COLVILLE, Robert (d.1427/8), of Bristol.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1416

Family and Education

m. Agnes.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Bristol Mich. 1410-11; sheriff 22 Nov. 1425-15 Oct. 1426.2

Controller of customs and subsidies, Bristol 20 Nov. 1420-17 Feb. 1423.


Nothing is known of Colville’s trading connexions with Bristol until 1406, which was not long before his first appearance as a member of the common council. This was in 1409-10, at the close of which official year he was elected bailiff. He was again a councillor in March 1419 and August 1422, on these occasions helping to draw up ordinances for the imposition of fines on outlaws and the punishment of those who slandered local officials, respectively. Meanwhile, on 25 Sept. 1420 Colville had been one of the three burgesses nominated as sheriff of Bristol, but it was not to be until 1425 that he was actually appointed. His duties included presenting special accounts at the Exchequer for property in Bristol forfeited to the Crown between May and September 1426. Colville regularly attended the local parliamentary elections, being party to the indentures incorporating the returns to the Parliaments of 1411, 1413 (May), 1414 (Nov.), 1417, 1420, 1421 (May), 1422, 1423, 1425 and 1427. On 10 Feb. 1416 he had been present at his own election, and later, in 1426, it was he who as sheriff was responsible for holding the hustings and drawing up the indenture, which he then returned with the writ of summons suitably endorsed.3

From time to time during the course of his career Colville had been entrusted with the administration of the wills of local men: in 1405, 1416 and 1419 Simon Algood, Belinus Nansmoen and John Frere, respectively, named him as an executor or overseer. It was four years after this last appointment that he came before the mayoral court to undertake the guardianship of two of Frere’s sons and the custody of their inheritance. From August 1420 until his death Colville is known to have acted as a trustee of the manor of Ashton, Somerset, which was later purchased by Roger Levedon†. More surprising is his earlier association with a London citizen, John Sudbury*, as a feoffee of land far away at Sandhurst in Kent.4

Colville and his fellow Member of 1416, Robert Russell II, were to be often associated with each other on later occasions. They were both sureties for the Exchequer lessees of the alnage of cloth in Bristol in November 1421 and again in October 1422, during the period when Colville was controller of the customs of the port and Russell was one of the collectors of the same. Colville’s own trading activities are poorly documented. It is, however, recorded that in December 1406 he imported some wine and fruit from Spain, and he evidently had dealings with the Cheltenham wool merchants, for in 1410 one of their number, named Richard Devenyssh, obtained royal pardon of outlawry resulting from non-payment of a debt of £5 owing to Colville. Another debtor of his was a Bridgwater husbandman. Colville’s connexion with the Londoner John Sudbury suggests that he might be identified with the Robert Colville who, described as ‘citizen and mercer of London’, obtained royal letters of protection in the spring of 1418 as being about to sail for France in Sir Edward Holand’s retinue, but even so no further evidence of his trading interests in the capital has been found.5

In Colville’s will, made on 18 May 1427, he left 20 marks for the expenses of his funeral in the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr at Bristol. The most interesting of his other monetary bequests was similarly of 20 marks: for the provision of running water from the spring on ‘le Pilchull’ to St. Thomas Street. Among the personal beneficiaries were Colville’s widow and the supervisor of the will, Thomas Fish†. Colville died at an unknown date between September following (when he attended the parliamentary elections at Bristol) and 28 Jan. 1428, when probate was granted.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. PCC 8 Luffenham.
  • 2. Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xxvi. 130-1.
  • 3. Little Red Bk. Bristol ed. Bickley, i. 138-9, 153; CFR, xiv. 354; E364/61 m. Dd; C219/10/6, 11/1, 4, 8, 12/2-5, 13/1-5.
  • 4. Bristol Wills (Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. 1886), 76, 96, 104; Little Red Bk. i. 183-4; Bristol RO, AC/D1/47-49, 52, 59; CCR, 1409-13, p. 433.
  • 5. CFR, xiv. 394; xv. 15; E122/17/37; CPR, 1408-13, p. 134; 1416-22, pp. 15, 164; CCR, 1409-13, p. 435; C76/101 m. 10.
  • 6. PCC 8 Luffenham.