WINTERSHALL, John (d.1434), of Wintershall and Shalford, Surr.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Surr., Suss., Hants Dec. 1399 (goods held by Richard II in the castle and lordship of Portchester), Surr. Dec. 1406 (wastes at the manor of Witley), Oct. 1415 (estates of the earl of Arundel),2 Berks. Nov. 1421 (removal of goods from Windsor castle), Surr., Suss. July, Nov. 1427 (wastes and concealments), Suss. Sept. 1428 (trespass and concealments); to hold a special assize, Surr. Jan., Feb. 1414; of array July 1419; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420, July 1426, May 1428; distribute a tax allowance Dec. 1433, Feb. 1434.
Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 17 Nov. 1404-22 Nov. 1405, c. Mar.-1 Dec. 1415, 13 Nov. 1423-6 Nov. 1424, 4 Nov. 1428-10 Feb. 1430.
J.p. Surr. 13 Feb. 1407-Mar. 1413, 16 Jan. 1414-Oct. 1417, 12 Feb 1422-July 1424, 20 Dec. 1431-Nov. 1433
Collector of customs, Chichester 20 Feb. 1407-1 Oct. 1411.
Escheator, Surr. and Suss. 7 Nov. 1409-29 NOV. 1410, 10 Nov. 1413-12 Nov. 1414, 14 Dec. 1415-8 Dec. 1416, 6 Nov. 1424-24-Jan. 1426, 12 Nov. 1427-4 Nov. 1428, 26 Nov. 1431-5 Nov. 1432.
Dep. constable of Windsor castle 5 Sept. 1413-prob. d.3
The Wintershalls were a distinguished Surrey family, whose members played a notable part in county society from the 13th century onwards. The subject of this biography belonged to the branch which farmed estates centred on the manors of Wintershall (acquired in, or before, 1227) and Shalford, so he was thus a distant kinsman and neighbour of Thomas Wintershall*, who was executed, in 1400, for his treasonous part in the earl of Kent’s rebellion. He must also have numbered among his relatives the celebrated Benedictine monk, William Wintershall of Shalford, who contributed greatly to the spiritual life of St. Albans abbey during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Our Member’s elder brother, Thomas, does not appear to have survived their father by more than a few months, so we may assume that Wintershall had already entered his inheritance on being first made a royal commissioner at the beginning of Henry IV’s reign.4 But he had already, as early as 1396, begun investing in the local property market with the acquisition of two messuages and land in the Surrey villages of Albury, Gomshall and Shere. Six years later he purchased other holdings in Bramley in the same county; and by 1412 he was also in possession of holdings worth £4 a year across the county border in Wisborough (Sussex). His Surrey estates were then said to provide him with an annual income of £20, but we do not know if they already included the land in Worplesdon which was in his hands by 1428. The manor of Farleigh Mortimer in Hampshire also came to him at some point before this date, perhaps by marriage.5
Comparatively little evidence has survived about Wintershall’s career before his first return to Parliament. In April 1399 he agreed to act as an attorney in England for Thomas Asshehurst, who was about to leave for Ireland with Richard II, although he himself had every reason to welcome the change of dynasty which brought Henry IV to the throne. It was through his loyal and efficient service to the house of Lancaster that Wintershall rose to occupy a prominent position in the south-east. Besides serving no less than four terms as sheriff and six as escheator of Surrey and Sussex, he sat on the local bench at regular intervals and spent four years collecting customs at Chichester. His administrative talents received their due reward. In 1413 he became deputy constable of Windsor castle, a post which he retained for the next 19 years if not longer. On being appointed to a royal commission of inquiry into the estates of the late earl of Arundel in October 1415, Wintershall was granted custody of some of this property (centred on Banstead in Surrey), although he had to surrender it in February 1417 as a result of litigation begun by Nicholas Carew*, one of the earl’s trustees.6 Wintershall himself was involved in many of his neighbours’ property transactions. William Brocas*, Richard Eton* and William Weston I* each included him among their feoffees-to-uses, as did several more obscure Surrey landowners. He was, furthermore, a trustee of the estates of the late Sir Thomas Brewes*, as well as a witness to deeds for the prior of Newark by Guildford (in 1403) and Lord Clinton and Say (on two occasions at Southwark during the summer of 1425).7 Naturally enough, in view of his prominence in the county and his own parliamentary experience, Wintershall often attended the Surrey elections. He witnessed the returns to the Parliaments of 1413 (May), 1416 (Mar.), 1417, 1420, 1421 (May and Dec), 1422, 1423, 1426, 1427 and 1431.8
Less can be said on the subject of Wintershall’s personal affairs. In February 1417 a Sussex man was pardoned his outlawry for failing to appear in court when being sued by him for a debt of £10, but this appears to have been one of the very few occasions on which Wintershall went to law. He performed his own duties well and efficiently: indeed it is interesting to note that in November 1424 an assignment of £9 was made to him from the Exchequer for escorting the traitor, Sir John Mortimer, back to the Tower of London after his escape from the custody of another Surrey landowner, William Yerde*. In January 1430, Wintershall was honoured with the award of a papal indult permitting him as lord of Wintershall to celebrate mass in his own chapel rather than travel to the parish church of Shalford.9 He died not long afterwards, in November 1433, although two routine royal commissions were mistakenly issued to him during the following winter. He appears to have been married at least twice. The second of his wives, Elizabeth, outlived him, and arranged a marriage between her daughter by a previous husband and his son and heir, Thomas. The latter represented Surrey in the Parliament of 1437 and did two years later while serving his first term as escheator.10
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Wynterhull, Wyntyrsylle.
- 1. C139/68/5; VCH Surr. iii. 84-85, 393; CCR, 1435-41, p. 38; this Member’s original pedigree as presented by O. Manning and W. Bray (Surr. ii. 84, 86) is somewhat confused, although their addenda remove several chronological inconsistencies.
- 2. E364/52 m. B.
- 3. E404/47/330, 48/255.
- 4. Manning and Bray, ii. 84, 86; VCH Surr. iii. 84-85; Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxon. ed. Emden, iii. 2127.
- 5. CP25(1)231/65/74, 66/16; Feudal Aids, ii. 344, 364; v. 123; vi. 518, 524.
- 6. CPR, 1396-9, p. 491; 1416-22, pp. 62-63; CFR, xiv. 119; E364/52 m. B.
- 7. C139/68/13; CP25(1)231/68/94, 232/70/14; CCR, 1402-5, p. 164; 1422-9, p. 319; 1429-35, pp. 26, 301; Add. Ch. 26648; M. Burrows, Fam. Brocas of Beaurepaire, 435; Guildford Mun. Room, Loseley mss, 340/5/1-2, 340/6.
- 8. C219/11/2, 8, 12/2, 4-6, 13/1, 2, 4, 5, 14/2.
- 9. CPR, 1416-22, p. 23; Issues ed. Devon, 389; CPL, viii. 172.
- 10. CFR, xvi. 165, 187, 191; xvii. 75; C139/68/5; CCR, 1435-41, p. 38; PRO List ‘Escheators’, 165. The John Wintershall of Shalford who entered Winchester college in 1421 and New college, Oxford, in 1427, was probably our Member’s son, although nothing else is known of his career (Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxon. iii. 2127).