NEWDIGATE, John (d.1387/8), of Cheam and Ockley, Surr.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Commr. of array, Surr. Mar. 1380.
J.p. Surr. 14 Dec. 1381-d.
This MP’s family took its name from the manor of Newdigate, where his ancestors are known to have lived from the early 13th century, if not before, gradually consolidating their estates in the area. His father, William, played a prominent part in local government: he represented Surrey in at least four Parliaments, served as a j.p., sheriff and royal commissioner, and towards the end of his career, in 1373, he was made steward of the King’s manor of Banstead (Surrey).2 He also added greatly to his possessions by acquiring part of the manors of Ockley and Newlands (with their advowsons) as well as land in Cheam, Leigh, Kingston and Charlwood in Surrey. His other purchases included holdings in the Sussex villages of Rusper, Ifield, Wootton and Rudgwick; and he either bought or inherited land and rents in Sevenhampton Vaus, Somerset.3 William Newdigate died in 1377, leaving his wife, Amy, and their son to administer his estate. Since his mother outlived him by at least 20 years, John never obtained seisin of all his inheritance, although we know that he occupied the properties in Cheam, Charlwood, Ockley (where he presented to the living in 1386) and Sevenhampton Vaus. It was during the Easter and Michaelmas terms of 1387 that he obtained confirmation of his title to the reversion of land and rents in Warnham, Sussex, and Dorking, Surrey, but his interest in these holdings may well have been of a far earlier date.4
Although not as distinguished as his father, Newdigate served on at least one royal commission, and entered Parliament when a member of the local bench—even though his executors subsequently alleged that the letters of appointment had never reached him. Little evidence has survived to illuminate his more personal affairs. In March 1382 he witnessed a deed for Richard, Lord Poynings, who at some unknown date made him a feoffee-to-uses of his manor of Ifield. Ownership of land in this part of Sussex probably accounts for the connexion between the two men, which does not otherwise appear to have been very close. The year 1382 also saw the grant by Newdigate and Laurentia atte Wood (the mother of Hugh Quecche*) of rents worth £6 14s. a year to the priory of Newark by Guildford. The money, which had previously been paid to the neighbouring priory of Stoke, was intended for the foundation of a chantry dedicated to the King, Bishop Wykeham of Winchester and various members of the atte Wood family, so it may well be that Newdigate was acting as an executor of Laurentia’s second husband, Peter. Three years later, in August 1385, the MP conveyed his Somerset estates to a group of London grocers who were perhaps purchasers of the property rather than feoffees-to-uses.5 He was dead by 12 Feb. 1388, when administration of his goods was granted to John Weston, one of his executors and kinsmen. He is said to have left two sons, John and Thomas, the former of whom owned estates in Surrey worth £20 a year during the early 15th century. Another member of the family, named Robert, who acted as an attorney for the widowed Amy Newdigate in 1390, and who later held some of her property in trust, was probably their brother, but this cannot be proved. Newdigate’s widow, Joan, married John Bentley*, with whom, in June 1389, she obtained a writ of supersedeas concerning any actions to do with her late husband’s commission as a j.p.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Neudigate, Newdegate.
- 1. O. Manning and W. Bray, Surr. ii. 170, 173; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 274, 684; 1389-92, p. 282.
- 2. Manning and Bray, ii. 170, 173; VCH Surr. iii. 311-12; CPR, 1370-4, p. 333.
- 3. CP25(1)230/54/102, 55/9, 56/38; Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii. 170, 181; Add. Chs. 17330-1, 17336; CCR, 1385-9, p. 274.
- 4. Add. Ch. 17333; Manning and Bray, ii 163, 170; CCR, 1385-9, p. 274; CP25(1)289/55/164.
- 5. CCR, 1381-5, p. 220; 1385-9, pp. 274, 343; CIPM, xvi. 611; VCH Surr. ii. 103-4.
- 6. Lambeth Palace Lib. Reg. Courtenay f. 226; Manning and Bray, ii. 173; Feudal Aids, vi. 516; JUST 1/1503 rot. 75v; CCR, 1385-9, p. 684; Surr. Arch. Colls. vi. 259-60. The brass in Newdigate church of an unidentified member of the family (dated c.1400) may be either a memorial to this Member’s father or, as seems probable, to Newdigate himself (ibid. xxxi. 88).