BAILLY, Simon, of Wells, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. (1) Agnes; (2) 1414, the wid. of a burgess of Wells.
Constable of the peace, Wells Mich. 1415-19; auditor 1417-18, 1422-3; master 1426-7.1
Bailly was living in Wells by September 1397, when he served as a juror at an inquisition held there, concerning a case of mistaken identity. His principal trading concern was the sale of woollen cloth produced in Wells, and on occasion he provided securities at the Exchequer for the alnagers of the region, doing so in 1411 for those appointed in Somerset, and in 1415 for those (including Richard Perys* of Wells) appointed in Dorset. He also derived an income from the inn he owned in Wells: the communar’s accounts for the chapter of Wells refer to expenditure on men and horses lodged at Simon Bailly’s.2
In November 1414 a royal licence was obtained to alienate in mortmain two messuages, four cottages, three shambles and a moiety of an acre of land in Wells, in all of which Bailly had an interest for life, to the dean and chapter of the cathedral. The purpose of this grant was to provide part of the maintenance of 16 priests to celebrate mass daily for the good estate of the donors and Bailly, and for the souls of Bailly’s late wife and her relatives. Despite having been long resident in Wells, it was only then, in 1414, that Bailly was admitted as a freeman of the borough, on the basis that he had married the widow of a burgess. Even so, he had been of sufficient standing in the town as to have earlier, in 1410, been sent to the shire court at Ilchester to attest the borough’s return of MPs to Parliament, a duty he was also to perform on ten later occasions (in April 1414, 1417, 1419, 1420, May and December 1421, 1425, 1426 and 1427). Only after he was formally made a burgess did he hold local office, and it was when serving as a constable of the peace that he was returned to his only known Parliament, in 1416. He provided pledges for three others to become freemen, in 1417, 1418 and 1421 (this last occasion being on behalf of Robert Elwell*).3
In September 1402 the sheriff of Somerset had been ordered to release 11 men, who included Bailly, described as proctors, executors, notaries and summoners of Thomas Stanley, master of the rolls of Chancery, who had all been arrested for contravening the 1390 Statute of Provisors with respect to Stanley’s nomination to the deanery of Wells by Pope Boniface. Bailly’s arrest was again ordered in December 1409, on this occasion with Roger Chapman*, but their alleged offences are not known. During Henry V’s reign it was claimed by Edward Goudgrome, one of the royal servants at Sheen (who had himself once been a burgess of Wells but had been expelled), that while he had been in Normandy his property in Wells had been seized by Bailly. Goudgrome attempted to bring a Chancery suit against him. Others, however, were fully prepared to place him in positions of trust. For instance, in 1423, Richard Setter* made him a feoffee of his holdings in the town.4 Bailly’s career culminated with his election at Michaelmas 1426 as master of Wells.