Sir John Woodford (1358-1401)

At the time of his father William's death, John Woodford was a young boy of eleven, and consequently a wardship was established through Edward, Prince of Wales, whereby three local landowners, William Puresoy, Roger le Gresley the younger, and John Botelier, were responsible for the Woodford lands and properties until John came of age.

The grant is dated 1 October 1371, less than two years after the death of William.

John died in 1401. The Escheat Rolls for 22 November 1402 records that his heir was his only child, Robert, who was born in 1383. 

St Mary's Parish Church, Wyfordby
St Mary's Parish Church, Wyfordby
An earlier indenture dated 16 February 1371 states that `John boteler shall pay to the Prince for this wardenship and marriage £40 at St. John's Nativity and £40 at Christmas; and afterwards £20 each half year.'

According to the cartulary, John Woodford was born at Brentingby in 1358 and baptised in Brentingby Chapel by John Walker, rector of Wyfordby.  On 21 May 1380, when John became 21 years of age, Thomas Hore, Escheator for Leicestershire, confirmed that John had been born in Brentingby.  Consequently on 21 May 1380 Hore was directed to release `seisin and possession of the manor of Sproxton with its appurtenances...' and all the other Woodford lands. John married Mabel (Isabel) Folville, heir to the manor of Ashby Folville in Leicestershire.

John was later appointed Escheator for Leicestershire.  Little is known about his life but it is clear that he was well-educated and that he held several positions of influence in the county.  An indication of his duties can be gained from various entries in the Rolls.  On 9 October 1391, for instance, John, as Escheator, was ordered `to remove the king's hand and meddle no further concerning the manors of Kyrkeby upon Wreke, two gardens there and the advowson of the priory, certain lands in Melton Mowbray, the manor of Somerby, six virgates of land and 13s 4d rent there, and a messuage and four acres of land in Thorpe Sachevylle, held of others upon the king.'

Similarly, in 1392, John Woodford was appointed with others `to make Inquisition in Leycester, as to what evil doers and breakers of the king's peace, slew Robert Horne at Melton Mowbray, now and at whose procurement, and who after, knowingly harboured him'.

John died in 1401.  The Escheat Rolls for 22 November 1402 records that his heir was his only child, Robert, who was born in 1383.  Mabel Folville, described as `lady of Ashby Folville' in deeds relating to the letting of land and property in Melton Mowbray in 1428, was the descendant of a notorious Leicestershire family.   John de Wodeford and Mabel `his wife' are recorded as the plaintiffs in a fine against Sir Hugh Browe and Elizabeth his wife relating to a manor and advowson in Teigh, Rutland dated Hilary 1389 in the Gretton (Sherard) manuscripts.