CHALERS (DESCHALERS), Sir John (1361-1388), of Whaddon, Cambs. and Wyddial, Herts.

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

b. 25 Mar. 1361, s. of Thomas Deschalers (d.v.p. 1361), by his w. Katherine; gds. and h. of Sir Thomas Deschalers† (d.1364). m. bef. 1383, Margery, 1s. Thomas*. Kntd. bef. 1386.

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John came of a family which had been established in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire for nigh on 300 years, being directly descended from Hardwin de Scalers, who had acquired the manors of Whaddon, Wyddial and Reed shortly after the Conquest. John’s sizeable inheritance also included six knights’ fees and the overlordship of Broadfield elsewhere in Hertfordshire, as well as the Norfolk manor of Thelveton.1 He was recognized as heir to these estates while just a few months old; and in December 1361, following his father’s death, his wardship and marriage were granted to Sir Richard Pembridge KG. He remained under Pembridge’s guardianship after his grandfather’s death in 1364 and until 1372 when Sir Richard, having fallen dramatically out of favour with Edward III, suffered the revocation of all the many royal grants made to him, including the Chalers wardship.2 Chalers spent the last ten years of his minority as a ward of John, Lord Neville, until in March 1382 he received certain of the lands of his inheritance from one of Neville’s lessees, and in November formal livery of the rest from the Crown. His spurs may have been won serving with Neville in the marches of Scotland, perhaps even on the King’s expedition of 1385; certainly by 1386, when Bishop Arundel of Ely granted him a licence to have an oratory at Whaddon, he had attained knighthood. In the meantime, he had taken a wife and in the autumn of 1383, immediately after the birth of his son Thomas, he had made a settlement which guaranteed her a life interest in Thelveton.3

Aged just 26 and with no known experience of public service behind him, Chalers secured election for Cambridgeshire to the Merciless Parliament summoned to meet on 3 Feb. 1388, but before its first session ended he died, on 27 Feb. He was buried in Whaddon church. Within a week his widow Margery, in association with Sir William Castleacre, obtained a lease of two-thirds of the Chalers estates, for which they were to pay £20 a year at the Exchequer during the minority of the heir. Margery was brought before the King’s Council in July, presumably to be reprimanded and fined for failing to obtain royal approval for her hasty marriage to Sir John Heveningham* of Suffolk.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: De Scalers, Scales.

  • 1. VCH Cambs. v. 255-6; viii. 144; VCH Herts. iii. 210, 249; iv. 115; CPR, 1354-8, p. 301.
  • 2. CPR, 1361-4, p. 124; CIPM, xi. 580; CFR, viii. 155; CCR, 1368-74, pp. 359, 420.
  • 3. CIPM, xv. 750; CCR, 1381-5, pp. 119, 179; Ely Episcopal Recs. ed. Gibbons, 393.
  • 4. CIPM, xvi. 529-33; VCH Cambs. viii. 150; CFR, x. 227; CPR, 1385-9, pp. 514, 543.