert Jugler* and James Knottesford) provided securities on his behalf. Wiltshire continued to farm Lyminster priory until replaced by Earl Thomas himself in June 1407.5
Meanwhile, during the Hilary term of 1402, Wiltshire had served as a juror in a suit in the King’s bench between Bishop Rede of Chichester and the prior of Hardham, with regard to alleged trespasses on the bishop’s warren at Coldwaltham, and had discharged office for at least one annual term as mayor of Arundel. In the court of the honour of Arundel held in December 1407, he was found to have been in breach of the regulations governing the sale of beer, and was fined accordingly. The precise duration of his service as bailiff of the manor of Arundel, for which post he was beholden to Earl Thomas, is not known (only his accounts for the year 1408-9 surviving). He was associated with Richard Wakehurst*, a leading retainer of the earl, in 1411, as a co-feoffee of land at Slinfold, near Arundel; and it is of interest to note that he and Wakehurst were both returned to Henry V’s first Parliament (Wakehurst as a shire knight), very shortly after their lord the carl’s appointment as treasurer of the Exchequer. Wiltshire was described as a ‘webbe’ (weaver) on the parliamentary return, but no evidence of his trading concerns has survived. (However, John Wiltshire ‘the younger’ of Sussex, who may have been his son, is known to have had commercial dealings with a man from Dorset, whom he was suing for debt in 1416.)6
Wiltshire attended the shire court at Chichester for the elections to the Parliaments of 1420, 1422 and 1429, being on each occasion one of a small group selected to witness the indentures of return for the county. Meanwhile, in 1426, in association with John Bartelot, junior, a prominent official on the late earl of Arundel’s estates, he had been enfeoffed of land at Broadwater. It seems likely that he was the John Wiltshire who in 1434 was listed among those of Sussex required to take the generally administered oath not to maintain anyone who broke the peace.7
The John Wiltshire who attested the shire returns of 1447 and was living in Arundel in the 1450s was perhaps the MP’s son, although it would appear that he left as his heirs two daughters, one of whom married Thomas Bellingham†, the parliamentary burgess of that period.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. W. Berry, Suss. Gen. 190, 318.
- 2. CPR, 1405-8, p. 191.
- 3. Arundel Castle ms A342.
- 4. That John Wiltshire was knighted before Nov. 1398, travelled to Portugal in the spring of 1405 to represent Thomas, earl of Arundel, in negotiations for his marriage to Beatrice, the illegit. da. of Joâo I, was made a trustee of the earl’s widespread estates in 1406, and nominated as an executor of his will on 10 Aug. 1415, shortly before Arundel’s embarkation for France. The John Wiltshire, esquire, who sailed with the earl was probably Sir John’s son of that name. Sir John m. (1) Blanche; (2) Alice Heylesdon, wid. of John Gurney* of Harpley, Norf., and was buried in Lewes priory, Suss.: C67/30 m. 3; Letters Hen. IV ed. Hingeston, ii. pp. xxv, 93-94; CPR, 1452-61, p. 203; Suss. Arch. Colls. xv. 127-9; Reg. Chichele, ii. 71, 76; Norf. RO, Reg. Surflete, f. 27.
- 5. Arundel Castle mss M8, 9; Two Fitzalan Surveys (Suss.