FOVENT, alias OSEGOOD, Robert, of Shaftesbury, Dorset.

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



Jan. 1390

Family and Education

2nd s. of Robert Osegood alias Fovent (d.1377), of Fovant, Wilts. and Shaftesbury, by Margery, da. of Thomas Platel of Shaftesbury. m. (1) by 1384, Margaret (b.1364), da. of Raymond Herring (d.1372), and sis. and h. of Robert Herring of Chaldon and Winterbourne Herringston, Dorset; (2) by 1405, Edith.1

Offices Held


Robert’s father came from Fovant in Wiltshire and held lands in Combe and Charlton by Donhead St. Mary in the same county, only a few miles from Shaftesbury. By 1351 he had married Margery Platel, whose father had founded a chantry at the altar of St. Nicholas in Shaftesbury abbey.2 The couple settled in Shaftesbury where Fovent was mayor in 1355 and represented the borough in Parliament the same year. At that time they had a son named Edmund, but he evidently predeceased his father, leaving Robert as the eldest surviving son when Fovent died in 1377. He was probably still a minor; it was not until 1385 that his mother settled on him some of her property.3

Fovent made a profitable first marriage. When Robert Herring died in September 1384, before attaining his majority, his sister Margaret, already married to Fovent, became heir to the extensive Herring estates in Dorset and to one third of the manor of Plumberrow in Hockley, Essex. She and her husband were granted seisin of the latter in November 1387.4Fovent’s known activities over the next few years centred on Shaftesbury abbey where Cecily Fovent (d.1423), probably his sister, was a nun and, from 1398, abbess; and it is possible that his connexions with the abbey had some influence on his return to the first Parliament of 1390. Later that spring he was a juror at Shaftesbury at an inquiry regarding the possessions of St. Anne’s chantry in the conventual church, and over the next 15 years he made detailed preparations for the foundation of another chantry there, dedicated to SS. Katherine, Margaret and Faith. The arrangements involved the cooperation of the rectors of St. Martin’s and St. Mary’s in Shaftesbury, Thomas Bonham*, steward of the bishop of Salisbury, and John Whiting*, as well as that of his brother, Thomas Fovent, clerk (d.1404), his sister Agnes, widow of Robert Fleming, and John Osegood, clerk, perhaps another brother.5 The chantry was to be maintained from property worth £22 a year, consisting of 31 messuages, six cottages, six tofts, 111 acres of land and annual rents of 22s., in Fovant, Donhead St. Mary and Shaftesbury, most of which were not to be finally transferred to the nunnery’s possession until after Fovent’s death. Royal licence was granted in 1406, and the rule of ‘St. Katherine’s chantry’, which provided for services for the abbess and her kinsfolk, was established in 1415.6 Robert Fovent lived for some years after these arrangements had been completed. He was a delegate sent to Dorchester to report the results of the Shaftesbury elections to Parliament on no less than 12 occasions between 1407 and 1426, and is last recorded as a witness to a conveyance dated at Shaftesbury in October 1426.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. In the Cat. Addns. to mss in BM, 1931-5, p. 325, relating to Egerton 3135, Robert and his wife Edith are said to have been the parents of Cecily Fovent, abbess of the Benedictine abbey of Shaftesbury from 1398 to 1423. But in none of the deeds enrolled in the cartulary is their relationship made explicit, and in view of the time-scale involved it is more probable that Cecily was Robert’s sister.
  • 2. L. Sydenham, Shaftesbury and its Abbey, 48, 54, but there are errors regarding the Fovents in this account.
  • 3. J. Hutchins, Hist. Dorset, iii. 15; Egerton 3135, ff. 42v, 46, 77v, 78, 105.
  • 4. CFR, x. 198; CPR, 1385-8, p. 427; Hutchins, i. 340-1; ii. 520.
  • 5. C145/245/11; Egerton 3135, ff. 67-70, 76, 79-81, 107-10; PCC 6 Marche. Thomas is perhaps to be identified with the Thomas Favent, clerk, who wrote an account of the Parliament of 1388 (Feb.): Camden Miscellany, xiv.
  • 6. Egerton 3135, ff. 100-5, 110v, 112-15, 117-18; C143/437/1, 26; CPR, 1405-8, p. 266.
  • 7. C219/10/4, 11/2, 3, 5, 12/2-6, 13/1, 3, 4; Harl. Ch. 76 C 16.