JOBSON, Sir Francis (by 1509-73), of Monkwick, nr. Colchester, Essex.
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Family and Education
b. by 1509, prob. s. of William Jobson or Jopson of Colchester. m. by 1544, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, at least 4s. 1da. Kntd. 1549/50.2
Receiver, ct. augmentations, Beds., Essex and Herts. Apr. 1536-47; j.p. Essex 1547, 1558/59-d., Mdx. 1569; commr. relief, Essex and Colchester 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Colchester 1553; surveyor of woods, south of Trent, ct. of augmentations 4 Sept. 1550-3, Exchequer 1553-d.; master of jewel house ?Feb.-July 1553; lt. of the Tower Aug. 1564-70.3
There was a landed family of Yorkshire named Jobson but no connexion has been found between it and Francis Jobson, who passed all his recorded life in or near Colchester and appears to have had property only in Essex. His northern origin may be traceable to the Thomas Jobson of Northumberland admitted to the freedom of Colchester in 1462, whose son William was to become one of the richest men in the town, with a subsidy assessment in 1524 on £119 in goods. If, as has been conjectured, Francis Jobson was this William Jobson’s son he would have been eligible for the freedom of the borough by patrimony, whereas the earliest mention of him, in April 1530, is as a plaintiff for debt in the ‘foreign’ law-hundred court, which was reserved for suits by or against non-burgesses, against a man who was afterwards hanged in Colchester market place.4
Jobson’s first appointment, in April 1536, to a receivership in the augmentations he may have owed to Sir Richard Rich, the first chancellor of the court, who had sat for Colchester in the Parliament of 1529. Jobson took part in the dissolution of many religious houses in the eastern counties and this enabled him to supplement his salary of £20 a year by acquiring monastic property on favourable terms. He is known to have taken advantage of these opportunities, although he seems to have avoided embezzlement; in 1539 Chancellor Audley praised him for his work at St. Osyth’s priory. Jobson held his post until the court of augmentations was reorganized in 1547, when he received a pension of £83 6s.8d.a year; three years later he was appointed surveyor of woods south of the Trent to the re-constituted court.5
Jobson’s advancement beyond what even a senior officer of the court could expect was the result of his marriage to Elizabeth Plantagenet, half-sister of John Dudley, successively Viscount Lisle, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland. Jobson was at one time secretary to Dudley and tutor to his children, and according to him it was Dudley who arranged the marriage. ‘I was married to my wife at the request of the duke, he promising that he would help me to a manor that my Lord Windsor had in Staffordshire; being disappointed of the said manor he borrowed a good part of my money.’ (If, as is likely, the nobleman referred to was Dudley’s uncle Sir Andrew Windsor, 1st Lord Windsor, the marriage probably took place before Windsor’s death in March 1543.) What Jobson did not mention were the rewards of the Dudley connexion. These were the massive land grants, either to him alone or with members of the Dudley family. On his home territory two of his largest acquisitions were the Greyfriars in Colchester, for which Sir John Raynsford had unsuccessfully petitioned Cromwell, and the abbey of St. John there, which he bought from Warwick himself in July 1547 but sold less than a year later to another Colchester man, John Lucas: it was another of his local purchases, Monkwick, which became his principal seat. In Yorkshire he bought extensive property at Newland in 1547, but sold it soon afterwards; six years later he had a grant of the lands of Howden college valued at £500 a year. It has been calculated that between 1547 and 1553 Jobson came into possession of 17 crown manors, a total which puts him seventh among the 17 largest beneficiaries under this heading. With increasing wealth went rising status and official advancement, during 1549-50 a knighthood and early in 1553 the mastership of the jewels. Election as senior Member for Colchester to the Parliament of March 1553 reflected both his ascendancy there and his attachment to the Duke of Northumberland, under whose aegis the Parliament was summoned.6
In 1544 Jobson had been exempted from the duty of following the King in war, and he is not known to have seen service in the field. None the less, in the succession crisis of 1553 he was in the van of the army which Northumberland led against Mary. Between 14 and 19 July he moved from Ware to Cambridge and then to Bury St. Edmunds, and if the indictment later brought against him is to be trusted he advanced on 18 July towards Framlingham with intent to depose Mary. Since 14 July Mary’s Privy Council had had a warrant out for Jobson’s arrest and on 8 Aug. he was summoned before the Council and committed to the Tower: on 10 Sept. his wife was allowed to visit him, and after being indicted he received a pardon on 22 Dec.7
Jobson seems to have learned his lesson, for he was not to be implicated in any of the further conspiracies against Mary. His re-election to two of her Parliaments—the first within a few months of his release from the Tower—may also be taken to imply that his loyalty was no longer in question, while a decision taken in the first of them shows that his fellow-Members were not ill-disposed towards him. On 18 Apr., during the passage of the bill to restore the bishopric of Durham, a proviso was introduced into the House in favour of Jobson, who had gained from the dissolution of the bishopric by Northumberland; it was not to be included in the Act (1 Mary st.3, c.3) but on 19 Apr., after the bill had been passed on a division, the House resolved ‘that Mr. Speaker, in their names, shall require the bishop of Durham to show favour unto Sir Francis Jobson, knight, in his suit’. The ‘Mr. Jobson of Hayle’ who in 1555 voted against one of the government’s bills was Walter Jobson, one of the Members for Hull. Walter Jobson purchased Mowthorpe Grange, Yorkshire, from Sir Francis Jobson and was his associate in many dealings.8
Two lawsuits in which Jobson was involved show him in an unfavourable light. Both arose from his transactions with young men imprisoned for debt to whom he advanced the money needed for their discharge in return for a lease or conveyance of some of their land. The first case, brought in the Star Chamber in 1543 or 1544, concerned the leasing in such circumstances of the manor of Southminster, Essex, an episode which provoked the lessor into the retaliation of forcibly ejecting Jobson’s wife and servants from the manor house. In the second, brought in the court of requests between 1555 and 1558 by the widow of a young spendthrift, it was alleged that after procuring his release from Colchester castle Jobson had kidnapped and detained the victim to force him into the sale: Jobson’s answer that the fine levied at his instance ‘being matter of record cannot be obtained by duress and imprisonment’ appears to have carried the day, for he was to die possessed of the property in question, the dissolved priory of Hatfield Peverel.9
On Elizabeth’s accession Jobson resumed his public career, being restored to the commission of the peace, twice re-elected for Colchester and in 1564 appointed lieutenant of the Tower. He died at Monkwick on 4 June 1573.10
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: D. F. Coros
- 1. The style, the christian name and half the surname survive on a torn indenture, C219/20/48.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 64; LP Hen. VIII, xix; St.Ch.2/31/143; PCC 25 Peter; DNB.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiii; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 49, 305 n. 118; CPR, 1547-8, p. 83; 1553, pp. 1