Appendix C5: The composition of the Parliament of 1410

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

The composition of the Parliament of 1410

For several months before Parliament met in January 1410 Henry IV had been suffering from poor health; indeed, a particularly severe illness a year earlier had prompted him to draw up his will. This made it easier for the personal influence over the King exercised by Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, to be challenged by the rising ambitions of the prince of Wales, Henry of Monmouth. In the autumn of 1409 competition for preference in the allocation of financial resources fuelled dissensions within the Council between Archbishop Arundel and the heir to the throne, who was determined to assert his own political leadership. The latter had tried in vain to put pressure on his brother, Thomas of Lancaster, to surrender the lieutenantship of Ireland and relieve the Household of the necessity of supporting his retinue, and for adequate funds to be properly assigned to the garrisons in South Wales, so that by November the Council had become seriously divided. The resolution of the struggle was marked by two resignations: that of Sir John Tiptoft* (the King’s protégé, closely identified with Arundel and his policies) from the treasurership on 11 Dec., and that of the archbishop himself as chancellor ten days later. But the conciliar revolution was only half complete when Parliament met on 27 Jan. 1410. In the absence of a chancellor, Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, opened the proceedings, although four days later the great seal was given to his brother, Sir Thomas, who was probably more acceptable to the King. The Beauforts, hitherto not conspicuously aligned with Prince Henry, now offered him what he and his associates from the campaigns in Wales lacked: administrative, conciliar and diplomatic experience, contacts with the Court, and perhaps also the confidence of the Commons in Parliament, although that remained to be seen.1 To whom could the prince and his allies now look for support in the Lower House?

Unfortunately, the names of only 121 Members of the Commons of 1410 are now known, owing to the loss or destruction of many of the parliamentary returns. Yet out of the 121, who made up less than half the overall total, as many as 11 (nine per cent) were retainers of Prince Henry, some being officials on his estates and recipients of substantial annuities amounting to £40 or £50 by his gift. This group included such prominent figures as John Wynter, his receiver-general, Sir John St. John, a veteran of his campaigns in South Wales, and William Stourton, the steward of his principality. Significantly, too, ten more of the Members had close personal links with Bishop Beaufort and his influential cousin, Thomas Chaucer. The latter, re-elected Speaker of the House the day after Parliament opened, was doubtless primed to direct the proceedings in line with conciliar policy as now established by his kinsmen and the prince. It also looks very much as if he had been involved in a certain amount of electoral manipulation to secure the presence in the House of people on whom he could rely to support the programme, notably the representatives for Taunton (Thomas Bacot and Thomas Edward) and the outsiders elected for Lyme Regis and Wareham (the Chancery clerk, Thomas Haseley, and the London vintner, Thomas Walsingham). Followers of the prince’s colleagues, Thomas, earl of Arundel, and Richard, earl of Warwick, were in evidence, too, thus bringing the total number of Members whom we might expect to have willingly raised their voices in favour of the policies of Henry of Monmouth and his associates up to at least 25. Most of them were not newcomers to the House, and presumably would have been ready and able to lend Chaucer a hand in its management. By contrast, the only known adherents of Archbishop Arundel and Thomas of Lancaster recorded present were Bartholomew Brokesby and William Allington, and although both of them were highly capable (the one destined to be the archbishop’s steward and executor, the other already treasurer of the Irish exchequer and a trustee of Thomas of Lancaster’s estates), it seems unlikely on the face of things that they could have done much to muster a strong opposition to the prince of Wales. Of course, the King’s own retainers in the House, who may not be so readily assigned to either camp, may also have viewed with dismay the political changes which had recently taken place, but there is now no means of determining the response to be expected either from them or from the Members currently employed by the Crown in offices at the centre or in the localities. All we know is that in the event they proved unable to prevent the passage of ‘un certein article’ which placed some ‘restreint’ on the royal prerogative.2

Even so, despite the presence in the House of a group of individuals predisposed to support the prince of Wales and his allies, the latter found themselves unable to command at will the co-operation of the Commons, who made no financial provision whatsoever for the defence of the realm and the marches of Wales during what was evidently a turbulent first session. Indeed, this session, lasting seven weeks, was chiefly remarkable for the introduction in the Lower House of a bill, ardently promoted by the lollards in their midst,3 which advocated a detailed plan for the confiscation of the temporalities of the bishops and greater abbots. Only in the second session, meeting after Easter, did Thomas Chaucer’s leadership prove more effective, although the Commons remained critical of the government and tenacious in their demands, which they expressed in 18 articles presented on 23 Apr. These concentrated on certain issues: the safeguard of truces, naval defence, the provision of sufficient revenue for the Household and, most important for the furtherance of ‘good and substantial government’, the establishment of a new Council whose members were to be openly sworn in Parliament to give loyal advice and behave impartially. This Council, as eventually appointed on 2 May, was predominantly the preserve of the prince’s friends, but the Commons insisted on being notified in full of their names, and they were indeed publicly sworn in before Parliament was dissolved. Prince Henry’s first administration had been launched, but he was on probation from the standpoint of both King and Commons. The grant of one-and-a-half fifteenths and tenths finally conceded by the Lower House was only half what he had hoped for, and however partisan certain Members of the House may have been and however much they personally welcomed the prince’s de facto assumption of power, their enthusiasm clearly did not extend to the granting of further taxes. It is of interest to note, too, that specific appropriations of the wool subsidy to provide for the defence of Calais and the marches, in which the prince of Wales had an overriding interest as the newly appointed captain there, were not initiated by the Commons. Rather, they were separately recorded on the Parliament roll as an ordinance for which the Lords alone were responsible.4


Name Annuity Status
Blaket, John£80member of the Household to 1403 or later
Brooke, Sir Thomas ‘King’s knight’
Butler, Sir Andrew40 marks
Frye, Robert II*£10clerk of the Council
Golafre, John*£40 marks         
 *£10‘King’s esquire’
Harry, John ap£40 
Pomeroy, Sir Thomas£20 
St. John, Sir John*£100 marks             
Stafford, Sir Humphrey I                                         
 ‘King’s knight’
Wilcotes, William*£38‘King’s esquire’ and counsel to the duchy of Lancaster
Wodehouse, John£2 

* An annuity initially granted by Richard II but confirmed by his successor.



1. Central government
Allington, Williamtreasurer of the Exchequer, Ireland
Chaucer, Thomaschief butler
Frye, Robert IIclerk of the King’s Council
Haseley, Thomasclerk of Chancery; prob. dep. to the clerk of the Commons
Walsingham, Thomasvictualler of the Household
2. Constables of royal castles
Chaucer, ThomasWallingford
Hungerford, Sir WalterMarlborough
3. Officials on crown estates
Clink, Johnparker, Petworth, Suss.
Golafre, Johnverderer, Woodstock, Oxon.
Harry, John apsteward, Builth, Dinas
Wilcotes, Williamchief steward, estates once of Queen Anne; keeper, Cornbury park, Oxon.
Wynter, Johnduchy of Lancaster steward, Norf. and Suff.
4. Customs officials
Gascoigne, Williamcollector, Bridgwater
Gyllyng, Johncontroller, Sandwich
Morris, Edmundalnager, Herefs.
Spicer, John IIdep. butler, Bishop’s Lynn
Wynter, Johndep. butler, Gt. Yarmouth and Cromer
5. Escheators
Golafre, JohnOxon. and Berks.
Harry, John apHerefs.
Holbache, DavidSalop
6. Justices of the peace
Biere, WalterDorset
Brooke, Sir ThomasSom. and Dorset
Burley, John ISalop
Cary, RobertDevon
Chaucer, ThomasOxon.
Golafre, JohnBerks.
Holbache, DavidSalop
Holgot, ThomasHerefs.
Hungerford, Sir WalterSom.
James, RobertOxon.
Spicer, John IIBishop’s Lynn
Stafford, Sir Humphrey I                                                   
Dorset, Som.
Stourton, WilliamWilts., Som. and Cornw.
Weston, JohnWarws.
Wilcotes, WilliamOxon.



Butler, Sir AndrewHenry’s dep. as constable of Dover castle and warden of the Cinque Ports
Chaucer, Thomassteward of his honours of Wallingford and St. Valery
Clink, Johnretainer, annuitant and official by his appointment (water bailiff, Dartmouth, and parker, Liskeard)
Coterell, Johnreceiver of his honours of Wallingford and St. Valery
Hawley, John II                                                                        
feodary and escheator, duchy of Cornw.
Holgot, Thomasannuity of ten marks from Feb. 1409
St. John, Sir Johnannuity of £40; served with him in Wales
Stourton, Williamsteward, principality of Wales
Wodehouse, Johnconstable and steward of Castle Rising, Norf.; annuities of £30; attached to his household by 1400; served with him in Wales
Wonston, Alfredbailiff of the stannary of Chagford, duchy of Cornw.
Wynter, Johnreceiver-general of his estates with a £50 p.a. fee; campaigns in Wales



Arnold, Edmunddep. to Sir Thomas Beaufort, admiral of England, from c. Jan. 1410
Bacot, Thomasbailiff of Bishop Beaufort’s liberty of Taunton
Chaucer, Thomasconstable of Taunton castle by his cousin Bishop Beaufort’s appointment
Golafre, Johnannuity of £5 from Bishop Beaufort
James, Robertassociated with Bishop Beaufort from bef. 1402
Walsingham, Thomas                        
associated with Bishop Beaufort in private and business affairs
Wilcotes, Williamattorney and witness for Bishop Beaufort



Coterell, Johnconnected with him through his post as receiver of the honour of Wallingford, but also personally, as a feoffee of his estates
Drayton, Sir John                                                                     
associated with him; later made him a trustee of his property
Edward, Thomaselection for Taunton apparently contrived by Chaucer; co-feoffee with him of the estates of John Golafre.*
Golafre, Johnco-feoffee with him of the estates of Robert James*
Haseley, Thomasclose connections with him
James, Robertfriend and neighbour of his
Spicer, John IIdep. butler, Bishop’s Lynn by Chaucer’s nomination
Walsingham, Thomasconnected with him through the wine trade and in supplying the Household; later his mainpernor and feoffee



Burley, John IC, F; served with him in Wales
Holbache, DavidF, O



Mountfort, William IIA, F, R (40 marks)
Weston, JohnA, C, R
Wilcotes, WilliamA, F



Allington, William                                                                                                          
treasurer of the Irish Exchequer; trustee of his estates from 1407; member of his household; later executor of his will



Brokesby, Bartholomew                                             
mainpernor for him, Oct. 1409; steward of his estates from c.1412; executor of his will



1. Justices of the peace
Belne, ThomasWorcs. 16 Feb. 1410
Blaket, JohnWilts. 13 Feb. 1410
Gappe, Alexander atteYarmouth 15 July 1410
Green, RalphWilts. 13 Feb. 1410
Herle, Sir JohnCornw. Mar. 1410
2. Others
Gawtron, Waltercollector of customs, London 26 July 1410
Morris, Edmundconfirmed as alnager, Herefs. for seven years 27 Feb. 1410
Parker, William IIIcollector of customs, Yarmouth 2 Mar. 1410
Rous, John IIcollector, tunnage and poundage Ipswich 28 Feb. (backdated to Mich. 1409)
3. Commissions
Brooke, Sir Thomasoyer and terminer Feb.; to raise loans June
Burley, John Ioyer and terminer Feb.; inquiry Mar.
Butler, Sir Andrewto supervise musters July
Cary, Robertto supervise musters July
Chaucer, Thomasoyer and terminer Apr.
Coterell, Johninquiry Mar.
Golafre, Johnoyer and terminer Apr.
Green, Ralphto hold special assizes5
Hawley, John II                                                                                                        
arrest Apr., June, Oct.
Holbache, Davidinquiry Mar., July
Hungerford, Sir Walterloans June
James, Robertoyer and terminer Apr.
St. John, Sir Johnto hold special assizes;6 oyer and terminer May
Shelley, Johninquiry July
Stafford, Sir Humphrey I                            
oyer and terminer Feb.; loans June
Stourton, Williamoyer and terminer Feb.
Thornes, Robertinquiry July
Wilcotes, Williamoyer and terminer Apr.
Wodehouse, Johnoyer and terminer Aug.
Wynter, Johninquiry Feb., July; oyer and terminer Aug.



Ampulford, William                                                           
with his fellow Member, Robert Dunston, for their constituency, Norwich, the alnage of Norwich and Norf. worsteds for seven years7
Bartlett, Henrypardon 27 Apr. with regard to charge of piracy
Chaucer, Thomasfavourable response to petition regarding his post as chief butler8
Dunston, Robertsee Ampulford
Kedwelly, Johnfavourable response to petition9
St. John, Sir Johnlicence to enclose parks Feb.


The burgesses of Lyme Regis, Melcombe Regis, Truro and Winchester also received favourable responses to their petitions.10

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: J. S. Roskell

End Notes

  • 1. P. McNiven, ‘The problem of Hen. IV’s health’, EHR, c.747-72; G.L. Harriss, Cardinal Beaufort,49-52.
  • 2. RP, iii. 658.
  • 3. Their identity can only be guessed, but the supporters of the bill possibly included Sir Thomas Brooke.
  • 4. RP, iii. 627.
  • 5. Ibid. 634.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid. 637-8.
  • 8. Ibid. 646.
  • 9. Ibid. 643-4.
  • 10. Ibid 637-41.