WORTING, Sir Thomas (d.1390), of Basingstoke, Hants.
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Family and Education
prob. s. of Thomas Worting of Basingstoke. m. by Apr. 1387, Isabel, Lady St. John (c.1333-Oct. 1393), da. and h. of Hugh, Lord St. John of Basing, wid. of Henry, yr. s. of Bartholomew, Lord Burghersh, and of Sir Luke Poynings, yr. s. of Thomas, Lord Poynings, s.p.1 Kntd. by Sept. 1381.
Commr. to put down rebellions, Hants Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382.
J.p. Hants 15 July-Nov. 1389.
The family of Worting, which had been associated with Basingstoke since the reign of Edward I, played an important part in the affairs of the town in the 14th century. Nor had it lacked influential connexions, for one of Worting’s ancestors had married a sister of Walter Merton, chancellor under Henry III and Edward I, bishop of Rochester and the founder of Merton college, Oxford, who himself came from Basingstoke. It is more likely to have been Thomas’s putative father and namesake who was party to assaults committed at Basingstoke in 1349, acted as a tax collector in Hampshire in 1354, and witnessed local deeds up to 1361. But it was certainly our Member who played a central role in the drawing up of ordinances for the administration of the manor and borough of Basingstoke in the moot hall in September 1389, which regulations specifically required his assent. He retained one part of the indenture and affixed his seal to the part which remained with the bailiffs.2
Sir Thomas’s prominence in Basingstoke clearly owed much to his position as the husband of Lady St. John of Basing, for he had been a figure of little importance, even in local affairs, before his marriage. Although the first reference to him being married dates from 1387, Lady St. John’s former husband had died 11 years earlier, and it seems very likely that she accepted Worting’s suit well before his first return to Parliament. Worting was never called Lord St. John, since that title had descended to his stepson, Thomas Poynings, but his standing in Hampshire was considerably enhanced by his tenure, jure uxoris, of the St. John estates. These included no fewer than 28 knights’ fees, situated in Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire and Kent, altogether valued at his wife’s death at £136 a year, as well as three manors in Sussex and seven more in Hampshire, worth a further £106 annually. Worting was knighted before his earliest appearance in the House of Commons, in 1381, and while the first session of the Parliament was in progress he was appointed to the commission charged with crushing the remnants of the Peasants’ Revolt in his home county. Subsequently, along with his fellow MP, Sir John Sandys, and the steward of the Household, John, Lord Montagu, he delivered to the King and Lords a list of persons who, in their opinion, ought to be excluded from royal pardon because of their violent participation in the rebellion. Also during this Parliament, in January 1382, Worting appeared as a mainpernor for Sir Bernard Brocas* of Beaurepaire, an important neighbour of his, when he was given custody of Hayling priory. In November 1385, Sir Thomas took out royal letters of protection as about to go to France in the retinue of the King’s half-brother, Thomas Holand, earl of Kent, who was then captain of Cherbourg, only for the letters to be revoked eight months later because he failed to depart. In May 1388, while his third Parliament was in session, Worting provided securities at the Exchequer for Joan, widow of Henry, Lord Ferrers of Groby, possibly a kinswoman of his wife.3
In June 1390 Worting and his wife obtained a licence to alienate in mortmain the manor of Binstead St. Clare (Hampshire) to Bishop Wykeham of Winchester, a transaction serving to help replenish the episcopal estates after Wykeham’s lavish endowment of his college at Winchester. He died at an unknown date before 20 Dec. that same year, when the bishop discharged Lady St. John as the executrix of his will. It is possible that he was buried in Christchurch priory, to which monastery his widow subsequently granted land at Hurn and elsewhere in the neighbourhood.4 As Sir Thomas left no children, his small property holdings at Basingstoke passed to his sister, Maud, wife of William Tauk (the brother of Robert*, and younger son of Sir William Tauk the chief baron of the Exchequer who had died in 1375).
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. CP, xi. 327-8; CIPM, ix. 52.
- 2. F.J. Baigent and J.E. Millard, Hist. Basingstoke, 193, 194, 197, 213, 434, 573, 608; CPR, 1348-50, p. 387.
- 3. C136/82/1; Reg. Wykeham (Hants Rec. Soc. 1896-9), i. 137, 160, 174; CFR, ix. 284; x. 221; Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxvii), 29-30; C76/70 m. 35; CPR, 1385-9, p. 104.
- 4. CPR, 1388-92, p. 265; 1391-6, p. 152; Reg. Wykeham, ii. 430; VCH Hants, ii. 486; iv. 134.