GAPPE, Alexander atte, of Great Yarmouth, Norf.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Yarmouth Mich. 1403-4, 1409-10, 1419-20.1
J.p. Yarmouth 15 July 1410-c.1419.
Collector of tunnage and poundage, Yarmouth 16 Oct. 1411-2 Feb. 1412.
Atte Gappe’s family was prominent in local affairs: four other members of it served as bailiff between 1363 and 1407, holding office for a total of 18 terms. This pre-eminence was owed partly to the fortuitious marriage of Simon atte Gappe† (d.1379) to a wealthy widow, and partly to his successful mercantile ventures, in which he traded in wine, salt and herring, often in partnership with the prosperous Hugh Fastolf*.2 Alexander himself is first recorded in July 1402 after he and three others from Yarmouth had been indicted before the Suffolk bench for ‘divers offences’, a commission of oyer and terminer then being set up to try their cases. His predicament may have arisen out of the burgesses’ longstanding dispute with the men of Lowestoft over control of Kirkley Road. The consequences cannot have been too serious, for atte Gappe was at large and bailiff of Yarmouth for the first of three terms little more than a year later. He was discharging this office once more when, in 1410, he was returned to Parliament, thus being responsible for recording his own election on the indenture sent into Chancery. Atte Gappe’s trading interests included wine, but his principal concern was herring, and when, early in 1413, new ordinances were drawn up to regulate the herring trade at Yarmouth, he served on the committee of ten burgesses assigned to decide on the form these were to take.3 Later that same year he was named as executor of a local spicer. He is last recorded in July 1424 acting as an arbiter, ex parte Geoffrey Pamping*, in an attempt to resolve the ‘contentions and discords’ between Pamping and John Fastolf†, esquire.4