GOSSE, William, of Bridgwater, Som.
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Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Bridgwater Apr. 1401 (forfeited goods),1 June 1401 (seizure of a ship), Som. Dec. 1406 (lands of Thomas Ingleby).
Steward of the guild merchant, Bridgwater by Sept. 1406-aft. Nov. 1416.2
Collector of customs and subsidies, Bridgwater and district 6 Dec. 1419-May 1421.
Gosse is first recorded in the post of clerk for Richard Otery, drawing up deeds relating to the manor of East Harptree (Somerset) and keeping accounts of the same. Early in his career he was also in the service of the abbey of Cleeve, and in 1384, 1386 and 1389 acted on its behalf as sub-collector of clerical taxes and attorney at the Exchequer. In 1388 he was employed in the latter capacity too by Sir John Rodney*, the sheriff of Somerset and Dorset. In 1404 he appeared in the assize courts at Ilchester for the abbot of Cleeve, and was later party to an alienation in mortmain to Holy Trinity church in Ilchester for prayers for the soul of Joan, wife of John Stourton I*, among others. Gosse also served as a feoffee of lands in Dorset, Somerset and Kent, apparently on behalf of Sir Richard Poynings, son and heir apparent of Lord Poynings. Such activities were, however, incidental to his main interests in Bridgwater, where he had property, and where he traded in cloth and victuals. From 1404 to 1427 he frequently attested local deeds, usually appearing as the first witness, which indicates a prominent position in the town. Gosse also had property elsewhere in Somerset at Yeovilton, East Coker, Stogursey and Bradney, part of which was assessed in 1412 at £20 13s.4d. a year.3
Gosse’s position as steward of the guild merchant and collector of customs must have made him a dominant figure in local politics, and this is reflected in his repeated appearances in the shire court on the town’s committee for the election of MPs, being so delegated in 1410, 1414, 1417, 1419, 1420 and 1421 (Dec.). He even witnesed the shire election indentures in 1407 and 1410.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. E143/19/6 mm. 214-15, 234-5.
- 2. Reg. Bowet (Som. Rec. Soc. xiii), 245; Bridgwater Bor. Archs. (ibid. lviii), 583.
- 3. Bridgwater Bor. Archs. 527, 529, 569, 571, 573, 632; E359/15 mm. 10d, 15d, 20d; E159/165; JUST 1/1518 m. 20d; CCR, 1419-22, pp. 122, 126; 1422-9, p. 48; CPR, 1413-16, p. 371; HMC Wells, ii. 668; E122/25/5; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 14-15; Feudal Aids, vi. 503; Add. Ch. 13976; Hylle Cart. (Som. Rec. Soc. lxviii), 65-66.
- 4. C219/10/4, 5, 11/3, 5, 12/2-6.