BENGE, Richard (d.1409/10), of Sandwich, Kent.
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Family and Education
Jurat, Sandwich Dec. 1385-6, 1398-9, 1400-3, 1404-5; mayor 1407-8.2
Benge is first recorded, in March 1381, as shipping cloth from Sandwich, but nothing more is known of his mercantile activities.3 In 1390 he was named as an executor of the will of a prosperous townsman, Thomas Ellis†. This involved him over the next few years not only in managing the foundation and endowment of a chantry of three chaplains in St. Peter’s church (for which regulations had to be drawn up and papal confirmation obtained), but also in founding the hospital of St. Thomas at Sandwich for 12 poor men. Furthermore, he was obliged to help wind up Ellis’s accounts as collector of customs at Sandwich, which caused him some difficulties at the Exchequer.4
Subsequently, he himself became more directly engaged in the collection of the customs. Thomas Brunston, appointed as controller at Sandwich in 1398, selected him as his deputy to keep rough records of merchandise passing through the port; and Benge went on with this work until after Easter 1401, when William Ledes, Brunston’s successor, obtained his assistance in drawing up the formal roll of controlment which the Exchequer required. When a discrepancy between these accounts and the cockets issued came to light in 1403, Ledes cast the blame on Brunston and Benge, but the latter died without ever replying to the Exchequer’s summons to answer the charge.5
Through his marriage Benge had acquired an interest in land at Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, and in 1406 he and John Gyllyng made a conveyance of the manor of Hamwold, which their wives had also inherited.6 In November 1409 Benge became a feoffee of other property at Woodnesborough, but apparently he died shortly afterwards, for it was his executors (Gyllyng, John atte Nessche* and Richard Mildenale*) who went to the Exchequer in 1410 to render his account for the small Venetian coins of dubious value seized at Sandwich during his mayoralty. In 1415 the trustees of Benge’s property gave eight acres of marshland to St. Bartholomew’s hospital, Sandwich.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: A. P.M. Wright
- 1. CP25(1)111/254/17.
- 2. Kent AO, Sandwich deeds Sa/TB1/14, 16; St. John’s hosp. reg. f. 4; St. John’s hosp. deeds Sa/QJt1/17, 18; W. Boys, Sandwich, i. 49, 50.
- 3. E122/126/6.
- 4. E159/167, Mich. rot. 31; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 19, 109; Boys, i. 190-2; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 139, 143-4; Kent Chantries (Kent Rec. Ser. xii), 263-4, 277.
- 5. E159/180, Easter rot. 22.
- 6. CP25(1)111/254/17, 112/266/317.
- 7. CP25(1)112/273/479; E364/44 m. Ad; Boys, i. 51.