BOSENHO, John, of Hanslope and Hartwell, Bucks.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Keeper of the King’s forest of Salcey, Northants. 7 May-13 Oct. 1389; verderer bef. 26 Sept. 1414-aft. 18 Jan. 1425.
Commr. to raise a royal loan, Bucks. Jan. 1420; of inquiry Feb. 1422 (counterfeit weights and measures).
Tax collector, Bucks. Dec. 1421, Oct. 1422.
This MP’s ancestors took their names from Bosenho in the Northamptonshire village of Ashton, although by the early 14th century they had extended their holdings to include land in Hanslope. According to instructions sent to the local escheator in March 1407, Bosenho held one knight’s fee there in the right of his wife, Eleanor, whom he clearly married with the intention of consolidating his position as a landowner. On the death without issue of her young brother, William (b.c. 1378), she inherited the manors of Hartwell and Little Hampden and the advowson of Hampden in Buckinghamshire, although her father’s widow, the long-lived Katherine Luton (d.1436), retained other property in Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. In 1409, Eleanor and John Bosenho conveyed her share of the Luton estates to an impressive body of feoffees, including John Giffard*, Ralph Parles*, Sir John Trussell* and Thomas Wydeville*. Besides her valuable patrimony, Eleanor also possessed a claim to part of the manor of Stoke Goldington, which had been settled as a dower upon her by her former husband, John Stokes; and in 1403 she and Bosenho went to law to assert their title. The couple were probably married by 1398, since Bosenho was already then living at Hartwell, which remained his home for the next 24 years at least. He also owned land in Lathbury, Buckinghamshire, which he acquired in the spring of 1415 from one of his neighbours at Hanslope.2
Bosenho was probably still quite a young man when, in May 1389, he became keeper of the King’s forest of Salcey. His tenure of this office was, however, remarkably short-lived, for barely five months later he resigned in favour of Reynold Braybrooke*, who was then one of the King’s esquires. He may have been compensated with the post of verderer, which he held in September 1414. It was then that the sheriff of Northamptonshire received instructions to replace him with someone who was better qualified, although nothing appears to have been done; and in June 1415 similar orders were issued on the grounds of Bosenho’s age and infirmity. We need not take these allegations too seriously, since by February 1420 he was said to be so busy on the King’s business in Northamptonshire that he had no time to devote to his duties as verderer. Even so, the sheriff made no attempt to elect a successor, and as late as January 1425 the Crown was still trying to find a more suitable candidate for the job.3 Meanwhile, in February 1397, Bosenho acted as a mainpernor at the Exchequer for John Warwick II*, who had just taken on the farm of the Northamptonshire manor of Bozeat. In June of the following year he obtained letters of pardon from Richard II, although there is nothing to suggest that his previous conduct was either politically or legally suspect. Indeed, in May 1399, he agreed to supervise the affairs of his friend, Thomas Wydeville, while the latter was in Ireland with King Richard.4
Comparatively little evidence has survived to illuminate the more personal aspects of Bosenho’s career over the next 15 years. In July 1406 he offered bail of £20 on behalf of another associate, Laurence Dyne, whose quarrel with a local man had by then come before the justices at the Northampton assizes. Dyne had previously joined with our Member in going surety for John Warwick and he is one of the few figures with whom Bosenho can definitely be connected. The latter seems to have lived a quiet and uneventful life during this period, and no more is heard of him until May 1414 when he witnessed a Northamptonshire deed. The last part of his life appears, by contrast, to have been comparatively busy. He attended the county elections held at Northampton to the first Parliament of 1416, and three years later himself agreed to sit as a shire knight in the House of Commons. We have already seen that by the beginning of 1420 he was preoccupied with administrative affairs, and this date marks the onset of his short period of service as a crown commissioner in Buckinghamshire.5
Bosenho died between 18 Jan. 1425 and 24 Nov. 1428, having acquired an interest in the manor of Salford in Bedfordshire as a feoffee-to-uses of Anghared Drakelow. It is by no means certain that he left any children, although the William Bosenho of Hanslope who leased out some of his Lathbury estates in January 1430 may just possibly have been his son. In this event, William either predeceased his mother, Eleanor, who was succeeded by a daughter (or even grand daughter) named Agnes, or else was the child of an earlier, otherwise undocumented, marriage. Eleanor outlived her father’s widow, and for a brief while enjoyed possession of all the Luton family estates. The Thomas Stokes who married her in, or just before, 1431, was probably a kinsman of her first husband, anxious to retain control of such a lucrative inheritance.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Boosnoo, Bosno, Bosonho. At least two men of this name were living in Northamptonshire during our period. John Bosenho of Shutlanger came of a family long-established in that part of the county, and in 1406 he and his wife, Agnes, were confirmed in possession of their estates (CAD, iv. A6777, 8072, 8115-19). In view of Shutlanger’s close proximity to Northampton, it seems likely that it was this John Bosenho, rather than our MP, who had property dealings in the town (Add. Chs. 22369-70; CPR, 1385-9, p. 106; CCR, 1402-5, p. 56).
- 1. VCH Bucks. iv. 467 n. 32.
- 2. Ibid. pp. 355-6; CCR, 1402-5, p. 74; 1405-9, p. 185; C67/30 m. 12; CP25(1) 290/61/150; CFR, xv. 6; Add. Ch. 59303.
- 3. CPR, 1377-81, p. 288; 1388-92, p. 122; CCR, 1419-22, p. 31; 1422-9, p. 156.
- 4. CFR, xi. 202-3; CPR, 1396-9, p. 577; C67/30 m. 12.
- 5. JUST 1/1514 rot. 6; C219/11/8; CCR, 1419-22, p. 43.
- 6. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 156, 472; Add. Ch. 59317; VCH Herts. ii. 246; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. ii. 301-2.