BEESBY, Gilbert, of Lincoln.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Bailiff, Lincoln Sept. 1371-2; mayor 1380-1.1
Assessor of a tax, Lincoln May 1379; collector Mar. 1380.
Commr. of array, Lincoln Jan. 1400; inquiry Apr. 1407 (wastes at the hospital of the Holy Innocents).
Nothing is known about Beesby before September 1371, at which time he not only became bailiff of Lincoln but was also sued in the mayor’s court over the ownership of a messuage in the city. The plaintiffs’ failure to appear in court led, however, to the confirmation of Beesby’s title; and it may well be that the action was collusive. He comes to notice again four years later when one John Locksmith was indicted before a local jury for stealing his horse; but it was not until his period of service as a tax assessor and collector in Lincoln at the end of the decade that he achieved real prominence in the community. Soon afterwards he held office as mayor and was returned to Parliament for the first time; he also appears, in March 1383, as a juror at the Lincoln sessions of the peace. That his commercial interests were already wide-ranging and lucrative can be seen from a pardon for outlawry granted by the King in the following November to William Hornby, a York merchant, who had failed to appear in court when being sued by Beesby for a debt of 100 marks. He was evidently involved in the affairs of the influential guild of Corpus Christi at Boston, being a party, in 1387, to a collusive suit brought by John Rochford*, Sir Philip Tilney* and John Bell* for its additional endowment with property in the area. Understandably enough, Beesby was one of the leading residents of Lincoln required, in March 1388, to take the general oath in support of the Lords Appellant. Moreover, when relations between the citizens and the bishop of Lincoln reached such a low ebb that the government itself was obliged to intervene, he was among the small group of local notables from whom personal guarantees of good behaviour were demanded. In March 1390 he and his colleagues were each bound over in 100 marks to keep the peace towards the bishop and stay away from the precincts of the cathedral.