Shoreditch, John de (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 52
Shoreditch, John de

by William Hunt
Sir John Shoreditch in the ODNB.

SHOREDITCH or SHORDYCH, Sir JOHN de (d. 1345), a baron of the exchequer and doctor of civil and canon law, was possibly a son of Benedict de Shoreditch, who received from Edward I a grant of houses in the parish of St. Olave in the London Jewry, formerly belonging to a Jew called Jorum Makerel (Foss; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. i. 74). He appears as an advocate in the court of arches in the reign of Edward II, who in 1324 appointed him an envoy to the king of France, and whom he was about to accompany to France in 1325 (Walsingham, i. 175; Fœdera, ii. 559, 606). He was made chief clerk of the common bench with a salary of a hundred marks a year, and received from the king the manor of Passenham in Northamptonshire; but in the early years of Edward III Queen Isabella put him out of his office and despoiled him of a great part of his manor. He complained of these losses in the parliament of November 1330, and the king promised him compensation (Rot. Parl. ii. 41). On 20 Sept. 1329, being styled one of the king's clerks, though not apparently in orders, he was appointed to treat with France, and was engaged on that business until 1331, receiving 20l. for his expenses beyond sea in 1332 (Fœdera, ii. 772 sqq. 836), in which year he was engaged on the marriage of the king's sister Eleanor to the Count of Gueldres. In 1334 he appears as a knight, was probably at that time a member of the king's council, and on 26 March was appointed with others to treat with France (ib. pp. 880 sq.). He was employed in 1335 to negotiate with the Duke of Austria concerning a proposed marriage for the king's daughter Joan [see under Edward III], and on 10 Nov. 1336 was appointed second baron of the exchequer (Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 126), but seems to have held the office not very long, for his name does not appear in the list of 1342 (Foss). Other public business was committed to him by the king, and he is said to have defended Edward's assumption of title and arms of the king of France in answer to, and apparently in the presence of, Philip VI in 1339 (Geoffrey le Baker, p. 66). In 1343 he was sent with others to Clement VI at Avignon with letters from the king and the magnates of England remonstrating against the abuse of papal provisions, and, when the pope said that he had only appointed two foreigners to English benefices, answered, ‘Holy Father, you have provided the cardinal of Périgord to the deanery of York, and the king and all the nobles of England reckon him a capital enemy of the king and kingdom.’ The pope seems to have been taken aback, and the cardinals were much moved and distressed at his boldness. He obtained license from the pope to depart, left Avignon in haste lest he should be stopped, and went to Bordeaux on other business for the king. In December he was appointed to hear all complaints and appeals in Aquitaine that might be made to Edward as king of France. On 10 July 1345 he was smothered secretly by four of his servants in his house near Ware in Hertfordshire. His murderers were arrested, confessed their guilt, and were drawn, hanged, and beheaded on the 18th in London, their heads being fixed on stakes above Newgate. A Nicholas de Shordych occurs as a commissioner of array for Middlesex in 1352.

[Foss's Judges, iii. 506; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. ii. passim, Record ed.; Murimuth, pp. 143, 149, 171, 229–30 (Rolls Ser.).]

W. H.