PARKER, John III, of Lewes, Suss.
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Family and Education
?s. of John Parker of Lewes by his w. Joan. m. Agnes, 1s. John†.
John may have been the son of a namesake living in Lewes in the 1370s and 1380s.1 A wool merchant, he is first recorded in July 1417, as a witness to a local deed, and in September following he served on a jury at a coroner’s inquest held in the town. This was shortly before his election to the Parliament summoned to assemble in November. Although he had no royal licence to do so, in March 1418 Parker shipped 500 woolfells and 2,300 shorlings in the ship Scalcandres directly to Zeeland, without first taking them to the Staple at Calais, and in consequence he was fined at the Exchequer. He was again a member of juries at Lewes in 1424 and 1431 (on both occasions testifying about the forfeited possessions of a felon), and also in May 1428 (for assessments of the tax on parishes).2
In 1425 Parker had acquired a garden at Lewes from Robert Smythwyk. The full extent of his property holdings is not known, but he would appear to have prospered, for in January 1427 he and his wife were able to procure a papal licence to choose their own confessors. By 1429 he had purchased land at Ringmer near Lewes, and to this he added two messuages and some 70 acres in the course of the next few years, later coming to be described as a ‘husbandman’.3 From 1430 Parker acted on behalf of John Nelond as a feoffee of the estates Nelond held at East Grinstead, Sussex, and Lingfield, Surrey, in right of his wife, the widow of Thomas St. Cler* (d.1416). The two men had evidently struck up a close friendship, for Nelond was the godfather of Parker’s son, John, to whom in his will, made in 1437, he left a bequest of 20s.4 Young John was to represent Lewes in the Parliament of 1453.