ADAMS, Roger (d.1404/5), of Great Yarmouth, Norf.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. bef. Mar. 1399, Agnes.1
Bailiff, Yarmouth Mich. 1401-2.2
Adams was one of the ‘great and powerful men’ of Yarmouth who had been terrorizing the ‘poor men’ of the town, according to the complaints of the latter brought to the attention of the Good Parliament of 1376, and in October that year he was ordered to find sureties for his future good behaviour. Then, on 18 Apr. 1384, he killed one Ralph Mawg the elder of Yarmouth, allegedly in self-defence, but he was obliged to wait a year before he was pardoned, and precisely a week before the issue of his pardon his goods and chattels were declared forfeit, presumably because, in; the meantime, he had committed a fresh offence. Inquiries were made both in 1387 and in 1397 as to the whereabouts of these forfeited moveables, which on the second occasion were reported to include such items as iron, both from Spain and Sweden, timber and barrels of pitch and tar, as well as household utensils, bedding and silver plate. Adams’s possessions altogether valued at 240 marks, were discovered not only in Yarmouth but also in the coastal towns of Cromer and Blakeney, up-river at Cantley between Yarmouth and Norwich, and in the city itself. Goods worth 40 marks had been assigned to the use of the late Queen Anne and were still retained by her former officials, but the rest had recently been returned to Adams by the bailiffs of Yarmouth.3 The items forfeited provide details of the kind of merchandise with which Adams traded. In addition, he is known to have imported wine from Gascony, shipped substantial quantities of cloth to the Low Countries, and had a share in the trade in Yarmouth’s most important commodity — herring.4
Early in 1384 Adams had acted as a trustee of property in Yarmouth acquired by Ralph Ramsey*, and it was for Ramsey, too, that he was to act as a mainpernor at the elections to the second Parliament of 1397. Since 1386, if not before, he had been one of the 24 jurats of Yarmouth, his name appearing 12th on the only known list of members of this council. He served just one term as bailiff before his return to Parliament in 1440, right at the end of his career.5 He died before December 1405, when his widow sold some property he had owned in Yarmouth.6