HAMELY (HAMYLYN), Sir John (aft.1324-1399), of Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset.

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



Jan. 1377

Family and Education

b. aft. 1324, yr. s. of Sir John Hamely of Treblethick in St. Mabyn, Cornw. by Margery, da. and coh. of Walter Allet. m. (1) by 1362, Joan (c.1343-18 Aug. 1373), da. and event. h. of Sir Nicholas Plecy of Wimborne St. Giles, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) by 1392, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Hugh Camoys by Joan, da. and h. of Hugh Brayboef of Cranbourne, Hants, 1da. Kntd. by 1370.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Som. and Dorset 12 Dec. 1372-7 Nov. 1373.

Commr. of inquiry, Dorset July 1376 (Richard Lyons’s extortions), Nov. 1380 (wastes, Corfe castle), May 1384 (poaching); oyer and terminer, Cornw. Oct. 1379; array, Dorset Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392.

J.p. Cornw. 4 July 1376-Dec. 1377, Dorset 26 May 1380-Apr. 1385.

Tax assessor, Dorset Play 1379.

Coroner, Dorset until Jan. 1393.


John was a younger son of the Sir John Hamely who was sheriff of Cornwall in 1336-7 and died in 1346, leaving as his heir his eldest son, Ralph, then aged about 23. As a young man, in May 1352 John was pardoned for a rape committed in Tolverne, Cornwall, and the tone of respectability set by his subsequent elections to six Parliaments for various boroughs and the shire of Cornwall, is also put in question by the reports made in April 1364 of his involvement, with his brother Osbert, in an assault in London. It was also alleged that by procurement and other underhand means he had secured Osbert’s release from Exeter gaol, where he had been held charged with felonies, so that Osbert was at large inflicting many injuries on innocent people. In 1367 John was accused at the assizes in Cornwall of evicting his own sister from some property. Together with Osbert he occupied lands in Chudleigh (Devon), and in 1382 he waived all claims to a moiety of the manor and advowson of Hintlesham, Suffolk, when Osbert wished to sell it to John Hadley* of London. Their father had left debts to the government of over £44 dating from the time of his shrievalty of Cornwall, and it had been Osbert to whom, on condition of his payment of the amount due, had been committed custody of the family estates by the Crown; but in 1374 it had been found that he had wasted and sold part of the property to the disherison of the heir, his nephew Arthur. Whether John himself ever held any of the family lands is unclear. He was summoned before the barons of the Exchequer in 1380 to pay his father’s debts, but he denied responsibility, being, he said, neither heir, surety nor assign, and having had none of the deceased’s goods. By this time he had virtually severed all connexion with Cornwall, and a jury sitting at Sherborne in Dorset knew nothing of his origins.2

It was Hamely’s first marriage which had taken him to Dorset. His wife’s brother, Nicholas Plecy, died a minor in 1362, seised of the manors of Wimborne St. Giles and Kinson (Dorset), Burton Latimer (Northamptonshire) and Headley (Surrey) as well as of rents in Charlton Horethorne (Somerset). These all came into Hamely’s possession, jure uxoris and he was enabled to retain them after his wife’s death in 1373, having had issue by her, a son named Thomas. The latter was only a baby when his mother died; he became a royal ward, but did not live much longer. The Crown sued Hamely in 1374 for the next presentation to the church at Wimborne St. Giles. When he married again he settled the Plecy properties in Dorset jointly on himself and his new wife, with remainder, should they have no children, to John, Lord Lovell of Titchmarsh, possibly a kinsman of hers.3

Hamely’s career was not particularly distinguished. He was knighted before obtaining royal letters of protection for service abroad in May 1370, but after 1380 most of his activities were centred on Dorset. He seems to have been closely connected with the earls of March, who owned large estates in the county and from whom he held Wimborne St. Giles. Certainly, in 1375 he witnessed a deed for Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, and in May 1381 he and his brother Osbert joined the earl’s entourage when he took up his appointment as lieutenant of Ireland. Ten years later a man was killed at Hamely’s house in ‘La Lache’ and it was Roger Mortimer, the successor to the earldom, who asked Richard II’s pardon for the miscreant. By January 1393 Hamely was considered ‘too sick and aged’ to continue to officiate as a coroner in Dorset, and indeed by now he must have been an old man.4

Hamely died on 15 Jan. 1399. The Plecy properties (apart from those in Dorset) passed to a distant kinsman of his first wife, while Wimborne St. Giles and Kinson, valued at 50 marks a year, descended to Hamely’s daughter by his second wife. This daughter, Gillian, then aged six, had been named in honour of Wimborne’s patron saint. She married three times: first the Plecy heir, second Robert Ashley* and third Thomas Thame, and died possessed of her inheritance in 1476.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 552; iii. 439; VCH Hants, iii. 459; iv. 148.
  • 2. CIPM, viii. 680; CPR, 1350-4, pp. 271, 293; 1361-4, pp. 535, 542; 1370-4, p. 480; E159/155 recorda Trin.; E143/16/3 mm. 61-65; CCR, 1381-5, p. 91; J. Copinger, Suff. Manors, vi. 52; CIMisc. iii. 544; Maclean, ii. 543, 545-6. Maclean is in error in stating that John Hamely was a valet of the Black Prince and recipient of an annuity of £20 from him; this was Geoffrey Hamely, keeper of the prince’s armour: Reg. Black Prince, iv. 34; SC6/812/14.
  • 3. CIPM, xi. 404; xii. 77; xiii. 286; CFR, vii. 230; xi. 298-300; CCR, 1364-8, p. 226; 1369-74, p. 531; 1374-7, p. 4; 1396-9, pp. 448-9; Dorset Feet of Fines, 104-5, 220; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 113; VCH Surr. iii. 291.
  • 4. C76/53 m. 26; CCR, 1374-7, p. 460; 1392-6, p. 25; CPR, 1381-5, p. 15; 1391-6, p. 411.
  • 5. C136/103/25.