DURRANT, John (by 1491-1543 or later), of Hastings, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. by 1491. m. Agnes, 1s. 1da.2
Commoner, Hastings 1512, jurat 1515-42, bailiff 1525-6, 1526-7, 1540-1; bailiff to Yarmouth 1518, 1541; commr. subsidy, Hastings 1523, Suss. 1524.3
Any account of John Durrant is of necessity all but synonymous with a chronicle of his official career: his parentage, date of birth and occupation are alike unknown, and nothing has been found which sheds light on his personality. Three times bailiff of Hastings and a frequent representative of the port at Brotherhood assemblies, he busied himself with communal affairs and on occasions was called upon in other capacities. One of these was as a subsidy commissioner, another as Member of Parliament.
Durrant was by-elected for Hastings to the Parliament of 1529, although in circumstances not wholly clear. By the latter part of 1534 both Richard Calveley and Thomas Shoyswell, the Members elected in 1529, were dead and their places had been taken, according to a list of later compilation, by Durrant and John Taylor I; what is not recorded is whether the newcomers had been by-elected together or separately, and in either case when. Durrant may thus have entered the House in the spring of 1532—the earliest time at which Calveley, who had died upwards of two years before, is likely to have been replaced—or in the late autumn of 1534 after the death of Shoyswell. It is, however, almost certain that, having seen out this long drawn-out Parliament in April 1536, both he and Taylor were re-elected its brief successor in June, for in those Cinque Ports (unlike Hastings) where the names of the men then elected have been preserved they accord with the King’s request for the return of the previous Members. No similar presumption can be made with regard to the Parliament of 1539, for which the names of the Hastings Members are again lost, but Durrant’s appointment as bailiff for the third time in 1540-1 would have been a natural sequel to a third spell at Westminster.
By his will, made on 12 May 1543, Durrant left half his household stuff and plate, together with a life tenancy of his house in Hastings, to his wife Agnes. The remainder of his lands and tenements went to his son Edward, who was to pay his mother £4 a year out of them, and his two granddaughters by his daughter Joan were each to have £5 at marriage. The widow and son were named executors and were asked to keep an obit for the testator’s soul for seven years at St. Clement’s. As the will bears no date of probate, it does not supply a terminal date for Durrant’s life.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Patricia Hyde
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Add. 34150, f. 137.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Lewes archdeaconry ct. A1, f. 56v.
- 3. Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 148, 157, 171, 195, 198, 209, 224, 226, 229; LP Hen. VIII, iii. iv.
- 4. Lewes archdeaconry ct. A1, f. 56v.