BURTON, John I.
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Family and Education
It is now impossible to establish the identity of this Member, who appears to have had no tangible connexions with the county which he represented in Parliament. The problem of identification is made all the more difficult in view of the existence of at least ten men of this name, each of whom is known to have been active at the beginning of the 15th century. Of these no less than four came from Yorkshire and are most unlikely to have sat for Huntingdonshire.1 The Bristol merchant, John Burton II*, can also be eliminated from our list of possible candidates, along with his namesake from Marston in Lincolnshire, who served as alnager of Kesteven at this time.2 There is nothing to suggest that the Nottinghamshire knight, Sir John Burton II*, ever sat for another county, nor that his neighbour and probable kinsman, John Burton of Newton, a member of several royal commissions, ever had dealings so far afield.3 This leaves us with two men, both of whom lived in counties adjacent to Huntingdonshire and appear to have been reasonably affluent. The first came from Northamptonshire, and in February 1410 we find him acting as a mainpernor in Chancery for one John Pole of Wellingborough.4 The other was chosen in December 1417 to collect taxes for the Crown in Cambridgeshire.5 Either of them could have been returned to the Parliament of 1407; and either could, moreover, have been employed by Henry IV as a purveyor of the royal household. From April 1401 until September 1412 a John Burton was intermittently commissioned by buy victuals for the court at Coventry and Westminster. It was almost certainly he who, at some point before July 1405, became a yeoman of the King’s half-brother, John, earl of Somerset, and thus obtained a share in the estates forfeited from the rebel Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. This John Burton drew an annuity of ten marks from his patron’s manor of Curry Revell in Somerset, which was confirmed to him by Henry IV after the earl’s death, ‘considering the long service of the said John ... without reward’.6 We can, however, only speculate about the likelihood of any such association on the part of an MP who must remain shrouded in obscurity.
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. The four came, respectively from Tinsley (CFR, xiii. 91), Biggin (ibid. 180; CPR, 1401-5, p. 90; 1405-8, p. 72), Hessle (CCR, 1419-22, p. 228) and Hedon (ibid. 1396-9, p. 38; CPR, 1408-13, p. 339).
- 2. CFR, xi. 193; xii. 235; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 291.
- 3. CFR, xii. 115, 189, 257; xiii. 64; CPR, 1408-13, p. 310; 1416-22, p. 204; 1422-9, p. 35.
- 4. CCR, 1409-13, p. 79.
- 5. CFR, xiv. 221.
- 6. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 474; 1401-5, pp. 71, 130, 154, 282, 314, 317, 461; 1405-8, pp. 42, 87, 379; 1408-13, pp. 345, 382.