POUGER, John (c.1381-1415), of West Rasen, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b.c. 1381, s. and h. of John Pouger (d. 20 Dec. 1405) of West Rasen, prob. by his w. Amy. m. Joan, at least 1s. 1da. Kntd. by 24 Nov. 1415.1
John Pouger’s father was a distinguished member of the Lincolnshire community who served two terms as sheriff of the county and one as escheator, as well as sitting on the bench in Lindsey and executing various royal commissions. He died in 1405 at the family home of West Rasen, having just obtained a licence from the bishop of Lincoln to establish an oratory there; and he was probably buried in the chantry chapel which he had founded in the local church while still a young man.2 John was then at least 24 years old, and thus obtained seisin of his inheritance within a matter of weeks. His Lincolnshire estates, which were centred upon the villages of West Rasen, Middle Rasen and Scalby bore a valuation of about £22 p.a.; the manor and lordship of Drax in east Yorkshire brought him a further £27 a year or more; and he could also rely on an income of £10 p.a. from lands in the Wiltshire villages of Chelworth, Bentham, Calcott and Purton, together with the manor of Eycote (possibly Eycotfield near Rendcombe) in Gloucestershire.3 His title to the last of these properties proved difficult to uphold, however, and it was not until July 1406 that the Crown recognized an enfeoffment made much earlier by his father. The manor of Eycote had, apparently, been settled for life upon a younger, but short-lived, brother of his named William, a fact which may well have caused this delay. Far more serious was a rival claim to the same manor advanced shortly afterwards by a neighbouring (but now unknown) religious house, whose representatives forcibly evicted the MP in favour of their own tenant, John Warre. Since the latter was also being maintained at common law, Pouger petitioned Henry IV for redress, but although he was helped in this by his influential friend, John Skipwith*, who went surety on his behalf, he found it impossible to overcome such powerful opposition, and in February 1410 he formally conveyed the manor to Warre in return for an instrument recognizing his ownership of the estates which his father had left him in Wiltshire. Concern over his legal rights probably led him to secure other letters of confirmation at this time, for five days later a charter of Henry III granting a market, a fair and rights of free warren to the then lord of West Rasen was inspected and confirmed on his behalf at Westminster.4
Perhaps because of his preoccupation with the dispute over Eycote, Pouger did not become particularly involved in Lincolnshire affairs. Unlike his father, he played no part in local government, nor did he have much to do with the transactions of other landowners in the area. So far as we know, he only acted as a feoffee-to-uses, being employed in this capacity from 1406 onwards by Sir Robert Elkyngton. Three years later he and John Skipwith joined with Sir Robert’s widow in offering £40 for the marriage and wardship of the knight’s son and heir, who was then a ward of the King as of his duchy of Lancaster.5 Pouger’s one return to Parliament, which took place when he was about 30 years old, does not seem to have kindled any new interest in public affairs; but it is possible that he spent some time overseas, and was thus prevented by other commitments from assuming the official responsibilities which usually fell to men of his wealth and position. He may, perhaps, have served as a member of the Calais garrison, and have received his knighthood, which was awarded towards the end of his life, during the course of Henry V’s first expedition to France. His will of 24 Nov. 1415 shows that he was taken ill at Calais, where he supported an establishment of six or more servants and kept sufficient goods to warrant the appointment of a special executor. The latter was to discharge his duties under the supervision of William Leadenham*, a merchant from Lincoln, who was evidently either a friend or business associate of the testator. Pouger died a few days later, at the very beginning of December, having left instructions for his burial before the crucifix in the church of St. Mary, Calais. Because his death occurred overseas, the bishop of Lincoln was obliged to issue a special commission before the will could be admitted to probate.6
Pouger’s son and heir, Henry, was then only eight years old, and, on 16 Jan. 1416, Henry V granted the custody of his estates to Sir Gilbert Umfraville, titular earl of Angus, as compensation for unpaid military expenses. The boy died in September 1420 while still a minor, and was succeeded by his sister, Joan, who, at the age of 12, became a highly suitable match. (Sir) Gerard Sothill’s* widow promptly seized the opportunity to consolidate her younger son’s inheritance, and although she had to pay a fine of 200 marks for proceeding without the necessary royal licence she arranged a marriage between the pair almost immediately. Joan’s share of the Pouger estate was, however, somewhat depleted by the survival of her mother and of a remarkably young sister-in-law, both of whom were still in possession of their dowers in 1428.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Ponger, Powcher.
- 1. C137/55/50, C138/20/34, 57/31; CPR, 1370-4, p. 368; Reg. Repingdon (Lincoln Rec. Soc. lxxiv), no. 146.
- 2. PRO List ‘Sheriffs’, 79; ‘Escheators’, 78; CPR, 1370-4, p. 368; Reg. Repingdon (Lincoln Rec. Soc. lvii), 33, 37.
- 3. C137/55/50; CFR, xiii. 26; Feudal Aids, iii. 244; vi. 537.
- 4. CCR, 1405-9, p. 56; 1409-13, pp. 79-80, 82; SC8/135/6742; CPR, 1408-13, p. 162; CChR, i. 237.
- 5. CP25(1)144/152/15; CCR, 1409-13, pp. 429-30; Lincs. N. and Q. xi. 251; DL42/16 (2), f. 40.
- 6. Reg. Repingdon (Lincoln Rec. Soc. lxxiv), no. 146.
- 7. C138/20/34, 57/31; C139/7/58; CPR, 1413-16, p. 386; 1416-22, p. 343; Feudal Aids, iii. 268, 306.