EVERARD, Alan (d.c.1426), of London.
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Family and Education
s. of William Everard. m. by Nov. 1403, Elizabeth (d.1427), kinswoman of William Otes of Essex.1
Warden of the Mercers’ Co. 24 June 1396-7, 1403-4, 1411-12.2
Auditor, London 21 Sept. 1399-1400, 1411-13; alderman of Bread Street Ward by 7 July 1415-Feb. 1418.3
Sheriff, London and Mdx. Mich. 1415-16.
Commr. of oyer and terminer, London Dec. 1417.
Several members of the Everard family are known to have been active as mercers in 14th-century London, so the subject of this biography was clearly following a well-established tradition in his choice of trade. His uncle, after whom he was named, and a second kinsman, Thomas Everard, were involved in an attack launched by the Mercers’ Company against Lombard merchants in the City during the summer of 1357; and his less notorious relatives, such as the wealthy John Everard (d.1397), also possessed considerable influence in the affairs of their guild. Alan can only have been a few years old when, in October 1366, his uncle left him various bequests, including a plot of land in ‘Marcheford’.4 He had already set up in business by April 1390, for between that date and August 1391 he shipped cloth worth almost £600 into the port of London. He brought his first lawsuit in the court of common pleas in November 1390; and shortly afterwards he began a second action for the recovery of a modest debt, on this occasion in his capacity as an executor of the mercer and family friend, Adam Stable†. From 1392 onwards, if not before, he took on a number of apprentices, including one of his own relatives. At least three other kinsmen, among whom was Richard Everard, a warden of the Mercers’ Company in 1400, entered the guild during his lifetime, thus maintaining a strong family presence. Everard was not always punctilious in observing the necessary regulations, and in 1395 he was fined 40s. for selling his goods at fairs outside London. The offence was evidently not regarded as a serious one: in the following year he served the first of his three terms as warden, and while in office he played a prominent part in the acquisition of rents and property by the Mercers under the auspices of their new charter.5 Although no record of his interest in the wool trade survives before 1400, it is possible that he was exporting wool to Calais from an earlier date. At all events, between 15 Mar. and 24 May 1401 he obtained royal licences to ship a minimum of 43 sarplers of wool from London alone; and he was still active in this lucrative line of business nine years later. The customs records for our period are too fragmentary to allow a detailed examination of Everard’s various commercial enterprises, but he clearly continued to trade in finished cloth as well as raw wool during the 1400s. Only once, however, does he appear to have supplied the royal wardrobe: this was in 1408, when he provided a few rolls of cloth worth £14.6 Everard had strong connexions with Coventry, being a member of the town’s Trinity guild, from which he was expelled at some unknown date for perjury. Unusually for him, he also appeared among the mainpernors of the affluent Coventry mercer, Ralph Garton, who was released on bail of 1,000 marks in 1414 after being arrested on suspicion of lollardy.7
Even if Everard could not match the wealth or influence of such fellow mercers as John Woodcock* and Richard Whittington*, he was still rich by contemporary standards and occupied a prominent place in the civic hierarchy. Evidence of his social standing is to be found in the award made to him and his wife in November 1403 of a papal indult for a portable altar, and in his presence at the London elections to the Parliaments of 1413 (May) and 1417. His many attempts to recover unpaid debts suggest that fairly large sums of money were continuously passing through his hands. Between February 1402 and May 1422, for example, he petitioned the mayor of the Staple of Westminster for help in enforcing six bonds to the value of almost £180 which had not been honoured by various customers and merchants.8Moreover, from July 1409 until the time of his death he sued a further 11 persons at common law for debts in excess of £85; and in November 1423 he was involved in litigation before the court of the mayor of London over a sum of £72, which he claimed was owed to him by the master of the Jacobknight of Sluys. Nine years previously he had himself entered into a recognizance in £60 on behalf of John Pontadour, a merchant from Lucca who was in debt to a London goldsmith, but he rarely risked his own capital by standing surety for others. Further proof of Everard’s growing affluence is to be found in the loan of £40 advanced by him in June 1417 towards the cost of Henry V’s second expedition to France. Only 13 other Londoners lent larger sums of money at that time, and many eminent citizens subscribed considerably less. The loan was not repayable for another three years, and therefore represented a fairly long-term commitment.9
Everard must have derived a substantial income from land, although it is now impossible to discover the full extent of his holdings. His will, which is incomplete, refers to quit rents in London and the suburbs worth over £14 a year, bought by him from the heirs of William Cawston. We know from other sources that he acquired them in November 1406 (together with additional annual rents of ten marks), and that some of the premises from which they came lay in the parishes of St. Martin Ludgate, St. Michael Cornhill, St. Pancras, Soper Lane, and St. Stephen, Coleman Street. He also leased two shops in the parish of St. Pancras, and could evidently rely on certain unspecified revenues from tenements elsewhere in the City. However, because of his frequent appearances as a feoffee-to-uses, the full extent of his holdings cannot now be determined.10 Indeed, Everard’s interests, often shared with other mercers, extended to rents and property lying in no less than 15 London parishes, where he generally seems to have been no more than a trustee. Yet, even so, his own possessions in the City alone provided him with an estimated £37 a year in 1412, so he must have benefited in some way from these arrangements.11 Outside London, Everard acted as a feoffee of land in Essex for Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, and his nephew, Sir Gerald Braybrooke II*. He performed the same service there for John Hadley*, and was either the joint owner or feoffee of two messuages and farmland in Dagenham and Barking as well. Unambiguous evidence of his personal speculation in the land market is harder to find. At some point before October 1424 he settled the manors of ‘Scathebury’ and ‘Champneys’ in Kent upon Thomas Dale, perhaps by way of a trust. He may more certainly be described as the owner of three messuages and over 100 acres of land in Shoreditch and Hackney, Middlesex, his title to these being confirmed at law in 1402.12
Predictably for a man of his wealth and connexions, Everard was often required to participate in the affairs of friends and colleagues. As we have already seen, he was a party to many property transactions — most notably those of the mercer, John Frosh*, who also made him his executor. He performed the latter service for William Denis, a former clerk of the royal works, but on the whole he seems to have avoided such unduly onerous responsibilities. He acted as a mainpernor on only three occasions (once for his fellow mercer, John Shadworth*), but he was prepared to audit certain accounts for the city chamberlain in July 1411, and two years later to arbitrate in a commercial dispute involving the embroiderer, Robert Ashcombe*.13
Everard made his will on 8 July 1426. The date of probate is unrecorded, and this is the last known reference to him.14
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Cal. Wills ct. Husting London ed. Sharpe, ii (1), 97-98; CPL, v. 566; Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/3, f. 180d.
- 2. Mercers’ Company Recs. Wardens’ acct. bk. ff. 19, 37, 55d; Everard is elsewhere stated to have been elected as warden on 29 Aug. 1395 and to have held office for two consecutive terms, but there is no evidence of this in the company records (London Rec. Soc. i. 257).
- 3. Cal. Letter Bk. London, H, 449; J, 94, 107, 117; Beaven, Aldermen, i. 46.
- 4. Sel. Cases before King’s Council (Selden Soc. xxxv), 42-46; Cal. Wills ct. Husting London, ii (1), 97-98; Guildhall Lib. 9171/1, f. 412.
- 5. E122/71/3; Corporation of London RO, hpl 112, feast St. Lucy, 13 Ric. II; CPR, 1388-92, p. 450; 1396-9, p. 109; Mercers’ Company Recs. Wardens’ acct. bk. ff. 8, 15, 18d, 21, 51d, 54, 57, 72d, 78, 80d; List of members, D-J, 154-5.
- 6. E101/405/4 f. 7; E122/7/27 m. 1, 71/6, 72/4, 8, 76/32, 77/2, 225/56/18, 19, 21, 30, 32, 34-36, 57/1, 4.
- 7. Reg. Holy Trinity Guild Coventry (Dugdale Soc. xiii), 5; KB27/611/13.
- 8. CPL, v. 566; C219/11/1, 12/2; C241/192/65, 193/8, 194/39, 197/27, 202/59, 215/27.
- 9. Corporation of London RO, hcp 146 m. 5d; hpl 134, Monday aft. feast St. Luke and Monday aft. feast St. Agatha, 11 Hen. IV; jnl. 2, ff. 10d, 11; Cal. P. and M. London, 1413-37, pp. 13, 169; Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 203; CPR, 1416-22, pp. 164, 234-5, 286, 291, 352; 1422-9, pp. 25, 244, 305.
- 10. PCC 8 Luffenham; Corporation of London RO, hcp 136, Monday bef. feast St. Martin, 13 Hen. IV, 138, Monday aft. feast St. Luke, 1 Hen. V; hr 134/3-4, 124, 137/91, 141/30, 43, 147/58, 149/5, 153/61, 68; London Rec. Soc. i. nos. 260-1; Cart. St. Bartholomew’s Hosp. ed. Kerling, nos. 220, 229.
- 11. Harl. 49H 56; Corporation of London RO, hcp 123, Monday aft. feast St. John ante portam latinam, 22 Ric. II, 124, Monday aft. feast St. Peter’s chains, 1 Hen. IV; hpl 141 m. 1; hr 123/84-85, 126/89, 127/15, 80, 128/30, 129/59, 87-88, 130/20, 133A/13, 135/96, 104, 137/29, 43, 138/74, 141/59-60, 71, 145/1, 146/1, 6, 24, 148/2, 152/52; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 400; CPR, 1413-16, p. 271; 1416-22, p. 308; Arch. Jnl. xliv. 63.
- 12. CP25(1)151/82/16, 24; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 254, 270; CPR, 1396-9, p. 250; 1401-5, p. 371; CCR, 1409-13, p. 342; 1422-9, p. 208.
- 13. E404/26/92-93; Corporation of London RO, jnl. 1, f. 60; hr 127/64; Cal. P. and M. London, 1413-37, pp. 16, 21; CCR, 1396-9, p. 101; 1409-13, p. 6; 1413-19, pp. 106, 117.
- 14. PCC 8 Luffenham.