BEST, John II (by 1528-60), of Westminster, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. by 1528. m. Thomasin (d.1575), wid. of one Clare, s.p.1
Churchwarden, St. Martin-in-the-Fields 1550-2; commr. sewers, Mdx. 1554.2
Although John Best claimed gentility, his father may have been the John Best of Westminster, yeoman, to whom the dean and chapter of Westminster in 1544 leased two tenements in the Sanctuary, and whose widow Margery was granted the remaining years of the lease in 1555. John Best, gentleman, lived in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where he owned several properties and leased others. As churchwarden of St. Martin’s he sold vestments and furnishings no longer in use, but after the accession of Mary when an investigation was held into ‘the spoils and detriments’ of the last 50 years he gave the church two graduals, an antiphon, a processional and a manual. His suing out of a general pardon on 10 Feb. 1554 was perhaps more as a conventional safeguard than for a specific offence. Later in the year he bought a messuage or hospice called the Swan, near Charing Cross, from the crown for £147.3
Before Best was himself returned to Parliament he took part as a freeholder in the five elections for the knights of the shire for Middlesex held between 1553 and 1555, and as a citizen in the Westminster elections of 1554 and 1555. He served for Westminster on two consecutive occasions, but of his part in the House nothing has come to light. He made his will on the day of his death, 8 Jan. 1560, providing for his wife and stepchildren, and leaving the Swan to his brother Robert. As executor he appointed his brother and as overseer Richard Hodges. Best was buried in St. Martin-in-the-Fields: he was probably still a youngish man, for his brother, who succeeded him, was then 31.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Helen Miller
- 1. Date of birth estimated from that of younger brother. PCC 9 Mellershe, 23 Pyckering.
- 2. St. Martin-in-the-Fields, churchwardens’ accts. ed. Kitto, 134; CPR, 1554-5, p. 108.
- 3. Westminster Abbey, reg. 3, ff. 44v, 240v; 24ov; St. Martin-in-the Fields, churchwardens’ accts. 134, 137, 150, 158; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 151, 461; 1554-5, pp.241, 280; E315/223, f. 294.
- 4. C142/127/22; 219/20/79, 21/98, 22/48, 49, 23/84, 85, 24/103, 104; PCC 9 Mellershe; Reg. St. Martin-in-the Fields (Harl. Soc. Regs. xxv), 109.