FORTHEY, John, of Worcester.
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Family and Education
Clerk of the peace, Worcs. Jan. 1419-c. Mich. 1426.1
Escheator, Worcs. 5 Nov. 1432-3.
Dep. butler and coroner, London 8 Feb. 1435-aft. Sept. 1437.
Keeper of the rolls of Chancery, Ire. 1 Jan. 1438-c.1440.
Forthey was described as ‘of Worcestershire’ in 1411, when he provided securities for exchequer lessees of estates in the county. In January 1419 he succeeded Richard Oseney* as clerk of the peace for Worcestershire, an office he was to occupy for upwards of seven years, in the course of which he represented the shire town in four Parliaments. In the month preceding his first election he, as John Forthey ‘gentleman’, stood surety with John Leventhorpe*, the then receiver-general of the duchy of Lancaster, for the latter’s son, who together with John Harper* (Member-elect for Stafford) thereby secured a grant at the Exchequer of a royal wardship.2
At the elections held at Worcester for the Parliament of 1425 Forthey found mainprise for the appearance of Oseney, and in 1432 he was to act likewise on behalf of William Pullesdon†. However, save for the period of his escheatorship of Worcestershire, he would appear to have been devoting more of his energies to affairs at Westminster and in London than to those at home. By 1428 he had been accepted as a member of Lincoln’s Inn, and in July 1430 he again stood surety at the Exchequer, on this occasion for the keepers of the manor of Repton, Derbyshire. It was to Sir Ralph Butler (afterwards Lord Sudeley) that he owed his appointment as deputy butler and ex officio coroner in the City of London, prestigious and influential posts which he retained for at least two-and-a-half years. However, very soon after he relinquished them, he was sent to Ireland to be keeper of the rolls of the Chancery in the province. He may have returned to England by October 1439, for he then received at the Exchequer a royal gift of the arrears of 24 marks due to the King from the issues of the manor of Polstead Hall, Norfolk, as a reward for his good services. Forthey again acted as mainpernor at the Exchequer in March 1440 (for a lessee of land in Hertfordshire), but possibly died before January 1443, when one Thomas Wakefield paid part of a debt he owed to the governors of Lincoln’s Inn.3