CLERK, William I (d.1414/15), of Weymouth, Dorset.
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Family and Education
m. Agnes, da. of John Westpray* of Dorchester by his w. Maud, 1da.
Bailiff, Weymouth Mich. 1396-7.1
Constable of the Staple of Melcombe c. 1398.
Clerk traded in cloth at Weymouth, where he was assessed for alnage in 1395-6 and 1399-1400, in the latter year for as many as 18 cloths; but, at least occasionally, he exported via the port of Melcombe Regis.2 His standing among the merchants of Melcombe as well as in Weymouth is suggested not only by his return to Parliament for both boroughs, but also by his election towards the end of Richard II’s reign (the exact date is not known) as one of the constables of the Melcombe Staple.3 Clerk’s activities were mainly, however, centred on Weymouth: having acted as bailiff there in 1396-7, in the latter year he had provided assurances to the earl of March’s bailiff at Wyke that Philip Brice* of Weymouth would pay £2 due on his account as ‘messor’ of the manor; he witnessed local deeds in 1402 and 1414; and he was one of the delegation sent to the shire court to report the results of the elections for Weymouth to the Parliaments of 1407, 1410, 1413 (May) and 1414.4 Clerk’s marriage to the daughter of John Westpray, one of the Dorchester parliamentary burgesses of 1399 (when he himself was first returned), extended his interests and was partly instrumental in securing the marriage of Joan, his own daughter, into the important Dorset family of Frampton. On 2 Dec. 1413 he was named as an executor of the will of his mother-in-law, Maud Westpray, but he died before Christmas week 1415, when his co-executor, William Ford*, carried out the instructions of the testatrix by settling her two houses in Dorchester on her grand daughter, Clerk’s daughter Joan, and the latter’s husband John Frampton’ junior, esquire, of ‘Waye Bayhouse’ (son of John*).5