JOCE, John II.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
The Joce family acquired the Staffordshire manor of Hanchurch in the early 14th century, and built up a substantial estate in the area. Evidence associating this MP with the main branch remains lacking, but we may be reasonably sure that he had some local connexions, and that he was a kinsman (perhaps a brother) of the Thomas Joce who was returned with him to Parliament. A John Joce of Staffordshire was recruited in August 1385 to serve as an archer of the Crown. His fee of 6d.a day was still being paid (albeit somewhat irregularly) in February 1400, when orders were issued for the settlement of six months’ outstanding arrears. On at least four occasions between 1391 and 1403 either he or a namesake (again described as ‘of Staffordshire’) stood surety for persons with dealings in Chancery and at the Exchequer, including the shire knight, William Walsall, who also sat in the Parliament of 1402. Joce had, perhaps, been a follower of the prominent Staffordshire landowner, Sir John Ipstones*, who was murdered in February 1394 while on his way to the House of Commons under the escort of a yeoman sword-bearer of the same name. Although he is not mentioned in the borough records of Newcastle, Joce is known to have witnessed a deed for Hugh Colclough*, another of the town’s parliamentary representatives. This was in 1403, after which no more is heard of him.1
It is, however, possible that the subject of this biography was a completely different person altogether, namely the father of the John Joce who became escheator of Staffordshire in 1436, and subsequently laid claim to the manor of Burton Joyce in Nottinghamshire. If an undated petition to the court of Chancery may be believed, the father—another John—was the great-grandson of Sir Robert Joce, and a kinsman and next heir of William Joce (d.1403), an esquire of the body to Henry IV. Further litigation, begun by the escheator’s son, in 1454, suggests that the MP owned the manors of Blurton and ‘Kyvyell Hall’ in Staffordshire and land in the Nottinghamshire village of Beeston, but the question of identity cannot now be clearly established.2