DENGAINE (ENGAINE), Sir John (c.1339-1394/5), of Teversham, 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



Feb. 1388
Sept. 1388

Family and Education

b. c.1339, s. and h. of Sir John Dengaine† of Teversham by his w. Joan. m. (1) by 1355, Margaret (d. aft. Jan. 1382), da. of Sir John de la Haye† (d.c.1340) of Shepreth and sis. and h. of William de la Haye, 2da.; (2) bef. Feb. 1384, Joan, da. of John, Lord Northwood (1321-79) by Joan, da. of Robert Hert of Faversham, Kent, 1s. Kntd. bef. May 1362.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 26 Oct. 1376-26 Nov. 1377.

Commr. to put down riotous assemblies, Cambs. Apr. 1378, Dec. 1381, Dec. 1382; of inquiry, Herts. July 1380 (breach of Statute of Provisors), Cambs. Nov. 1388 (Burley estates), Apr. 1391 (Avenell estates), May 1392 (wastes on the earl of Oxford’s estates); oyer and terminer Feb. 1383; gaol delivery, Royston Feb. 1383; to arrest Sir John Chalers’s* widow July 1388.

J.p. Royston 18 Mar. 1379-c.1381.

Tax surveyor, Cambs. Aug. 1379, Dec. 1380.


John came from a branch of the Dengaine family, long established at Taversham and Stowe-cum-Quy in Cambridgeshire, which also possessed the manor of Waresley in Huntingdonshire. In August 1363, on the death of his father, who had represented his native county in no fewer than 12 Parliaments between 1338 and 1362, he inherited certain properties in Great Wilbraham (near Teversham) which were held of the Crown by the unusual service of mewing a sparrow-hawk.1 Already married to the heiress, Margaret de la Haye, Dengaine had possession of her manors in Papworth Everard, Foxton and Shepreth, and in March 1365 he joined her in obtaining from Edward III confirmation of royal charters, once granted to her father, conferring rights of free warren in all their demesne lands and permitting them to hold a weekly market and two annual fairs at Foxton. Following the death in about 1375 of Alice, widow of Sir Thomas Heslerton, Margaret Dengaine, as Alice’s kinswoman and next heir, acquired a manor in Fowlmere and lands in Harston. At the same time her husband attempted to seize possession of the manor in Barrington which Alice Heslerton had granted to Michaelhouse college, Cambridge, although when, during his shrievalty of 1376, he was promised the sum of 200 marks, he allowed Michaelhouse to recover the manor at law from his co-parceners and gave up all claim to it. By the terms of a settlement made in 1383 Dengaine held ‘Walewyns’ in Long Stanton for life with remainder to his daughter Mary and her husband, William Blyton* of Lincoln. His other daughter, Joan, was married at about the same time to (Sir) Baldwin St. George*, a member like himself of an old Cambridgeshire family.2 Dengaine’s social connexions suggest that he was of comparatively high standing among the local gentry. However, his choice for a second wife fell on Joan Northwood, the daughter of a Kentish nobleman, a match which far from increasing his material prosperity caused him to settle on her as jointure three of the valuable de la Haye manors pertaining to his daughters’ inheritance. Furthermore, he appears to have been on less than convivial terms with his brother-in-law, Sir Roger Northwood, whom in 1391 he sued for a debt of £36 4s.3 Better relations prevailed with another brother-in-law, Sir John Burgh (d. 1393) of Burrough Green, who had married his sister Katherine, for from 1377 onwards Dengaine acted as a trustee of Burgh’s widespread estates in Yorkshire and elsewhere. In 1385 his co-feoffees included such eminent figures as Thomas Arundel, bishop of Ely, and the former Speaker, Sir Richard Waldegrave*.4

By the 1380s Dengaine was a respected member of the community, but that had not always been the case. Just before his father’s death he had been in serious trouble: in June 1363 a commission of oyer and terminer was set up to investigate a complaint made by none other than the chancellor, Simon Langham, then bishop of Ely, that while he had been at Cambridge engaged upon ‘the affairs of the King and realm’, Dengaine and others had stolen certain of his goods and assaulted his servant. Then, in 1366, Dengaine was proclaimed an outlaw in Hertfordshire following his failure to appear in court to answer John Henxteworth† for a debt of £40; he claimed to be ignorant of the suit and provided securities for his future attendance to contest the charge. Dengaine took out royal letters of attorney in preparation for a journey to Gascony in the following year, but nothing more is known of any military activities overseas. However, it is possible that he served at some later date under John of Gaunt, for in 1373 he witnessed a transaction whereby the duke was enfeoffed of the Cambridgeshire manor of Landbeach. There are hints throughout Dengaine’s career of an inability to manage financial affairs: in December 1377, for example, he entered into recognizances for £84 as guarantee that he would pay off arrears due on his account at the Exchequer for his term as sheriff. There were continuing difficulties with the lawcourts, and he is known to have acquired three royal pardons in the early years of Richard II’s reign — in June 1377, March 1381 (specifically for the escapes of felons in his custody as sheriff) and May 1382. Sir John was elected to both Parliaments of 1388, when the Lords Appellant were in control of the government, but, save for his association with Thomas Arundel (now made archbishop of York) as a co-feoffee of the Burgh estates, he is not known to have been personally connected with those in power. Curiously enough, it was in May 1388, during the second session of the Merciless Parliament, that he entered into recognizances in £10 to John Lincoln, one of the King’s clerks then in prison by the Appellants’ command.5

In his will, made on 23 Apr. 1392, Dengaine left instructions for the future sale of two manors after the death of his widow Joan, to provide religious services for the souls of himself and his wives. He died at some unknown date after June 1394, but before 1395, when his widow obtained an episcopal licence for a private oratory at Shepreth. Subsequently, the estates of Dengaine’s first wife were divided between her daughters, Joan St. George and Mary Blyton. By his second wife Sir John appears to have had a son named William, who before July 1410 acquired his father’s property in Long Stanton.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


He and his father should not be confused with John, Lord Engaine (1302-58), whose son and heir, Sir Thomas, died in 1367 leaving his three sisters as coheirs to his estates: CP, v. 77.

  • 1. CIPM, xi. 494; Hunts. Feet of Fines, 70, 75; Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 90-91.
  • 2. Cambridge Antiq. Soc. 8vo. ser. liii, 39; CPR, 1364-7, p. 100; VCH Cambs. v. 149-50, 254; viii. 158, 168, 182; CP25(1)29/85/102, 113, 88/54.
  • 3. CCR, 1385-9 p. 608; Harl. Ch. 50I 16; CPR, 1388-92, p. 453; CP, ix. 757; Arch. Cant. ii. 25, 42.
  • 4. Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. xxx. 336-8, 339-42, 418; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 537-9; 1389-92, p. 68.
  • 5. CCR, 1364-8, p. 291; 1368-74, p. 587; 1377-81, p. 105; 1385-9, p. 489; CPR, 1361-4, p. 372; 1377-81, p. 594; Rot. Gasc. et Franc. ed. Carte, i. 155; C67/28B m. 11, 29 m. 26.
  • 6. Lansd. 863, ff. 59-60; Ely Episcopal Recs. ed. Gibbons, 399; CCR, 1413-19, p. 426.