GATYN, John, of London and Guildford, Surr.
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Family and Education
Although Gatyn was probably born a Londoner, he soon developed strong connexions with Guildford, both through his trade as a fishmonger and his subsequent investment in local property. He first appears in May 1368, when, described as ‘of London’, he stood surety for John Hanekyn in Chancery. Four years later he was himself being sued for trespass in Surrey and spent a brief period in prison until his own mainpernors offered bail of £40 on his behalf. By October 1376 Gatyn had become a member of the guild merchant at Guildford, whose expenses at this time included a payment of 3s. arising from the cost of meeting unspecified fines incurred by him and by other prominent townsmen.1 Soon afterwards he began to establish himself as a landowner, acquiring property in the manor of Bermondsey from Peter and Katherine Shep; but he none the less kept up his business interests in London until 1400, if not later. A charter of August 1383, confirming Gatyn and his heirs in possession of all Joan Bradstead’s land, rents and tenements in Guildford and elsewhere in Surrey referred to him specifically as ‘citizen and fishmonger of London’. So too did the promise made to him in the following November by Thomas Chicche of Beverley, Kent, of annual rents worth 20 marks from his estates should either Joan or the Chicches, her kinsmen, fail to uphold these arrangements. Such a guarantee proved unnecessary, for in February 1394 Gatyn obtained a quitclaim of the original propety from Chicche’s son. Meanwhile, in 1386, he paid £100 to Walter and Joan Woodland for four messuages and 11 acres of land in Guildford and the neighbouring manor of Stoke.2
Other legal and financial affairs continued to occupy him in the capital and eventually took him abroad. In July 1384 he was named among the feoffees of Joan, widow of William Spencer, a fellow citizen and fishmonger of London, although by August 1386 all his duties in this respect had been fulfilled. On 3 Oct. 1390 he received permission to go overseas, taking 40s. for his expenses, and on the same day he was given a royal licence to negotiate a letter of exchange worth £6 with a Lombard merchant. Very little is known of Gatyn’s career after this date. In September 1400 he acted as a surety in Chancery for Hugh Ryebread*, another fishmonger, but except for his last two elections to Parliament nothing more is heard of him.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Gatin, Gatton.
- 1. CCR, 1364-8, p. 478; 1369-74, p. 426; Guildford Mun. Room, BR/OC7/1 f. 138; Surr. Arch. Colls. (add. vol.) i. 147.
- 2. CCR, 1381-5, pp. 423-5; 1392-6, p. 427; CP25(1)231/62/21.
- 3. CPR, 1413-16, p. 305; CCR, 1389-92, p. 572; 1392-6, p. 542; 1399-1402, p. 204. It is just possible that he was the John Gayton or Geyton, fishmonger of London, whose will of 10 Apr. 1413 was proved and enrolled in the court of husting, London. But the latter had no property outside London, and his wife was named Isabel (Cal. Wills ct. Husting London ed. Sharpe, ii, pt. 2, 399-400).