DREW, Thomas, of Bishop's Lynn and Wiggenhall, Norf.
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Family and Education
Chamberlain, Lynn Mich. 1373-4, 1387-8; councillor 1378-9, 1382-4, 1385-7, 1388-92; coroner 1388-Jan. 1390; mayor 1392-3, 1398-9.3
Collector of customs and subsidies, Lynn 8 Feb. 1377-June 1388, June 1389-Nov. 1393, 1 July-Dec. 1401, Gt. Yarmouth 16 Jan.-Dec. 1391; controller, Lynn 9 June 1388-9, 24 Mar.-Oct. 1401.
Coroner, Norf. bef. Jan. 1388.
J.p. Lynn 16 Feb. 1395-Feb. 1407.
Commr. of arrest, Lynn Dec. 1398 (q.); array Aug., Oct. 1403.
Of a family long resident at Lynn, Thomas’s father had been MP in 1341, 1348, 1351 and 1358, and alderman of the Holy Trinity guild from 1351 to 1357, while his uncle, another Thomas†, was elected MP in 1355 and served as mayor in 1345-6, 1362-3 and 1368-9. The latter probably died in 1382, for until that date his nephew was referred to as ‘junior’.4 Thomas, his elder brother, William, and sister, Katherine, were all minors when their father made his will on 3 Aug. 1361, leaving a tenement next door to their dwelling place to his younger son, who entered the freedom of Lynn as an apprentice on 11 Jan. 1370.5
During his first chamberlainship Drew accounted for expenditure of £46 15s.4d. on a barge for royal service, of which half a mark comprised his own expenses for riding along the coast to impress mariners. In later years he frequently travelled to London on the town’s business, and in 1379-80 also made journeys to Ely, Wisbech and Kimbolton in connexion with a dispute over rents in Lynn between the bishops of Norwich and Ely. As one of the potentiores, he was chosen to take part in the election of the municipal officers on seven occasions between 1375 and 1384, and of the borough’s parliamentary representatives in 1376, 1377, 1378 and 1380. In 1393 he went surety for the attendance in the Commons of the town clerk, Thomas Morton, and much later, in November 1414, appeared as a witness to the election indenture returned to Chancery.6 Drew’s responsible position in the community led to his appointment in 1378 as executor of the will of Margaret Keninghall, daughter of the wealthy burgess, John Burghard, and four years later, by royal letters patent, as one of the guardians of Emma Beeston, an idiot, and her lands. In 1385 another burgess, John Grantham, bequeathed £1 to Drew’s daughter, Katherine, and £1 to Drew himself for acting as executor. Two years later he went surety in Chancery for the alnager of Norfolk and Suffolk, also a local man, and among those for whose entry to the freedom of Lynn he provided pledges was Bartholomew Petipas†. He one of the 23 burgesses who, in 1402, to avoid arrest, had to find securities of £100 each before the sheriff of Norfolk and undertake on oath not to molest Bishop Despenser of Norwich and his officers.7
The impression that Drew traded from Lynn on only a minor scale (and that, save for his shipment of 40 worsted cloths worth £13 6s.8d. in the Holygost of Camfer in August 1392, he was never assessed for customs duties)8 may perhaps be put down to his continuous employment as either collector or controller of the customs and subsidies at Lynn for more than 19 years between 1377 and 1401. It was while holding one or another of these posts that he was returned to his first three Parliaments and also appointed as a coroner of Norfolk. However, early in 1388 the sheriff was instructed to arrange for the election of a replacement for Drew as coroner on the ground that he could not conveniently exercise both types of office at the same time.
In several respects Drew shared the interests of the landowning gentry of the region. In the summer of 1392 he was party to grants of property in Lynn, South Lynn and North Clenchwarton to Norwich cathedral priory for works of piety, and for the foundation of a perpetual chantry in St. Peter’s, West Lynn, for Thomas Acre and his wife. Then, three years later, along with the vicar of Wiggenhall, he was enfeoffed of lands in Watlyngton and elsewhere, and towards the end of his life he himself moved to Wiggenhall, where other members of his family had previously lived. In June 1410 he and Laurence Trussebut (soon to be the bishop’s steward of the liberty of Lynn) conveyed 35 acres and one rood of land in Wiggenhall (of which all but 15 acres were held of Drew himself by knight-service), to the Augustinian canonesses of Crabhouse priory.9 It was as ‘of Wiggenhall, gentleman’ that in November 1420 he and his second wife took out royal pardons regarding her former husband’s debts to a Middlesex brewer, and that, in July following, he became a feoffee of the manor of Bexwell, which belonged to the Wesenhams.10
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. He was also elected, on 8 Oct. 1400, to the 1401 Parliament, but a second election was held when the Parliament was prorogued to Westminster: Norf. Official Lists ed. Le Strange, 208.
- 2. Red Reg. King’s Lynn ed. Ingleby, f. 106d; HMC 11th Rep. III, 234.
- 3. Red Reg. ff. 116, 124, 126, 127, 129d, 131-3, 135, 161d, 168, 169; CCR, 1402-5, p. 115.
- 4. Cal. Freemen Lynn, 3, 14; W. Richards, Hist. Lynn, i. 465; Norf. Official Lists, 189, 190.
- 5. Red Reg. ff. 106d, 148.
- 6. King’s Lynn Town Hall, Ea 31, 36, 41a; Red Reg. ff. 121, 156-9, 164, 166, 167; C219/9/9, 11/4.
- 7. Red Reg. ff. 115d, 162; CPR, 1381-5, p. 304; HMC 11th Rep. III, 234; CCR, 1385-9, p. 426; 1399-1402, p. 575; Lynn Town Hall, Be 575.
- 8. N.S.B. Gras, Early Eng. Customs System, 541.
- 9. C143/418/22, 420/10, 441/32; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 145, 146; 1408-13, p. 244; CP25(1)168/181/254.
- 10. CPR, 1416-22, p. 291; CCR, 1422-9, p. 202; Lynn Town Hall, Be 587.