BURGOYNE, John (d.c.1435), of Dry Drayton, Cambs.

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



Dec. 1421

Family and Education

s. and h. of John Burgoyne of Dry Drayton ?by a da. of Roger Harleston† of Cambs. m. 5s. inc. Thomas†, 1da.1

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Cambs. Nov. 1396 (wastes, Swavesey priory estates), Jan. 1412 (contributions to a subsidy), May 1415 (counterfeiting), Norf., Suff., Cambs., Hunts., Beds., Bucks. July 1434 (concealments); array, Cambs. Mar. 1419, to raise royal loans Nov. 1419; of oyer and terminer, Hunts. Jan. 1420, Cambs. Nov. 1429, July 1431; to assess contributions to a grant Apr. 1431; to distribute tax allowances Dec. 1433; receive the oaths against maintenance May 1434.

Alnager, Cambs. and Hunts. 17 Oct. 1399-7 May 1401.

Escheator, Cambs. 5 Feb.-8 Nov. 1401, Cambs. and Hunts. 8 Dec. 1416-30 Nov. 1417, 24 Jan.-17 Dec. 1426.

Collector of an aid, Cambs. Dec. 1401.

J.p. Cambridge 6 Dec. 1404-Apr. 1415, 6 Oct. 1415-Oct. 1418, 14 Feb. 1422-Dec. 1435, Cambs. 16 Jan. 1414-Feb. 1419, 8 July 1420-35.


The Burgoynes, established in John’s grandfather’s time at Duxford, became landowners elsewhere in Cambridgeshire in his own lifetime. By 1428 he had holdings in Linton, Hildersham and Impington, as well as at Dry Drayton where he had made his home; and by then, too, he had acquired a manor in Caxton.2 Burgoyne’s father served as clerk to the j.p.s in the county from 1390 to 1392, and when he himself began his career it was in his father’s profession as a lawyer, working alongside him as an attorney at the assizes held at Cambridge. Even before John senior’s death (which did not occur until 1398 or later) the younger man attracted attention among the affluent members of the shire gentry: from 1394 he acted as a feoffee of Sir John Colville’s manor in Fulbourn, helping the owner to arrange its sale, and in 1395 not only was he employed by Robert, Lord Lisle, for legal transactions regarding property in Great Wilbraham, but also by Sir Hugh Zouche, as a trustee of estates in three counties. John Camp* of Cambridge named him as an executor of his will.3 Although Burgoyne was placed on one royal commission during Richard II’s reign, his active participation in local administration did not properly begin until after Henry of Bolingbroke’s accession. Then, a term as alnager was followed by another as escheator and by regular appointments to the ranks of the j.p.s, first on the bench at Cambridge (where he was to serve for over 27 years in all) and then for the county as a whole. Two more terms as escheator came later. This continuous service, from 1399 until his death, went largely unrewarded by the Crown, although in July 1400 he did obtain an Exchequer lease of the manor of Kennett on the border with Suffolk, for the duration of the minority of the Earl Marshal. Over the years Burgoyne established a reputation in his home county as someone who could be placed in positions of trust: those for whom he acted as a feoffee-to-uses or in some other capacity included Robert Parys*, the former chamberlain of Chester, (Sir) William Porter II, Henry V’s henchman (his companion in the Parliament of May 1413), and Sir Thomas Skelton*, sometime chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster. On behalf of the last-named, the lawyer was required not only to arrange the sale of estates in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, but also to bring suits in Chancery regarding property in Cumberland.4 In March 1408, in association with Nicholas Morys*, Burgoyne obtained a royal licence to grant certain property in Cambridge and Barnwell to the Benedictine nuns of St. Radegund’s priory, and eight months later he joined in a similar benefaction, this time to the Cistercian abbey of Sawtry in Huntingdonshire. In neither case is it made clear on whose behalf he was acting. Burgoyne’s four returns to Parliament for his native county were spread over as long as 20 years, but his failure to be elected more frequently was not occasioned by any lack of personal interest in such matters, for he took the trouble to attend the elections held at the shire court in 1411, 1414, 1415, 1421 (May), 1422, 1423, 1425, 1426 and 1429.5

Something of the regard in which Burgoyne was held locally may be inferred from the marriages contracted for his daughter, Grace. In 1407 he arranged with Margaret, widow of Sir John Peyton, for her grandson John, the heir to the Peyton estates, to marry the young woman, securing a settlement on the couple of the manor of East Thorpe and the hundred of Lexden in Essex. Following Peyton’s death in 1416, he secured control over his young grandson’s inheritance by obtaining custody of it at the Exchequer, although this wardship had to be shared with John Wodehouse*, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. Not long afterwards Grace married the successful Essex lawyer, Richard Baynard of Messing, who was to be elected Speaker in Burgoyne’s third Parliament — that of December 1421. Burgoyne subsequently acted as a trustee of his son-in-law’s estates, and in a will made by Baynard in 1421 he and his son, Thomas, were both named as executors.6 Baynard had long been retained as counsel by the Lords Fitzwalter, and it may well have been as a result of his introduction that Burgoyne came to be nominated in 1425 as a feoffee of certain of the 5th Lord’s properties. In the 1420s he also found employment as legal advisor to Joan, Lady Beauchamp of Abergavenny, from whom he received an annual fee of £2; and, from 1423 (or earlier) until his death, he was retained as ‘counsel at law’ by the borough of Cambridge, a similar fee being supplemented by occasional gifts from the town authorities. During the same period Burgoyne’s clients included Nicholas Parys, esquire (for whom he acted as an executor), and John Hore I*, while the prominent Cambridgeshire landowner, Sir Walter de la Pole* engaged him as a feoffee of his property in London.7

As a knight of the shire in the Parliament of 1433, Burgoyne shared with his fellows the task of administering the oath ordered to be taken by the gentry of the shire in an attempt to reduce incidents of maintenance. One of those required to do so in his presence was a younger son of his, William Burgoyne (d.1456), who having married a daughter of William Bosom* of Roxton, was to be assessed for taxation in 1436 on lands in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire worth £40 a year. It was on William that Burgoyne had settled the manor of Caxton, while his estate at Impington was destined to pass to his eldest son, Thomas (d.1470). The latter took John’s place on the Cambridgeshire bench in December 1435 (probably following his father’s death), and sat in the Commons for Cambridgeshire in 1442, London in 1445 and Bridgwater in 1447.8

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 24-25. Either this John Burgoyne or his father had a wife named Alice, living in 1394: CPL, iv. 485.
  • 2. Feudal Aids, i. 178, 181, 182, 186-8.
  • 3. E. Stephens, Clerks of Counties, 63; JUST 1/1505 m. 11; Belvoir Castle, deed 340; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 515, 680; 1396-9, p. 185; Huntingdon Lib. San Marino, Hastings ms, 207/3427.
  • 4. CFR, xii. 68; CCR, 1409-13, pp. 169, 235; 1413-19, pp. 448-50; CPR, 1416-22, pp. 6, 41, 54; C1/6/296; Add. Chs. 22597-8; C137/72/32.
  • 5. CPR, 1405-8, p. 429; 1408-13, p. 22; C219/10/6, 11/3, 4, 7, 12/5, 13/1-4, 14/1.
  • 6. R.E. Chester Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, i. 201; CPR, 1405-8, p. 344; 1416-22, p. 134; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 137, 324-5; 1419-22, p. 223; 1422-9, pp. 331-2; CFR, xiv. 202; Essex RO, Verulam mss, D/DH VB 58.
  • 7. CCR, 1422-9, p. 261; 1435-41, p. 15; C.H. Cooper, Annals Cambridge, i. 170, 173, 185, 186; VCH Cambs. iii. 53; SC11/25; PCC 2 Luffenham; CAD, i. A1201; ii. B3032, 3040.
  • 8. CPR, 1422-9, p. 201; 1429-36, p. 385; EHR, xlix. 632; PCC 15 Stokton; VCH Cambs. v. 28. Another of his sons, John, was retained as an apprentice-at-law by the duchy of Lancaster, 1443-5: Somerville, Duchy, i. 453.