SOPER, John, of New Shoreham, Suss.
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Family and Education
m. Margaret (b.c.1407), da. and coh. of Thomas Jardyn* of South Mundham and Bowley, Suss. by his 2nd w., 1s.
In the 1380s Soper was engaged in exporting grain from Shoreham and importing wine at Southampton. He served on a jury at Bramber in November 1398, providing evidence to royal commissioners investigating the affairs of Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, then in exile. Similarly, he was a member of juries assembled at Old Shoreham in January 1397 and at Bramber in August 1403, on each occasion to further inquiries about the inheritance of the property of the late Thomas Buckingham, senior. He had evidently been personally acquainted with the latter, for in 1407 he was to appear as co-defendant with Buckingham’s heir in a suit at the Sussex assizes. In May 1407 Soper was ordered to be arrested and brought to Chancery. This was probably in connexion with the recent sale of a cargo of salt taken from a Portuguese vessel captured at sea by men of Devon and Cornwall and brought into Shoreham harbour.1
In June 1408 Soper witnessed a conveyance at Shopham in Sutton on behalf of John Vincent*. His own landed interests were expanding: a few years later he was recorded as a tenant of property at Brighton or Piddinghoe in east Sussex; and in 1428 following the deaths of his wife’s brother and mother, he acquired jure uxoris a moiety of the holdings in west Sussex of the former shire knight, Thomas Jardyn. This moiety was subsequently to pass to his son, Thomas.2