STORK, John (d.c.1466), of Trent, Som.

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



May 1421

Family and Education

m. by 1426, Alice (d. 6 Dec. 1474), wid. of John Petyr of Bagber, Dorset, 1s.1 d.v.p.

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Dorset Aug. 1426 (necromancy), Som. May 1428 (concealments), Dorset Apr. 1435 (seizure of a merchant ship), Feb. 1439 (borough finances at Dorchester), July 1439, Bristol Feb. 1448, Som. Aug. 1449 (concealments); to assess liability to contribute to a parliamentary grant, Dorset Apr. 1431, July 1463; of gaol delivery, Dorchester July 1436, May 1441, Oct. 1447, Jan. 1453, July 1458, Mar. 1459; to raise royal loans, Dorset Nov. 1440, Mar. 1442, Apr. 1454; treat for payment of subsidies Feb. 1441; assign responsibility for financing a force of archers Dec. 1457; of array Dec. 1459, Aug. 1461.

J.p. Dorset 28 June 1431-July 1444, 12 Apr. 1446-d.

Escheator, Som. and Dorset 23 Nov. 1437-6 Nov. 1438.

Collector of a tax on landed incomes, Dorset Aug. 1450.


Stork, who became a lawyer of considerable repute in Somerset and Dorset, is first recorded in 1410 when, along with John Ford I*, he stood surety in two actions for trespass in Wiltshire.2 He represented Dorchester in consecutive Parliaments (on both occasions with Ford as his companion), and he attended the Dorset elections of the knights of the shire to the Parliaments of 1419, 1420, 1421 (May), 1425, 1426, 1427 and 1432, and the Somerset elections in 1425, 1427 and 1435. The extent of his participation in local administration at county level and his many important connexions point to his status as a country gentleman and suggest that he was expert in the law relating to real estate.

Stork’s activities were by no means restricted to the local courts; and, as early in his career as 1417, he was briefed by John Martin the future judge to appear as his attorney in Chancery in a dispute with Thomas Beaufort, duke of Exeter, over the presentation to Chilham church, Kent. He was very much in demand as a trustee and legal advisor, and acted as a feoffee for such prominent landowners as Ralph Bush* (for whom in 1427 he also provided securities at the Exchequer), (Sir) Thomas Brooke*, Lord Cobham, and John Roger I*. It was probably in connexion with the affairs of the last named that, in 1438, he received from Roger’s sons recognizances for £80. Among Stork’s other clients and colleagues were John Hody*, the future chief justice, and Stephen Russell*, who involved him in many large-scale property transactions in Dorset and neighbouring counties.3 Perhaps more important than these connexions were the ones he established with the master of the rolls, John Frank, and with Bishop Stafford of Bath and Wells and his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Stafford II*. In 1431 Stork stood surety for the two Staffords when they received at the Exchequer custody of the Cheyne estates in Lincolnshire, and as their feoffee of the manor of Milton he subsequently assisted in their foundation of a chantry at Abbotsbury abbey. Sir Humphrey named him not only as a trustee of his estates in Dorset but also of his property in London, for the purpose of effecting an entail.4

Stork’s ability as an arbiter in legal causes was also recognized: in 1436 he helped settle a dispute regarding the title to lands that had once belonged to Sir Thomas Trivet, and in which Sir Humphrey Stafford now had an interest, and in 1440 he decided a point of difference between a chaplain and the abbot of Sherbourne.5 Besides Bishop Stafford, he had also come to the attention of other members of Henry VI’s council. In May 1440 he shared with Cardinal Beaufort and Bishop Aiscough of Salisbury a royal grant of the custody for ten years of the Benedictine house of Milton, Dorset, it being intended that they should reform the rule there; and he acquired a fiduciary interest in lands in Stone, Kent, which, in the same year, were conveyed to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. By 1447 he had been enfeoffed by Sir James Ormond, heir to the earldom of Ormond and afterwards earl of Wiltshire, of certain manors in Essex, and he later joined with him in a suit for trespass against a Dorset man. Then, in 1449, an esquire of the royal household, Nicholas St. Loe, obtained the King’s licence to grant to him in association with Sir John Talbot (the earl of Shrewsbury’s son), custody of the park of Gillingham.6 Meanwhile, Stork had formed an attachment of even greater significance: in 1446-7 he was recorded as being a councillor to Richard, duke of York, and, as such, the recipient of an annual fee of £2 levied on the duke’s manor of Cranborne.7 This connexion did not prevent him being appointed in December 1459 as a royal commissioner to array the men of Dorset against York and his friends after their condemnation for treason by bill of attainder in the recent Coventry Parliament, but the fact that he remained on the Dorset bench after the accession to the throne of the duke’s son suggests that he in some way demonstrated his continued adherence to the Yorkist cause.

Stork’s estates were situated mainly in Somerset: with his wife he held lands there of Sir Thomas Beauchamp*; in 1428 he shared a third part of a knight’s fee in Trent, and later the whole of this manor became his property. By 1431 he had acquired the Dorset manor of ‘Hydes’ (otherwise Lydlinch ‘Baret’), worth £5 p.a., and a few years later Sir Thomas Brooke released to him all his right in the same. In 1440 he was engaged in litigation with Sir William Bonville II* over a tenement in ‘Polynston’ in the same county.8 After 1446 our MP was usually referred to as ‘John Stork the elder’, to distinguish him from his son of the same name. Two writs of diem clausit extremum, one dated 24 Jan. 1465, the other 10 May 1466, roughly indicate the dates of death of the two men, and as the elder was reappointed as a j.p. in May 1465 but not in February 1466 it would seem that the son died before the father. (No inquisitions post mortem survive to clarify the matter.) The latter’s widow died in 1474, leaving her lands near Sturminster Newton to William Petyr, her grandson by her first marriage.9 The lawyer’s grandson, also named John (the son of the younger John Stork by Agnes Inge), died in 1485. Although some of his estates, notably the manor of Bourton Inge, in Oxfordshire, had never belonged to his grandfather, there can be no doubt that property in Blandford Forum, Bradford Abbas, Leigh and Wareham, Dorset, and Trent, Charlton, Horsington, North Cheriton, Wincanton, Montacute and Chilthorpe Domer, Somerset, had done so, for it was expressly stated at the post mortem that this had been the case.10

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: E.M. Wade


  • 1. J. Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 340; C140/48/12.
  • 2. CCR, 1409-13, pp. 70, 93.
  • 3. CPR, 1416-22, p. 29; 1422-9, p. 290; 1441-6, p. 34; Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 280, 300, 317, 339, 345; CFR, xv. 203; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 194; Reg. Stafford (ibid. xxxii), 270; C1/17/267; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 45, 319, 464; 1435-41, p. 188.
  • 4. CCR, 1429-35, p. 253; 1476-85, p. 142; CFR, xvi. 42; xxi. 543; CPR, 1429-36, p. 63; 1436-41, p. 287.
  • 5. CCR, 1435-41, pp. 47, 388.
  • 6. CPR, 1436-41, p. 403; 1446-52, pp. 199, 242, 411; 1477-85, p. 508; CCR, 1435-41, p. 426.
  • 7. SC6/1113/11, 14.
  • 8. Feudal Aids, ii. 106; iv. 375; CCR, 1435-41, p. 178; J. Collinson, Som. ii. 381, 385; Dorset Fines, ii. 302; C260/154/18.
  • 9. CFR, xx. 127, 176; C140/48/12.
  • 10. CPR, 1461-7, p. 423; 1477-85, p. 515; CIPM Hen. VII, i. 142, 143, 147.