TYRELL, John (c.1382-1437), of Heron in East Horndon, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



May 1413
Mar. 1416
May 1421

Family and Education

b.c.1382, 1st s. of Walter Tyrell of Avon, Hants by Eleanor da. and h. of Edmund Flambard of Shepreth, Cambs.; nephew and h. of Sir Thomas Tyrell of Heron, and er. bro. of Edward Tyrell of Downham. m. (1) Alice (d.1422), da. and coh. of Sir William Coggeshall* of Codham Hall, ?wid. of Thomas Mandeville (d.1400) of Broomfield, Essex, 6s. inc. Thomas, 4da.; (2) between June 1421 and July 1423, Katherine (d. aft. June 1436), da. and coh. of Sir William Burgate* of Burgate, Suff., wid. of Robert Stonham (d.1397) of Stonham Aspall, Suff. and of John Spencer* (d.1417) of Banham, Norf., 1da.1 Kntd. c. July 1431.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Essex and Herts. 6 Nov. 1413-10 Nov. 1414, 14 Feb.-3 Nov. 1423, Norf. and Suff. 12 Dec. 1426-7 Nov. 1427.

Steward of the Essex estates of Hugh Stafford, Lord Bourgchier, by Mich. 1415-aft. Mich. 1416, of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, by June 1416, of Anne, countess of Stafford, by Feb. 1418-aft. 1421, of the honour and lordship of Clare, Suff. and Thaxted, Essex by Mich. 1416-Mich. 1417,2 13 Feb. 1427-?d.

J.p. Essex 21 Apr. 1419-July 1423, 20 July 1424-d., ex officio as chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster, in 16 other shires 1429-d.

Commr. to raise loans, Essex Nov. 1419, July 1426, May 1428, Essex, Herts. Mar. 1430, Essex, Norf., Suff. Feb. 1434; of array, Essex June 1421; inquiry Mar. 1422 (concealments), Mar. 1423 (an appeal against a judgement of the earl of Northumberland as warden of the east march), Kent, Surr., Suss., Essex, Herts., Mdx. July 1434 (concealments); to take musters, Hants May 1431, Kent July 1436; distribute tax allowances, Essex Dec. 1433, May 1437; of weirs, river Lea Dec. 1433, Apr. 1434, Oct. 1436; to administer the oath against maintenance, Essex May 1434; assess subsidies Jan. 1436.

Speaker 1427, 1431, 1437.

Chief steward, duchy of Lancaster north of Trent 10 Dec. 1427-d.3

Member of Henry VI’s council in France 20 Mar.-c. Sept. 1431.

Treasurer of the Household 24 May 1431-d.

Receiver-general of the estates of Richard, duke of York before d.


John came from a well-established Essex family, and his uncle Sir Thomas Tyrell, who served as steward of the estates of Edward III’s daughter, Isabel, was returned as knight of the shire five times between 1365 and 1373. The many Essex properties eventually to fall to John included Heron, Downham, Beeches in Rawreth, Hockley and Ramsden Crays; and in 1422, on the death of his mother (who had married Sir Nicholas Haute* of Wadden Hall, Kent), he also inherited the Tyrell manor of Avon in Hampshire along with other holdings in the New Forest. (However, her own lands in Cambridgeshire passed to his younger brother, Edward.)4 Tyrell’s first marriage, to Alice Coggeshall, brought him the estate at Broomfield which she held for life, quite likely as dower from a previous husband; and, as an outcome of this alliance, on his father-in-law’s death in 1426 Tyrell’s children were to come into possession of part of the substantial Coggeshall inheritance.5 In 1412, when assessments of income from land were made for the purposes of taxation, Tyrell was recorded in possession only of Broomfield and Heron, which were valued at no more than £20 a year; but as his career progressed so did his landed holdings increase, and they soon included property not only in Essex and Hampshire but also in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk. In the last-named shire he occupied manors in Banham as well as other properties which, along with Stonham Aspall and Burgate in Suffolk, he acquired through his second marriage. In 1436 when a graduated income tax was imposed on lands, rents and royal annuities, Tyrell, after a lifetime of service to members of the nobility and the Crown, emerged as the wealthiest non-baronial proprietor in Essex, with an annual income of at least £396. He had, moreover, by then already settled an estate worth £40 a year on his son, Thomas, and had leased Downham and other premises to his younger brother Edward (whose own holdings were assessed at £135).6

Much of Tyrell’s wealth was accumulated from fees and annuities granted him by the magnates who engaged him as steward on their estates or in some other capacity. It seems likely that he received some training in the law which soon made him expert in estate management. By the time of his first return to Parliament he had formed important local connexions: he had begun what was to be a lifelong friendship with the lawyer Richard Baynard* and a close association with Baynard’s brother-in-law, the former Speaker, John Doreward*, ties which were strengthened when Doreward’s son, John, married his sister-in-law, Blanche Coggeshall. Tyrell witnessed the electoral indentures of 1411 which recorded his own return in the company of his father-in-law, Sir William Coggeshall (for whom he subsequently acted as a feoffee). Before he entered the Commons a second time he came into contact with Lewis John*, the London vintner of Welsh extraction who could boast of important connexions at the court of the new King, Henry V. In April 1413, shortly before Henry’s first Parliament assembled, he provided financial securities for John on his appointment as master worker of the Mints; he subsequently assisted him in his acquisition of estates in Essex, and he was party with him to conveyances of property in the city of London on behalf of other vintners, most notably John’s friend, Thomas Walsingham*.7 All three—John, Walsingham and Tyrell—sat in the Parliament. But although the first two were then members of a group closely attached to the Beauforts, Tyrell himself established different connexions. He had made the acquaintance of Sir Thomas Erpingham KG, the steward of the household of Henry V, and in 1414 he was party to the foundation of a chantry at Wivenhoe for members of the family of Erpingham’s wife; and he had also caught the attention of the King’s cousin, Anne, countess of Stafford, now married to Sir William Bourgchier*, for whom he acted as trustee of the castle and lordship of Oakham in Rutland. He was long to remain in the countess’s service: in 1415 he took on the feoffeeship of her property at West Thurrock; by 1418 he was serving as steward of her manor of Great Waltham, and within a year he had been promoted chief steward of all the estates of her de Bohun inheritance. As late in his life as 1435-6 he was to be still receiving an annuity of ten marks by her gift. Tyrell was also employed by Bourgchier’s kinswoman, Elizabeth, Lady Bourgchier, and her successive husbands, Sir Hugh Stafford (whom he served as estates’ steward for a fee of £10 a year), and Sir Lewis Robessart (for whom he appeared as a feoffee); furthermore, in later years he witnessed deeds on behalf of the countess’s son, Henry, Lord Bourgchier.8

Besides establishing a reputation for reliable service to local landowners, Tyrell began to be employed (usually as a surety) by men who played an important part in government, or who were close to the King. Thus, in May 1415 he was associated with Sir John Tiptoft* (with whom he was long to remain on amicable terms) in entering bonds in 500 marks assigned to Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham, a transaction which probably had something to do with Tiptoft’s appointment as seneschal of Aquitaine. Among his co-feoffees of Oakham was Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, and on the eve of Henry V’s expedition to Normandy he joined the duke’s retinue, enlisting with five men-at-arms (including two of his own brothers) and 16 archers. He may well have already been engaged as steward of Gloucester’s estates in Essex. In July 1417 he assisted Tiptoft, a commander in the second expedition to France, when in association with the chancellor, treasurer and other important officials he received substantial loans from citizens of London towards paying the army’s wages. A year later Gloucester made him and Tiptoft, among others, mortgagees of a number of his manors to raise money for the payment of his debts. By then Tyrell had evidently become one of the duke’s most trusted retainers: in 1420 when Gloucester interfered in the dispute between Richard, earl of Warwick, and James, Lord Berkeley, over the descent of the barony of Berkeley, Lord James won his support ‘with his purse’ by being bound in 10,000 marks to Tyrell and Walter Sheryngton, clerk, ‘men whom the duke much trusted’, and by promising the duke himself lands worth 400 marks if he won his suit. Tyrell’s connexion with the King’s brother must have had some effect on the number of times he was returned to Parliament in the years following the victory at Agincourt. He is not known to have gone to France again during Henry V’s reign, although he was named on the list of knights and esquires of Essex sent to the Council in January 1420 as being most capable for military service.9

In February 1422 Tyrell once again stood surety for Tiptoft at the Exchequer, and in May he did likewise for William Yerde*, the attorney-general to John Holand, earl of Huntingdon (then a prisoner in France). In the Parliament which met that autumn (Tyrell’s seventh) he no doubt lent his support to Gloucester, then made Protector following the death of Henry V. Tyrell was appointed sheriff for the second time in 1423, as such holding the elections in Essex and Hertfordshire and making the returns for the former county of his friends, Richard Baynard and Robert Darcy*. (He was to be closely linked to Darcy by the marriages of their children and grandchildren.) In November 1423 he provided securities for Ralph, Lord Cromwell, a member of the King’s Council,10 and this connexion, coupled with his links with Gloucester and Tiptoft, proved useful that same year when, having married Katherine, widow of John Spencer, the keeper of the wardrobe to Henry V, he sought from the Council repayment of huge debts amounting to £2,700 owed by the late King’s executors to her as Spencer’s executrix. Indeed, in January 1424 instructions were sent by the Council to the administrators of Henry V’s will to give the Tyrells preferential treatment.11 During the 1420s Tyrell was often named in association with others of Gloucester’s circle, such as Nicholas Thorley (his receiver-general) and Walter, Lord Fitzwalter (his political ally), acting on behalf of the latter as a feoffee.12 It was probably to the duke that he owed his appointment early in 1427 as steward of Clare and Thaxted during the minority of Richard, duke of York, for Gloucester then held the wardship of the bulk of York’s estates. That April Tyrell travelled to Holland in the company of the great canonist, Dr. William Lyndwood, engaged on diplomatic work for the Council regarding the affairs of the duchess of Gloucester, Jacqueline of Hainault. He had been advanced £60 13s.4d. at the Exchequer before his departure, and a year later he was to receive a special reward of £40 for his expenses on the embassy and also because, owing to his absence, he had been impeded in his collection of the profits of his bailiwick as sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. Tyrell’s election for Hertfordshire to the Parliament of 1427 was irregular, because it took place when he was sheriff (albeit of another area) and the return of such officials was prohibited. That the Commons were amenable to the Protector’s influence is suggested by the election of Tyrell as Speaker, although he was an eminently suitable choice in other respects, being an experienced parliamentarian attending the House for the ninth time. During the recess in December, and no doubt through Gloucester’s patronage, he obtained the prestigious and lucrative office of chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster north of the Trent, a post which he was to hold until his death. Whether or not Tyrell encouraged the Commons to support Duke Humphrey, it was all to little avail, for the session of January 1428 witnessed a refusal on the part of the Lords to acceed to the Protector’s request for a wider definition of his powers.13

Naturally, in view of his duchy office and his links with Gloucester, Tyrell’s connexions with members of the Council, such as Lord Tiptoft, continued, and his services as a mainpernor and feoffee were sought by such important landowners as Joan, Lady Beauchamp of Abergavenny, and John de Vere, earl of Oxford. In 1431 he became a trustee of the estates of (Sir) John Stourton II* (afterwards Lord Stourton), and two years later he was named by Richard Baynard as an overseer of his will and by Richard Buckland†, the former treasurer of Calais and a retainer of the duke of Bedford, as an executor. Among the feoffees of his own estates were such prominent figures as Bishop Alnwick of Norwich and Ralph, Lord Cromwell.14 From 1430 to 1432 Gloucester acted as Custos Anglie during Henry VI’s absence in France, and in the only Parliament to be summoned during this period Tyrell was again elected Speaker of the Commons. In March 1431, just before the session ended, he was paid £100 as retained to go overseas to serve the King as a member of his council, in addition to an advance on wages of war for himself and his retinue; and two months later he was appointed treasurer of the Household and to the co-ordinate office of treasurer of war, being then authorized to carry £4,000 in gold with him to France. He was knighted shortly afterwards and remained treasurer for the rest of his life, receiving as his salary 100 marks a year from the fee farm of Lincoln. During the Parliament of 1433 Tyrell headed a deputation of the Commons on behalf of Roger Hunt*, Lord Tiptoft’s friend who, then Speaker, wished to be exonerated from appointment as sheriff. In the spring of 1434 he was one of the commoners summoned to the great council which discussed Duke Humphrey’s proposal to lead the English forces in France himself, perhaps lending support to his patron’s extravagant plans. In July he was brought before the royal council for an investigation into the whereabouts of a certain sum of 500 marks allegedly paid him for the use of the Household, but the leakage (if such it was) did not affect his continued tenure of the treasureship. A year later he made the Crown a personal loan of 100 marks, the equivalent of his annual salary.15

Over the years Tyrell had assumed an important place in the management of the affairs of Richard, duke of York, rising from the of steward of steward of his inheritance at Clare and Thaxted to be receiver-general of all his estates. It may well have been at York’s request that in the Parliament of 1433 he had been one of the five men appointed to act as overseers of the administration of the effects of the late Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, whose nephew and heir the duke was; and in 1436 Sir John was involved as a feoffee in a mortgage of certain of the former Mortimer properties. His simultaneous attachment to both Gloucester and York presupposes some community of interest between the two magnates, who were, in fact, leaders of the party strongly in favour of an active prosecution of the war in France. Elected to his 13th Parliament early in 1437, Tyrell was chosen as Speaker for the third time, but on 19 Mar. (only eight days before the dissolution) he was replaced by William Burley*, after being ‘par la visitation de Dieu’ stricken by various infirmities, ‘issint q’il ne purroit bonement entendre ne laborer sur et entour l’effectual esploitment de les basoignes de mesme le Parlement’.16 He died on 2 Apr. and was buried with his second wife in the church of the Austin friars in London. Masses were said for them both in Bury St. Edmunds abbey.17 He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, (Sir) Thomas.

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Authors: J. S. Roskell / L. S. Woodger


  • 1. BL Arundel, 68, f. 63.
  • 2. DKR, xliii. 316.
  • 3. Somerville, Duchy, i. 420, 601.
  • 4. CCR, 1377-81, pp. 143, 174, 601; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 180; CFR, xiv. 434; VCH Hants, v. 125, 129; C138/63/29a; VCH Cambs. v. 256.
  • 5. Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. v. 294-5; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 252; CFR, xix. 237.
  • 6. Feudal Aids, vi. 445; F. Blomefield, Norf. i. 347; EHR, xlix. 633; Reg. Chichele, ii. 628-36; CP25(1)224/114/22.
  • 7. CFR, xiii. 141; CCR, 1409-13, p. 170; 1413-19, pp. 66, 276, 443, 453; 1422-9, p. 160; Corporation of London RO, hr 141/61, 145/25; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 267; C219/10/6.
  • 8. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 262-3, 267; CPR, 1413-16, pp. 151, 270; Essex Rev. xiii. 133; CCR, 1419-22, p. 261; 1422-9, p. 175; 1429-35, p. 83, 259; Egerton Roll 2181; SC6/1117/3; SC11/816.
  • 9. CCR, 1413-19, pp. 274, 435; DKR, xliv. 573; E101/45/13; Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 24; CPR, 1416-22, p. 129; 1429-35, pp. 504-5; J. Smyth, Lives of the Berkeleys ed. Maclean, ii. 45; E28/97 m. 10.
  • 10. CPR, 1416-22, p. 412; CCR, 1419-22, p. 259; CFR, xv. 63.
  • 11. CPL, vii. 317-18; PPC, iii. 131; CPR, 1422-9, pp. 267-8.
  • 12. Essex RO, D/DB T 96/33, 34; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 260-1; CPR, 1429-35, pp. 208-11; London hr 154/2, 7.
  • 13. CPR, 1422-9, pp. 395, 401; CFR, xv. 166; DKR, xlviii. 249; E404/43/305, 44/312; RP, iv. 317; J.S. Roskell, Speakers, 192-5.
  • 14. CPR, 1422-9, pp. 483, 486, 543; 1429-36, pp. 119, 368, 602; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 331-2; 1429-35, p. 291; Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/3, f. 372v; Fifty Earliest Eng. Wills (EETS lxxviii), 107.
  • 15. Roskell, 202-3; PPC, iv. 82, 84; RP, iv. 368, 436; E404/47/195, 294, 305, 306; CPR, 1429-35, pp. 133, 155, 467; 1441-6, p. 150; PPC, iv. 212, 266-8.
  • 16. RP, iv. 470, 496, 502; Roskell, 215-16; Egerton Roll 8781; CPR, 1429-36, p. 514.
  • 17. C139/85/5; J. Stow, Surv. London ed. Kingsford, i. 178; Add. 14848, f. 325.