BANT (BAUT), Stephen, of Cornw.
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Family and Education
Under sheriff, Cornw. 1395-6.2
Commr. of inquiry, Devon, Cornw. Oct. 1397 (concealments), Cornw. Mar. 1401 (the manor of Trelaske), Feb. 1417 (liberties of the burgesses of Liskeard).
Justice of assize, Cornw. July 1410.
Stephen was probably a kinsman of John Bant (MP for Bodmin in 1358 and for Launceston in 1360 and 1361), and of Auger Bant, prior of Bodmin from 1349 until about 1373. The full extent of his landed holdings is uncertain, but he is known to have owed services to Sir Thomas Fichet† on his Cornish estates, and to have held property at ‘Rosgryllys’ in the same county.3 Bant’s election to no fewer than eight Parliaments for three of the Cornish boroughs is probably explained by his profession: he built up a busy practice as an attorney at the Launceston assizes, and some of his fellow Cornishmen found him useful in the conduct of their affairs in the central courts as well. It made good sense to return to Parliament a lawyer who had already planned a journey to Westminster on his clients’ behalf. In 1383 Bant stood surety for John Penrose, a Cornishman of dubious character who was to be tried in Surrey for the murder of Richard Eyr. But Penrose, who strangely enough was shortly afterwards made a judge on the Kings bench, did not long retain his support: in 1391 when a kinsman of the murdered man plotted against Penrose’s life and was brought to trial before his fellow judges, Bant provided bail for him and furnished securities for his good behaviour. Bant also appeared in the court of common pleas where he completed arrangements for the registration of landed settlements made in Cornwall, and on at least one occasion (1394) he appeared at the Exchequer (as surety for the prior of Bodmin).4
It was not until nearly ten years after his last known return to Parliament that Bant was first named on a royal commission, and even then by some mishap the letters patent of appointment did not reach him so he failed to perform the task. But he had served a term as under sheriff and evidently his standing in Cornwall continued to rise: in 1400 he was party to a settlement of disputes between the burgesses and the prior of Launceston, and sometime in the course of his career he was asked to act as a feoffee of the manor of Callington and of lands in the hundred of Stratton. By 1407 he had come to the attention of the powerful head of the Bonville family, Sir William Bonville I*, and served him as a trustee of eight manors and a tinworks. Bant’s appointment as a justice of assize in Cornwall marked the peak of his career. In the same year (1410) he provided mainprise at the shire elections for Sir Ralph Botreaux, and his name was recorded on the electoral indentures drawn up at the county court in 1411, 1416 and 1419.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. JUST 1/1527 m. 24d.
- 2. KB27/542 rot. fines.
- 3. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 129; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 818, 918; JUST 1/1522 m. 6d.
- 4. CCR, 1377-81, p. 506; 1381-5, p. 412; 1389-92, p. 500; Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), 78; Cornw. Feet of Fines, 757; CFR, xi. 124; KB27/495 rot. attorneys.
- 5. CCR, 1396-9, p. 495; 1405-9, p. 422; R. and O.B. Peter, Hist. Launceston, 14; Cornw. Feet of Fines, 790, 794; C219/10/5, 6, 11/8, 12/3.