Maldon

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
1386Richard Bush
 John Glover
1388 (Feb.)John Dyer
 Henry Hales
1388 (Sept.)John Crakebon
 John Welles I
1390 (Jan.)John Skinner I
 John Joce I 1
1390 (Nov.)
1391John Welles I
 John Page
1393John Skinner I
 John Glover
1394
1395
1397 (Jan.)John Glover
 John Joce I 2
1397 (Sept.)
1399John Joce I
 John Crakebon
1401
1402John Page
 Thomas Paffe
1404 (Jan.)John Burgess
 Thomas Paffe
1404 (Oct.)
1406John Flower
 Robert Painter
1407John Page
 John Hockham
1410?William Wade 3
1411John Flower
 John Burgess
1413 (Feb.)
1413 (May)Richard Galon
 John Burgess
1414 (Apr.)
1414 (Nov.)John Flower
 John Burgess
1415
1416 (Mar.)
1416 (Oct.)
1417Thomas Paffe
 Richard Sampson
1419Richard Galon
 William Bennett
1420John Burgess
 Richard Galon
1421 (May)John Cooper II
 Richard Bawde
1421 (Dec.)William Burgh
 William Gore

Main Article

In 1377 Maldon, a small port, had a taxable population of 542, as compared with nearly 3,000 in Colchester. The burgesses had first been granted a charter in 1171, but in the late 14th century their independence was still curtailed by the bishops of London, who had acquired a moiety of the lordship of the town in 1284, and by the Lords Fitzwalter, who held the other moiety. Walter, 3rd Lord Fitzwalter, had probably been behind the return to Parliament of Thomas Wrench in 1383 (Feb.), but the family was unpopular and while Lord Fitzwalter was absent in Spain three years later the townspeople rose in rebellion and imprisoned in a house in Maldon certain of his servants, whom they then held to ransom. In 1401 a number of Maldon men were charged by Bishop Braybrooke of London and Walter, 4th Lord Fitzwalter, with infringement of their rights in the town; but the dispute was resolved two years later when, in October 1403, Braybrooke granted the burgesses and commonalty the house used as the moot hall, certain plots of land, stallages, rents of assize, a view of frankpledge and three other courts, with all liberties, customs and tolls on vessels in port, all for an annual rent of ten marks. The bishop nevertheless retained certain specified rents and forfeitures, and continued to be lord of the borough.4

Maldon had begun making returns to Parliament in 1332.5 Royal grants issued in 1388, 1392 and 1407 exempted the borough from sending representatives for a total of 17 years, so that money normally given to parliamentary burgesses could be diverted to the repair of the town bridge. Returns are extant, however, for seven of the 13 Parliaments summoned in the period covered by the exemption. It is possible that the Members served without payment, or for less than the customary rates. Indeed, the only reference to the payment of Members in the local records indicates that even before the exemption was granted the usual rate was not being observed; for service in the first Parliament of 1388 the two Maldon representatives were paid just 1s. a day.6

Returns survive for 19 of the 32 Parliaments of the period, Prynne supplies names for one more, and another gap is partly filled from local records, so that the names of 22 Members are known altogether. They were mainly tradesmen, dealing in cloth or victuals, although Richard Galon was described as a ‘gentleman’ and may have been a lawyer, and William Bennett was a ‘yeoman’, probably making a living from the land. All were resident in the town when returned and only Galon, who hailed from Northumberland, and John Flower, who came from London, originated from outside the county.

The chief officers of the borough were a bailiff and two constables until 1403, when, following the grant of Bishop Braybrooke’s charter, two bailiffs were henceforth elected. A chamberlain appeared in 1418. As far as is known (the names are missing for six years) between 1399 and 1422 the office of bailiff was monopolized by seven prominent townsmen, six of whom sat in the Commons at some time in their careers. But