About John Port, KB, MP
Family and Education b. by 1514, s. of Sir John Porte of Etwall by Joan, da. of John Fitzherbert. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. adm. c.1524; I. Temple, adm. 3 Feb. 1528. m. (1) by 1538, Elizabeth, da. of (Sir) Thomas Giffard of Caverswall and Chillington, Staffs., 2s. d.v.p. 3da.; (2) Dorothy, da. of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert of Norbury, Derbys. suc. fa. Mar. 1540. KB 20 Feb. 1547.2
Commr. benevolence, Derbys. 1544/45, musters 1546, relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, heresy 1557, loan 1557; j.p. 1545-d.; escheator, Notts. and Derbys. 1546-7; sheriff 1553-4.3
Biography The brief ascendancy of the Porte family in Derbyshire was based upon the successful pursuit of the law. Born into a merchant family of Chester, John Porte’s father and namesake the judge married into the shire and by his death was an outstanding figure there; it was he who bought Etwall in the south-west of the county.4
John Porte the younger’s career was less distinguished but more varied. A fellowship at Brasenose on his father’s foundation, and a special admission to the Inner Temple as the son of a judge were followed by a period of service with Cromwell and a recommendation to the service of the crown. His knighthood of the shire in 1539, when comparatively short of years and experience, he owed to his father’s standing, with perhaps the support of the minister in his campaign for a ‘tractable’ Parliament. Before it ended both his father and his patron were dead, but during the next dozen years he established his own position in the shire; he added substantially to his inheritance to become the largest landowner in Derbyshire, and he was knighted at Edward Vl’s coronation. The Catholicism which he shared with his relatives made him an appropriate choice as the senior knight in Mary’s first Parliament and as her first sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Unlike his fellow-Member Richard Blackwell he did not oppose the initial measures to restore Catholicism. Porte spent much of tbe Parliament successfully negotiating the purchase of two manors in Derbyshire. He delivered a letter of recommendation from the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury to Stephen Gardiner who passed it on to Speaker Pollard; although Pollard was unable to intervene personally, things went well and on his return to Etwall Porte sent Shrewsbury a dish of wildfowl. Later in the reign he was to help Shrewsbury to raise troops for the war against Scotland.5
By his will of 9 Mar. 1557 Porte left lands in Derbyshire and Lancashire to found a grammar school either at Etwall or Repton; it was established at Repton and maintained under the direction of the Harpur family. He also discharged a wish of his father’s by bequeathing £200 to his old college to establish lectureships in philosophy and in humanity. His many other charitable bequests included the endowment of an almshouse in Etwall and the distribution of alms to poor people in the county gaol and of marriage gifts to 60 poor young women in Cheshire and Derbyshire. To the church at Etwall he gave a ‘cope and one vestment of cloth of gold’ embroidered with his and his wife’s arms, and to four neighbouring churches silk vestments similarly embroidered. His five executors, who included his father-in-law Sir Thomas Giffard and his cousin Richard Harpur, were directed to enter into an obligation of £3,000 with his overseers, Francis Curzon, (Sir) Thomas Fitzherbert and William Fitzherbert, for the performance of the will. The inheritance was divided between Porte’s three daughters, who married Sir Thomas Gerard†, the 4th Earl of Huntingdon and Sir Thomas Stanhope†.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558 Author: C. J. Black Notes 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2] 2. Date of birth estimated from admission to I. Temple. His fellowship at Oxford beforehand was one endowed by his father and it is likely that the usual age of admission was waived in his favour. DNB; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 458; PCC 4 Alenger. 3. LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 82; 1550-3, p. 394; 1553, pp. 352, 414; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(2), 15. 4. LP Hen. VIII, i, xiv, xv. 5. Ibid. xiii, xiv, xix, xxi; M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 545-6; E179/91/118; College of Arms, Talbot ms P, f. 197; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot ii. 46, 47, 350; C1/1053/48. 6. PCC 20 Wrastley; E150/1052/5; Pevsner, Notts. 134
Sir John Port 'the Younger' (died 1557) was an English Knight of the Bath and Justice of the Common Pleas. He founded Repton School, an almshouse at Etwall and also has a secondary school named after him.
John was the son of Sir John Port 'the Elder' whose family came from Chester. He was one of the Justices of the Common Pleas in the reign of King Henry VIII.
John was the first lecturer or scholar on his father's foundation at Brasenose College. He was knighted at the coronation of Edward VI and was a member of Mary's first parliament representing Derbyshire. He was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1554. In 1556 he was involved in the execution of Joan Waste, a 22-year-old blind Protestant. Port died on 6 June 1557
Sir John Port married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Giffard of Chillington in Staffordshire by Dorothy, his wife, third daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Montgomery, which Elizabeth was heiress to her mother. By his first wife, he had three daughters and two sons:
Walter and Thomas died at an early age in the lifetime of their father
Elizabeth married Sir Thomas Gerrard of Bryn, Shropshire, ancestor of the baronets of that name
Dorothy married George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon,
Margaret married Sir Thomas Stanhope, grandfather of Philip Stanhope, 1st Earl of Chesterfield.
Sir John also married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert.
His father was Sir John Port 'the Elder'. His mother was Jane, his father's first wife, daughter and heiress of Sir John Fitzherbert of Etwall. She had previously married Sir John Pole of Radborne.
Port had three sisters: Ellen who married Sir Edmund Pierrepont of Holme, Nottinghamshire and later married Sir John Babington; Barbara married Sir John Francys of Foremark; and Maria who was the wife of Sir George Findern of Findern.
The family of Port were based in Chester. Henry Port, described as a merchant, was the great-grandfather of Sir John Port the founder of Etwall Hospital and Repton School and a second Henry Port of the same place was his grandfather. For the latter, there is a monument in Etwall Church recording that he died in 1512 having had by his wife Elizabeth, seventeen children. Elizabeth was daughter of Banowayte of Flowresbrook. Sir John Port the younger was created a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of King Edward VI
Sir John Port had no children when he died in 1557. By his will, he left bequests for the creation of an almshouse at Etwall and a "Grammar School in Etwalle or Reptone", where the scholars every day were to pray for the souls of his parents and other relatives. The executors purchased land which had once been the grounds of an Augustinian priory in Repton. Luckily it and the surrounding buildings had survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Repton School has since become one of the great public schools of England. Sir John also confirmed and augmented his father's grants to Brasenose College, Oxford.
1.^ a b c Dictionary of National Biography now in the public domain
2.^ a b History of Repton school accessed 2 November 2007
3.^ Collin's Peerage of England by Sir Egerton Brydges, K.J.: in nine volumes: VOL. III 1812: Earl of Chesterfield pp.415-421
4.^ a b Historical and topographical description of Repton, in the county of Derby By Robert Bigsby, 1854, accessed 23 October 2007
Sir John Port, KB, MP's Timeline
October 14, 1542