THORNES, Richard, of Southampton.
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Family and Education
Keeper, Marwell park, Hants, by appointment of Bp. Beaufort of Winchester 12 Mar. 1413-d.1
Dep. butler, Southampton 10 Dec. 1422-c.1428.
Thornes, whose origins are obscure, had already proved diligent in the service of Henry Beaufort by the spring of 1413, when the bishop made him keeper of Marwell park for life. He had no recorded contact with the burgesses of Southampton before his first return to Parliament as their representative in 1421, although it seems likely that by then he had begun trading in the town. Beaufort was no doubt instrumental in securing for Thornes Henry V’s letters patent, granting him in January 1422 a daily wage of 6d. as one of the yeomen of the Crown; while the bishop’s cousin, Thomas Chaucer*, the chief butler, furthered his career by making him his deputy in the port of Southampton. In about 1424 Thornes appeared as pledge for a local merchant, William Overey†, when the latter brought a petition to Chancery complaining against the executors of John Mascall*. Thanks to his influential contacts, his own mercantile affairs flourished. In July 1426, in partnership with a former steward of Southampton, George Usk, he obtained a royal licence to export 200 quarters of corn to Bordeaux and Bayonne, subsequently making a shipment of part of this quantity in the Marie of Hampton, and six years later he secured another such licence, on this occasion to ship a similar quantity of wheat purchased in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight either to the same towns or to Rouen, presumably to victual strongholds occupied by his compatriots. Meanwhile, in 1427, he had himself travelled to France, being allowed permission to appoint two attorneys to act for him in the English courts for one year.2
In the spring of 1432 John Frampton had granted his manor of Woodcotts in Bramdean, Hampshire, to a group of feoffees who included Richard Thornes, the main beneficiaries of the transaction being John Thornes, perhaps Richard’s brother, and the latter’s heirs.3