BIXLEY, John (d.1425), of Norwich, Norf.
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Family and Education
poss. s. of John Bixley (fl. 1396), of Norwich, merchant.1 m. 1da.
Sheriff, Norwich, Mich. 1408-9; mayor May 1414-15.2
Commr. of inquiry, Norwich Jan. 1414 (illegal congregations and riots).
Tax collector, Norwich Nov. 1416.
Bixley was admitted as a freeman of Norwich in 1400-1, and set up in business as a mercer. He is recorded making shipments of cloth through Great Yarmouth, and, in 1416, as suing a Yarmouth merchant for debt.3 His property holdings were concentrated in the parish of St. Gregory, where he owned a number of messuages. In April 1414 he joined with several other citizens in purchasing, from Henry Limner’s* widow, a large house in the parish of St. Peter Mancroft, for which they undertook to pay 200 marks in instalments. About five years later, he and others brought a suit in Chancery against a local skinner for building a chimney which had proved a nuisance.4
Bixley’s involvement in civic affairs followed a typical pattern, beginning with a term of office as sheriff and including, in February 1414, attendance, apparently as a member of the mayor’s council, at an important meeting of the assembly in the guildhall for the promulgation of new ordinances for the government of the city. The procedure followed at the subsequent mayoral elections is well documented: on 30 Apr. the council of 80 nominated two candidates (Bixley being one) from whom the outgoing mayor, the sheriffs and the council of 24 were to make their choice of a mayor for the coming year; and it was Bixley whom they chose. During his mayoralty he was party to the electoral indenture for the Parliament of 1414 (Nov.). He attested the parliamentary indentures of 1417 and 1420, as one of the few citizens named doing so. Although he is not known to have had many dealings with property outside the city, he was associated in 1418 with the archdeacon of Norwich and Walter Eaton*, the former recorder, as a patron of the living at Morley in Norfolk.5
Bixley was still living at the end of September 1425, but died within a month, for in October his daughter Margaret, wife of Thomas Whytwell of Felmingham, sold the property in St. Gregory’s parish which had fallen to her by inheritance. Many years later, in 1467, Robert Toppes