Jean Nanfan

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John Nanfan, Warden of the Isles 1452-1457 1460-1461

For someone who was warden for two periods amounting to some seven years and allegedly surrended Mont Orgueil Castle to the French Comte Maulevrier after he had been invited to take over the Channel Islands by the wife of the King of England, surprisingly little is known about John Nanfan.

He came from a prominent Worcestershire family, originally from Cornwall. His father was Sir John Nanfan, who served Henry V in France and was at one time taken prisoner and ransomed. His son, Sir Richard Nanfan, was a prominent member of Henry VII's Court.

John jnr was Justice of the Peace for Cornwall and Worcestershire in 1451 and the following year was appointed Warden of the Isles.

The 1926 book A Brief Description and Historical Notices of the Island of Jersey shows that Nanfan was appointed Warden for five and a half years and that the term was renewed for a further ten years.

This does not explain who, if anyone, was warden between 1457 and 1460.

Historical references to the two John Nanfan and his father of the same name are very confused. John Nanfan is shown in some sources as an "esquire for the King's body", but this may be an error because it was probably the father, Sir John Nanfan, who held the position, subsequently also held by John jnr's son Sir Richard Nanfan.

John Nanfan jnr was sheriff of Cornwall in 1451, and again in 1457, and of Wiltshire in 1452. In this year he was appointed Warden of the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, "with the appurtenances, and of the castles, etc, within the same retained in the King's service, and an indenture was made between the King and the same John to have continually in the said islands, for their security and safe custody, 130 archers well and sufficiently arrayed, for and during the term of half a year, to begin on the day of the musters of the said archers by the said John : viz., the 9th Aug. 30th of the said King, and on the 18th July an issue was made to the said John of £295 15s. for the first quarter of the said half year ; and four years later he was made Collector and Receiver of all Customs in those islands."

A recent book about Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who was Lord of the Isles at this time, describes John Nanfan as his "trusted retainer

It is not known when John Nanfan died.

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