DUDBROKE, David alias David ap Adam, of Bristol.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
s. of Adam Dudbroke.
Bailiff, Bristol Mich. 1406-7; sheriff 13 Oct. 1416-17.
Constable of the Bristol Staple 27 Sept. 1412-Mich. 1414.1
Dudbroke was by birth a Welshman, but appears to have lived in Bristol for most of his life. When, on 5 Nov. 1413, because of the recent order that native Welshmen should return to Wales, he obtained a royal licence to abide in England, he could establish that he had traded in Bristol since 1398, had been resident there for at least seven years and had already represented the town in Parliament. He is known to have had property in Marsh Street and on St. Michael’s Hill. Although apparently less important a figure in Bristol than his elder brother, Robert (d.1409/10), the latter having been bailiff in 1390-1, sheriff in 1400-1 and mayor in 1404-5,2 David did at least attain the office of bailiff; and in 1416, after being an unsuccessful candidate for this post in 1414 and 1415, he was even appointed sheriff of the urban county. In the meantime, he had been one of the council of 42 elected to govern Bristol in 1409-10, during the mayoralty of John Droys*, and he was still a councillor at the beginning of Henry VI’s reign. His presence at parliamentary elections for Bristol is attested on numerous occasions between 1407 and 1422. While sheriff in 1417, he was named among the members of the fraternity of the hospital at Lawford’s Gate, founded by John Barstaple, a former mayor, who made themselves responsible for procuring a royal licence to incorporate their guild and dedicate it to the Holy Trinity and St. George.3
As in local affairs, so too in mercantile ventures Robert Dudbroke surpassed his brother, notably in the frequency and amount of his cloth exports. Yet David shipped no less than 150 lengths of fabric to Bayonne and Spain between May 1398 and Michaelmas 1399, and in June 1400 the two brothers each exported 30 cloths to Bayonne on La Margaret of Bristol. Both were also engaged in the wine trade. David was to be chosen by his fellow staplers as one of their constables for a period of two years, starting in 1412. It was not unusual at Bristol for disputes between merchants to be settled by committees of arbitration composed of their fellow traders, and in July 1414 Dudbroke, along with John Burton II*, was called upon to represent Richard Alexander in his suit against Thomas Young III*. There were times, of course, when Dudbroke himself fell into difficulty. In November 1410, for example, a royal commission had been set up to investigate a complaint by Genoese merchants that a carrack of theirs had been captured at Milford by men of Bristol, and Dudbroke was one of the owners of the ships involved. Later, in 1418, it transpired that he had been threatening the life of Mark William*; and, on 12 July, a London skinner and three men from Warwickshire, Oxford and Bristol, respectively, undertook on pain of forfeiture of 300 marks that he would keep the peace in future. Four days later, he himself, using his Welsh name, entered recognizances in £500, promising to answer charges before the King’s Council in the following autumn. It may well have been this affair that cut short Dudbroke’s official career in Bristol. At all events, it was not long before he again misbehaved: the widow of John Droys alleged that in his capacity as executor of her late husband’s will he had dispossessed her of her legacy. However, in all other respects he apparently carried out Droys’s instructions to the letter.4
There is no record of Dudbroke’s own will, and it is not known when he died, save