WYNNESBURY, John (d.c.1450), of Winsbury and Glazeley, Salop and Pillaton Hall in Penkridge, Staffs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. and h. of Henry Wynnesbury of Donnington, Salop. m. c. July 1393, Joan (c.1371-28 Apr. 1450), da. and h. of William Ingelton of Pillaton Hall, 1s.

Offices Held

Tax collector, Staffs. May 1398, Dec. 1402, July 1413.

J.p. Salop 14 Mar. 1410-Feb. 1416, 29 Dec. 1420-July 1423, 12 June 1432-d.

Commr. of weirs, Salop Nov. 1424, Dec. 1427; to assess liability to contribute to a subsidy Apr. 1431; of arrest Feb. 1433; inquiry Feb. 1433, Salop, Staffs., Herefs. Nov. 1435 (concealments), Salop Feb. 1439 (murder), June 1440 (estates late of the earl of Arundel), Feb. 1448 (concealments); gaol delivery, Shrewsbury castle Apr. 1435; to assess a tax, Salop Jan. 1436; of array Aug. 1436; to raise royal loans Nov. 1440, June 1446; treat for payment of subsidies Feb. 1441.

Sheriff, Salop 4 Nov. 1428-10 Feb. 1430.

Escheator, Salop and the marches 26 Nov. 1431-5 Nov. 1432.


Wynnesbury is first recorded in 1395 when the justices of assize were ordered to bring him to trial for the rape and abduction of Joan Ingelton. However, by this date he had not only married Joan but also had issue by her, and on the death of her father on 27 Apr. he acquired, jure uxoris, the manors of Pillaton Hall and Otherton in Penkridge (Staffordshire), along with other property in the same region. It was perhaps in order to terminate the legal proceedings that three years later he obtained a royal pardon, although a possible connexion with Richard Fitzalan, the recently executed earl of Arundel, may also have been behind it.1 Details about Wynnesbury’s inheritance from his father, who died in about 1407, are more confused, but certainly it included the manors of Winsbury, Glazeley and Donnington in Shropshire.2

Wynnesbury served as a tax collector in Staffordshire as early as 1398, but did not become a j.p. in Shropshire until 12 years later. He attended the elections at the county court at Shrewsbury for the Parliament of 1413 (May), there witnessing the return as knights of the shire of the new earl of Arundel’s retainers, Roger Corbet and Richard Lacon, and it seems likely that he, too, was already of the earl’s affinity. In the summer of 1414 he was among those indicted before the King’s bench sitting at Shrewsbury, for whom Earl Thomas was subsequently to stand bail in the Michaelmas term at Westminster. At the same time Wynnesbury figured in the indictments brought before the King’s bench at Lichfield, as being one of those to whom on Christmas Day 1413 Edmund, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, had illegally given liveries of green and white cloth. He was fined £2 for the latter offence. To this same year of 1414 should also be ascribed a petition from the prioress of Brewood alleging that Wynnesbury had come to her house with many armed men and had robbed her of her goods, jewellery and seal and had, furthermore, instructed his bailiff to set fire to her property. Wynnesbury’s connexion with the earl of Arundel continued with his enlistment in his retinue in the summer of 1415 for Henry V’s first expedition to Normandy, and, like his lord, he returned home sick immediately after the siege of Harfleur (in his case on 4 Oct.).3

The death of his influential patron caused Wynnesbury to be removed from the Shropshire bench, and he was not re-appointed until 1420, just after the dissolution of his first Parliament. Thereafter he served on many royal commissions in Shropshire and Staffordshire, and as a j.p. in the former county for more than 20 years. His standing in the region is reflected in the number of occasions he attended parliamentary elections: very frequently in Shropshire (for no fewer than 12 Parliaments between 1419 and 1449), and occasionally in Staffordshire (doing so in 1419, 1425 and 1431), while as sheriff he actually conducted the Shropshire hustings of 1429. In the meantime, he acted as a feoffee of property in both counties on behalf of William Burley of Broncroft (his colleague in both of his Parliaments), and in 1427 he shared with others an Exchequer lease of land in Cannock of which he was already a trustee, pending an inquiry as to whether it should escheat to the Crown. Seven years later he was among those in both Shropshire and Staffordshire who were required to take oaths not to maintain malefactors. Wynnesbury may have been a lawyer, like his friend Burley, and it was possibly through him that he came to the attention of Richard, duke of York. In July 1432 he joined with Sir John Sutton (afterwards Lord Dudley) and Richard Lucton of Herefordshire in signing ten bonds, each for 100 marks, payable to the King at intervals between then and Easter 1437, in order that the young duke might have livery of his lands as had been enacted in the Parliament just ended, of which Wynnesbury had been a Member. Also in accordance with the Lords’ decision in that Parliament, the same three men entered into bonds amounting to £979 8s.9d., payable over the same period of five years to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. Yet Wynnesbury seems not to have remained in York’s service. Rather, by 1436 he had been made a member of the council of John Holand, earl of Huntingdon and later duke of Exeter, to whose notice he may well have been brought by Holand’s second wife, Beatrice, widow of the earl of Arundel in whose employment he had begun his career. That year the burgesses of Shrewsbury gave him and another of Holand’s councillors, Hugh Cresset, hospitality in return for their advice regarding certain prisoners in Holt castle. But both he and Cresset were to fall out of favour with Holand: at some point after 1444 the duke petitioned the chancellor for redress, complaining that they refused to hand over to him 20 marks and a bond for a like sum exacted in fine from the murderers of the parker of his estate at Ryton. Wynnesbury was often entertained to dinner in the borough of Shrewsbury, and was occasionally asked to arbitrate in local disputes, such as one arising between the town and Lilleshall abbey.4

Wynnesbury is not recorded after November 1449, when he witnessed the parliamentary election indentures at Shrewsbury for the last time, and he must by then have been long in years. His wife died aged nearly 80 in the following April, whereupon their son, Hamlet (d.1473), inherited her lands in Staffordshire.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. CCR, 1392-6, p. 449; 1396-9, p. 137; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 204; xvi. 30-31; C136/93/31; CFR, xi. 213; VCH Staffs. v. 118-19; C67/30 m. 11.
  • 2. Reg. Mascall (Canterbury and York Soc. xxi), 175; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xii. 122; xv. 12; xvi. 54, 61. The accounts of the descent of Wynnesbury’s manors as given in Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 1), v. 356-65; vi. 63, 92; ix. 37, are very confused.
  • 3. C1/69/195; C219/11/2; Salop Peace Roll ed. Kimball, 11, 12, 26, 30-31; Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), 228-9; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xvii. 9, 20-21; E101/47/1.
  • 4. C219/12/3, 6, 13/1-5, 14/1, 2, 4, 15/1, 2, 4, 7; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 207, 396; 1429-35, pp. 190-2; CFR, xv. 206; CPR, 1422-9, p. 50; 1429-36, pp. 399-400, 408; 1436-41, p. 553; DKR, xxxvii (2), 782; C1/71/102; Shrewsbury Guildhall, bailiffs’ accts. box VIII, 373, 377; RP, iv. 397-8.
  • 5. C139/137/15; CPR, 1446-52, p. 387; CFR, xviii. 133; C140/45/36.