ASKEBY, Geoffrey, of Grimsby, Lincs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by Mar. 1393, Maud.1
Commr. to search for illegal exports of bullion, Lincs. (Lindsey) June 1375.
Mayor, Grimsby Mich. 1381-2, 1383-4, 1397-8.2
Nothing is known about Askeby, one of Grimsby’s most influential burgesses, before he was appointed, in 1375, to serve on a royal commission designed to prevent the export of bullion overseas. Three years later he was returned to Parliament for the first time, and not long afterwards he held office as mayor. While in London for his second Parliament, in the autumn of 1383, Askeby agreed to stand surety at the Exchequer for Sir William Belesby, a Lincolnshire landowner who had acquired the farm of certain estates in Essex. He played a prominent part in the affairs of Grimsby; and in January 1385 he sat on a jury summoned to give evidence about the possessions of one of his former neighbours. A few months later he found it expedient to sue out a royal pardon, perhaps because of some malpractice committed during his second mayoralty in the previous year. He was certainly in trouble with the authorities in about 1392, when his refusal to contribute towards an aid, levied on the townspeople by Robert Burton*, the then mayor, earned him 20 days in prison. Claiming that the tax was being embezzled by Burton who had, moreover, threatened him with life and limb, he began an action for false imprisonment and extortion with menaces in the court of Chancery. An account of the chamberlain of Grimsby for the year ending Michaelmas 1393 records a payment out of municipal funds of 78s.11d. in ‘expenses and rewards in the matter of Geoffrey Askeby and his contempt towards the mayor paid to the sheriff of Lincolnshire and at Beverley and in Chancery’. Whatever the outcome of the case, which is not now known, Askeby remained a leading figure in the borough; and, indeed, he stood surety for John Kelby on his election to the Parliament which met in January 1393. It was also at this time that he and his wife managed to consolidate their possessions by buying a second shop next to their existing premises in ‘le Marketstrete’ Grimsby.3
During the late 1390s Askeby became involved in two serious disputes, the first of which arose as a result of his attempt to prevent William Welle* and an associate from enjoying the use of a communally owned cargo boat which the more affluent burgesses kept for trade with towns along the east coast. A more serious confrontation occurred in the summer of 1398, when his authority as mayor (which office he was holding for the third and last time) was allegedly challenged by a group of local men who surrounded his home ‘ove graunt force et armes’, prevented him from discharging his official duties at the Bartholomew fair, and even threatened to murder him. He promptly had one of his adversaries committed to prison, and two others (including John Kelby, his former friend) bound over to keep the peace; but the justices of assize who investigated his complaints found no substance in them, and he was thwarted of his revenge. No more is heard of Askeby after his appearance in about 1402 as a juror responsible for the assessment of property in Grimsby for taxation purposes.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Aschby, Askby.