DERBY, William I, of Bermondsey and Southwark, Surr.
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Family and Education
Derby first appears in September 1381 as one of the witnesses to a deed regarding land in Bermondsey, this being the first of five occasions on which he is known to have discharged such a function.1 He may well have been subsequently employed by the prior of Bermondsey, for an account roll of disbursements from the latter’s coffers over the years 1390 to 1392 records a total payment of 55s.10d. made to him for unspecified services. However, he was certainly living in Southwark by March 1390, when he was summoned, but not sworn, to serve as a juror at an assize of novel disseisin then being held in the borough. Three years later he was again called upon to perform jury service, this time in a case involving John Mucking, who later sat with him as MP for Southwark. Derby appears to have been less than impartial: indeed, in 1396, he and his fellow jurors at the Guildford assizes were dismissed for showing undue bias towards their friends, the defendants in another property dispute.2
Meanwhile, in July of that year, Derby and two other local men obtained the reversion of two tenements in Bermondsey from Henry Boghay, the rector of St. Olave’s church, Southwark. It was about this time that he himself came before Chancery as one of the four plaintiffs in a suit for the ownership of a hostelry called The Dragon on the Hope in Bishopsgate. He was probably also the William Derby named, in November 1410, among the 11 merchants and tradesmen against whom William Skrene had filed a plea of intrusion in the court of the mayor of London. This concerned houses in a number of city parishes, but the outcome remains unknown.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
He is not to be confused with William Derby, citizen and glover of London, who appeared in 1374, 1381 and 1382 as a mainpernor in Chancery (CCR, 1374-7, pp. 62-63; 1377-81, p. 525; 1381-5, p. 230).