ARCHES, John (d.c.1405), of Arches in East Hendred, Berks.

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



Nov. 1384
Nov. 1390
Oct. 1404

Family and Education

s. and h. of John Arches of East Hendred by Edith, sis. of John Eastbury† (d.1406) of Eastbury in Lambourn (and prob. also of John Eastbury*). m. bef. 1378, Joan, at least 2s.1

Offices Held

Tax collector, Berks. Dec. 1384; controller Mar. 1404.

J.p. Berks. 15 July 1389-June 1394, 28 Nov. 1399-July 1404.

Commr. of arrest, Berks. Oct. 1389; array Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Berks., Bucks. Sept. 1403; weirs June 1398; inquiry, Glos. May 1404 (depredations by James Clifford*).

Alnager, Berks. 20 July 1394-12 Apr. 1402; it. alnager, Oxon. and Berks. 13 Jan.-2 May 1403.

Bailiff, Bishop Wykeham of Winchester’s manor of Witney, Oxon. 14 Jan. 1396-c. 1403, his liberty, Oxon. and Berks. bef. May 1403.2

Escheator, Berks. 24 Nov. 1400-8 Nov. 1401.


Arches took possession of the family manors of Arches and Catmere in 1375 under an arrangement made with his mother and her second husband, Ralph Stodeye.3 On the occasion of his first election to Parliament in 1384 he provided securities for the attendance of his companion, Richard Brouns*, a service which the latter, a neighbour of his, reciprocated; and Edmund Sparsholt*, another neighbour and friend, acted as mainpernor for them both. Arches received his first royal commission while still up at Westminster (namely, to collect the subsidies to which the Commons had just given their consent), and the following 20 years were to find him devoting much energy to local administration. On occasion, he was asked to act as a surety, doing so in 1387 (in association with his kinsmen, the Eastburys) for a clerk sued by the bishop of Hereford, and in 1391 on behalf of Edmund and James Sparsholt who had been required to keep the peace in their violent quarrel with Sir Thomas de la Mare†. At the Berkshire elections to the Parliament of January 1397 he provided mainprise for Sir Richard Adderbury II. He was also called upon to witness local deeds, doing so for Robert James* at Wallingford later that year. The deposition of Richard II had no noticeable effect on Arches’s career; for Henry IV not only reappointed him to the alnagership of Berkshire — a post he had occupied without break since 1394 — but also restored him to the local bench after an absence of five years. Perhaps the fact that at East Hendred he was a tenant of the duchy of Lancaster made the transition easier for him. Nor was his position adversely affected by a breach of the peace to which he was party in the spring of 1402. For although he then had to make a personal undertaking in 100 marks to behave in future, as well as guaranteeing under pain of 1,000 marks that his sons would not molest certain fellow-inhabitants of East Hendred, he was nevertheless returned to Parliament for the third time that autumn, and appointed alnager of Oxfordshire and Berkshire a few months later. For precisely how long before this he had been in the service of William of Wykeham as bailiff of the liberty of the bishopric of Winchester in the same two counties, is not known, although his bailiffship of Witney dated from 1396. Like others holding similar offices in the bishop’s gift, he received a bequest of £5 in the codicil Wykeham made to his will in July 1403; but that their association may have gone beyond the purely official is suggested by Wykeham’s bequest to John’s son, Ralph Arches, of the same amount. Furthermore, Richard Arches, another of John’s sons, who had earlier attended the bishop’s school at Winchester, was currently studying at New College, Oxford, Wykeham’s other major foundation.4

Arches is not recorded alive after October 1404 and evidently died before August 1406, for it was his eldest son, Ralph (b.c.1378), who then inherited the Berkshire lands of John Eastbury, as being grandson of Eastbury’s sister Edith. Ralph also succeeded to his father’s manors, one of which, Catmere, was to be valued in 1412 at eight marks a year.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Or Darches.

  • 1. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 26; C137/53/20.
  • 2. E368/175 m. 144; Reg. Wykeham (Hants Rec. Soc. 1896-9), ii. 462.
  • 3. VCH Berks. iv. 9-10, 297-8; CP25(1)12/73/15, 16; Feudal Aids, vi. 624; C.R.J. Currie, ‘Domestic Architecture N. Berks.’ (Oxf. Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1976), 42-43; Eyston (East Hendred) deeds, 25 Mar. 1375.
  • 4. CCR, 1385-9, p. 307; 1389-92, p. 499; 1396-9, p. 126; 1399-1402, p. 516; C219/8/11, 9/12; R. Lowth, Wm. of Wykeham, app. pp. xliv, xlvii; Winchester Scholars ed. Kirby, 27.
  • 5. C137/53/20; CFR, xiii. 71; Feudal Aids, vi. 400.