ACTON, Edward, of Longnor, Salop.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of William Acton of Acton Burnell, Salop. m. by Sept. 1375, Eleanor (b.c.1349), yr. da. and coh. of Fulk Strange of Betton Strange, Salop, 2s.1
Commr. of array, Salop c. June 1360, June 1377; inquiry Feb. 1386 (murder).
Sheriff, Salop 24 Nov. 1382-1 Dec. 1383, 11 Nov. 1384-20 Oct. 1385, 15 Nov. 1389-7 Nov. 1390.
Tax collector, Salop Dec. 1384.
Escheator, Salop, Staffs. and the adjacent marches 30 Nov. 1388-12 Dec. 1390.
J.p. Salop 15 July 1389-June 1390.
Alnager, Salop 20 July 1394-25 July 1396.
Acton’s family held lands at Acton Burnell and he himself lived nearby at Longnor, where, by licence of Bishop Stretton of Coventry and Lichfield, he had a private oratory. To this property he added a third part of the manor of Steinton and, through marriage, other lands in the same area, a few miles south of Shrewsbury. Acton’s wife was one of three daughters of Fulk Strange (a younger brother of John, 2nd Lord Strange of Blackmere). In 1375, after Fulk’s death and that of the widow of his other brother, Sir Hamon Strange†, when his estates were divided between the three sisters, one of them, who had taken her vows, gave up her share to the other two; and it was thus that Acton came to hold, jure uxoris, moieties of the manors of Betton Strange and Longnor.2
Acton’s first public appointment came in 1360 when he was commissioned as one of the arrayers of Shropshire for national defence during Edward III’s absence in France. Under Richard II, besides representing his native county six times in Parliament, he played a prominent part in local administration, not only serving as sheriff for three annual terms but also, at other times, occupying the offices of escheator and alnager. In his capacity as sheriff he held the elections at Shrewsbury castle for the Parliaments of 1385 and 1390 (Jan.). His second appointment as sheriff occurred on the day before the opening of his own fourth Parliament, and he was therefore in technical breach of the statute which prohibited the election of sheriffs. Acton’s busiest period of public service was the 12 months beginning in November 1389, for he then apparently acted as sheriff and escheator at the same time (a rare combination), while also figuring on the local commission of the peace. At the end of his escheatorship he owed the Exchequer nearly 200 marks; and in 1398 certain of his landed holdings were confiscated in order that the debt might be recovered.3
In 1377 Acton had provided securities at the Exchequer for the prior of Wenlock, and in 1384 he acted in a similar capacity for William Wenlock*, when the latter was granted custody of lands in Bedfordshire held of the young earl of Pembroke. For the duration of his fifth Parliament, that of 1386, he served as a proxy for the abbot of Shrewsbury. Another important and long-standing connexion of Acton’s was with Hugh, Lord Burnell, one of the most substantial Shropshire landowners and a neighbour at Acton Burnell. Acton served as a feoffee of Burnell’s estates in four other counties and, for a while, as surveyor of all his lordships, although the precise period of his service in the latter capacity is not known. In 1386 there began a plea of arms prosecuted in the court of chivalry by Burnell’s kinsman John, Lord Lovell, against Thomas, Lord Morley, for the right to wear arms previously displayed by Edward, 1st Lord Burnell, and Acton was required to give evidence regarding the arms depicted on Lord Edward’s tomb in Buildwas abbey.4
Little is recorded of Acton after 1396, and it is uncertain whether it was he or a namesake who served on a jury at sessions of the peace held at Ludlow in 1412 and attended the parliamentary elections for the shire held at Shrewsbury in 1414.5
Acton had two sons: Nicholas, to whom in 1391 Juliana Strange (his father-in-law’s widow) had given her lands in Willstone (near Cardington), and Walter, who succeeded him at Longnor.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 9; CIPM, xiv. 77, 173; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 314-15. In CP (xii. 343-4) Eleanor’s father is confused with her cousin, Fulk, 3rd Lord Strange, who died s.p. in 1349 (CIPM, ix. 224).
- 2. CIMisc. vi. 234; H. Le Strange, Le Strange Recs. 207, 288, 304; VCH Salop, viii. 108-9; Reg. Stretton (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. ser. 2, viii), 48; CP25(1)195/17/21.
- 3. CCR, 1360-4, p. 54; C219/8/12, 9/7; E364/32 m. E.
- 4. SC10/36/1784; CPR, 1385-9, pp. 149-50; CFR, ix. 25; x. 54; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 192, 197; E326/4377; F. Blomefield, Norf. ii. 439; SC6/1117/14; C47/6/1.
- 5. Salop Peace Roll ed. Kimball, 33, 112; C219/11/5.
- 6. T.F. Dukes, Salop, 295; Shrewsbury Lib. deed 6256.