Stonor, John de (DNB00)

STONOR, JOHN de (d. 1354), judge, was probably born at Stonor, near Sandwich, Kent, for in 1316 he took a release of the lands of Robert de Dumbleton in that county. He was, however, also connected with the manor of Stonor, near Dorchester, Oxfordshire, in the church of which place there is the effigy of a judge bearing his arms. Stonor frequently occurs as an advocate in the year-books, and in 1313, as one of the serjeants, was summoned to parliament. In 1316 he had 20l. per annum for his expenses in the king's service, and was about this time frequently employed on judicial commissions. On 16 Oct. 1320 Stonor was appointed one of the justices of the common pleas. Dugdale makes him one of the judges of the king's bench in 1323–4; but, though this seems to be an error, he was perhaps removed for a time from the common pleas, since mention is made of his reappointment to that court on 3 May 1324. Stonor was reappointed after the accession of Edward III, on 31 Jan. 1327, and in the autumn of that year was employed in the inquiries into the disturbances at Bury St. Edmunds and Abingdon Abbey (Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edward III, i. 2, 217, 221–2, 287–9; Memorials of St. Edmunds Abbey, ii. 302, 348, 353). On 22 Feb. 1329 he was made chief baron of the exchequer, and on 3 Sept. of the same year chief justice of the common pleas (Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edward III, i. 365, 439). He was removed from the chief-justiceship on 2 March 1331, and on 1 April appointed to the second place in the same court (ib. ii. 78, 102). He was confirmed in this position on 8 Feb. 1334, but on 16 July following was displaced by Geoffrey le Scrope [q. v.] However, on 7 July 1335 he was once more made chief justice of the common pleas (ib. ii. 510, 565, iii. 151). In this same year he was sent to inquire into the disputes between north and south at Oxford (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. i. 427). Stonor was one of the judges who were removed from office by the king on his sudden return to England in November 1340, and was for a time imprisoned in the Tower (Murimuth, p. 117; Avesbury, p. 323). He was, however, restored to his office on 9 May 1342, and retained it till his death in 1354. In 1335 the prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, had suggested that Stonor would be a suitable seneschal of the monastery, as being a prudent man, well known and popular among the nobility, and solicited the services of Archbishop Stratford to obtain his consent. Stonor declined the honour, but wrote a letter to the prior recommending John de Hildesley for the post (Litteræ Cantuarienses, ii. 84–8, 98, 108). Stonor held lands in nine counties, in which he was succeeded by his son John.

[Authorities quoted; Foss's Judges of England.]

C. L. K.