GIFFARD, John (d.c.1436), of Whaddon, Bucks.

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

s. and h. of Robert Giffard of Whaddon. m. Elizabeth, 2s. 1 d.v.p.2

Offices Held

Escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 4 Nov. 1404-1 Dec. 1405, 29 Nov. 1410-10 Dec. 1411.

Commr. of inquiry, Beds., Bucks. Feb. 1406 (concealments), Northants. Dec. 1413 (assault on John Mortimer*), Mar. 1416 (estates late of Edmund, earl of Stafford); array, Bucks. May 1418.

J.p. Bucks. 18 Feb. 1412-Jan. 1414, Feb. 1419-July 1424.

Sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 10 Nov. 1417-4 Nov. 1418.


Since the 13th century the Giffards had been settled at Whaddon, where they were hereditary custodians of the park and chase. John inherited the manor on the death of his father, Robert, which occurred some time after 1387;3 and it was as John Giffard ‘senior, esquire, son of Robert Giffard’ that he procured a royal pardon in June 1398. He may have been the John Giffard who, in March 1399, was appointed as attorney in Ireland for a year by the bishop of Ossory, then staying in England. Certainly it was he who, in October 1401, shared with Hugh Martyn and Walter Bacon, clerk, a 20-year lease at the Exchequer of the manor of Salden in Buckinghamshire, together with certain lands which Richard II’s queen Anne had once held in the villages of Great and Little Horwood (although whether they retained the lease for its full term does not appear). This was followed in June 1403 by a grant to Giffard, William Vaus and Thomas Thirleby, chaplain, of the custody of the alien priory of Tickford, for which they were to render 50 marks a year. (Two years later, Vaus, who came from Bedfordshire, was to name Giffard as an executor of his will.) Giffard’s first election to Parliament for Buckinghamshire in 1406 followed immediately after a term of office as escheator of the county. In March 1408 he stood surety at the Exchequer for his former associate, Hugh Martyn. It was while serving as a j.p. in July 1412 that he obtained a royal pardon of outlawry for his failure to appear in court to answer Henry, Lord Fitzhugh and others regarding a debt of £10. Giffard’s third election to Parliament in 1417 took place on 10 Nov., the very day on which he was appointed sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, with the result that, however inadvertently, it was in breach of the statute which prohibited the return of sheriffs in office.4

Aspects of Giffard’s career suggest that he was a lawyer. Certainly, his closest associates were members of the legal profession, like John Barton II*, apprentice-at-law, for whom he acted in 1412 as a trustee of a manor in Padbury. Along with Barton and several lawyers from Essex, he served as a feoffee of the Buckinghamshire manor of Wroughton-on-the-Green, on behalf of Richard Fox*—he and his fellows acting as patrons of the rectory there in 1420; and four years later he was a witness to the deed by which Fox and others, as appointees of Walter, 5th Lord Fitzwalter, conveyed to Barton the manor of Dinton. In the course of the 1420s, Giffard also acted as a feoffee-to-uses for John Linford, but failure to obtain the necessary royal licence for transactions regarding Linford’s property meant that he and his associates had to sue for pardon. Giffard is recorded as present at several parliamentary elections held in Buckinghamshire—those of May and December 1421, 1422, 1427, 1432 and 1433—and he was listed along with his sons, Thomas and John, among the notables of the shire required in 1434 to take the generally administered oath against the maintenance of malefactors.5

In 1415 Giffard had increased his landed holdings in Buckinghamshire with the acquisition of the manor of Tattenhoe. This he had placed in the possession of trustees (who included John Barton II and Thomas Thirleby, now parson of Shenley), until in 1431 it was settled on him and his wife Elizabeth for their lives, with remainder in tail-male to their younger son, John. Giffard died at an unknown date before November 1437, when courts were held at Tattenhoe in the name of Elizabeth alone. According to a deposition made in Chancery in 1445 by William Edy, a trustee of Giffard’s more important manor at Whaddon, Giffard had been so heavily in debt towards the end of his life that the sale of his moveable goods would not suffice to pay off his creditors. His elder son, Thomas, had died leaving only a daughter, and, because ‘he loved better John, his younger son, than he did the issue of Thomas’, after making a thorough search among his evidences to ensure that Whaddon was held in fee simple, he had put the manor in the hands of Thomas Wydeville* and others, including Edy, authorizing them to settle his debts after his death and then transfer the estate to John junior. In the event, the trustees had decided to accept the younger John’s undertaking to satisfy his father’s creditors himself, and had conveyed the property to him and his wife jointly. Naturally enough, their action was contested by Thomas Giffard’s daughter and heir, Alice, wife of Gilbert Standish; but in the end she had to be content with Tattenhoe instead of Whaddon.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. As ‘senior’; OR, i. 289.
  • 2. C67/30 m. 15; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 326; Add. Ch. 53796.
  • 3. VCH Bucks. ii. 138; iii. 438-9; CCR, 1385-9, p. 422.
  • 4. C67/30 m. 15; CPR, 1396-9, p. 462; 1408-13, p. 342; CFR, xii. 142, 213; xiii. 102; Reg. Repingdon (Lincoln Rec. Soc. lvii), 74; C219/12/2).
  • 5. Cat. Archs. All Souls Coll. ed. Martin, 94-95; Reg. Chichele, i. 180-1; CCR, 1422-9, p. 150; C219/12/5, 6, 13/1, 5, 14/3, 4; CPR, 1422-9, p. 532; 1429-36, pp. 397-8.
  • 6. Add. Chs. 53792-6, 53962 mm. 1-6; VCH Bucks. iii. 433; C1/13/52-54.