HALYATE, William, of Bishop's Lynn and Gaywood, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Feb. 1413
May 1413

Family and Education

Offices Held

Bailiff, Lynn Mich. 1393-4, 1398-9, 1400-1.1

Collector of customs and subsidies, Lynn 21 Aug. 1408-Feb. 1410.


By 1392 Halyate was exporting cloth on a small scale from Lynn to Dordrecht.2 His political affiliations in the town, where as one of the inferiores, non burgenses he was not entitled to hold any office of note, were established as early as March 1396 when, at the local sessions of the peace, he went surety in £40 for Margaret, wife of Roger Galion, one of the mediocres. In association with another of that group, Bartholomew Petipas, on 14 Apr. 1411 he had to provide assurances in Chancery that he would refrain from assaulting other inhabitants of Lynn. At Michaelmas following, so it was later alleged by the potentiores, these two, allied with John Bilney II* of South Lynn and John Tilney*, secured the election of Galion as mayor by force and in contravention of the town’s constitution. With their support Galion was to remain in office for two years. One of the 18 arbitrators who, drawn from all three parties, were appointed that December to discuss measures to end urban unrest, Halyate was also a member of the committee of nine (all of them mediocres or inferiores) which took over this function before May 1412 and went on to supervise borough expenditure during the whole of the year. He and Tilney were returned together to both Parliaments of 1413 (the last, abortive Parliament of Henry IV’s reign and the first of Henry V’s); and, by Galion’s appointment, he headed the electors of the town officers in the following August, who then chose Petipas as mayor. After the potentiores regained power they asserted before a royal commission that while the opposition group had control over town government they had admitted ‘foreigners’ of no worth as burgesses, assaulted the brethren of the Holy Trinity guild in the guildhall on 3 June 1414 and, on the night of 20 Aug., attacked Thomas Waterden*, Thomas Brigge,* John Spicer II* and other potentiores on their way home from a local tavern. Halyate was consistently named as one of the four ringleaders of the dissidents. When he and his associates were arrested by the keeper of the gaol following the last recorded incident, their friend Petipas had sent an armed force to rescue them. Then, on mayoral election day, nine days later on 29 Aug., when the sheriff of Norfolk, Edmund Oldhall*, attempted to supervise the proceedings in accordance with a royal command, the four ringleaders and their supporters, by breaking down bridges and guarding the gates, prevented him and certain burgesses from even entering the town, while themselves holding separate elections in the house of the Austin Friars. Even so, their period of ascendancy was over, despite sporadic attempts to re-exert their rule. On 1 Oct. Halyate stood bail for the release from the Marshalsea prison of his friend Tilney, by now clerk to Bishop Courtenay of Norwich, with whose support their party had been favoured; and in January 1415, together with Petipas, they assaulted the new mayor, John Lakingheth. They remained so recalcitrant that, on 9 Mar. 1416, Thomas Hunt I* wrote to the late Bishop Courtenay’s successor, to request that Halyate and his colleagues should be exiled from Lynn until, after the new bishop’s installation, the burgesses could discuss their grievances with him. However, on 10 Apr. Halyate, Petipas and Tilney all secured royal letters patent pardoning them any treasons or insurrections.3

Halyate is last heard of on 23 Jan. 1421 when he was permitted by the mayor to enter the chamber adjoining the guildhall (which had recently been destroyed by fire), to obtain documents for the next guild meeting.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. CIMisc. vi. 81; CCR, 1392-6, p. 338; 1399-1402, p. 120; E368/174.
  • 2. N.S.B. Gras, Early Eng. Customs System, 541.
  • 3. Sessions Rolls 1394-7 (Norf. Rec. Soc. viii), 11; CCR, 1409-13, p. 206; 1413-16, p. 148; Norf. Arch. ii. 185; HMC 11th Rep. III, 192; King’s Lynn Town Hall, Ae 17, Ca 3, Ea 46, 86; CIMisc. vii. 517; W. Richards, Hist. Lynn, i. 366-7; CPR, 1416-22, p. 3.
  • 4. Recs. King’s Lynn ed. Harrod, 28.