BURGHAM, John, of Carleton, Cumb.
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Family and Education
Collector of pontage, Cumb. and Westmld. 20 Nov. 1379-85.
Burgham, who evidently occupied a position of some influence in the area around Carlisle and Penrith, first appears in February 1378, when he stood surety at the Exchequer for a newly-appointed alnager in the north. In the following year he and three associates were made farmers of pontage for the repair of bridges on the borders of Cumberland and Westmorland, their grant being extended in July 1380 to include other local tolls as well. Burgham again acted as a mainpernor in February 1381, this time in the court of Chancery for a priest who had been accused of trespass. He himself was by no means above reproach, as can be seen from the terms of a royal pardon awarded to him in April 1393 for a murder committed exactly five years earlier at Penrith. He was then living at Carleton (near Penrith), but he also had important connexions in Westmorland. In August 1393, for example, he and Sir John Beetham* were arraigned on an assize of novel disseisin at Appleby by Alan Pennington’s* wife, Katherine, who laid claim to an estate occupied by them in the village of Burton. The action, which may well have been collusive, involved him as a trustee and his title was upheld. Not surprisingly, in view of these diverse interests, Burgham was twice returned to Parliament by the electors of Carlisle. Later, in April 1401, he witnessed a conveyance of property in the city, so he evidently kept up his involvement in local affairs.1
No more is heard of Burgham after June 1405, when he was named along with Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, and Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham, as an interim feoffee for the transfer to Ralph, earl of Westmorland, of the extensive estates in Cumberland and Northumberland recently confiscated from the rebel earl of Northumberland. His part in such an important transaction suggests that he may have been a lawyer, but this remains a matter for speculation.2