GROOS, William, of Derby.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. bef. Apr. 1387, Denise.
Coroner, Derby by 26 Sept. 1378-aft. Oct. 1389.1
Tax collector, Derby May 1379.
Bailiff, Derby Mich. 1379-80; alderman 1390-1.2
When assessed at Derby along with three of his servants for the poll tax of 1379, Groos was described as an alehouse keeper or brewer (pandoxator). At the time he was one of the town’s bailiffs and was also currently occupying the office of borough coroner, a post he continued to hold for a further ten years. At the termination of his year as alderman in the autumn of 1391, it was alleged by the townspeople that on the election day (29 Sept.) the four outgoing aldermen, including Groos and William Pakeman*, with several strangers from the country belonging to their affinity, had so threatened the lives of the burgesses and new bailiffs that they dared not levy the fee farm due to Queen Anne. Following their request that the aldermen be constrained to take out securities of the peace, on 28 Oct. three of them entered into recognizances with the queen for £300 (in Groos’s case) or £200 each. Nor was this Groos’s only misdemeanour, for shortly afterwards a royal commission was set up for his arrest along with other local men for allegedly attempting to impugn the King’s rights of presentation to the free chapel of All Saints, Derby, by obtaining papal provisions, so infringing the recently enacted Statute of Provisors.3
In February 1384, at the Derby assizes, Groos had been found guilty of forcibly dispossessing a local chaplain of two plots of land in the neighbourhood. His other properties in the town and in nearby Chaddesden were acquired more legitimately, for instance by purchase from Richard Trowell*, and in addition he extended his landed interests across the shire border by marrying a Staffordshire heiress. The wardship and marriage of the heir of John Cotton pertained to Denise Groos, by virtue of her lordship of land at Kingsley, and in April 1387 at Derby she and her husband offered him a marriage with the daughter of William Pakeman, only for the ward to reject their offer and enter his patrimony while still under age. The consequent lawsuits brought in the common pleas continued until Henry IV’s reign. As well as the Kingsley property, Denise brought William lands in Amerton, Chartley, Gayton and Grindley, but in May 1396 he sold a messuage called ‘Piriesplace’ in Amerton, along with other Staffordshire properties worth about 30s. annually, to an outlaw, which led to their escheat to the Crown.4
In June 1393 Groos witnessed a conveyance at Bearwardcote, and later in the summer he went surety at the Derbyshire sessions of the peace for John Spenser of Derby. A servant of his was indicted before the King’s bench sitting at Derby that July for stealing cloth from John Hay*. In June 1409 Groos was called upon to witness an important transaction completed at Derby, and at the borough elections two years later he was among the six named burgesses who attested the parliamentary indenture. He is last heard of as a juror in March 1414, when giving evidence against local lollards.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Gros, Gross.