HADLEY, Peter, of Exeter, Devon.
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Family and Education
Controller of customs and subsidies, Exeter 21 June 1376-May 1389.
Steward, Exeter Mich. 1378-9, 1383-4, 1385-6.1
Tax collector, Devon May 1379; surveyor, Exeter Dec. 1380.
Commr. of inquiry, Exeter July 1380 (breaches of the Statute regarding illegal sale of cloth).
Constable of the Staple, Exeter Oct. 1385-6, 1387-Feb. 1390.2
Hadley became a freeman of the city of Exeter on 21 Oct. 1370, having been exonerated from payment of an admission fee by special grant of the mayor.3 His practice as a lawyer seems to have been restricted to the courts of the city where, for example, he acted for such prominent citizens as Adam Scut*, but he probably also appeared as an attorney at the assizes regularly held at Exeter, and in 1381-2 he is recorded making payments on behalf of the local authorities to Robert Tresilian†, c.j. KB, for his expenses in holding sessions. The occasional use of the alias ‘Pledour’ also points to Hadley’s profession.4
Hadley was named on the panel of electors of the governing body of Exeter in 1375, 1376, 1377, 1380, 1385, 1387, 1389, 1390 and 1391, and his involvement in the inhabitants’ affairs, as well as his profession, accounts for his return to Parliament for the city. It is less clear why a comparatively obscure Exeter lawyer should have been returned as burgess for Plympton Erle and Tavistock, although at the time of his elections he was holding a royal office (controller of customs at Exeter) and, as he would have had to travel to Westminster in any case to present his accounts, he may have offered his services to these boroughs at a comparatively low rate. Furthermore, his costs for the Parliaments of 1378 and September 1388 would have been shared between two communities, making an additional saving for them both. Meanwhile, in 1381 Hadley had been arrested outside the south gate of Exeter and taken to the bishop’s prison; his alleged offence is not recorded, and in any case his captor, William Bremelham, was subsequently indicted in the city court for false arrest.5