FRENCH, John II (d.1419/20), of Winchelsea and Pevensey, Suss.

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



Family and Education

poss. s. of John French I*. m. Alice, da. and h. of John Bacon, 1s.

Offices Held

Mayor, Winchelsea Easter 1416-18.1


French owned land at Netherfield, near Battle, and Icklesham, near Winchelsea, on which as a Portsman he claimed exemption from taxation between 1404 and 1420. In 1416 he acted as a feoffee for William Catton*, then clerk of the King’s ships and bailiff of Winchelsea, in certain property which Catton’s wife had inherited from her father, John Salerne II*; and a year later he accompanied Catton to Parliament.2From 1415 to 1419, while continuing to be involved in the affairs of Winchelsea, French built up interests in land further to the west, concentrated on the parish of Westham near Pevensey. But the John French ‘of Westham’, who with his wife, Isabel, received in April 1420 a settlement of certain holdings which our John French had put into the hands of trustees a year earlier, was in all probability his son and heir of that name.3 It seems likely that he himself was dead by then. Certainly, in December the same year his feoffees and John French ‘of Westham’ conveyed lands within the liberty of Pevensey to his widow, Alice, by then already married to William Morfote, the privateer. Further transactions regarding French’s estates, as held in dower by Alice Morfote, were completed a few months later. In May 1433 his son John (now called ‘of Winchelsea’) relinquished to his stepfather his reversionary interest in his parents’ lands at Pevensey. The young man incurred such losses while serving in the French wars that he petitioned the Crown to be recompensed by appointment as clerk of the peace in Kent.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. E368/189, 190.
  • 2. E179/225/31, 36, 38, 40; CP25(1)240/83/22.
  • 3. Sale Cat. Battle Abbeys Abbey Chs. (1835), 99, 101, 106.
  • 4. Ibid. 101-2, 105-6; DKR, xlviii. 354; SC8/182/9083.