BOYS, John, of Halberton, Devon.

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



Feb. 1388

Family and Education

s. and h. of William Boys of Halberton. m. 2s.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Devon Aug. 1364-17 Nov. 1365.

J.p. Devon Aug. 1369-c.1373.


Although, so far as is known, Boys never sat in the Commons as a knight of the shire, he was of sufficient local standing to be selected as sheriff. A year after the end of his term of office, in November 1366, he obtained royal letters patent exempting him from serving in any official capacity against his will, but he was evidently not averse to accepting a place on the Devonshire bench, and he was later active as a j.p. In 1370 he joined Master Henry Pyke, one of the canons of Exeter cathedral, in granting a messuage in Exeter to the dean and chapter to provide services of remembrance for a former canon, Master John Holand.1

Boys died before 1404 when his niece, Elizabeth, and her husband, John Grymell, sued Thomas and Margaret Poulet for the manor of Halberton. They claimed that Boys’s sons, Simon and William, had both died without issue. He was long remembered: in 1412 his friend John Prescott* of Prescott arranged in his will for masses to be sung for his soul in St. Mary’s chapel at Culmstock.2

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


This identification must be conjectural in view of the common occurrence of the surname of Boys or Wood. It is possible that the MP for Plympton was John, s. and h. of Peter Boys (d. 1391), who in 1388 was aged about 25, but nothing more is known of this man beyond his inheritance of a small parcel of land in the parish of Stokenham (south Devon): C137/34/7.

  • 1. CPR, 1364-7, p. 329; 1367-70, p. 450.
  • 2. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 235; Reg. Stafford (Exeter) ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 399.