FAUCONER, William (d.1412), of Kingsclere, Hants.
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Family and Education
m. by 1403, Margery, 1s.
Commr. of inquiry, Oxon., Berks. Dec. 1399 (escheated lands), Berks. Nov. 1406 (forfeited lands), Southampton May 1407 (relocation of the wool-beam), Oct. 1410 (obstruction of the watergate); array, Hants May 1406.
Tax collector, Hants Mar. 1401.
Bp. Wykeham’s bailiff of Sutton, Alresford and Cheriton, Hants 18 Apr. 1401-c.1405; Bp. Beaufort’s bailiff of Highclere, Hants c. Mich. 1405-d. 1
J.p. Hants 13 Feb. 1407-d.
Fauconer’s origins are obscure, but he is first mentioned, in 1379, as being ‘of Hampshire’. He acquired property in Winchester and its suburbs in 1382 and continued to have interests in the city, certainly until 1407. In 1383 he stood surety for the farmers of the cloth subsidy in Hampshire: Hugh Cran† and Thomas Wolveley†, both of whom came from Winchester. And, as his later royal commissions closely affected the interests of the merchants of Winchester and Southampton (notably the housing of the beam for weighing wool at Southampton, and investigating complaints that trade was being harmed by Thomas Middleton’s* new wharf at the watergate of the same port), it may be conjectured that he himself was involved in commerce, perhaps dealing in wool and cloth. Indeed, the inclusion of five lengths of black woollen cloth among the bequests in his will lends weight to this supposition. He may, therefore, have been the William Fauconer who, in London in May 1399, was impleaded for debt by a Genoese merchant.2
Fauconer also established close contacts among the gentry of Berkshire. In 1386 John Englefield* put him in possession of the manor and advowson of Englefield to hold while he himself was in Spain, and a few years later he named Fauconer as his executor. Then, in 1390 Simon Goodwin quitclaimed to him lands at Aldermaston, Woolhampton and Midgham. (He did not, however, hold these permanently). In 1391 Fauconer was associated with Sir Thomas de la Mare† of Aldermaston and seven others, all of whom were to be arrested by a royal serjeant-at-arms and brought before the Council, but for reasons unspecified. Later, another Berkshire landowner, Sir William Drayton, chose him to execute his will. Fauconer also had interests at Collingbourne in Wiltshire, where at the time of his death he was holding property estimated to be worth £20 a year.3
It was only after the accession of Henry IV that Fauconer was appointed to local royal commissions,though in the course of the next 12 years he took a modest part in the administrative affairs of Berkshire and Hampshire. In 1401 Bishop Wykeham appointed him as bailiff of certain of his manors, and in the codicil to his will, made on 10 Jan. 1404, he left him £5. After Henry Beaufort’s translation to Winchester, Fauconer exchanged his bailiwick for that held by Edward Cowdray* at Highclere. This was a more convenient post for him, since by 1403 he had made his home at nearby Kingsclere; and in 1404 he had obtained a lease of the manor of Kingsclere itself for 40 years, paying £29 p.a. to the lord of the manor, Sir John Melton.4
Fauconer made his will on 1 Nov. 1412 and died probably two days later, having asked to be buried in St. Mary’s church at Kingsclere. He left £2 for repairs to the roads in this area. An unusual feature of the will was the bequest of 24 quarters of corn and six of barley, all in small quantities, to several of his friends and servants. The residue of his estate passed to his son, William, who was still a minor.5 The deceased was also found to have held a moiety of the manor of Rotherfield Peppard (Oxfordshire), valued at ten marks a year, and this duly came into the possession of William junior, when he came of age in 1418. However, further inquiries revealed that the property really belonged to Sir John Drayton*, which would suggest that the MP had held it merely as a feoffee, perhaps by nomination of Sir John’s brother, the Sir William Drayton for whom he had acted as an executor.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
E. F. Jacob in Reg. Chichecle, ii. 652, confuses him with Sir William Fauconer, who died in 1415.
- 1. Reg. Wykeham (Hants Rec. Soc. 1896-9), ii. 522; Hants RO, bp. of Winchester’s pipe rolls, 159409-15.
- 2. CFR, ix. 139; CCR, 1377-81, p. 461; 1381-5, p. 416; 1396-9, p. 504; Stowe 846 ff. 85d, 94, 98, 116; Winchester Coll. mun. 1346; HMC 6th Rep. 601.
- 3. CCR, 1385-9, p. 139; 1389-92, p. 170; 1399-1401, p. 414; CPR, 1388-92, p. 521; 1401-5, p. 497; Feudal Aids, vi. 537; CAD, iii. D1326; E210/6658.
- 4. VCH Hants, iv. 251, 260-1; Reg. Wykeham, ii. 547; R. Lowth, Wm. of Wykeham, p. xlvii.
- 5. PCC 28 Marche. The inquest (C137/89/9) gives the Thurs. before All Saints (27 Oct.) as the date of death but, in view of the date of his will, the Thurs. after (3 Nov.) must have been meant.
- 6. CCR, 1422-9, p. 465; E159/193 recorda Mich. m. 24.