BARET, Richard (d.1401), of Eastgate Street, Gloucester.
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Family and Education
s. of Thomas Baret of Gloucester by his w. Agnes. m. Margaret, s.p.
Bailiff, Gloucester Mich. 1381-2, ?1382-3, 1400-1.1
Commr. to visit and reform St. Batholomew’s Bartholomew’s hospital, Gloucester Mar. 1383, Mar. 1384.
Like other members of his family, Richard manufactured cloth in Gloucester. He was probably the brother of William Baret, the Gloucester MP of October 1383, for whose attendance in the Commons he then stood surety. In March following he witnessed conveyances made to William, and in 1385 he was appointed attorney to deliver him seisin of property.2 Richard’s civic career in Gloucester, however, had begun with his own return to Parliament, in 1377. In 1380-1 he stood surety for persons seeking licence to trade in the town, and a Michaelmas 1381 he became one of Gloucester’s bailiffs for the first of possibly three terms. He regularly witnessed local deeds.3
In some ways Baret’s career followed along the same lines as that of John Banbury I* of Gloucester. Like him, Baret was associated with the Berkeley family; indeed it was together with Thomas, Lord Berkeley, and Sir John Berkeley I* that in October 1387 he procured a royal pardon for illegally hunting in the Forest of Dean. Baret was named as Banbury’s co-executor of the will of William Heyberer*, and was also associated with him in January 1395, they being among the four manucaptors for Sir Thomas Fitznichol and Sir Gilbert Denys the then newly elected knights of the shire.4
Before June 1391 Baret was suing William Wilcox of Bristol for debts amounting to £66. His trading interests took him on occasion into Wales, but some three years later a certain band of ruffians, planning to murder one Robert Sage on the road through Monmouth and Usk, by mistake assaulted Baret instead, leaving him for dead. He did, however, survive to represent Gloucester in three more Parliaments. On 2 Apr. 1398, in association with four other prominent Gloucester men, Baret entered into recognizances for 100 marks payable to the keeper of the hanaper of the Chancery, this being in connexion with the royal charter granted to the town two weeks previously. Without doubt he had taken part in the negotiations for the charter, perhaps while the Parliament of 1397-8 was in progress. It was soon after this, and possibly during Baret’s final bailiffship (1400-1), that he and 22 other local men petitioned Henry IV alleging that they had been falsely indicted for felony and extortion, three of their number, including Baret, having subsequently been committed to the custody of the King’s janitor, and the rest imprisoned in the Marshalsea. They requested allowance of bail and an early trial, preferably by Lord Berkeley and his fellow commissioners of oyer and terminer in Gloucestershire. Baret’s goods and chattels were ordered to be confiscated by the local escheator.5
Baret was away from home, at Winchester, when he made his will on 5 Sept. 1401, evidently having so far escaped the impending sentence of forfeiture. He requested burial in St. Mary’s chapel in the church of St. Michael, Gloucester, while leaving bequests of money and silver chalices to Worcester cathedral, the Gloucester Franciscans and Carmelites, St. Bartholomew’s and St. Margaret’s hospitals, St. Andrew’s church, and to the parish of Lydney, near Gloucester. Two pounds was provided for repairs to the Gloucester-Tewkesbury road, another £2 for the ‘Wythibrugge’-Upton road, and twice that amount for the Berkeley road. Baret’s many associates received sums of money totalling more than £70, and the beneficiaries included William Baret and his daughter Agnes, and William Baret of Lydney and his sons Richard and William. A total of over £35 was to be distributed in varying amounts to the several Gloucester parishes for the benefit of their indigent poor, and an additional £20 was to be spent among the paupers and bedridden of the town generally. Baret requested prayers for himself, his wife and his parents, and also for his one-time master, Clement Draper. In 1393 he had acquired a tenement and shops in Eastgate Street to which he had made additions in the following year. His will revealed extensive holdings also in Her Lane, East Street, Northgate Street and near the South Gate, besides which he held lands and buildings elsewhere, in Cheltenham and Bledisloe. Some of this property was to be sold after his widow’s death to provide 10s. p.a. for four years for altar lamps near his burial place as well as to make adequate provision for the two youngest daughters of William Baret, and he instructed his executors (his widow and the rector of St. Michael’s, among others), to sell as much of the rest of his estate as would pay his debts. This they apparently did promptly, for within two years most of the property had come into John Banbury’s hands. The executors were also to spend £90 on various gifts for the good of Baret’s soul. Probate was effected on 30 Oct. 1401, but Baret had died before 5 Oct. when the escheator and bailiff were instructed, at the petition of his widow, to restore such of his goods as had been seized as a result of the indictments laid against him earlier.6