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Robert Mordaunt
Elizabeth Holdenby
John Peake of Cople, Bedfordshire
William Mordaunt
Margaret Peake
(-After 1481)
Sir John Mordaunt
(Abt 1450-1504)


Family Links

1. Edith Latimer

Sir John Mordaunt 1 4 5 6 7

  • Born: Abt 1450
  • Marriage (1): Edith Latimer 1 2 3 4
  • Died: 11 Sep 1504 aged about 54 4 8
  • BuriedMale: All Saints' Church, Turvey, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK43 7, GB

  General Notes:

MORDAUNT, Sir John (1455\emdash 1504); of Turvey, Beds. Serjt.-at-law 1495-9; C.J. of Chester 1499-1504; Chanc. of the Duchy 1504. M.P. Somewhere, 1485-6, 1487 (Speaker), 1489-90; Grantham 1491-2; Bedfordshire 1495. Sumnd. 1497, 1504.

S. of William Mordaunt of Turvey (dead in 1481), by Margaret da. of John Peeke of Cople, Beds, (q.v.) ; m. Edith da. and coh. of Sir Nicholas Latimer of Duntish, Dorset, M.P., and widow of John Green of Stortford; issue John, afterwards lord Mordaunt of Turvey, 1529.1

J.P. Beds., of the quorum, 14 June 1483 till death, and for six other counties by 1495; one of the commanders at Stoke fight, 16 June 1487; elected Speaker, 9 Nov. 1487; for his services in which office the King gave him a "reward" of £100. As he sat for Grantham boro' in 1491, and was only a young lawyer in 1487, it is quite possible that he was the first borough member to be elected Speaker. Apptd. serjeant-at-law, 10 Sept. 1495; King's serjt.-at-law, 25 Nov. 1495; sumnd. to Parlt. as King's serjt.-at-law 1497, 1504; C.J. of Chester, c. 1499; kntd., 18 Feb. 1503; steward of Cambridge University, 6 Apr. 1504; Chanc. of the Duchy by 24 June 1504,1 in succession to Sir Reynold Bray.

D. 5 Sept./6 Dec. 1504; buried at Turvey where his altar tomb survives. Will, dat. 5 Sept., pr. 6 Dec. 1504.2

1 Dict. Nat. Biog., art. Sir John Mordaunt.
2 To be bur. at Turvey or where he dies. Prayers for Henry VII, for soul of Elizabeth, Queen consort, and souls of King's ancestors; for souls of William and Margaret, his parents, for Edith his w., da. and coh. of Nicholas Latimer knt., and for Anne, late Countess of Warwick, and all his benefactors. Edith his w. to have £ 100 a year; bequests to sons John and William. Exors. his bro. William Mordaunt, John Vinter, and William Gascoigne (P.C.C., 22 Holgrave).

[History of Parliament (1439-1509)]


Wounded at the battle of Barnet, was a commander at the battle of Stoke (1487), Speaker of the House of Commons, sergeant-at-law (10 Sep 1495), King's Serjeant (25 Nov 1495), attorney to Prince Arthur, Chief Justice of Chester (c. 1499), knighted (1502-3), High Steward of Cambridge University (1504), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (24 Jun 1504), lawyer at Middle Temple.


Mordaunt, Sir John (d. 1504), lawyer, administrator, and speaker of the House of Commons, was the son of William Mordaunt (d. 1481) of Turvey and his wife, Margaret (d. after 1481), daughter of John Peeke of Cople. Both his parents came from Bedfordshire, where the Mordaunts had been long established. No independent evidence survives to support the family tradition that John Mordaunt was an officer of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, and in 1471 was wounded fighting for the earl at Barnet, and he is first reliably recorded only in 1483, as a JP and then as a commissioner to assess a subsidy, on both occasions in Bedfordshire. Legal practice was his first source of advancement and wealth, and he became a member of the Middle Temple. But he was also summoned by Richard III to serve against the Scots in 1484, and fought for Henry VII at Stoke in 1487.

As his fighting at Stoke shows, Mordaunt made the transition from York to Tudor without difficulty, and advanced rapidly under the new regime. In 1486 he was appointed to an important commission investigating concealed lands and royal rights in Bedfordshire. He had been MP for an unidentified constituency in the parliament of 1485\\6. In 1487 not only was he again returned (and again, his constituency is unidentified), but he was also elected speaker of the Commons. That a substantial grant of taxation was made perhaps owed something to skilful management by Mordaunt, who afterwards received (as was customary) a grant of £100 from the king. MP for Grantham in 1491\\2, he sat for Bedfordshire in 1495. In the same year he became both a serjeant-at-law and a king's serjeant. His appearances as a pleader are reported with some frequency in the year-books, which show him acting for the crown in some important lawsuits, for instance Stonor's case (1495\\6), concerned with the king's rights of wardship. Regularly a JP for Bedfordshire, during the 1490s he became a justice of assize and gaol delivery, and consequently also a JP, for several other counties, principally in the south and south-west.

From the early 1490s Mordaunt was also increasingly involved in government, perhaps thanks to the patronage of Sir Reynold Bray. He was appointed to hear cases in the court of requests, and was concerned with the administration of the duchy of Cornwall. Several times recorded as investigating charges of riotous behaviour, he sat in Star Chamber, and was among the king's councillors summoned to parliament in 1497 and 1504. On 23 February 1501 he was granted an annuity of £100 during good behaviour. Although he served the crown above all as a lawyer, Mordaunt is also often recorded as involved in the implementation of Henry VII's policy of using financial instruments to control his subjects, by receiving bonds and recognizances on the king's behalf. Moreover he became a councillor to the king's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, and attorney to Prince Arthur, and was retained by such magnates as the duke of Buckingham and the earl of Surrey. About 1499 he was made chief justice at Chester. On 18 February 1503 he was knighted, and on 6 April 1504 he was appointed high steward of Cambridge University. Shortly afterwards, on 24 June, Mordaunt was nominated to succeed Bray as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, with an annual salary of 200 marks.

Mordaunt's rise to great place would go no further, for what was probably a sudden sickness struck him down. He made his will on 5 September 1504, and died six days later, most likely at Turvey. To his inherited estates in Bedfordshire he had added property in Dorset and Somerset by his marriage, before November 1484, to Edith, coheir of Sir Nicholas Latymer. In the years that followed he also acquired estates not only in the home counties and south-east, but also in Northamptonshire and even in Northumberland. Shortly before his death he could afford to pay the king £1600 for the wardship of the heiress Jane Sayntmaur. His will records bequests to two sons and a daughter, and also the endowment of a chantry at Turvey, one of whose chaplains was to be qualified to teach grammar free of charge to all children coming there. However, the will also provided that should the chantry not be established within ten years, the endowment was to go to Mordaunt's heirs, as apparently happened. Mordaunt is nevertheless still commemorated by his effigy on his tomb in Turvey church, representing him in full armour. His wife survived him, and may afterwards have married a member of the Carew family. His eldest son, another John Mordaunt, would become first Lord Mordaunt.

Henry Summerson

Sources: Chancery records · R. Halstead [H. Mordaunt, second earl of Peterborough], Succinct genealogies of the noble and ancient houses (1685) · CIPM, Henry VII, 3, no. 875 · Baker, Serjeants · R. Somerville, History of the duchy of Lancaster, 1265'96 1603 (1953) · E. W. Ives, The common lawyers of pre-Reformation England (1983) · J. S. Roskell, The Commons and their speakers in English parliaments, 1376'96 1523 (1965) · The Anglica historia of Polydore Vergil, AD 1485'96 1537, ed. and trans. D. Hay, CS, 3rd ser., 74 (1950) · I. S. Leadam, ed., Select cases in the court of requests, AD 1497'96 1569, SeldS, 12 (1898) · C. G. Bayne and W. H. Dunham, eds., Select cases in the council of Henry VII, SeldS, 75 (1958) · J. C. Wedgwood and A. D. Holt, History of parliament, 1: Biographies of the members of the Commons house, 1439'96 1509 (1936), 607'96 8 · C. Rawcliffe, The Staffords, earls of Stafford and dukes of Buckingham, 1394'96 1521, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, 3rd ser., 11 (1978), 202 · M. Condon, 'An anachronism with intent? Henry VII's council ordinance of 1491/2', Kings and nobles in the later middle ages, ed. R. A. Griffiths and J. Sherborne (1986), 228'96 53

Likenesses: alabaster tomb effigy, All Saints' Church, Turvey, Bedfordshire.

[Oxford DNB]


JOHN MORDAUNT, Son and Heir of William Mordaunt, that was Lord of Turvey, being a Youth of a particular Ingenuity, such as did promise both Spirit and Capacity, the appearances thereof were taken hold of by his judicious Father; who, after his Son had received what the Method and Discipline of a Free-School could give, sent him to learn the Knowledge of the Laws, and to be instructed in those ways that might enable him for the most useful and publick Callings.

These applications were so successful, as he became, betimes, very considerable in that way. But happening to live in those days of War and Tumult, and his flourishing Youth subsisting in the Reign of King Edward the Fourth, he gave great proof of his Valor in matters of that nature also; His Temper and Inclina|tions being in truth, Tam Marte quam Mercurio: And indeed he was an Officer in Arms (as well as a Councellor in Civil Matters) to Richard Nevill, the great Earl of Warwick, into whose Affairs he was introduc'd by the Lady Anne Beauchamp, Countess of Warwick, his Wife, a Princess most Eminent in that Age, for great Birth and Qualities, and that in his Last Will he reckons a great Bene|factress. He was with this Earl at the Battel of Barnet, where his Patron was Slain, himself much Wounded, and the Fortune of King Henry for ever over|thrown. After this he retired to his Studies, and particularly to those of the Law, whereunto he had at first design'd his applications, and therein he became very Eminent.

His Father dying afterwards, about the Fourteenth Year of King Edward the Fourth, and he becoming Master of his House and his Inheritance; his Prudence, thenceforth, and his Worthiness, made him so considerable in the County of Bed|ford (where was his usual Residence, and chief Establishment) as by his Interest and Reputation he govern'd that Country very much. This is evident, by Letters directed to him from divers Princes, who required his aid to several of their Wars, by his Attendance, with his following of Tenants and Friends, which he did successfully afford to King Henry the Seventh, both at Bosworth, afore he was King, and at Stoake Field afterwards, against the Earl of Lincoln, where he resorted to him in person, accompanied with a numerous Assembly of his Relations and De|pendants.

His Services to this King, with the knowledge of his Abilities, were the grounds of a singular esteem his Majesty had for him; which he testified in the Fifteenth Year of his Reign, by taking him to live in his own Palace, for the use of a pri|vate and particular Councellor; and after that, having received the honour of Knighthood, he was made Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster, with a considerable Pension; a place, at that time, when the Lands belonging to that Dutchy were more than what does now appertain unto the Crown, of great Honour and Emolument. And he was made at the same time, one of that King's Privy Council.

Sir John Mordaunt was very notorious for his advice, in matching the King's Eldest Daughter to the King of Scotland; and had a great part in the direction of draw|ing up the Articles of that Treaty, between the Two Kings; a Copy whereof is yet Extant, under his own Hand. In fine, there were few Men, upon whose Counsel that Wise King depended more, nor that had done him more useful and agree|able Services; from whence proceded the improvement of his Fortune, in this Reign: For though the King was a sparing Giver, unless upon great deserts, yet Sir John Mordaunt had very many advantagous benefits at his Hands, as may appear in the Proofs, by the several Royal Gifts, and Offices he bestow'd upon him. So as having disengaged several Lordships that had been Morgaged, or Encumbred by his Grandfather, made new Acquisitions of many others by his own industry, and become Master of a large Patrimony, in behalf of his Wife, who was the Daughter and Heir of Sir Nicholas Latimer, Lord of Duntish, in the County of Dorset, and divers other Noble Possessions in the West of England, as the head of a very Antient Family, He was in the way to all the Greatness could be coveted by the Ambition of a reasonable Man. But near the One and twentieth Year of King Henry the Seventh, he was grown old and much wasted, through the Cares and Labours incident to a Man busied in three Active Reigns. So as falling Sick at London, after having receiv'd particular testimonies of the care, and concern of his Royal Master, he departed this Life, and was carried to rest with his Fathers; and lyeth Buried in his own Church of Turvey, under a fair Tomb of white Marble. He had Issue by his Wife, the Lady Edith Latimer,

Sir John Mordaunt, first Lord Mordaunt.
Robert Mordaunt.
William Mordaunt.
Joane Mordaunt, Married Giles Strangeways, of Melbury in the County of Dorset 1 4 9


• Manorial Estate, 1475-1504, Turvey Manor, Turvey, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK43 7, GB. 7 At the Survey of 1086 eight entries occur with regard to land in Turvey, of which one only describes the property referred to as a manor. This estate of TURVEY MANOR, sometimes called MORDAUNTS MANOR, was held by the Bishop of Coutances. Three sokemen had owned it in the preceding reign, and it consisted of 4 hides worth £6. (fn. 6) The overlordship is subsequently found attached to the barony of Trailly (q.v.) and was attached to the honour of Gloucester, the descent being the same as that of Biddenham (q.v.). (fn. 7) The last reference to the overlordship is in 1612, when James I granted to John Eldred and others the rents of assize belonging to the honour of Gloucester, lately held by the Duke of Buckingham in Turvey. (fn. 8)

There is no mention of a tenant holding in Turvey in 1086, but the family of Mordaunt is found holding this manor from the early 13th century. Halstead, the authenticity of whose early charters is doubtful, claims in his Succinct Genealogies that Eustace Mordaunt acquired this manor by marriage with Alice sister and co-heir of Hugh de Alneto, and that Sarah, another sister and co-heir, married Robert de Ardres, thus leading to the formation of the two manors of Mordaunts and Ardres held conjointly for some time. (fn. 9)

ΆThe cartulary of St. Neots certainly furnishes evidence that the de Alnetos preceded the Mordaunts in Turvey, for their name constantly recurs as benefactors to the priory. On one occasion there is mention of three generations when Hugh de Alneto (brother of Alice) confirmed the grants of Hugh his grandfather and William his father of land in Turvey. (fn. 10) Therefore it seems likely that an intermarriage did take place, especially as in 1225 an assize of mort d'ancestor was summoned between Eustace Mordaunt and Robert de Ardres and John Trailly their overlord concerning 3 carucates of land, of which each was awarded 1½ carucates. (fn. 11) The heir of William Mordaunt, son of Eustace, held this property in 1278\endash 9. (fn. 12) William Mordaunt, probably the heir referred to above, received recognition of his right to land in Turvey from Thomas Wood in 1313\endash 14. (fn. 13) He was living two years later, but by 1346 had been succeeded by his son Robert Mordaunt. (fn. 14) The next lord of this manor of whom mention has been found is Edmund Mordaunt, probably a son of Robert, of whom it is stated in an inquisition taken in 1372 that on the Sunday before the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude in that year, being seized with homicidal mania, he killed his wife Ellen and drowned himself on the same day in a pool in Turvey. (fn. 15) Robert, his son, who according to Halstead united in one the hitherto separate manors of Mordaunts and Ardres, died some time before 1397, (fn. 16) and was followed by his son Robert Mordaunt, who was 'during the Civil Broils of his own Country, an assertor of the Claim and Interest of the House of York.' He died in 1448 after having considerably impoverished the family estates, (fn. 17) and his son William Mordaunt together with his wife strove 'by a provident and frugal proceeding to repair those breaches the over-liberal ways of his Father had made in the Fortunes of his Family. Their endeavours did succeed, and as an approbation thereof, and a blessing thereupon, Providence sent them to enjoy the Fruits of their worthy Cares, Three Children, whose merits from their Natures and Good Education, made them all have (as well as deserve) excellent Fortunes.' (fn. 18) Of these Sir John Mordaunt the eldest succeeded to Turvey Manor about 1475. He was wounded on the Lancastrian side at the battle of Barnet, and was one of the commanders at Stoke in 1487. He was made king's sergeant in 1495, and is said to have been instrumental in arranging a marriage between Margaret daughter of Henry VII and the King of Scotland. (fn. 19) He died in 1504, and his son John Mordaunt rose high in favour at the court of Henry VIII. He was knighted in 1520, and the same year accompanied Henry to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1533 he was created Baron Mordaunt of Turvey. (fn. 20) He received Anne Boleyn at the Tower when she came to be crowned, and took part in her trial three years later, and in 1537 carried the banner at Jane Seymour's funeral. He died in 1562, when his son Sir John Mordaunt succeeded to Turvey Manor. (fn. 21)

6. V.C.H. Beds. i, 225b.
7. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 248b; Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 332; Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 6; 38 & 39 Hen. VI, no. 59; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 79.
8. Pat. 9 Jas. I, pt. viii, m. 1.
9. It must be remembered, however, that the connexion of the de Ardres with Turvey dates from Domesday (cf. History of Ardres Manor).
10. Cott. MS. Faust. A iv.
11. Cal. Pat. 1225\endash 32, p. 449; Feet of F. Beds. 16 Hen. III, no. 21.
12. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 332.
13. Feet of F. Beds. 7 Edw. II, no. 7.
14. Feud. Aids, i, 17, 30.
15. Chan. Inq. p.m. 46 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 6.
16. In which year his widow Agnes married Thomas de Fotheringay (Halstead, op. cit. 397).
17. Ibid.; Feud. Aids, i, 40; Beds. N. and Q. iii, 246.
18. Halstead, op. cit. 397.
19. Feet of F. Div. Co. 12 Hen. VII; Dict. Nat. Biog.; Halstead, op. cit. Halstead gives transcripts of letters from Richard III and Henry VII to John Mordaunt.
20. a J. H. Round, Peerage Studies, 337, 349.
21. Dict. Nat. Biog.; Halstead, op. cit.; Exch. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), file 54, no. 6.

• Occupation: Speaker of the House of Commons, 1487.

• Occupation: MP for Grantham, 1491 To 1492.

• Occupation: Sergeant-at-law, 10 Sep 1495.

• Occupation: King's Serjeant, 25 Nov 1495.

• Occupation: Chief Justice of Chester, Abt 1499.

• Title: Knight, 18 Feb 1503.

• Manorial Estate, 1504, Mordaunts Manor, Ellesborough, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17, GB. 10 The reputed manor of MORDAUNTS in the parish of Ellesborough was held as a sub-manor under the Cauntlows, and so belonged to the honour of Dudley. In 1274\endash 5 Lawrence de Brok died seised of 6 marks rent, which he held of Nicholas Cauntlow. (fn. 107) His son and heir was Hugh de Brok, (fn. 108) who held the same rent in 1284\endash 6. (fn. 109) Hugh died before 1300, when his widow Isabel granted away certain lands and rents in Ellesborough for the term of her life. (fn. 110) Another Lawrence de Brok, her son, held tenements in Ellesborough, (fn. 111) the rents and services from which he granted to John de Bykton for fourteen years, and in 1309 made a settlement of 100s. rent in Ellesborough on himself and his wife Ellen. (fn. 112) His lands descended to his granddaughter Helen, (fn. 113) who married Edmund Mordaunt. (fn. 114) The latter died seised of rents in Ellesborough in 1374, (fn. 115) which were held of William Cauntlow; he was succeeded by his heir Robert, then a minor. The Mordaunts presumably held this rent in Ellesborough uninterruptedly during the 15th century, and in 1504 or 1505 Sir John Mordaunt held land in Ellesborough. (fn. 116) He was raised to the peerage as Baron Mordaunt of Turvey, and was succeeded by his son and grandson in turn. (fn. 117) In 1560 (fn. 118) their possessions in Ellesborough were described as the manor of Ellesborough, and this name was again used when Lewis the third Lord Mordaunt sold it to William Hawtrey in 1571. (fn. 119) It afterwards became known as the manor of Mordaunts, and from the time that it passed to the Hawtreys was held with the manor of Chequers (q.v.). (fn. 120)

107. Cal. Inq. p.m. Edw. I, no. 110.
108. Ibid.
109. Feud. Aids, i, 86.
110. Harl. Chart. 46, F. 51.
111. Ibid. 46, G. 5.
112. Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 3 Edw. II.
113. Harl. Publ. Soc. xix, 41; Visit. of Bucks. 1566 (ed. Metcalfe).
114. Ibid.
115. Chan. Inq. p.m. 47 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 27.
116. Exch. Inq. p.m. v, no. 2.
117. G.E.C. Complete Peerage.
118. Recov. R. Mich. 2 & 3 Eliz.
119. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Bucks. Trin. 13 Eliz.; Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 13 Eliz.
120. Ibid. East. 16 Chas. I.

• Title: High Steward of Cambridge University, 6 Apr 1504.

• Title: Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster, 24 Jun 1504.

• Will, 5 Sep 1504. 2 John Mordaunt, Knight, 5th September 1504. My body to be buried in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin in the parish Church of Turvey...

• Inquisition: Post mortem, 4 Feb 1505. 8 875. JOHN MORDAUNT, knight.

Inquisition, virtute officii, 4 February, 20 Henry VII.

He died 11 September last, seised in fee of the under-mentioned messuage &c. John Mordaunt, aged 21 years and more, is his son and heir.

BUCKINGHAM. A messuage, 60a. arable, 6a. wood and 24s. rent in Ellesburgh, worth 60s., held of the heirs of Richard Pole, knight, by fealty and a rent of 6d. yearly.

Note in margin:- Pro rege, ut patet in proximo, inquisicione annexa tangente Ricardum Pole.

E. Series II. File 5. (2.)

John married Edith Latimer, daughter of Sir Nicholas Latimer of Duntish, Dorset and Joan Hody.1 2 3 4 (Edith Latimer died after 11 Sep 1504.)


1 Robert Halstead, <i>Succint genealogies of the noble and ancient houses of Alno or de Alneto, Broc of Stephale, Latimer of Duntish, Drayton of Drayton, Mauduit of Westminster, Green of Drayton, Vere of Addington, Fitz-Lewes of Westhornedon, Howard of Effingham and Mordaunt of Turvey justified by publick records, ancient and extant charters, histories and other authentick proofs, and enriched with divers sculptures of tombs, images, seals, and other curiosities </i> (London, GB: W. Burrell, 1685), 398-9.

2 Nicholas Harris Nichols Esq., <i>Testementa Vetusta - an Illustration From Wills of Customs... </i> (London, GB: Nichols and Sons, 1826), 2: 461-462.

3 John Burke, <i>A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britian and Ireland, Enjoying Territorial Possessions or High Official Rank: but Uninvested with Heritable Honours, Volume 1</i> (Henry Colburn, 1835), Vol 1. p 681.

4 Josiah C. Wedgewood and Anne D. Holt, <i>The History of Parliament: 1439-1509</i>, 3 (London, GB: His Majesty's Staionery Office, 1936), 1: 607-608.

5 George Edward Cokayne, "Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom" (Sutton Publishing Ltd., 2000), IX, p. 193.

6 Sir Bernard Burke, <i>A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited & Extinct Peerages of the British Empire</i> (59 Pall Mall, London, GB, Harrison, 1866), p. 315.

7 Victoria County History of Bedfordshire, Vol. 3 pp 109-117.

8 J E E S Sharp and A E Stamp, <i>Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem </i> (London: n.p., n.d.), 3 Henry VII (Series 2): 458-479.

9 Oxford University Press, editor, <i>Oxford Dictionary of National Biographies</i>; HTML, <i>Oxford Dictionary of National Biographies</i> (

10 William Page, editor, <i>A History of the County of Hertfordshire</i>, 4 (London, GB: Victoria County History, 1912), 2: 331-338.

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