GILES, John, of All Cannings, Wilts.

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



Dec. 1421

Family and Education

m. bef. 1428, Alice, ?2s.1 inc. Robert.

Offices Held

Clerk of the peace, Wilts. 1421-44.2

Commr. of inquiry Hants, Northants., Som., Wilts. May 1443 (wastes, estates of alien priories).


A lawyer and for more than 20 years clerk to the Wiltshire bench, Giles sat in all for as many as five local boroughs, in none of which, apparently, was he a resident burgess. His early history is obscure, but he may have been the John Giles of Netheravon, Wiltshire, who in 1406 was fined for committing adultery with Alice, Thomas Giles’s servant, and who in September 1411 entered into a recognizance with Nicholas Ryssheton, the diplomat. He was perhaps, too, the man of this name who was asked by Elizabeth Juliers, dowager countess of Kent, to be an executor of her will, made in April 1411, and who in the following year became a feoffee of lands in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Surrey belonging to John Uvedale*, one of the witnesses to that document.3

More certainly, from October 1425 Giles was one of the trustees of a small estate in Frome, Somerset, on behalf of John Frank, former clerk of Parliament and then master of the rolls. In May of the following year he acted as surety for another of Frank’s feoffees, John Twyneho, when the latter was granted the farm of the cloth subsidy in Somerset. Also in 1426, and in association with Robert Long*, he was a trustee of the manor of Bupton, Wiltshire. Giles became known to prominent figures in government: he stood surety in November 1427 for Sir John Juyn, chief baron of the Exchequer, and two years later he was enfeoffeed of property at Charing Cross, Middlesex, belonging to Sir Walter (now Lord) Hungerford*, the treasurer.4 For the most part, however, he drew his clients from the lesser gentry of Wiltshire. Thus, in 1430 he was Robert Salman’s* feoffee of the manor of Wick and other lands near Lacock; he went surety for Edward Palling when the latter obtained the farm of alnage in the county in the same year, and in 1431 he performed a similar service for John Osbourne in respect of a royal grant of the custody of land in Old Sarum and Dinton. In 1437 he acted as arbiter in a dispute between Peter Fader, clerk, and John Wyly, a prominent merchant of Salisbury. Giles himself was granted, in the following year, the wardship of land in South Moreton and Wantage, Berkshire, during the minority of the heir; however, owing to his failure to agree with the Exchequer about the annual rent, the settlement had to be renegotiated in October 1439. In the meantime he had been present in the county court at Wilton for the parliamentary elections of 1427,1429, 1431, 1432, 1435 and 1437; and he was again to attest the indenture incorporating the outcome of the shire elections in 1442. Between December 1421 and 1442, indeed, there is only one election—that of 1426—in which he is not known to have been involved, either as an MP or a witness.5

Giles is last recorded in July 1446, when he was among those for whose well-being prayers were to be offered in John St. Lo’s chantry at Calne: others mentioned included Robert Giles, the MP for Calne in 1442, who was probably one of John’s sons.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: Charles Kightly


  • 1. Wilts. Feet of Fines (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xli), 432, 493; VCH Wilts. x. 23-24.
  • 2. E. Stephens, Clerks of Counties, 178.
  • 3. Reg. John Chandler (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxxix), 59; CCR, 1409-13, p. 240; 1413-19, p. 352; CPR, 1408-13, p. 412; Test. Vetusta ed. Nicolas, i. 180.
  • 4. CFR, xv. 114, 204; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 64, 72; Wilts. Feet of Fines, 411; CCR, 1429-35, pp. 44, 53.
  • 5. CAD, iv. A7148; CFR, xv. 284-5; xvi. 46; xvii. 44, 105-6; CCR, 1435-41, p. 162; C219/13/5, 14/1-3, 5, 15/1, 2.
  • 6. CPR, 1441-6, p. 459.