SEXTON, John I, of Canterbury, Kent.

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



Jan. 1397
Jan. 1404

Family and Education

m. bef. June 1407, Agnes, 1da.1

Offices Held

Jurat, Canterbury Mich. 1388-9, 1391-2, 1394-6, 1402-4, 1412-14, 1415-17, 1419-21; bailiff 1397-8 , 1399-1400, 1405-6 1409-10.2

Commr. of array, Canterbury Dec. 1399, Aug. 1415.


Early in 1384 Sexton brought a suit in Kent against one James Bourne, alleging threatening behaviour. He was active in the affairs of Canterbury for more than 30 years, beginning in 1388, and besides travelling to Winchester and Westminster as the city’s representative in Parliament, he also made other journeys on the community’s behalf. For example, in 1395-6 he rode to Sandwich to procure a millstone for the ‘King’s mill’, and in 1399-1400 he spent some time at Westminster seeking, in discussions with Henry IV’s council, the new King’s confirmation of Canterbury’s charters. In 1407 he gave 13s.4d. from his parliamentary wages as contribution to the city’s purchase of Le Lyon, which later formed an extension to the guildhall.3

Besides owning property in Canterbury itself, Sexton held farmland both in the northern suburbs at Hackington and Northgate (although he and his wife sold seven acres there in 1407), and to the south of the city at Stuppington and Nackington. In October 1411 he and others, headed by Sir Nicholas Haute*, obtained a royal licence to grant a garden to the parson of St. Margaret’s church for the enlargement of the graveyard. At Michaelmas 1419 Sexton and his wife, Agnes, leased to their son-in-law, Richard Colbrond, some of their landed holdings, in return for an annual rent of five marks payable for the rest of their lives. He himself is not recorded after his re-election as a jurat a year later, but Agnes was still living, as his widow, in their house in St. Margaret’s parish in October 1412.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Segestayn, Sextayn, Sexsteyn.

  • 1. Christine, whose husband Richard Colbrond was admitted a freeman of Canterbury by marriage in 1409; Canterbury Cathedral, City and Diocesan RO, city accts. FA1, f. 90.
  • 2. Ibid. ff. 14-144d; Canterbury burghmote reg. O/A1, ff. 11, 14; List Canterbury Officials comp. Urry and Bunce, 48-49. In addition, in 1418-19, he was one of the 36 ‘honourable men’: A/C/1, f. 1.
  • 3. CCR, 1381-5, p. 436; FA1, ff. 25, 44d; M. McKisack, Parl. Repn. Eng. Bors. 93-94.
  • 4. CP25(1)112/268/354; CPR, 1408-13, p. 322; O/A1, ff. 34, 40d.