BRADWAY, Richard (d.1415/16), of Southampton.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. Alice, 1s. 1da.
Constable of the Staple, Southampton by June 1397.3
Although Bradway’s parentage is unknown, it seems likely that he was a native of Southampton where, after 1392, he built up a sizeable estate. Part of his property, which included a croft in East Street, a house built of stone, two adjoining tenements and a garden on the east side of English Street, another stone building on the opposite side of the road, and two adjacent cottages in St. Michael’s parish, had belonged to the rich merchant John Polymond†;4 and probably his own wealth, too, came from mercantile activities. Indeed, when, in April 1398, the Christofer of Hampton entered port, 23 casks of her cargo of wine were for Bradway, and when she sailed a month later a shipment of cloth was exported in his name.5
Bradway was occasionally asked to act as executor of the wills of local persons. In November 1392, when carrying out his duties as such for Philip Oak of North Stoneham, the bishop of Winchester’s registrar illegally extorted £2 13s.4d. from him in probate fees. Then, in May 1400, in association with the executors of William Maple*, Bradway made a generous loan of 160 marks, repayable over the next 20 years, to the Cistercian abbey of St. Mary Graces, London. But not all his actions were so disinterested or so charitable: two years later he was found to have been party to the fraudulent purchase of an estate in Southampton left by the late William Bacon alias Wytegod†, having persuaded the latter’s widow, who was feeble-minded, to part with it for a quart of malmsey.6 Even worse, in 1407 and 1410 it was alleged that Bradway had been withholding rents payable for ‘Levendon hill’ and five shops in English Street from ‘God’s House’ hospital and St. Denys priory.7
In November 1415, shortly before his death, Bradway conveyed to William New of Fareham his house on the west side of English Street. He made his will on 6 Dec. Several years later his widow Alice, by then married to William Chicksand, confessed to burning this document (claiming that she had been incited to do so by one of the executors, William Wygant), and then to having produced another testament, which had been presented for probate to the commissary-general of the bishop of Winchester. It is certainly the case that one of Bradway’s executors, Thomas