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



May 1421

Family and Education

Offices Held


Clerk’s very common name makes him difficult to identify. He may have been the John who in 1398 brought an action alleging breach of the peace by certain men of Gillingham (near Shaftesbury); he who acted as attorney at the Dorchester assizes in Henry IV’s reign on behalf of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn* and other local landowners; the John Clerk ‘of Dorset’ who in 1411 provided securities in Chancery for John Tylfote the elder of Todber; or the John Clerk ‘of Gillingham’ who in March 1417 with Ralph Bush* esquire entered into recognizances for the payment of 250 marks to the keeper of the hanaper in Chancery. It is possible that these four were all one and the same man, and that he was the parliamentary burgess for Shaftesbury; but the necessary proof is lacking.

CCR, 1396-9, p. 299; 1409-13, p. 182; 1413-19, p. 384; JUST 1/1519 mm. 116, 119. It may also be that he was the same person as John Clerk alias Bettiscombe of Cerne ‘yeoman’, who took out a royal pardon of outlawry (for failure to appear to answer a debt owing to the abbot of Cerne) on 4 Nov. 1419, while the Parliament of that year was in progress (CPR, 1416-22, p. 228). Bettiscombe, who sat for Lyme Regis in 1425 and Bridport in 1429, 1430 and 1432, purchased the manor of Vere’s Wootton from William Mountfort II* (J. Hutchins, Hist. Dorset, ii. 241).

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger