Bourchier, John de (DNB00)


BOURCHIER or BOUSSIER, JOHN de (d. 1330?), judge, is first mentioned as deputed by Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford, to represent him in the parliament summoned in 1306 for the purpose of granting an aid on the occasion of the Prince of Wales receiving knighthood. In 1312 he was permitted to postpone the assumption of the same rank for three years in consideration of paying a fine of 100s. In 1314-15 he appears as one of the justices of assize for the counties of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, and his name appears in various commissions for the years 1317, 1319, and 1320. In 1321 (15 May) he was summoned to parliament at Westminster, apparently for the first time, as a justice, and on the 31st of the same month was appointed a justice of the common bench. Next year he was engaged in trying certain persons charged with making forcible entry upon the manors of Hugh le Despenser, in Glamorganshire, Brecknock, and elsewhere, and in investigating a charge of malversation against certain commissioners of forfeited estates in Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, and trying cases of extortion by sheriffs, commissioners of array, and other officers in Essex, Hertford, and Middlesex. In the same year he sat on a special commission for the trial of persons accused of complicity in the fabrication of miracles in the neighbourhood of the gallows on which Henry de Montfort and Henry de Wylyngton had been hanged at Bristol. In February 1325-6 he was placed at the head of a commission to try a charge of poaching brought by the Bishop of London and the dean and chapter of St. Paul's against a number of persons alleged to have taken a large fish, 'qui dicitur cete,' from the manor of Walton, in violation of a charter of Henry III, by which the chapter claimed the exclusive right to all large fish found on their estates, the tongue only being reserved to the king. In the same year he was engaged in trying cases of extortion by legal officials in Suffolk, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire, and persons indicted before the conservators of the peace in Lincolnshire. In December of this year he was summoned to parliament for the last time. He was reappointed justice of the common bench shortly after the accession of Edward III, the patent being dated 24 March 1326-7. The last fine was levied before him on Ascension day 1329. He died shortly afterwards, as we know from the fact that in the following year his heir, Robert, was put in possession of his estates by the king. By his marriage with Helen, daughter and heir of Walter of Colchester, he acquired the manor of Stanstead, in Halstead, Essex, adjoining an estate which he had purchased in 1312. He was buried in Stanstead Church.

[Parl. Writs, i. 164, 166, ii. Div. ii. pt. i. 139-140, 236, 351, 419, pt, ii. 110-11, 119, 134-5, 139, 148-9, 151, 153-4, 188, 193, 230-2, 237, 241, 283, 288; Rot, Parl. i. 449 b; Dugdale's Orig. 45; Rot. Orig. Abbrev. ii. 44; Cal. Rot. Pat. 89 m. 6, 99 m. 10; Rymer's Fœdera (ed. Clarke), ii. 619; Morant's Essex, ii. 253; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.