LOPYNFORD, John, of Honiton, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

m. by 1401, Joan, 1da.

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Som. Nov. 1395 (estates of Sir Thomas Fichet’s heir), Som., Devon, Cornw., Glos. July 1398 (wastes on the manors of Sir John Welyngton).


Nothing is known of Lopynford’s family or background, but the earliest references to him describe him as being ‘of Devon’. He owned a house at Honiton, where he resided towards the end of his life, and through his marriage he acquired over 200 acres of land elsewhere in the east of the county, along with a small estate at Dunster and Carampton in Somerset.1 His clients in his work as a lawyer were for the most part landowners and clerics from the same shires, although early in his career, in 1389, he stood surety in Chancery for a monk from Daventry priory, Northamptonshire, who was being sued for trespass by the Crown. In February 1397 one William Cullyng, a prisoner in the Marshalsea, was pardoned his outlawry for failure to pay a fine for having sued in the ecclesiastical courts a plea regarding a secular contract, to the heavy damage of Lopynford. In the same year the latter acquired a reversionary interest in lands at Hemborough, Devon, which he immediately conveyed to Robert Hill* of Spaxton, and he also became a feoffee of the manor of Hardington Mandeville, Somerset, for Sir John Wadham*, j.c.p.2 Lopynford came to the attention of an even more important client soon afterwards: in 1402 he appeared as attorney for James Butler, earl of Ormond (d.1405), in his suit in Chancery over the manor of Huntspill ‘Marreys’, and he continued to serve the earl in this way for the next three years. Between 1402 and 1411 Lopynford acted on behalf of several landowners of note, either at the assizes at Exeter or, more usually, in the central courts at Westminster. At the Exchequer he appeared for the lessees of the manor of Trelaske, Cornwall, and twice for the custodians of the priory of St. James near Exeter; and in Chancery he conducted cases for a fellow lawyer, Hugh Sampford* and, more important, for Elizabeth, countess of Salisbury. He was associated with Sir Thomas Pomeroy* and others in acknowledging a debt of £25 to Henry, Lord Scrope of Masham, and he was asked to serve as trustee of certain of the Devonshire estates of Sir John Pomeroy*.3 Lopynford’s ability as a lawyer, as indicated by his impressive clientele, was probably the principal factor in his election to Parliament by the burgesses of Tavistock in 1411.

Lopynford is last recorded in February 1420, then acting as a surety that John Hankford and others would keep the terms of an Exchequer lease of lands in Somerset, and he died before 1429. His daughter and heir, Alice, married John Orchard, probably a member of the family seated at Orchard Wyndham.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. C88/98/45; CPR, 1408-13, p. 133; 1416-22, p. 226; JUST 1/1531 m. 16; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 156; CP25(1)290/59/9.
  • 2. CCR, 1389-92, pp. 47, 333, 500, 543; 1392-6, p. 229; 1396-9, p. 97; 1409-13, p. 292; CPR, 1396-9, pp. 65, 150; CP25(1)45/69/188; Hylle Cart. (Som. Rec. Soc. lxviii), 258-9.
  • 3. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 527; 1402-5, pp. 249, 423, 433; 1405-9, pp. 471, 479; CPR, 1401-5, p. 109; CFR, xii. 202, 301; xiv. 33; CP25(1)45/71/44, 46.
  • 4. CFR, xiv. 325; Som. Feet of Fines, 189.