BALL, Roger, of Gloucester.
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Family and Education
Steward, Gloucester Mich. 1391-2; bailiff 1394-5, 1396-9, 1400-2, 1404-5, 1406-7, ?1411-12, 1412-13, 1414-15, 1417-18, 1421-2, ?1427-8.2
Commr. of gaol delivery, Gloucester Feb. 1399; inquiry Sept. 1412 (death of Thomas Compton).
Master of St. Margaret’s hosp. Gloucester, by Oct. 1403.3
Ball’s outstanding record of service to Gloucester over a period of 37 years, some 14 of which were spent as bailiff, contrasted with an unremarkable career in other respects. In 1391, prior to his stewardship, he had been a juror at an escheator’s inquest held at Gloucester to help determine the plea which the borough was bringing against Llanthony priory, although the prior later alleged that the inquest had been rigged. When he and John Pope I*, his fellow bailiff, were required by the sheriff of the county to conduct the election of burgesses for the Parliament of 1395, Ball himself was one of the two chosen. During his bailiffships of the 1390s he was recorded on the burgess rolls on several occasions as standing surety for strangers seeking licence to trade in Gloucester. It was in connexion with the charter granted to the borough in March 1398, when Ball was bailiff for the third time, that he, John Bisley I*, Richard Baret* and two other prominent burgesses, entered on 2 Apr. following into recognizances for 100 marks payable to the keeper of the hanaper of the Chancery. Immediately after his retirement as bailiff at Michaelmas 1407, Ball was again returned to Parliament, this being for the session which was to open at Gloucester itself just weeks later. As one of the bailiffs, Ball was responsible for conducting the borough elections to the Parliaments of May 1413 and November 1414, and in 1415 he attended the election held at Gloucester of the knights of the shire. Later, in May 1421, he acted as pledge for John Bisley II and Robert Gilbert II on the occasion of their return to Parliament.4
Not surprisingly, Ball was sometimes asked to act as a trustee of property in Gloucestershire, doing so in 1403 for John Brown of Chipping Sodbury and nine years after that for the executors of Magota Bele; and for several years from 1416 he was a feoffee of the manor of Rendcomb.5 He himself held property in Gloucester in Smith Street and King’s Bord, and was wealthy enough to join with the Gloucester merchant John Banbury I* in making a loan of £100 to Henry IV (before June 1404), for the suppression of the rebellion in Wales. Indeed, in 1412 he was said to be in possession of lands in Gloucestershire worth as much as £20 a year. It seems likely that he had acquired these by investing the profits of trade, although some of his holdings probably came to him through his marriage to the widow of Thomas Pope, another affluent local merchant. It was in association with his wife and their son Thomas that in June 1415 Ball acquired from John Giffard of Leckhampton a lease of the manor of Matson, on the outskirts of Gloucester, together with ‘Pattesgrove’ and ‘Pope’s Wood’ for 30 years, he being willing to pay an annual rent of £16. The date of Roger Ball’s death is not known.6