CROWCHE, Thomas atte (d.1435/6), of Dover, Kent.
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Family and Education
Mayor, Dover Sept. 1418-20; jurat 1424-5, 1424-5.3
Cinque Ports’ bailiff at Yarmouth Sept.-Nov. 1431.4
Atte Crowche is first recorded as a juror at Dover in 1391, and from 1393 he was continually engaged in lawsuits in the town courts.5 Between 1392 and 1416 he acquired many small properties in and near Dover, sometimes apparently with the intention of enlarging holdings he already owned, although he also invested in farmland. His first wife had an interest in property in the Isle of Thanet, but this the atte Crowches sold in 1395. In 1401-3 he was farming the meadow beneath the walls of Dover castle at an annual rent of 26s.8d. payable to the commonalty.6
In June 1411 atte Crowche was one of a group of townsmen bound in £40 to abide by the award of the prince of Wales, acting as warden of the Cinque Ports, over a dispute that had arisen at Dover. In 1425-6 he served as keeper of the passage controlling shipping from Dover to Calais, and it was in the same year that he sold the town 100 timbers, for which it paid him 40s. Three years later he went to a meeting at Canterbury which discussed, under the mediation of the lieutenant warden, the best means of ending Dover’s dispute with its member-port of Faversham. In later years he suffered from the town’s increasing financial difficulties. Although he had been awarded £8 8s. for his wages for 63 days’ service in the Parliament of 1425, he had only received £5 at the time, the remainder, added to some earlier debts, being made payable by annual instalments taking the form of a remission of payment of 5s. a year which he owed the town as rent for a tenement. After he again attended Parliament, in 1429, despite being paid 70s. for 35 days’ wages, he was still owed £7 13s. altogether, and by 1435 this total had only been reduced to £4 1s.4d.7 He died before September 1436 when a balance of £3 16s.4d. was noted as due to his executors.8