Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Preston, John (fl.1415)

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PRESTON, Sir JOHN (fl. 1415), judge, was a member of an ancient Westmoreland family seated at Preston Richard and Preston Patrick in the southern part of the county. His father, John Preston, represented Westmoreland in the parliaments of 1362, 1366, 1372, and 1382, and was succeeded by his elder son, Richard, on whose death, leaving only daughters, Preston Patrick passed to his brother the judge, who continued the family.

Preston prosecuted on behalf of the crown in a case of murder in 1394, and was made recorder of London in 1406. He was not called to the degree of serjeant-at-law until 1411, up to which time his practice seems to have been confined to criminal cases and the city courts. He resigned the recordership on being raised (16 June 1415) to the bench of the common pleas. Retaining this position until 28 Jan. 1428, he was then allowed to retire on the ground of age and infirmity, but the date of his death is not recorded. The John Preston referred to in ‘Calendarium Inquisitionum post mortem’ (iv. 244) in 1444–1445 may have been his elder son John, a clergyman, who in 1414–15 had received a grant of Sandal church from the prior of St. Pancras. His younger son, Richard, succeeded him in the Preston estate, and married Jacobine, a daughter of Middleton of Middleton Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale. His descendants acquired the manor of Furness, and one of them, John, was created a baronet in 1644, being killed next year in fighting for Charles I. On the death of his second son, Sir Thomas, in 1710, the title became extinct.

[Foss's Judges of England; Nicolson and Burn's Hist. of Westmorland, i. 211, 240, 241; Devon's Issue Roll, p. 261.]

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