AMPULFORD, William (d.1435), of Norwich, Norf.
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Family and Education
m. (1) bef. July 1394, Margery, wid. of Robert Knebord of Norwich; (2) Christine, da. of John Reymes*; (3) bef. June 1435, Margaret (d.1467).
Town clerk, Norwich by July 1405-Nov. 1415, by Jan. 1417-July 1420, Oct. 1421-c. Mich. 1422.1
Tax collector, Norwich July 1413.
Ampulford was admitted as a freeman of Norwich in 1392-3, shortly afterwards marrying the widow of a fellow citizen.2 Evidently literate and probably trained in the law, he found employment for several years as town clerk, for which he was paid an annual salary of £4. His principal duties were to keep a record of proceedings in the mayoral court and to enrol wills and conveyances of property belonging to the citizens of Norwich. Ampulford’s second marriage brought him influential connexions, for his wife’s father, John Reymes, held office as constable of Norwich castle (1402-11) and her uncle, John Wynter*, as receiver-general of the estates of the prince of Wales. It may not have been merely a coincidence that when elections were held at Norwich for the Parliament of 1410, at a time when the prince and his allies the Beauforts were in control of the government, Wynter was returned for Norfolk and his niece’s husband Ampulford for the city. This was to be Ampulford’s only recorded appearance in Parliament. While in London, through the good offices of Sir Thomas Erpingham KG, he and his colleague in the Commons, Robert Dunston, were able to procure for the city the alnage of Norwich and Norfolk worsteds for a period of seven years. There had been considerable opposition from the worstedmen of the shire, whose ‘malice and suit’ obliged the city, either in the same or in the following year, to send Ampulford and Dunston to Westminster once more to levy a complaint before the King’s Council. Shortly afterwards, Ampulford was deputed to make proclamation in Yarmouth and North Walsham of the statute made concerning the alnage. He was present at an important ‘great assembly’ held in the guildhall at Norwich on 5 Feb. 1414, but from 1415 he devoted less time to his duties as town clerk; temporary replacements were found, and in 1421-2 he shared his fee with another, before finally retiring from his post.3
Meanwhile, Ampulford had been furthering his ambitions to become a landowner. Some time before 1419 he had purchased from Sir Thomas Hengrave the reversion of the manor of ‘Hengraves’ in Tuddenham, Suffolk, and this property had come into his possession in 1421 following the death of Sir Thomas’s widow. In June 1435 he and his third wife, Margaret, placed this manor and the advowson of the church at Tuddenham into the hands of trustees in order to effect its sale, but Ampulford’s death within a few months left the transaction uncompleted, so causing his widow considerable distress. She alleged in a petition to the chancellor that she had been defrauded by one of the trustees, Hugh Acton, clerk, of the sum of 300 marks due to be paid for this Suffolk manor. Furthermore, she even had to ‘bargain’ with Acton to secure possession of her late husband’s messuage in the parish of St. Margaret Westwyk, Norwich, although having once done so by January 1436, she prudently put it in the safe-keeping of a number of influential men, headed by Sir William Phelip* KG, the then constable of Norwich castle, and William Paston, the judge.4 Margaret Ampulford outlived her husband by over 30 years. She made her will on 20 Mar. 1467, requesting burial in the nave of St. Margaret’s church.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Norf. RO, Norwich enrolment