HEBBE, Geoffrey, of Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
Constable of the Staple, Chichester 17 Jan. 1408-Mich. 1409; mayor 20 May 1410-Mich. 1411.2
Geoffrey was born into one of the leading mercantile families of Chichester. His father John, the MP of 1379, was mayor at least four times, mayor of the Staple in 1390-1, and of such high regard in the community as to have Bishop Rede of Chichester conduct his funeral service in the Dominican friary church on 18 Jan. 1406. Geoffrey’s inheritance included property in ‘Nywykstret’ in the eastern suburb of the city, which his grandfather and namesake had acquired in 1375.3
Hebbe was a member of the jury sitting at Chichester in November 1409 which found that the bag discovered at Colworth chapel earlier in the year and said to have contained 101 marks, had in fact contained £223, a sum which the Crown then claimed. In September 1410, as a trustworthy citizen, he assisted the mayor, John Mountfort, and Thomas Patching* to sell a house in accordance with William Rose’s will. A month later he went surety at the Exchequer for the keepers of the royal alnage on cloth sold in Sussex. He attested the shire election indenture for the Parliament of May 1413 (when he himself was returned for Chichester), and did so again in November 1414.4
Hebbe’s trading concerns ran into difficulty in the latter part of Henry V’s reign. In October 1417 he entered into a statute staple in £21 to John Mountfort, the former mayor, who, when Hebbe failed to pay on the agreed day, had his property extended in June 1418. A local jury found that Hebbe owned seven tenements, a grange, a shop and 17 acres in the town fields, worth altogether £5 10s.8d., and valued his moveable goods at a further £12 10s. These were all delivered to his creditor, while Hebbe himself laid low. This embarrassment obliged him to try to restore his fortunes by supplying provisions to the English forces in Normandy. In March 1420 he was granted royal letters of protection as victualler of the garrison of Avranches, then under the captaincy of William, earl of Suffolk, but the problem of insolvency continued to beset him. Before too long he was in debt again, this time to one Peter Duraunt, who sued him for the sum of £32 13s.9d., and he was outlawed for failing to appear in court to answer. Immediately after obtaining a royal pardon, in January 1422, Hebbe made an agreement with Henry Filongley*, esquire, one-time serjeant of the King’s scullery, to take his place in Henry V’s service in France, and, accordingly, was formally retained by the King for nine months, commencing at Southampton on 1 Apr. following. Before embarkation Hebbe raised some money by disposing of a croft in Chichester which had been in his family for nigh on 50 years. Having returned home after Henry V’s death, he was reelected to Parliament for his native city in 1423, but in February 1424 he was again retained by indenture, this time specifically for an expedition sent under the command of the duke of Gloucester to recover Le Crotoy, recently retaken by the enemy, his contract being limited to one month. He is not recorded thereafter.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxxix. 129.
- 2. C267/6/7-9.
- 3. Suss. Feet of Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), no. 2452; Reg. Rede (ibid. xi), 288-9; Suss. N. and Q. v. 164; Suss. Arch. Colls. xxiv. 67; lxxxix. 126-7, 129; J. Dallaway, Hist. Western Division Suss. i. 155.
- 4. E159/186, communia Hil. rot. 11; Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxxix. 127-8; CFR, xiii. 194; C219/11/2, 5.
- 5. C131/60/1; CPR, 1416-22, p. 357; Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxxix. 129; DKR, xlii. 347; E101/71/1/782; CCR, 1419-22, p. 255; E404/40/160.