BURTON, Sir John II, of Notts.
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Family and Education
Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 23 Nov. 1407-15 Nov. 1408.
Verderer, Sherwood forest, Notts. to 20 Nov. 1410.
Although we cannot be entirely certain as to his identity, Burton probably first appears in 1392 when he was retained by Thomas, duke of Gloucester, to accompany him to Ireland in his capacity as King’s lieutenant. In the event, the expedition never left England, but Burton was at least paid an advance of £8 11s.8d. to cover his expenses. His connexion with Gloucester, one of the leading Lords Appellant of 1388, would explain why he considered it necessary to sue out a royal pardon in June 1398, since King Richard had then already taken his revenge against the duke by having him removed to Calais and murdered. Henry of Bolingbroke, another of the Appellants, was soon to suffer exile and forfeiture at Richard’s hands; and when he returned to England in 1399, first to claim his inheritance and then the throne itself, Burton naturally gave him his support. His subsequent reward was an annuity of £20, assigned to him for life from the issues of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, as well as promotion to the rank of King’s knight. Given that his own income from land in Nottinghamshire produced at least the same sum again, it is hardly surprising that the county electors chose to return him to the second Parliament of the new reign.2
In January 1406, Burton received an additional royal grant of £10 from the manor of Arnold in Nottinghamshire in return for ‘good service’, but since his previous pension was then no less than £66 in arrears his need must have been quite considerable. A further drain on his resources followed on his appointment as sheriff in November 1407, partly because of a serious outbreak of the plague in Nottinghamshire, which made it impossible for him to raise the anticipated revenue, but also as a result of the grant to Queen Joan of land from which part of his farm had previously been paid. Eventually, in March 1409, Burton obtained a reduction of 100 marks on the charge laid to his account, although he may still have been out of pocket. By November 1410 he had grown so ‘sick and weak’ that a replacement had to be found for him as one of the verderers of Sherwood forest, a post which he had evidently inherited from his father or close kinsman, Sir John Burton I. Yet he recovered sufficiently from his malady to join with Sir Ralph Cromwell (heir apparent to Ralph, Lord Cromwell, and future treasurer of England) in launching a murderous assault on Thomas Annesley the younger at his manor of Burton in Nottinghamshire. The latter, who was supported by his powerful neighbour, Sir Thomas Rempston II*, began a suit in Chancery against his two adversaries (whom he accused with some justice of acting ‘en male ensample des outres gents’); and it is interesting to note that Rempston served on the royal commission set up in July 1413 specifically to take securities of £100 from Burton as a guarantee of his future good behaviour. Whatever the origins or outcome of this dispute, Burton and Cromwell remained as close as ever, and the MP is last mentioned in May 1415, when he witnessed a settlement of the manor of Colwick in Nottinghamshire upon his friend.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Care must be taken not to confuse this MP with his contemporary and namesake, John Burton of Newton. The latter, who never rose above the rank of esquire, played an active part in Notts. society as a tax collector and royal commissioner from 1392 to 1422, besides serving as coroner of the county.