CHEYNE, John II (by 1510-67), of West Woodhay, Berks.
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Family and Education
Gent.-at-arms by Feb. 1547-d., j.p. Berks. 1558/59-d.; commr. sewers, Berks., Hants and Wilts. 1564.2
John Cheyne clearly owed his Membership of two Marian Parliaments for Winchelsea and Dover to the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, Sir Thomas Cheyne, who was his first cousin once removed. Both were descended from Sir John Cheyne of Shurland, Island of Sheppey, from whom the warden, as his grandson in the main line, inherited the bulk of the family property, and John Cheyne, by a settlement and by the law of gavelkind, the Kent manors of Cockride in Bilsington and Crowthorne in Hope All Saints, and the Berkshire manor of West Woodhay.
Cheyne’s father, an esquire of the body to Henry VIII, settled West Woodhay on him in 1531 on his marriage to Dorothy Yate. Succeeding his father in 1545, Cheyne was at court in the following year for the visit of the Admiral of France. In October 1550 he and several others assaulted a gentleman named Robert Paris at Newbury: in view of Cheyne’s connexion with the Cinque Ports it is tempting to identify the victim with Robert Paris of New Romney, whose date of death is unknown but who was alive in 1546. Cheyne inflicted sword wounds to the head, and after Paris’s death four days later the coroner presented him and his accomplices for murder. He was eventually pardoned on 23 May 1552 and his lands and goods restored, his goods having meanwhile been retained by his wife under an order by the Privy Council. A kinsman of the victim accused (Sir) Thomas Cawarden of complicity, seemingly because Cawarden was steward of the King’s manors at Newbury, and Cawarden prepared an action for slander.3
In Easter term 1555 John Cheyne was one of over a hundred Members of the recent Parliament called into the King’s bench to answer a charge of leaving that Parliament without licence shortly before the dissolution. He failed to appear but no further action was taken against him until 1558: he was then distrained for non-appearance, 2s. being entered in the roll for Easter term, 5s.for Trinity term and 3s.4d. for Michaelmas term. The prosecution lapsed on the death of Queen Mary, but Cheyne seems to have learned his lesson, for when he wanted to attend to his own affairs during the Parliament of 1563 he obtained a licence to be absent.4