CHETWYND, John (c.1390-c.1448), of Alspath in Meriden, Warws.

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



Dec. 1421

Family and Education

b.c.1390, 3rd or 4th s. of Sir William Chetwynd† of Ingestre, Staffs. and Grendon, Warws. m. Joan (d. 29 Jan. 1438), wid. of John Botrell of Aston Botterell, Salop, 2s.

Offices Held

Steward of the estates of Richard, earl of Warwick, in Staffs. by 1425.

J.p. Warws. 16 Feb. 1434-July 1443.

Commr. to distribute tax allowances, Warws. May 1437; of gaol delivery, Warwick Sept. 1440; to treat for payment of subsidies, Warws. Feb. 1441.

Steward of Morfe and Shirlet, Salop 28 June 1438-30 Sept. 1447.

Escheator, Salop 5 Nov. 1439-4 Nov. 1440.


John’s father, Sir William Chetwynd, who had sat for Shropshire in 1377, held Ingestre, Rowley and Gratwich in Staffordshire and Baxterley and Grendon in Warwickshire. These estates passed on his death in 1395 first to John’s elder brothers, Roger (d.1396) and Richard (d.c.1418), and then to his nephew (Sir) Philip. He himself came of age by 1411, when he was a feoffee of property in Stafford with his brother Richard, and in the following year the two were associated with their brothers-in-law John Mallory* and William Purefoy in transactions with Sir John Poultney* of Hertfordshire. Evidently of small means and limited prospects, Chetwynd sought to improve his standing through the purchase of property in Warwickshire. Some time before 1432 he bought land at Alspath from Margery Alspath, widow of William Cokkes of Coventry (presumably she who married Robert Castell*), and he later also came into possession of her manor of Alspath and holdings at Berkswell, but even so his landed income by 1436 was estimated to be no more than £10 a year. Furthermore, his tenure of Alspath was precarious and he needed the help of Mallory and Sir John Cockayne* to challenge the title of other claimants in the courts. Among those whom he later enfeoffed in this property was the distinguished military captain (Sir) William Peyto*.1

Chetwynd was connected with the Warwickshire gentry and had possibly acquired property in the county by the time of his first return to Parliament in 1421. Before long he came to the notice of John, duke of Norfolk (the overlord of Alspath), and in 1428 he was engaged in the duke’s business at Coventry in connexion with a lawsuit. However, a more lasting attachment linked him intimately with Richard, earl of Warwick. Indeed, on 8 May that same year he was privileged to be one of four esquires who together with four knights were charged with the duty of waiting on Henry VI’s person, all eight being assigned to serve under the earl, the young King’s ‘governor’. Accordingly, in 1430 Chetwynd travelled to France for the King’s coronation at Paris. Since 1425, or earlier, he had been serving as steward of the earl’s estates in Staffordshire, for which he received an annual fee of £3 6s.8d. He long continued to be associated with other of Warwick’s retainers, notably John Verney, dean of Lichfield, John Throckmorton*and Robert Andrew II*, as when in 1435 he made a quitclaim of the Staffordshire manor of Shenstone. In the meantime, he had headed the list of Warwickshire electors to the Parliament of 1431, and three years later he had been among the gentry of the shire required to take the oath against maintenance. Despite his appointment as a j.p., he once more took passage overseas, in November 1434, this time to Calais.2

On his return home Chetwynd secured election to the Parliament of 1437. In the following year he was appointed for life as steward of Morfe and Shirlet in Shropshire, a county in which he had earlier had property interests, for his late wife had held the manor of Aston Botterell as jointure from her first marriage. Chetwynd subsequently served as escheator of Shropshire. In 1444 his nephew, Sir Philip Chetwynd died without issue, and he was declared to be the heir of the extensive family estates. But Sir Philip’s widow Joan had been endowed with a sizeable jointure and she, having married the great jurist Thomas Lyttleton, was in a good position to retain possession of the property. Not surprisingly, Chetwynd was unsuccessful in the ensuing litigation in Chancery and the King’s bench, and in addition he may have been deprived of his royal office in Shropshire for having the temerity to challenge Lyttleton; in 1447 his stewardship was granted to John Hampton†, a retainer of Humphrey, duke of Buckingham, who had probably helped the lawyer to his lucrative marriage. Joan Lyttleton lived on until 1505, so Chetwynd never obtained possession of the family estates. (It was his grandson, William†, who eventually inherited them.) He died before 1449, when his feoffees conveyed Alspath to William Purefoy and (Sir) William Mountfort I* of Coleshill (who may also have been a kinsman). He left two sons: Thomas (d.c.1451) and Robert.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


He has been distinguished from his more prominent kinsman John Chetwynd (d. 1433/4) of Shavington, Salop, who through his marriage, bef. 1419, to Rose (c.1397-1471), da. and h. of Roger Wastnesse of Tixall, obtained property in Staffs. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xi. 228; xvii. 22; CFR, xiv. 307; C138/36/17). The kinsman was retained successively by John of Gaunt, Henry IV, Henry of Monmouth and Henry VI, obtaining through his position as an esquire of Monmouth’s chamber the offices of keeper of Snowdon forest (bef. Mar. 1413-Aug. 1415), serjeant of Caen (1418-c.1422), and constable of Tintagel castle (by Oct. 1420-d. ). By the time of his death he was in receipt of royal annuities amounting to some £78. (Cam. Misc. xxii. 106; SC6/813/23; DL28/15, f. 20d.; DL29/738/12100; E101/406/21, f. 27; E404/29/106; CPR, 1413-16, pp. 233, 362; 1416-22, p. 50; 1422-9, pp. 15, 50, 525, 538; DKR, xxxvii (pt. 2), 145.) That it was not he who sat for Warws. in 1421 may be deduced from his almost continual absence in France on campaign with Henry V, from Agincourt until the King’s death, and in particular from his contract to return there with Henry in the summer before Parliament met. (E101/69/6/459, 8/548, 70/4/660; DKR, xliv. 563, 595, 614; Rot. Normanniae ed. Hardy, 252, 256). After his death in the winter of 1433/4 his widow, one-time nurse to Henry VI, married another ‘King’s esquire’, John Merston. Before 1468 she sold her property in Staffs., and she died in 1471. (CPR, 1436-41, p. 48; CCR, 1468-76, no. 132; CFR, xxi. no. 3.)

  • 1. H.E. Chetwynd-Stapylton, Chetwynds of Ingestre, 112-15; CFR, xi. 176, 209; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 315; VCH Warws. iv. 151; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xii. 322; EHR, xlix. 639; CAD, ii. A2753.
  • 2. E101/514/17; E404/51/130; C219/14/2; SC12/18/45; CCR, 1429-35, p. 361; PPC, iii. 294; DKR, xlviii. 276; Egerton Roll 8514.
  • 3. C139/85/23, 122/32; VCH Warws. iv. 76; VCH Staffs. iv. 82; Chetwynd-Stapylton, 82, 109, 112-15; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xii. 263-4, 267, 322; CCR, 1435-41, p. 268; 1447-54, p. 513; CPR, 1436-41, p. 190; 1446-52, p. 106; M.C. Carpenter, ‘Pol. Soc. Warws.’ (Cambridge Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1976), 145-6.