BERE (BERA), Thomas, of Bodmin, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Bere’s ancestors are first recorded as living in Bodmin in the reign of King John. In 1369 he took out a writ against William Tailor for disseising him of a messuage, a mill and half an acre of land in ‘Krelland Bighan’ (now Kirland) just outside the town, and recovered the property at the assizes; but in the following year he was himself sued for unlawful occupation of land at ‘Boskednek’. More serious charges were laid against him in the court of common pleas over 20 years later when, in 1392, he and his co-executors of the will of Roger Treffrey were alleged to have abducted Treffrey’s son Thomas, whose marriage belonged to Thomas Peverell†.1
Bere was engaged in the lucrative tin trade: in 1393 he was associated with some 50 other Cornish merchants who were pardoned after payment of a £200 fine for shipping consignments of tin overseas without first repairing to the Staple at Calais which they were obliged to do by statute; and seven years later he stood surety for three colleagues who were seeking to regain possession of a similar consignment which had been seized by the royal searcher. In 1394 he was assessed for coinage at Lostwithiel on 10,500 pounds of tin. He may have had mercantile dealings in London, for he stayed on in the City for two months after the dissolution of his last Parliament, in 1397, and appeared in Chancery in support of two Cornish law students, said to be living in the ‘New Inn’ on the Strand, who had been indicted for a trespass. He attended the shire elections held at Launceston in October 1411 and at Lostwithiel in April 1413.2