John Lexington

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Sir John Lexington (or Lexinton or Lessington; also de Lexington) (died 1257) was a baron and royal official in 13th century England. He has been described as having been Lord Chancellor, but other scholars believe he merely held the royal seals while the office was vacant or the chancellor was abroad. He served two terms, once from 1247 to 1248, and again from 1249 to 1250.[1]


Lexington was a member of a prominent family whose name came from the village of Lexington, now Laxton, in Nottinghamshire. His father Richard was a royal judge and married Mathilda de Cauz (or Calz), a widow with holdings that included Sherwood Forest. His youngest brother was Robert of Lexinton, a judge and royal official; another brother, Henry of Lexington, held royal offices before becoming Dean of Lincoln and then Bishop of Lincoln.[2] A fourth brother, Stephen of Lexington, became a Cistercian monk and administrator, ultimately serving as Abbot of Clairvaux.

John Lexington was sent by Henry III to a proposed papal conference in 1241 and was present at a naval battle near the Isola del Giglio in which Pisan and Sicilian ships defeated the Genoese and a number of prelates were captured; he helped save the life of his brother Stephen, who was present. On his return he was part of the expedition against Dafydd ap Llywelyn of Wales and conveyed the hostage Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr, Dafydd's half-brother, to London. In 1242 he was appointed to a truce commission to correct infringements of the truce with France. He served as the king's seneschal in 1247 and possibly at other times. After 1248 there is evidence that he served as a judge. In 1250, he inherited the barony and lands of his brother Robert. By 1255 he was serving as chief justice of the forests north of the Trent, and warden of Bamburgh, Pickering, and Scarborough castles. In response to the death of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, he imprisoned a Jew named Copin or Jopin and obtained a confession in return for a promise to save his life (a promise the king repudiated).[2]

Matthew Paris called him a man of weight and learning and a brave and accomplished knight. His arms were a cross azure on a shield argent. He married a woman named Margaret Morlay, but had no children.[2]

His estate went to his brother Henry, the bishop of Lincoln, and on his death in 1258 to the descendants of their two sisters, Alice and Cecilia, wives of Roland de Sutton and William Markham, since none of his brothers left heirs.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Powicke Handbook of British Chronology p. 83
  2. ^ a b c Hunt 1893.
  3. ^ de Lexington genealogy


  • Powicke, F. Maurice and E. B. Fryde Handbook of British Chronology 2nd. ed. London:Royal Historical Society 1961
Political offices
Preceded by
John Maunsell
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
John Maunsell
Preceded by
John Maunsell
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
William of Kilkenny