WATFORD, Stephen, of Wycombe, Bucks.
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Family and Education
Watford, who was always in royal employment, is first heard of in March 1361 when, as a yeoman of the kitchen, he was granted an annuity of four marks ‘for good service’. This grant was confirmed by Richard II in 1378. Still retained by the King at the time of his first election to Parliament, a year later, in April 1385, now described as ‘servant of the King’s household’, he was awarded a new annuity of £10. When, in October of that year he sat in the Commons for the second time, William atte Dene*, a prominent burgess of Wycombe, was one of his sureties for attendance.1 At what particular stage in his career Watford himself had settled in Wycombe remains unclear; perhaps he was a local man who retained links with the place while absent in the King’s household, only to retire there later. Certainly, it was as ‘of Wycombe’ that in May 1392 he was pardoned outlawry for not appearing in the lawcourts to answer one John Banbury, clerk, for a debt of seven marks. (Five months later the order for the confiscation of his goods and chattels was rescinded on the ground that since he owed Banbury nothing in fact, his outlawry had been based on a false premise.) By this time he had risen to be one of the King’s esquires, and on 30 Sept. he stood surety in the Exchequer for the royal clerks given custody of the alien priory of Tickford, Buckinghamshire.2
Alice Watford, perhaps Stephen’s widow or daughter, held farmland in the manor of Bassetsbury, which encompassed Wycombe, in 1410.3