GATEFORD, John (d.1407), of Gateford, Notts.

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

Family and Education

m. by Nov. 1389, Joan (fl. 1401).1

Offices Held

Collector of a tax, Notts. Dec. 1372, Mar. 1404; surveyor, Notts., Derbys. Mar. 1381.

Commr. of inquiry, Derbys. Dec. 1376 (wastes), Notts. July 1390 (possessions of the late Sir Richard Bingham), Notts., Yorks. June 1393 (illicit salmon fishing), Apr. 1396 (obstructions to the river Idle), Notts. Mar., Apr. 1398 (money due to Thomas Arundel, former abp. of York); to suppress the insurgents of 1381, Notts. Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; of oyer and terminer Nov. 1383 (attack on the prioress of Broadholme’s estates), July 1391 (attack on the abp. of York’s ferry at Flintham), Nov. 1392 (buried treasure at Tuxford), Derbys. July 1406 (attack on Lord Darcy’s estates); to collect money due to the prior of Blyth Feb. 1386; make arrests Mar. 1386, Notts. Sept. 1399; of array June, Aug. 1388,2 Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403; to survey Nottingham castle, May 1398; enforce the statute on weirs June 1398; restore confiscated goods to Thomas Arundel as abp. of Canterbury, Lincs., Notts., Yorks. Mar. 1400; of kiddles May 1402; to prevent the spread of treasonous rumours, Notts. May 1402.

J.p. Notts. 10 Jan. 1378-July 1389, 28 June 1390-d.

Dep. steward of Sherwood forest, Notts. by May 1378, 3 Nov. 1400-d; verderer by d.3

Coroner, Notts. to 18 Feb. 1382.

Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 20 Oct. 1385-18 Nov. 1386, 21 Oct. 1391-18 Oct. 1392, 1 Dec. 1396-3 Nov. 1397, 8-30 Nov. 1401.

Escheator, Notts. and Derbys. 30 Nov. 1388-12 Feb. 1391,28 Nov. 1399-24 Nov. 1400.

Alnager, Notts. 20 July 1394-26 Feb. 1401.

Guardian of the temporalities of the abp. of York 23 Apr.-23 June 1398, 11 June-8 Apr. 1405.

Steward of the abp. of York’s lordship of Southwell, Notts. by d.


A man of impressive administrative ability, Gateford was involved for over 30 years in the business of local government and came to play a leading part in the Nottinghamshire community. His family took their name from the manor of Gateford, which was their seat, and he himself is first mentioned in 1365 as a feudal tenant there of Thomas Neville, Lord Furnival. His links with the Lords Furnival were evidently quite strong, since he acted as a trustee for Thomas’s brother and heir, William; and when the latter died, in 1383, he was present to ensure that a proper inventory was made of his effects. Meanwhile, his first return to Parliament in 1373 followed close upon the start of his career as an administrator; and although he is nowhere specifically described as a lawyer, it seems likely that his success and wide-ranging connexions owed a good deal to legal training. In June 1377 Gateford sued out a royal pardon, which, in view of his appointment to the Nottinghamshire bench soon afterwards, was probably little more than a formality. His reasons for offering a bond worth £8 9s. to John Ravenser during the course of the 1380 Parliament (of which he was again a Member) are not now recorded, but the transaction probably involved Ravenser in his official capacity as keeper of the hanaper. Over the next few years Gateford struck up a friendship with the influential Yorkshire landowner, Robert Morton† of Bawtry, who made him one of his feoffees and subsequently left his wife two gold rosaries in his will. Another of his associates at this time was Edmund Clay, c.j.c.p. in Ireland, for whom he acted as an attorney in England over a two-year period ending in November 1387. Furthermore, by then the tide of royal patronage had begun to flow his way, and at some point before March 1386 he became one of Richard II’s serjeants-at-arms. During a visit to Nottingham castle, six years later, the King rewarded his loyal service with an annuity of £20 payable for life, charged upon the revenues of the county (and thus less likely to fall into arrears).4

Not much evidence has survived about Gateford’s personal affairs, although his wife, Joan, evidently possessed a title to the Buckinghamshire manor of Little Marlow, which she released in 1389 to Hugh Cotyngham. His professional activities, on the other hand, are well documented, and we know that he was much in demand as a trustee and mainpernor. He performed both these services for Sir John Leek (his colleague in the first Parliament of 1390), and was also closely involved in the dealings of the Cressy family, whose property transactions led to his appearance in what was evidently a collusive suit at the Nottingham assizes in 1396. He had previously been a party to the endowment of Welbeck abbey in Nottinghamshire, having no doubt used his influence at Court to secure royal letters patent permitting such a grant. Another important factor in Gateford’s career was his association with the see of York, for besides being twice chosen to supervise the temporalities of the archbishopric during vacancies, he was also made steward of the lordship of Southwell, which formed part of the archiepiscopal estates. Although other members of his circle included Sir Edmund Pierrepont (for whom he offered securities of £500 during the course of his dispute with the people of Grimsby) and Philip, Lord Darcy (who entrusted the management of his affairs to him while away in Ireland in 1392), Gateford was quite prepared to assist members of the lesser gentry and yeomanry when it came to the settlement of their property.5

Gateford’s position during the political crisis of 1399 raises some interesting questions, for despite his erstwhile attachment to Richard II he was clearly regarded as a friend and ally of the Lancastrian cause. His election to the first Parliament of Henry IV’s reign, no less than his appointment temporarily as sheriff, then after about a month as escheator of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, suggests that he had already thrown in his lot with the new regime, although his reputation as an administrator of proven ability and long experience was, indeed, enough to recommend him. Henry IV was, at all events, happy to confirm him in his annuity of £20; and it may be that some of his old friends, such as Sir Thomas Rempston I*, intervened on his behalf. In November 1400 Rempston wrote personally to the King to secure his appointment as deputy steward of Sherwood forest, a post which he had occupied once before in his younger days. Gateford’s last years were marked by two lawsuits over property in Nottinghamshire, one of which concerned his own title to land; but otherwise this period passed without incident. He died shortly before 20 Mar. 1407, while still sitting as a j.p. The John Gateford of Everton who was later accused in the court of Chancery of wrongfully evicting a local man may perhaps have been his son, although precise evidence of their relationship remains wanting. The latter established an unexpected connexion with Cumberland by marrying the daughter of Master John Welton, a priest from the diocese of Carlisle.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variants: Gaiteford, Gaytford, Geytford.

  • 1. CPR, 1388-92, p. 153; JUST 1/1514 rot. 75, 78v.
  • 2. Rot. Scot. ed. Macpherson etc. ii. 95.
  • 3. SC1/43/56.
  • 4. Thoroton Soc. iv. 58; Test. Ebor. i. 125, 213; CIPM, xv. nos. 782, 785; C67/28B m. 12; CCR, 1377-81, p. 479; 1381-5, pp. 435, 439-40; 1385-9, p. 169; 1392-6, p. 10; CPR, 1381-5, p. 572; 1391-6, p. 103.
  • 5. C143/417/28; CP25(1)186/35/39, 36/67; JUST 1/1501 rot. 91; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Clifton mss, CID nos. 643, 650, 918; Thoroton Soc. iv. 149; CPR, 1388-92, pp. 153, 192; 1391-6, pp. 154, 188; CCR, 1389-92, p. 106.
  • 6. C1/5/27; JUST 1/1514 rot. 75, 76, 78, 78v, 79; SC1/43/56; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 120; CCR, 1405-9, p. 208; VCH Cumb. ii. 147.