BALET, John, of Reading, Berks.
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Family and Education
m. bef. 1379, Agnes, da. and h. of William Bray of Reading, 1s.1
Although possibly related to the Balet family of Enborne,2 near Newbury, John would seem to have been resident in Reading for the greater part of his life. He joined the merchant guild in 1374, paying the full fine of 10s. customarily due from those who were not sons of burgesses, and at about the same time married Agnes Bray, heiress of a well-established local family. A brewer by trade, Balet contributed 2s. to the poll tax of 1379.3
Having been returned as burgess to the Salisbury Parliament of April 1384, Balet attended the Commons on three separate occasions during the session, his fellow burgess Richard Bruton† attending only twice. The actual lengths of their respective sojourns at Salisbury are, however, not recorded. Two years later, in 1386, Balet was paid 15d. by the commonalty of Reading, ‘for his stay at the Parliament at Westminster’, probably a reference to a brief visit on the town’s business to either the Parliament of November 1385 or that of October 1386. On neither occasion was Balet officially an MP. He was, in fact, only once elected thereafter. In 1394 he witnessed a deed at Reading for Richard Pernecote*, and in 1407 was concerned in the sale of some property at Ufton Nervet, nearby. He last appears in 1410, when he contributed towards the re-roofing of the parish church of St. Laurence in Reading.4