MORESOM, John, of Scarborough, Yorks.

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

prob. s. of John Moresom (d.1405) of Scarborough by his 1st w. Isabel. m. by Sept. 1390 Alice, prob. da. of Robert Rottese of Scarborough (d. Sept. 1390) by his w. Amote.1

Offices Held


The subject of this biography, who is consistently described as ‘the younger’ in both the parliamentary returns for Scarborough and the local records, was probably the son, and certainly a close kinsman, of his namesake, John Moresom the elder. The latter owned a considerable amount of property in and around Scarborough, where he ranked in the knowledge that he had friends in high among the potentiores (or leading burgesses). He was consequently included in the list of wealthy townsmen who had to pay a supplementary fine to the government after the Peasants’ Revolt of i38x; and three years later he took office as bailiff. He was twice married, and if John Moresom the younger was, indeed, his son, he must have been the child of his first wife, Isabel, herself a woman of substance.2

Nothing is known for certain, however, about the activities of John the younger before he first represented Scarborough in the Gloucester Parliament of 1378, although we may assume that he owed some of his success to family influence. In June 1380 he served as a juror at an inquisition ad quod damnum held in the town into proposals for the endowment of St. Mary’s church by a group of local men—including John the elder—whose schemes were, not surprisingly, given full approval. It is impossible to establish the identity of his wife with complete certainty, but we can be fairly sure that she was either the daughter or niece of John Rottese of Scarborough, who drew up his will places. Morewell’s second election, in the autumn of 1383, was in fact overruled by the King on 27 Sept. 1390 and died a few days later. As well as being named as his executrix, Alice was charged with the task of finding and paying two chaplains to pray for the deceased’s soul for one year; and it appears that he had already entrusted her with some of his revenues for the purpose. No more is heard of this Member after his third return to Parliament, in 1393, and he quite evidently predeceased John the elder, who died in 1405, leaving a son and heir, named Robert, and a daughter.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


It has been argued that John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, intervened in the Scarborough elections of 1378 to have an esquire of his named John Moresom returned to Parliament (EHR, xlv. 624-5). As the local sources make plain, however, we are dealing with a completely different individual.

  • 1. Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills i. f. 13; iii. ff. 234v-5.
  • 2. York registry wills iii. ff. 234v-5; RP, iii. 136, 396; White Vellum Bk. Scarborough ed. Jeayes, nos. 37B, 38D; CPR, 1377-81, p. 527; C219/8/10.
  • 3. C143/396/14; CPR, 1408-13, p. 253; York registry wills i. f. 13; iii. ff. 234v-5.