PARKER, John IV, of Chartley and Hopton, Staffs.
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Family and Education
m. by Nov. 1435, Margaret.1
Commr. to make an arrest Nov. 1404; of oyer and terminer, Staffs. Dec. 1405 (attack on the abbey of Burton-upon-Trent).
Keeper of the royal park at Bewbush, Suss. 26 Aug. 1405-d.
Bailiff of Windsor forest and keeper of Cranborne chase, Wilts. 15 Oct. 1407-d.
Porter and keeper of the keys of the ‘new work’ at Windsor castle, 21 June 1408-d.; prob. groom of the pitcher house there by 10 Nov. 1443-d.
Purveyor of victuals for Chancery (appointed by the chancellor, Sir Thomas Beaufort, later earl of Dorset and duke of Exeter) by 5 Nov. 1411-aft. 12 June 1413.
Bailiff, duchy of Lancaster, Rodman (altera pars), Staffs. by 1414-c.1417.2
Purveyor of victuals for the royal household 31 Jan.-31 July 1420.
Dep. to Thomas, duke of Exeter, admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine by 19 Feb. 1422, to Sir Henry Inglose†, dep. admiral for the coast from the Thames to Berwick-upon-Tweed bef. Sept. 1428.
Collector of a tax, Staffs. Aug. 1430.
Almost certainly a Staffordshire man by birth, Parker was one of the esquires retained by Edmund, earl of Stafford, at some point between 1397 and 1403. A conveyance of 1398, whereby he exchanged certain farmland with one of his neighbours, describes him as a resident of Chartley, near Stafford; he also leased property in that area from Earl Edmund (which he kept after the latter’s death in 1403), and was tenant of the neighbouring manor of Hopton until 1407, if not later.3 Like the earl, he was a staunch supporter of the house of Lancaster, and in October 1400 Henry IV awarded him a pension of 3d. a day, payable to him for life as a crown servant from the London customs. By August 1405 Parker had achieved the rank of yeoman of the King’s chamber, being then made keeper of the royal park at Bewbush in Sussex. This was the first of a series of appointments which reflect his steady rise in favour at Court: indeed, besides the fees and wages paid to him as an office-holder, he enjoyed many other financial rewards. In January 1406, for example, he received a gift of £12 from the confiscated effects of the late earl of Huntingdon, and three years later his fee was increased to 6d. a day assigned from the issues of Nottinghamshire. In June 1412 he and several other crown servants were allocated £10 each with which to equip themselves for the expedition which Henry IV hoped, vainly, to lead against the French. At some unknown date the King also gave Parker a stretch of water called ‘Hornedweir’ in the Thames, which apparently remained in his hands until 1438.4
Parker established a lasting and profitable connexion with Henry IV’s half-brother, Sir Thomas Beaufort, who, during his term as chancellor of England, made him a purveyor for the Chancery. Although Parker remained in office after his patron’s dismissal in December 1411, the two men kept up their association, and he subsequently became Beaufort’s deputy as admiral of England. He is first mentioned in this capacity in February 1422, but he may well have assumed the post at any time over the previous ten years, and thus have sat in Parliament as a placeman. Parker was, meanwhile, confirmed in all his offices by Henry V, who employed him both in Staffordshire (on the pay-roll of the duchy of Lancaster) and at Court (as a purveyor). His ability as a deputy admiral was evidently so great that he continued to serve Beaufort’s successor, John, duke of Bedford, having again been confirmed in his other posts by Henry VI.5
Parker appears to have retired from public life by 1430, and his later years remain comparatively obscure. In November 1435, he and his wife conveyed property in the Staffordshire village of Bagnall to a purchaser or feoffee-to-uses. Three years later his weir in the Thames was granted to another owner by the Crown, so he may perhaps have died by then. On the other hand, in November 1441, Humphrey, earl of Stafford, awarded an annuity of four marks to John Parker of Stafford, his yeoman cook (a senior position in the household), and not long afterwards a reference occurs to John Parker, groom of the pitcher house at Windsor castle, and holder (in reversion) of the office of porter there. Since the MP was awarded other posts at Windsor when young, it is possible that he lived on into the 1440s, ending his life as he had begun it, a servant of both the Crown and the house of Stafford.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Although no evidence has survived to contradict J.C. Wedgwood’s assumption that this MP and the courtier, John Parker, were one and the same person (Staffs. Parl. Hist. i (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), 192-3), it is not impossible to be absolutely certain in identifying the bearer of such a common name.
- 1. Ibid. xi. 232.
- 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 543.
- 3. Staffs. RO, D641/1/2/46, D1721/1/8, f. 203; Wm. Salt Lib. Stafford, Chetwynd mss, bdl. 9; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiv. 264.
- 4. CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 130, 362, 392; 1405-8, pp. 37, 117; 1408-13, pp. 51, 72; E404/27/416; CCR, 1436-41, p. 153.
- 5. CPR, 1413-16, p. 28; 1422-9, p. 41.
- 6. NLW, Peniarth ms 280, f. 19; Staffs. RO, D641/1/2/17 m. 2; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 232; CCR, 1436-41, p. 153; CPR, 1441-6, p. 218.