BOKERELL, Henry, of Temple Street, Bristol.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. bef. Oct. 1394, Alice, da. and h. of Alexander Moys of Bristol by his w. Sibyl,1 ?1s.
Bailiff Bristol Mich. 1397-8.2
Alnager, Bristol 7 May 1401-6 Dec. 1402, 3 May 1406-12 May 1411.
Bokerell appears to have settled in Bristol during the last decade of the 14th century, when he married the daughter of a local burgess, and evidence of his mercantile dealings in the port similarly first date from this period. It was, none the less, as early as 1397-8 that he served the community as bailiff. That his standing in the town was high is attested by the fact that he was nominated for the office of sheriff of the county of Bristol on as many as five occasions, that is, at every Michaelmas between 1401 and 1405. This being the case, it is perhaps remarkable that he was never actually appointed. In 1409-10 he was chosen as one of the 42 town councillors and in the following year, in October 1411, he was present at the parliamentary election held at the guildhall. Bokerell’s sole royal appointment was as alnager at Bristol. Initially, he had held this office for less than two years but, when re-appointed in May 1406 (while an MP), he continued to act for a five-year term, sureties then being provided by his fellow representative for Bristol, Gilbert Joce.3
‘Harre’ Bokerell was himself a cloth manufacturer and had been assessed in 1395-6 by the then alnager of Bristol for 34 cloths woven there. He became a regular exporter of this product from Bristol to Bayonne, typical consignments being 28 cloths (as in the autumn of 1391), 21 in May 1394, and another 44 a few months later. His shipments of 210 cloths between May 1398 and September 1399 were unusually high. He evidently invested the proceeds in wine for import, and in 1400 he owed the comparatively large sum of £5 18s.2d. for tunnage and poundage.4 Most of Bokerell’s property in Bristol was obtained through marriage. In October 1394 his father-in-law had bequeathed his house in Temple Street and property on the bank of the Avon to his widow, with remainder to their daughter and Bokerell, her husband. The latter, however, benefited immediately by possession of land, three shops and a drying room in the same street. He later became executor of his mother-in-law, who was dead by April 1407 when he was party to a suit for the recovery of £60 due to her estate. In addition to the Temple Street property, Bokerell acquired a building in St. Thomas Street.
It was long before this that Bokerell had established contact with members of the local gentry. For example, in 1387 he had been a feoffee of Sir Peter Courtenay† in the manor of Westrop, Wiltshire, and the following Easter he was also involved in a conveyance of property near Dunster and at Cheddar, Somerset, completed by Sir Thomas Brooke*. Later, Margaret Seymour alleged that Bokerell, in association with others, had dispossessed her of land in ‘Credlyngcote’, Somerset; and in May 1420, some time after he had appeared in Chancery and protested that he had never received money from the premises, the guardians of the peace were none the less instructed to restore them to her. It is possible, however, that Henry had died by then. At least, when the order was issued, his house in Temple Street was being lived in by John Bokerell, perhaps his son.5