BOZOUN, Sir John (d.1402), of Fulbeck, Lincs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Tax collector, Lincs. (Kesteven) Mar., Nov. 1377, Dec. 1380, Dec. 1384; assessor May 1379.
Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 1 Nov. 1381-24 Nov. 1382.
Commr. to suppress the rebels of 1381, Notts. Dec. 1381; of array, Lincs. (Kesteven) Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399; oyer and terminer, Notts. Oct. 1386 (disorder at Whatton); inquiry, Lincs. July 1390 (waste on royal demesnes), May 1393 (state of Somerton castle), Norf. Apr. 1400 (wastes on the manors of Gressenhall and East Lexham); sewers, Notts. Feb. 1397, Lincs. (Kesteven) Oct. 1397, Nov. 1402; to survey the possessions of persons condemned by the Parliament of Sept. 1397, Derbys., Lincs., Notts. Oct. 1397; proclaim the King’s intention to govern justly, Lincs. May 1402.
J.p. Lincs. (Kesteven) 24 Nov. 1384-d.; Notts. 12 Feb. 1392-Nov. 1399.
Escheator, Lincs. 12 Dec. 1390-3 Jan. 1392.
Although no direct evidence of their relationship has survived, this MP was almost certainly the son of Sir John Bozoun of Screveton, an influential landowner who served on the Nottinghamshire bench in the 1350s and twice represented the county in Parliament. Sir John’s life was disrupted in about 1359 by a serious robbery, as a result of which he lost not only large quantities of valuable plate and jewellery, but also his wife, Margaret, who was abducted and kept a prisoner, reputedly against her will. She eventually returned to him, however, and by 1379 she was living comfortably as a widow in the family home. John Bozoun the younger had already by then become a figure of some consequence in the Lincolnshire community, perhaps through marriage to a local heiress. The Bozouns held property in Kirketon in Holland at the beginning of Edward III’s reign, but John’s main interests lay in Kesteven where, apparently, his ancestors had had no connexions. He also owned half a knight’s fee in Stallingborough in Lindsey, as well as other holdings in and around the Nottinghamshire village of Scarrington.2 Bozoun is first mentioned in March 1364, when Sir John Willington, who was going abroad, chose him to act as one of his attorneys in England. Four months later he found himself at odds with the law because of his alleged involvement in a series of armed attacks led by Sir Simon Leek† (the sheriff of Nottinghamshire), upon the property of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem in both Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. A commission of oyer and terminer was set up to examine these charges, but little seems to have been done to discipline the offenders. Nothing more is heard of Bozoun until March 1377, when he assumed the first of a long series of official appointments which preoccupied him increasingly with the passage of years. He had already then been knighted, and before long he served as sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, being actively involved in the suppression of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. It was, however, in Lincolnshire that he was busiest as a crown servant, and this county alone returned him to Parliament. He first entered the House of Commons in February 1383, and while the session was still in progress he went surety at the Exchequer for his old friend, Sir Simon Leek. On this occasion he was described as living in Lincolnshire, but when, in November 1391, he once again acted as a mainpernor, this time for Sir Hugh Hussey* (who was bound over in the court of Chancery to keep the peace), his place of residence was given as Nottinghamshire. Indeed, by the following year, Bozoun was sitting as a j.p. in both counties, although his period of service in Lincolnshire—which lasted for 18 years—was by far the longer.3
Not much evidence has survived about Bozoun’s personal life and connexions. He appears to have been friendly with the prior of the alien monastic cell of Hough in Lincolnshire, on whose behalf he offered securities, in January 1394, when the house’s possessions were taken over by the Crown. He also witnessed at least one deed for William, Lord Roos of Hamlake, but there is nothing to suggest that they were associated in any other way. Given his appointment to the royal commission set up in October 1397 to survey the estates forfeited by the chief of the Lords Appellant in 1388 and their supporters, it seems likely that Bozoun was sympathetic to the court party; but his attachment cannot have been strong enough to jeopardize his authority after Richard II’s deposition. Although he was then removed from the Nottinghamshire bench, he continued as a j.p. in Kesteven, and also served on a number of royal commissions. The last of these, dated 20 Nov. 1402, was issued to him posthumously, and until his son and heir, John, made an oath to this effect in Chancery his executors were themselves called upon to account for his negligence as a commissioner.4 John Bozoun the younger may perhaps be identified with a man of the same name who, in March 1384, was pardoned the judgement of peine forte et dure to which he had been condemned by the justices of gaol delivery at Lincoln for various robberies. Certainly, he came from Fulbeck, where the MP had estates; and the intervention of John of Gaunt on his behalf also suggests that he belonged to an influential family.5 Little else is known of Sir John’s immediate descendants, who showed no inclination to continue the family’s involvement in local government.
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Boson, Bosoun, Buson.
- 1. CFR, viii. 387; Reg. Gaunt 1379-83, no. 63; CPR, 1358-61, p. 542; CCR, 1402-5, p. 372.
- 2. CIPM, vii. no. 628; viii. no. 188; CPR, 1354-8, p. 62; 1358-61, pp. 69, 542; Reg. Gaunt 1379-83, no. 63; Feudal Aids, iii. 264; CCR, 1392-6, p. 341.
- 3. CPR, 1361-4, pp. 501, 546-7; CFR, ix. 356; CCR, 1389-92, p. 508.
- 4. CFR, xi. 109; CCR, 1396-9, p. 403; 1402-5, p. 372; CPR, 1401-5, p. 198.
- 5. CPR, 1381-5, pp. 386-7.