OTTWORTH, William, of Guildford, Surr.
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Family and Education
s. of John Ottworth. m. 2s. 2da.1
Escheator, Surr. and Suss. 4 Nov. 1428-12 Feb. 1430, 23 Nov. 1436-28 Nov. 1437.
Commr. of inquiry, Surr. Aug. 1431 (wastes and concealments); to distribute a tax allowance May 1437.
J.p. Surr. 30 Oct. 1436-Feb. 1439.
The subject of this biography was a descendant of the Walter Ottworth who occupied the Wiltshire manors of Westrop and Hampton during the reign of Edward I. His father, John Ottworth, remains a shadowy figure in comparison with his other kinsmen, such as Walter Ottworth, a Surrey landowner active on a number of royal commissions in the county between 1377 and 1400. It is possible that John Ottworth* of Oxford was somehow connected with the branch of the family which settled near Guildford as well, but the precise relationship remains unknown. William himself first appears as a witness at the Surrey elections to the Parliament of May 1413; and he subsequently helped to choose the shire knights returned in 1414 (Nov.), 1417, 1419, 1421 (May), 1422 (Nov.), 1425, 1431 and 1449.2 Yet despite the prominent place which he occupied in the community, being himself a Member of at least five Parliaments, and also serving two terms as escheator of Surrey and Sussex, very little is known about his private affairs. During the summer of 1423 he acquired land in the Surrey village of Merrow from John and Katherine Weriton. He seems to have lived in Guildford, however, for it was as a resident of the county town that he was required, in May 1434, to take the general oath not to support anyone who broke the peace.
Ottworth became a j.p. in October 1436, but sat only briefly on the local bench and seems to have retired from public life by the time that new commissions were issued in February 1439. He attested a deed for Sir Henry Norbury† and his wife in the following July, and occurs sporadically as a witness or trustee over the next 12 years, acting on one occasion for the celebrated royal surgeon, Thomas Morstede. He is last mentioned in June 1459, when, together with his son, William Ottworth the younger (who, like him dwelt in the parish of St. Martin by Guildford), he offered bonds worth 100 marks to Henry Egan and Richard Burton. He evidently died at some point over the next six years, for in 1465 his son began litigation against Egan and Burton in the court of common pleas for the recovery of the abovementioned Wiltshire manors, which he claimed as his inheritance. William Ottworth the younger had at least two sisters and a brother, who are mentioned in his will of 1485.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Atteworth, Otteworth.
- 1. Genealogist, n.s. xix. 31; Archdeaconry ct. Surr. Reg. Spage, f. 40.
- 2. CFR, viii. 386; ix. 56, 338; xi. 263; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 313; Genealogist, n.s. xix. 31; C219/11/2, 5, 12/2, 3, 5, 13/1, 3, 14/2, 15/7.
- 3. CP25(1)232/70/5; CPR, 1429-36, p. 380; Add. Ch. 5618; CCR, 1436-41, p. 545; 1441-7, pp. 140-1; 1447-54, pp. 283-4; 1454-61, p. 384; Reg. Spage, f. 40.