WARWICK, John I, of Great Houghton, Northants.
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Family and Education
m. by Mich. 1397, Joan, prob. da. and h. of John Teynet of Upchurch, Kent (d. by 1397), at least 1da.1
Prob. commr. of inquiry, Northants. and generally Jan. 1380 (counterfeiting).
Forester and ranger of Savernake forest, Wilts. 10 Feb. 1393-d.
Sheriff, Northants. 1 Dec. 1396-3 Nov. 1397, 29 Oct. 1399-24 Nov. 1400.
Escheator, Northants. 1 Dec. 1405-9 Nov. 1406.
Tax collector, Northants. Mar. 1404.
Coroner, Northants. to 18 May 1409.
Verderer, Salcey forest, Northants. bef. 24 Feb. 1413-28 Jan. 1414.
We may be reasonably certain that the John Warwick who served on a royal commission of inquiry set up in 1380 to investigate the problem of counterfeiting in Northamptonshire and other parts of England was later returned to Parliament as a shire knight, although nothing more can be said about him at this time. Indeed, save for this early connexion with the county of Northamptonshire, which he was later to represent in the House of Commons, his background and circumstances remain thoroughly obscure. In August 1384 he acted as a mainpernor for a Wellingborough man charged with leaving his employer’s service before the appointed time. Otherwise, it is not until May 1390 that his career can be followed in any detail. He then joined with a neighbour in taking a three-year lease of the manor of Yardley Hastings (Northamptonshire) at an annual rate of £85 payable at the Exchequer. Warwick had clearly begun to acquire an impressive circle of friends, for in December 1392 he and Sir Nicholas Styuecle were involved in certain unspecified financial transactions with the prior of Ely, Sir James Roos and Sir Philip Tilney*, to whom they offered securities worth £400. Although he was not formally retained by Richard II until April 1393, when he received a promise of 20 marks a year for life, Warwick must already have had some influence at Court to secure the post of forester of the royal forest of Savernake in the previous February.2 He was able to exploit this influence even further in January 1394, intervening personally as one of the King’s esquires to obtain a pardon for a Shropshire man accused of murder. Despite his apparent closeness to the King, Warwick did not accompany the latter to Ireland in the following autumn, but stayed behind and acted as an attorney for William Brauncepath, who had joined the expedition. His services to the Crown were none the less considered worthy of reward: in February 1395 he obtained the wardship and marriage of the young Thomas Waldeyne, together with the custodianship of the boy’s estates, for which he paid a total of £10, and two years later he became farmer of the manor of Bozeat in Northamptonshire during the minority of the heir to the Latimer estates. He was, moreover, allowed to deduct £16 13s.4d. from the annual rent as the cost of supporting John, the future Lord Latimer, who lived with him during this period. There can be little doubt, therefore, that Warwick’s decision to sue out a royal pardon in April 1398 was little more than a formality, intended, perhaps, to protect him from any charges of maladministration arising from his first term as sheriff of Northamptonshire, or else to avoid the consequences of an outlawry incurred through private litigation.3
Even so, by the time of the Lancastrian usurpation, in the early autumn of 1399, Warwick had made such an effective and convincing change of allegiance that he was not only retained by the newly crowned Henry IV as an esquire of the body, but also appointed to serve another period in office as sheriff. His appearance, in December 1397, among the persons standing surety at the Exchequer for Jancio Dartasso, a prominent supporter of the house of Lancaster, may possibly denote some earlier shift in Warwick’s political sympathies, although he was no doubt driven more by force of circumstances than personal commitment to throw in his lot with Richard’s enemies. He nevertheless proved a loyal and efficient crown servant; and even though his second term as sheriff of Northamptonshire was marred by the escape from his custody of a group of felons Henry IV saw fit to offer him a full pardon for his negligence. The county electors may well have chosen Warwick to represent them in the two Parliaments of 1401 and 1406 because of his position at Court, but we must not forget that he was a leading local figure in his own right. It was certainly for this reason, and not because of his other connexions, that the Commons of 1406 nominated him to act as one of six arbitrators in an already protracted dispute over the ownership of the Northamptonshire manor of Hinton-by-Brackley, which had come before them during the course of the session. In actual fact the quarrel was eventually settled by two umpires after a further delay of almost four years, but Warwick himself seems to have been conscientious enough in discharging his responsibilities.4
Another mark of royal favour came Warwick’s way in June 1405, by which date a marriage had been arranged between his daughter, Joan, and William Park. As compensation for persistent arrearages in the payment of his annuity, Henry IV gave his esquire £40 to mark the event. He still found it difficult to collect his pension, however, and as late as 1419 orders were being issued for the settlement of his claims upon the Exchequer.5 Warwick must by then have been quite old, since as early as 1409 the then sheriff of Northamptonshire had been ordered to replace him as coroner because he was ‘too sick and aged to exercise that office’. He did, however, manage to attend the parliamentary elections for the county held at Northampton in October 1411, and it was not until February 1413 that his capacity to act as verderer of the forest of Salcey was seriously questioned. Even so, another year elapsed before he was finally removed, again on the grounds of age and ill health.6
Rather less is known about Warwick’s personal affairs, which are not well documented. He twice offered securities at the Exchequer on behalf of his friend, Sir William Arundel, to whose use he held the manor of Bingham in Nottinghamshire. He was also on close terms with his parliamentary colleague, John Cope, for whom he likewise acted as a trustee; and from time to time his name appears among the witnesses or parties to local property transactions. In 1406 he joined with Sir John Trussell* and Thomas Mulsho* to stand bail at the Northampton assizes for the defendant in a case of assault, but little other evidence has survived of his involvement in county society.7 We cannot even begin to estimate the size of his estates, which may well have been quite widespread. In May 1397 he pledged his property in Northamptonshire as security for a debt of 40 marks; and it appears from the royal pardon issued to him shortly afterwards that some of this land was at Great Houghton, where he was then living. Several years later, in May 1412, he brought a lawsuit against the parson there, who was probably still one of his neighbours. At some unknown date he purchased other holdings in Paulerspury from Thomas Wydeville*, but again it is now impossible to determine their extent. His wife, Joan, seems to have been the daughter and heir of John Teynet, a Kentish landowner whose modest estates in and around Upchurch descended to her at the very end of the 14th century. Administrative as well as geographical factors probably led the couple to dispose of these properties, which they conveyed to one of Teynet’s neighbours in the autumn of 1397.8
Warwick is last mentioned on 12 Feb. 1419, when instructions were given by Henry V for the payment of his annuity. Given that he had for some years already been described as elderly, his death probably occurred soon afterwards.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Warewyk, Warrewyk, Warrwyke, Warwyk.
- 1. CCR, 1396-9, p. 215; E404/20/284.
- 2. CPR, 1391-6, pp. 216, 259; CCR, 1381-5, pp. 570, 576; 1392-6, p. 119; CFR, x. 323.
- 3. CPR, 1391-6, pp. 365, 506, 535; 1396-9, p. 573; CFR, xi. 202-3; C67/30 m. 27.
- 4. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 450; 1401-5, p. 168; 1405-8, p. 283; CCR, 1405-9, p. 188; CFR, xi. 245; RP, iii. 573.
- 5. E404/20/284, 22/372, 34/82, 270; CPR, 1413-16, p. 229.
- 6. CCR, 1405-9, p. 439; 1409-13, p. 391; 1413-19, p. 167; C219/10/6.
- 7. C138/7/20; CP25(1)178/89/51; JUST 1/1514 rot. 5v; CPR, 1391-6, p. 320; 1413-16, p. 285; CCR, 1413-19, p. 138; CFR, xi. 83, 173; Add. Ch. 21639.
- 8. C67/30 m. 27; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 127, 215; 1409-13, p. 324; G. Baker, Northants. ii. 163.
- 9. E404/34/270.