CATCHPOLE, Henry I, of St. Peter's parish, Hereford.
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Family and Education
?s. of Henry Catchpole† of Hereford. m. Margaret.
Bailiff, Hereford, Oct. 1367-8, 1374-6; mayor 1384-6.1
Commr. to collect a parochial subsidy, Herefs. Mar., June 1371; of arrest Apr., Dec. 1376.
Tax collector, Herefs. Dec. 1373, Nov. 1374.
J.p. Hereford, 20 June 1380-c.1381.
The Catchpole family had lived in Hereford from the mid 12th century, numbering among its members Walter, several times chief bailiff in the 1330s, John, who was deputy clerk of the recognizances in 1362 and represented the city in Parliament in 1372, and Hugh, appointed in 1380 as serjeant of Hereford for the term of his life. It would initially appear that only one Henry Catchpole represented the city in Parliament on 12 occasions between 1348 and 1390, but the evidence suggests that no fewer than three men of this name were in fact involved. The first, a merchant of some standing who traded mainly in wool and had commercial dealings with Venetians, was MP in 1348, 1351, 1355 and 1357 and bailiff of Hereford in 1350 and 1354, and died before August 1360.2 Another Henry (called ‘junior’) represented the city in November 1390. The MP of 1361-86 may have been the son of the first Henry, and certainly followed his occupation.
Catchpole regularly witnessed local deeds from 1361 for some 30 years, and is known to have held property in Hereford from 1362. It was then that he became involved in the dispute between the dean and chapter and Roger Side, then vicar of St. Peter’s, who was charged with illegally holding a funeral service in his own church for, among others, John, Margery and Alice Catchpole, the chapter’s contention being that, since all citizens of Hereford had to be buried in the close, every funeral service should be held in the cathedral. Following a long course of appeals to the court of Arches, the King and the Pope, at both Avignon and Rome, Catchpole was among the eight arbitrators who, at Hereford in 1380, decided that the parishioners of St. Peter’s themselves might in future choose where the services should be held. In the meantime, in June 1368, feoffees, including Roger Side and Walter and John Catchpole, had conveyed to Henry for term of his life lands in Litley, a meadow in Tupsley called ‘Walneyspyk’ and extensive property including a grange, gardens, ‘le Forge’ and ‘le Schoppe’, in St. Thomas Street, ‘Cabouchelane’, Grope Lane and opposite the ‘Causey’ in Hereford itself. Although Henry sold some of these holdings to Thomas Chippenham I* ten years later, he also added to them buildings in Widemarsh Street.3
In April 1370 Catchpole obtained a royal grant of the wardship of some land at Kingstone, Herefordshire, during the minority of the heir of Roger French, along with the latter’s marriage, in return for an annual payment of £1 16s.8d. During the following month he found mainprise at the Exchequer for Sir Robert Kendale† and Richard Glover, an armourer; and in June 1372 he acted similarly on behalf of William Bastard, chaplain, then granted custody of the alien priory of Titley. Although the offences are unspecified, Catchpole took out a royal pardon in May 1377. It was only two months after this that he was one of the 25 appointed by the Crown as custodians of the city of Hereford and empowered to keep the peace there and array the inhabitants. Then, in January 1378, he was associated with William Longenorle† of Shrewsbury in a contract to build a balinger for royal service within two months: they failed to complete their task, however, and instead forwarded to William Walworth†, one of the treasurers for the war, the sum of £70 towards the costs of building such a vessel. That same year, along with Richard de la Barre, clerk, and others, Catchpole was planning to grant in mortmain for the support of the vicars choral of the cathedral, lands in Blackmarstone and elsewhere near Hereford, formerly belonging to Bishop Trilleck. They obtained the necessary royal licence in March and another from the prioress of Aconbury in May 1379, but the conveyance was not to be completed for a further 13 years. In the meantime, in 1383, Catchpole had been remembered in the will of a Hereford man, William Davy, who bequeathed him a chronicle called ‘Trivet’ (presumably a copy of the famous Annales Sex Regum Angliae by Nicholas Trevet). In April 1384, at the episcopal manor of Whitbourne, Catchpole witnessed Bishop Gilbert’s ratification of the appropriation of Westbury church to the cathedral, and later that year he became a feoffee of lands in Longford and Hampton, Herefordshire, belonging to William Miles. Having earlier held office as a bailiff of Hereford for no fewer than three annual terms, in the autumn of 1384 Catchpole was elected mayor, a position he continued to occupy for the following two years, at the end of which term he represented the city in Parliament for the last time. In 1388 and 1392 he participated, albeit in an undefined role, in the ordination of local priests, having in the meantime twice presented to the rectory of Moccas, further up the Wye valley. At this time, too, Catchpole was among the nine leading citizens most closely concerned in the community’s dispute with the dean and chapter of Hereford.4
In September 1392 Catchpole conveyed to Thomas Chippenham and other feoffees his house called ‘The Booth Hall’, which had probably been used as a place of exchange by the merchants’ guild and was worth £3 annually. This was in preparation for its transfer to the mayor and commonalty to provide chambers where the assizes and sessions of the peace could be held.