ENEBROOK, John (d.1415), of Dover, Kent.
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Family and Education
m. bef. Oct. 1382, Maud.
Commr. to assemble vessels to attack pirates, Dover May 1398.
Jurat, Dover Sept. 1398-9, 1401-2, 1410-11; mayor 1411-12; dep. mayor Dec. 1412.1
Enebrook is first mentioned in 1376-7, as paying a maltolt of 2s. at Dover. In October 1382, being about to leave on a long voyage, he entrusted his property to feoffees, who were instructed to sell it to pay his ransom were he to be captured by enemies, settle it on his widow should he die, and after her death spend the proceeds of its sale on masses for his soul.2 However, he survived, and between 1391 and his death he undertook some 70 lawsuits in the town courts, mostly against his debtors.3 Enebrook apparently kept an inn, for in 1396 a man from Peterborough successfully sued him and his ostler, John, for detaining a scarlet gown worth 60s. deposited with them for safe-keeping. As well as his property in Dover, he owned land in the east Kent hundreds of Bewsborough, Cornilo and Folkestone, for which, as a Portsman, he claimed tax exemption.4
Enebrook had important seafaring interests. Although himself commissioned on one occasion to help rid the seas of pirates, the ‘passager’ boat of Dover which he owned acquired some notoriety by itself engaging in piracy. In 1403-4, for instance, it helped to capture a ship sailing towards Flanders with a cargo of salt belonging to a Hamburg merchant. Then, in June 1404, the authorities at Stralsund wrote to Henry IV to complain that four months earlier Enebrook’s ship had taken and plundered a vessel laden with herring belonging to one of its citizens, Herman Wernarson. It was later averred that Enebrook’s ship had come to the aid of another, which was already attacking the German vessel, and having captured the latter took it first to Dover and then to the Camber at Rye, where the spoils were shared out, and, even worse, that the crew were drowned off Winchelsea. However, the owner himself, Wernarson, providentially escaped and, when English breaches of the truce with the Hanse were being remedied in 1406, he procured a judgement that he should recover his vessel, together with damages of 40 nobles (£13 6s.8d.). However, when he went to Sandwich to collect the ship and gave the plunderers letters of quittance, he found it stranded and shattered by the tides. Seemingly less reprehensible were the events of July 1410, when the Cristofre, of which Enebrook was joint owner, raided the Norman coast near Fécamp and brought back booty ranging from feather beds to church ornaments, for on that occasion Enebrook and his fellow Portsmen were taken to task merely for their failure to pay the warden his due share as admiral of the Cinque Ports.5
Enebrook was among those men of Dover who in June 1411 were bound in £40 to abide by the award of the prince of Wales, then warden, about disputes which had arisen in the town. He died at an unknown date between March and December 1415.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: A. P.M. Wright
- 1. Egerton 2088, ff. 107, 135, 157, 160, 171.
- 2. Add. 29615, f. 43; Egerton 2091, f. 14.
- 3. Egerton 2088, ff. 27-185.
- 4. Ibid. ff. 84, 85; E179/225/27, 237/57.
- 5. Letters Hen. IV ed. Hingeston, 263; Hanseakten aus England ed. Kunze, 224, 281, 292-3, 296, 306-7; E101/67/18/5.
- 6. E159/190 Trin. rot. 7; Egerton 2091, f. 20.