APPLEFORD, Alexander (b.c.1355), of Hythe and Ashford, Kent.
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Family and Education
Jurat, Hythe Feb. 1396-7, 1399-1401, 1410-15, 1416-17, 1419-22.3
In 1387 Appleford twice fraudulently took out royal letters of protection, presumably in order to escape prosecution in the lawcourts: first, in June, on the pretext that he was about to join the garrison at Calais then, after this had been revoked, another in October by claiming that he was going to serve at Berwick-upon-Tweed, only for this too to be cancelled. By the following January he had come into possession of his wife’s inheritance in Hythe, part of which he then sold to John Dyne I*. In November 1394 he was assaulted by William Sunningley, the bailiff of Hythe, with such violence that his life was despaired of, and when, in the following summer, Sunningley was indicted for this and other offences, he was obliged to give surety of £100 not to injure Appleford again.4
In 1405 Appleford inherited from his elder brother, Henry, a house and land at Ashford. Because Henry had been an idiot from birth this property had been in the King’s hands since Edward III’s time, and the Crown was reluctant to relinquish it; although a jury declared Alexander to be the lawful heir in April 1406, he was not granted livery of it until November 1408. Thereafter he seems to have divided his time between Hythe and his property elsewhere, for on occasion messages had to be specially sent to summon him to meetings of the jurats. Several times between 1409 and 1428 he was presented by the hundred jury at Hythe for failing to clear away obstructions on his property which had caused the flooding of adjoining roads and land.5 In 1412-14 this property in Hythe yielded to Appleford 12s. a year in ‘free rent’ and 5s. or 6s.8d. from rents from leases. His main business in the town was evidently dealing in livestock and farm-produce, for he paid maltolts on the sale of oxen, sheep and horses, corn, cheese, butter and wool. In 1413-14 he bought up the wood left over from repairs undertaken by the town on a nearby bridge. His personal chattels were valued at £24 in 1412-13, and at £20 in 141-20.6
As a jurat, Appleford was continually employed on the town’s external business. Thus, in May 1412 he was one of a delegation which, at Dymchurch, discussed with Archbishop Arundel’s steward the possibility of drawing water from Romney marsh to help make a new harbour for Hythe. Two months later he went to Dover, where a meeting of the Cinque Ports was being held, over a matter touching the mayor of Rye which involved the common liberty; and in February 1413 he attended a special Brodhull called to arrange a new agreement between the mariners of the Ports and those of the French coast opposite, fixing a tariff for ransoms. Later in the year he visited Dover to pay Hythe’s counsel his fee, and he also attended the December general Brodhull. In 1419 he was twice at Dover, at meetings concerning the use of the Ports’ shipping: in April to discuss using it to patrol between Le Crotoy and the Seine estuary until the main English fleet was ready to sail, and in October to arrange for the passage to France of the duchess of Clarence. He again attended the December Brodhull, where it was decided to present the lieutenant of Dover with wine for having reduced the size of a sq