HEDON, John, of Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorks.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. Ellen, at least 2s. poss. 1da.1
Bailiff, Kingston-upon-Hull Mich. 1367-8.2
Commr. of array, Yorks. July 1371.
Little is known about Hedon before his appointment as bailiff of Hull in 1367, but he may already have begun trading there as a merchant. He belonged to the consortium of prominent local men who were authorized by the Crown in September 1377 to export 640 sarplers of wool free of customs in repayment of a loan; and throughout this period he dealt regularly in cloth, wool and wine. At least one of his agents, John Milleward of Scaldwell in Northamptonshire, failed to render adequate accounts, with the result that by January 1374 Hedon had begun an action against him in the court of common pleas. The defendant was bound over in sureties of £10 to appear when summoned, and since the outcome of the case is not recorded, litigation may still have been in progress when Hedon first represented Hull in the Gloucester Parliament of 1378.3 He and his associate, John Melton, were involved in various property transactions in Hull at about this time, possibly as trustees of part of the estates of the affluent de la Chamber family, and also as agents for the endowment of a chantry for the guild of Corpus Christi, to which he himself probably belonged. Hedon’s own holdings comprised a chief messuage which he rented for 67s. p.a. on a long lease from Sir William de la Pole’s widow, Katherine (d.1382), and two other tenements which he eventually divided in three parts between his sons, William and Thomas, and Alice Beverley, who seems to have been his daughter.4
Hedon’s second return to Parliament in 1386, occurred just a few months after his alleged participation in an attack at Bubwith near Selby upon one of the servants of Alexander Neville, archbishop of York, who began proceedings for assault and robbery against him on behalf of the victim. Neville’s revival of claims advanced by his predecessors to franchises and jurisdictions in the port of Hull had generated strenuous local opposition, and the incident was almost certainly connected with an attempt by the borough authorities to free themselves once and for all from outside intervention. Hedon was tried before the j.p.s for the East Riding in the following year, and evidently escaped serious punishment. Perhaps he was saved at the last minute as a result of Neville’s dramatic fall from power and exile at the hands of the Lords Appellant, in 1388; at all events, he served regularly on juries at the coroner’s court in Hull between 1389 and 1392, and continued to prosper through commerce.5 His precise relationship with his namesake, John Hedon the younger, who served as bailiff of Hull in 1390 and, like him, was involved in the cloth trade, is now hard to determine, but they may well have been father and son.6 John Hedon the elder was certainly still alive in 1406, when he and another of his sons, William, stood charged with certain unspecified offences by envoys of Henry IV who had recently returned from Prussia. A royal commission was then set up to examine these complaints, which almost certainly concerned infringements of the existing truce through acts of piracy. By then Hedon had been sued by one Newark man for a debt of 40s. and had himself gone to court in an equally unsuccessful attempt to recover a similar sum from another.7
Both Hedon and his wife, Ellen, were buried under a memorial stone in the chapel of Holy Trinity, Hull. Their son, William, who died in 1427, inherited most of their property, although, as the latter’s will reveals, provision was also made for his younger brother, Thomas, and Alice, the wife of Thomas Beverley. The lease which John Hedon had negotiated with Katherine de la Pole must have been for a very long period indeed, since it was still in operation when William’s widow made her own will in 1428.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills ii, ff. 523-23v, 553.
- 2. C219/7/18.
- 3. CCR, 1369-74, p. 610; 1377-81, p. 31; CFR, ix. 42, 60; E122/59/5, 7, 23, 159/11; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. lxiv. 13.
- 4. Cal. Hull Deeds ed. Stanewell, D136-8, 145, 157; York registry wills ii, ff. 523-23v; CP25(1)278/141/22.
- 5. C258/24/4; JUST 2/248.
- 6. E122/59/24; CFR, x. 181; CCR, 1385-9, p. 313; C. Frost, Hull, 149.
- 7. CPR, 1385-9, p. 293; 1399-1401, p. 168; 1405-8, p. 236.
- 8. York registry wills ii, ff. 523-23v, 553.