SPRIGGY, John, of Northampton.
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Family and Education
m. by 1442, Isabel.1
Bailiff, Northampton Mich. 1415-16; mayor 1420-1, 1425-7, 1428-9, 1436-7.2
Escheator, Northants. and Rutland 30 Nov. 1417-4 Nov. 1418.
This MP was probably related to both William Spriggy* and Thomas Spriggy, the latter of whom like him did business as a draper and also served as bailiff (1383) and mayor (1402) of Northampton. Either of these two men could well have been his father, although precise details of his early background now remain wanting. Spriggy himself sat in only one Parliament, the last of Henry V’s reign, and that which followed his first mayoralty, but as bailiff he took part in the autumn election of 1416, and as mayor in those of 1420, 1421 (May) and 1426. After his fifth and last mayoralty the town assembly resolved that in future no one should hold this office twice within an interval of less than seven years, presumably, as in London, because of the heavy personal expenses involved.3
Spriggy’s commercial activities were on no small scale. In July 1429, for instance, he and John Bosworth, a drover of Northampton, entered into mutual recognizances for £200 leviable on their lands in the neighbourhood; and two years later he alone offered a bond of £220, payable at the following Christmas, to William, Lord Botreaux. The latter, in turn, undertook to hand over £120 to Spriggy (who is here first described as an esquire) in equal annual instalments spread over the next three years. At about this time Spriggy was also attempting, albeit without much success, to recover outstanding debts of £10 and £5 respectively from John Dransfield of Aylesbury and a draper from Warmington. Indeed, as late as 1443, one of the defendants was pardoned a sentence of outlawry incurred for failing to appear in court to answer ‘John Spriggy, draper, alias esquire, of Northampton’ on this charge.4 Besides his income from trade Spriggy must have derived quite substantial revenues as a rentier. In October 1414, for example, he shared a royal grant of the custody of a plot of meadow just outside Northampton at a farm of 8s. a year; and at a rather later date, in 1425, he and William Tresham† became either the joint owners or co-feoffees of a messuage in Coton, Northamptonshire. Nor were his territorial interests confined to this part of England: we know that he held some unspecified property in the Norfolk village of Bradfield; and that he also possessed a title (perhaps in the right of his wife, Isabel) to fairly extensive holdings in Cornwall. It was, quite probably, as a result of his interests in the south-west that he became involved in business transactions with Lord Botreaux, one of the leading landowners in the area. His claims to ownership caused him considerable problems, and at some point during the 1430s he actually began litigation in Chancery against Sir John Arundell†, William Neville and Stephen Lanevery, the vicar of St. Ives, on the ground that each of them had refused to settle upon him certain Cornish estates which they held in trust, allegedly to his use. He appears to have won his case, for by a final concord of 1442 he and his wife made a conveyance of the manors of Tregenowe and Helwyn, together with land in Alet and Kyllymansak, presumably to their own feoffees.5
Spriggy’s more personal activities and connexions remain less well documented, although he was on close terms with the Northampton MP, John Loudham*, for whom he witnessed a series of deeds in the spring of 1425. On one occasion, at least, he saw military service overseas, being accorded royal letters of protection in March 1430 as a result of his imminent departure for France in the retinue of Lord Roos. His date of death cannot be established with any degree of certainty, but since his property in Norfolk had passed into new ownership by March 1446 we may perhaps assume that he was dead by then.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Sprigg, Spryge, Sprygy.
- 1. C146/10829.
- 2. Northampton Recs. ed. Markham and Cox, ii. 549-50, 557.
- 3. Ibid. i. 275-6.
- 4. CCR, 1422-9, p. 467; 1429-35, p. 159; CPR, 1429-36, pp. 92, 231; 1441-6, p. 123.
- 5. CFR, xiv. 89; CP25(1)179/93/30; CCR, 1441-7, p. 389; C1/10/23, 173; C146/10829.
- 6. Add. Ch. 6057; DKR, xlviii. 272; CCR, 1441-7, p. 389.