WESTON, William III, of Ockham, Surr.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Surr. Aug. 1431 (concealments).
Coroner, Surr. by 8 Nov. 1436.
Escheator, Surr. and Suss. 29 Nov. 1451-3 Dec. 1453.
The Westons had been established in Surrey since the late 13th century, and William III belonged to a particularly distinguished branch of the family. His father, a wealthy landowner with property scattered throughout the county, was returned as a shire knight to no less than eight Parliaments between 1380 (Nov.) and 1419, while holding a number of important local offices and commissions as well. William III’s first election to Parliament in 1415 no doubt owed a great deal to family influence: four years later both father and son sat together in the Commons, the latter having attested the former’s return as a shire knight. It was initially William III rather than his elder brother, John† (later a shire knight), who continued their father’s interest in political affairs, again appearing among the Surrey notables who met at Guildford for the county elections of 1423, 1425, 1432, 1433, 1435 and 1449 (Feb.).2
In November 1427 Weston joined with Robert Warner and others in making a quitclaim of land in Essex to Thomas Pynchoun, whose feoffee he appears to have been. His estates in Ockham were probably acquired through his marriage to the daughter and heir of John Skinner, a local landowner. Certainly, he had settled there by May 1434, when, being described as a resident of the manor, he was among the local gentry required to take the general oath (prescribed by Parliament) not to maintain breakers of the King’s peace. He had evidently been made a coroner some time before the autumn of 1436, when instructions were sent to the sheriff for his removal from office on the ground that he was insufficiently qualified. His services as a witness to various property transactions and legal settlements were meanwhile much in demand. In the previous July, for example, he witnessed a quitclaim made by his brother, Robert, of land in Guildford and Clapham, and he was also a party to the affairs of Thomas Wintershall† (his kinsman) and Nicholas Carew*. Seven years later, in November 1443, John atte Lee settled various holdings in Ockham and Effingham, Surrey, upon him as a trustee.3
Save for his one return as shire knight, to the Parliament of Bury St. Edmunds in 1447, nothing else is known of Weston’s activities until July 1451, when he was pardoned his outlawry in Middlesex for not appearing in court to answer John Blaunche, a citizen of London, on a plea of debt for £5. The precise date of his death remains unknown, but it had occurred well before 6 Jan. 1458, when a general pardon was accorded jointly to his widow, Margaret, and their son, John. The latter sat for Guildford in the Parliament of 1460, and his mother, who continued to live at Ockham, was again pardoned two years later.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. VCH Surr. iii. 482; HP ed. Wedgwood 1439-1509, Biogs. 938. It has been suggested that William III married Maud, da. and h. of Thomas Harbinger of Sutton in Sussex. In 1415, his father appointed an attorney to receive possession of the manor of Hall in Sutton, but there is no more definite evidence that the marriage ever took place (Surr. Arch. Colls. xii. addenda; O. Manning and W. Bray, Surr. iii. 54).
- 2. C219/12/3, 13/2, 3, 14/3-5, 15/6.
- 3. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 382, 386; 1435-41, pp. 37-38, 45; CPR, 1429-36, p. 380; Guildford Mun. Room, 6/1/36(5).
- 4. CPR, 1446-52, p. 399; HP, loc. cit.