COOPER, Robert I, of Midhurst, Suss.
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Family and Education
Constable, Midhurst by Dec. 1402.
He may have been the Robert Cooper who in 1391 conveyed to John Cooper and his wife Maud a house and land, including pasture for oxen and sheep, at Ditchling in Sussex, but Ditchling is a long way from Midhurst, and Cooper is otherwise only recorded in relation to his home town.1
In December 1401, while constable of Midhurst, Cooper took part in the townsmen’s riot against the lord of the borough, Sir John Bohun. One local jury claimed that he came as constable to keep the peace, only to be assaulted and wounded by Bohun and his servants while trying to carry out his duty, but jurors from Chichester indicted him among the burgesses accused of plotting Bohun’s death, and when he was brought before the King’s bench he eventually pleaded guilty to resisting and assaulting Sir John, and was fined accordingly. The hearing at Westminster coincided with Cooper’s third and last Parliament, and it may well be the case that he had been elected because it was known that he would be making the journey. He appeared in court on 11 Oct., while Parliament was in session.2