ORMESBY, James (d.1400/1), of Holborn, Mdx.

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



Family and Education

m. by Nov. 1388, Eleanor.1

Offices Held

Common huntsman of London 28 Oct. 1392-d.2

Commr. to receive prisoners from Windsor at Newgate gaol, London Feb. 1393.


This obscure shire knight may have been related to the John Ormesby who served as a buyer for the royal household in 1365, but his background and parentage are now unknown. His name suggests a possible connexion with Ormsby in Lincolnshire; and, indeed, in March 1387 he stood surety for two persons from the diocese of Lincoln who were appealing against the bishop’s orders for their excommunication.3 By 1376, however, Ormesby had acquired a tenement in Holborn, which was still in his hands some eight years later. During this period Sir Baldwin Raddington, the controller of the royal household, made Ormesby a feoffee-to-uses of his manor of Durants in Enfield, Middlesex, so his links with the county which later returned him to Parliament must already have been quite strong.4 In November 1388, he and his wife, Eleanor, were confirmed in possession of their property in Holborn by Nicholas Held, to whom part of it eventually reverted. The year 1393 saw Ormesby sufficiently well-established in the City to be made common huntsman of London, a post usually held by esquires or gentlemen, which, in the following century, carried with it a salary of £10 a year with clothing. Four months later he was chosen as a royal commissioner for the delivery of prisoners to Newgate. Shortly afterwards, together with Adam Bamme* and other distinguished Londoners, he became trustee of John Marchaunt’s extensive holdings in London, although he does not otherwise appear to have been involved in transactions of this kind. In June 1398 he obtained royal letters of pardon, issued to him no doubt, as to so many others, on a purely formal basis.5

Ormesby died between the early summer of 1400 and 22 Jan. 1401, leaving his widow, Eleanor, and a chaplain named Hugh Brymbre to implement the terms of his will. He bequeathed his armour to the prior of Clerkenwell, but wished to be buried at the parish church of Cranford in Middlesex.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. Corporation of London RO, hr 117/55.
  • 2. Cal. Leter Bk. London, H, 388.
  • 3. CPR, 1364-7, p. 93; CCR, 1385-9, p. 307.
  • 4. CP25(1)151/76/47; Cart. St. Bartholomew’s Hosp. ed. Kerling, app. I, no. 93.
  • 5. Corporation of London RO, hr 117/55, 123/43; CPR, 1392-6, p. 239; C67/30 m. 5.
  • 6. Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/1, f. 467v.