BURNAGE, Ralph, of Melcombe Regis, Dorset.
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Family and Education
Dep. butler Weymouth, Melcombe Regis and Seaton 28 Jan.-Oct. 1408.
Bailiff, Melcombe Regis Sept. 1410-11, 1415-16.1
Burnage occupied the post of deputy in three Dorset ports to the King’s chief butler (Thomas Chaucer* of Ewelme) for little more than eight months during 1408. He may have been originally commended for the office because of personal experience of the wine trade with Gascony; but his main commercial concern seems to have been cloth, which he shipped out of Melcombe. His dealings with William Mountfort II, a leading Dorset merchant who sat for Bridport in the Parliaments of 1413 (May) and 1419 (when he himself was a Member of the Commons) suggest that he also had an interest in the rope trade. In September 1411 Burnage joined with a Dorchester man in a bond by which payment of £49 6s.8d. was promised to Mountfort at the following Candlemas (2 Feb.), and in 1414 he alone undertook to pay him a further £1 10s.8d. Burnage served as a bailiff of Melcombe at least twice. Then, in October 1417, as a delegate from the borough, he attended the meeting of the shire court at Dorchester, to report the results of the local parliamentary elections.2 He is last recorded two years later, the occasion being his third return to Parliament.