BUT (BUTTE), John, of St. Gennys, Cornw.

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



May 1413
Nov. 1414

Family and Education

m. by 1406, Joan, 1s.1

Offices Held

Feodary of the estates of the duchy of Lancaster in Devon Feb. 1400-July 1405.2

Dep. butler, Tawmouth 10 Nov. 1402-Oct. 1407, Tawmouth and Barnstaple 28 Mar. 1413-c. 1431, Plymouth and all ports of Cornw. 24 May 1413-15; dep. havener, Cornw. 1415-22.3

Under sheriff, Cornw. Mich. 1410-11.4

Tax collector, Cornw. July 1413.

Commr. of inquiry, Cornw. Dec. 1413 (breaches of the Statute of Mortmain).5


For almost all of the first five years of Henry IV’s reign But acted as keeper of the fees for the duchy of Lancaster estates in Devon, accounting directly with John Leventhorpe*, the receiver-general of the duchy. The duchy auditors committed him to prison for arrears of some £20, and it was not until May 1412 that, having paid off the debt, he finally obtained a discharge. He had been serving as feodary at the time of his return to Parliament for Barnstaple in 1402, and while the Commons were in session he secured the post of deputy in Tawmouth to the newly-appointed chief butler, Thomas Chaucer of Ewelme, then sitting as a knight of the shire for Oxfordshire. Within a week of Henry V’s accession But was granted a similar position at Tawmouth and Barnstaple, and by 24 May 1413, at which time he was representing Bodmin in Parliament, he was exercising the deputy butlership there and in all other Cornish ports. In December 1415 he went surety for Chaucer when the latter was given the office of havener at Plymouth and in Cornwall, and for the next seven years he served him as his deputy in that post as well. In the meantime, in May 1410, during the Parliament in which his patron presided over the Lower House as Speaker for the second time, But had been granted a lease at the Exchequer of the alien priory of Craswell (Herefordshire) at a rent of two marks a year, for as long as the country remained at war with France. At that time the party of Henry of Monmouth was in the ascendant, and it was the prince’s nominee as sheriff of Cornwall, Sir John Grenville*, to whom But offered his services in 1410-11, as under sheriff presenting his accounts to the duchy of Cornwall auditors at Michaelmas. It was in February 1415 that, at the Exchequer, he obtained a ten-year lease of the courts and franchises of ‘Middellond’ in the parish of Morestowe (Cornwall), a parcel of the duchy; and eight years later, in 1423, he acquired at the assession court of the duchy manor of Tintagel the right to rent the site of the castle, called ‘the island’, paying half a mark for the privilege. But attested the indentures of return at Cornish elections to the Parliaments of 1413 (May), 1414 (Nov.), 1416 (Mar.), 1417, 1421 (Dec.), 1422, 1425 and 1426.6 In the meantime, from 1417, he had acted as a feoffee of the Cornish estates of John Whalesborough*, and in 1420 he had enlisted in the retinue of Hugh Courtenay, earl of Devon, in a force destined to provide naval defence. He is last recorded in 1433 as a witness to a conveyance on behalf of Nicholas Radford*, the ill-fated lawyer from Devon.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 272; JUST 1/1519 m. 85.
  • 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 634.
  • 3. R. Inst. Cornw. Jnl. n.s. iv. 117; E122/113/22.
  • 4. SC6/820/3.
  • 5. CIMisc. vii. 454.
  • 6. CFR, xiv. 141; xiii. 184; CPR, 1413-16, p. 281; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, iii. 202; C219/11/1, 7, 12/2, 6, 13/1, 3, 4.
  • 7. CCR, 1413-19, pp. 420-1; 1429-35, pp. 300-1; E101/49/34.